A field team of scientists recently discovered something incredible and downright adorable — there are rare cats living on Mount Everest.
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The Pallas’s cats, also known as manuls, somehow managed to remain undetected until 2019. There are at least two of them living somewhere along Mount Everest’s Southern Flank. The discovery is extremely valuable for researchers and conservationists worldwide — and insanely cute for everyone else.
Pallas’s cats are about the same size as regular house cats with a few adorable differences. Their legs are very short and their fur is thick and fluffy, making them look like chubby little stuffed animals. They’re actually smaller and lighter than they look, as they’re mostly all fur, which insulates them from the cold. Climbing rocky crevices and cliff faces is easy for them, so it makes sense they’d pick somewhere like Mount Everest to live. These wild animals are aggressive and definitely can’t be kept as pets, but their pictures alone are enough to spread massive amounts of joy.
Their wide faces and big ears make them look like cartoon characters, just hopping around Mount Everest, minding their business.
“It is phenomenal to discover proof of this rare and remarkable species at the top of the world,” Dr. Tracie Seimon of Wildlife Conservation Society’s Zoological Health Program said in an article for Wildlife Conservation Society.
Future research will help determine exactly how many Pallas’s cats are living on Mount Everest, and will help protect them so they can continue to live their best lives.