The tiny kittens hadn’t even opened their eyes yet when the farmer found them. Without a mother, he knew it would take a lot to keep them alive.
He called Daursky Nature Reserve hoping to get some information. They identified the kittens as Pallas’s cats, or manuls, a type of wild cat native to Central Asia.
Manuls are a little stockier than domestic cats and have shorter legs, wider faces and flatter ears. Their thicker coats help them survive in harsh climates.
The farmer took the wild kittens to the reserve, and the staff placed them with two domestic cats. Amazingly, the cats took them in as their own!
With the manuls gaining strength and flourishing at the reserve, the staff knew they would have to send them back into the wild.
During their first winter in the wild, they lost their radio collars which help the reserve track their progress. The manuls also lost a lot of weight.
So the staff brought them back to the reserve with plans of re-releasing them in the spring when they could adjust more easily.
And that turned out to be the right move. This time, the manuls acclimated quickly to their new surroundings.