Pallas' Cat records in the country are more than 30 years old. Ishunin (1961), Geptner and Sludskii (1972) accounted of sightings in the southwestern part of Uzbekistan: near Sary-Assiya in the upper course of the Surkhandarya River, and near Shirabad located in the Baysuntau and Kugitangtau Ranges southwest of the Gissar Range. Mitropolskii (1979) and Lesniak et. al (1984) knew of occasional skins brought to Buchara for the fur industry from the area of Shirabad and Sary-Assiya, and from the outliers of the mountains near the Kyzylkum Desert. Pallas' Cat has also been reported from the Karakalpakstan Ustyurt: from both chinks and outliers of the southern and western Ustyurt as well as from the Kaplankyr chinks (Geptner 1956; Ishunin 1961; Sapozhenkov 1961; Geptner and Sludskii 1972; Lesnyak et al. 1984). Except for the central Kyzylkum Desert, these areas are situated along the international borders with Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tadzhikistan and Afghanistan.
In the Kyzylkum Desert Pallas' Cat is said to occur in the interfluvial area between the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers, namely in the small outliers of the Bukantau, Tamdytau, Kuljuktau, and in the Sultan-Uizdag mountains east of the Amudarya delta. No records exist from the central parts of the Pamir-Alai mountain system. There is no information from the northern and western foothills of the Zeravshan and Turkestan Ranges, namely the Aktau, Karatau, Malguzar and Nuratau mountains. It is however likely that it is present in these areas (Geptner and Sludskii 1972).
In the following map,
markers point to locations where Pallas' Cats were recorded after 2000;
the anted markers indicate areas where they were sighted prior to the turn of the century. For further information about individual locations : click on the marker to zoom in.
In 1983, the cat was included in the Red Book of Uzbekistan as a rare and little-studied species that is decreasing in number and threatened due to hunting and the economic development of the country (Sadikov 1983). It is not listed in later editions of the Red Book of Uzbekistan (Abdurakhmanov and Kreytsberg 2003, Azimov 2006, 2009) due to a complete lack of data.
Pallas' Cat is one of the least studied species in the country. The absence of mounted specimens, skins and skulls in the zoological collections of Uzbekistan testifies its extreme rarity (Gritsina 2012). Comprehensive studies are required to gain a better understanding of its current distribution and status in Uzbekistan. If it is still present in the country, a conservation strategy and plan of actions is required apart from its inclusion into the Red Book of Uzbekistan.
Text by Maria Gritsina; review and layout by Angie Appel, January 2013
Gritsina, M. 2013. Pallas' Cat: distribution in Uzbekistan. Pallas' Cat Working Group.