Scientists Discover Wild Cat Population Living On Mount Everest

Mount Everest is well-known around the world, and if there’s something most people seem to know about the iconic mountain, it’s that it’s uninhabitable and bleak. As the highest mountain on earth, many people are drawn to her summit, but few people make the journey and many are killed trying.

While it’s easy to assume that not much could live in a habitat like that, there are actually a few species that have adapted to the harsh environment, including a wild cat that was recently discovered.

Photo: Pexels/Skitterphoto

While the cat species has been known for decades, it was only just discovered to be living on Mount Everest.

According to the International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada, the Palla’s cat is a small species of a wild cat that’s sometimes known as the manual.

National Geographic reports that scientists weren’t even aware that the wild cat inhabited Mount Everest until 2019. Since that time, scientists have been hard at work studying and researching to learn more about the species and its full habitat.


In a news release from the Wildlife Conservation Society, researchers explained that DNA analysis of scat samples collected from two differen’t sites “confirmed two Pallas’s cats inhabit Mount Everest and overlap in territory with red fox.”

Dr. Tracie Seimon of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoological Health Program explained in the news release:

“It is phenomenal to discover proof of this rare and remarkable species at the top of the world. The nearly four-week journey was extremely rewarding not just for our team but for the larger scientific community. The discovery of Pallas’s cat on Everest illuminates the rich biodiversity of this remote high-alpine ecosystem and extends the known range of this species to eastern Nepal.”

Photo: Flickr/Tambako The Jaguar License: CC BY-ND 2.0

The WCS noted that researchers hope to use camera trap surveys combined with the collection of additional scat samples to help better define the Palla’s cat population, range, density, and diet in Sagarmatha National Park.

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