Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cat Returns Home Night After Night With Stuffed Animals That Don't Belong To Him

By Stephen Messenger
When the Skinner Family adopted a playful orange tabby cat, named Mufasa, as a kitten about a year ago, they had no idea that their new pet might one day turn out to be a fluffy, sweet little thief. But after stuffed animals began turning up around the house, the supposedly “indoor” cat’s secret (albeit somewhat adorable) life of crime was uncovered.

Shana Skinner, who lives in Brisbane, Australia, tells The Dodo that Mufasa’s stealing spree seems to have started three weeks ago, when she discovered a mysterious stuffed monkey under the dining room table. At first, she was reluctant to blame the cat — especially since he normally never leaves the house.

“I initially asked my husband if he had brought it home for my daughter,” Skinner says. “When he told me he hadn't, I suspected that Mufasa had done it but wasn't 100 percent sure until another one turned up.”

(Shana Skinner)

Over the course of a week, the bandit cat brought home a total of five stuffed animals, presumably from homes around the neighborhood, much to the dismay of the Skinner family.

“I felt guilty about it, to be honest. We weren’t even aware that he was getting out. We were surprised to find that he was leaving the property, because on the occasion that he’d come outside of the house, he was afraid to leave our sight,” says Skinner.

“He was meant to be an indoor cat with no intention of ever having him leave the property, so it was a bit of a shock to find that he was not only getting out, but he was bringing home someone else’s toys.”

Eventually, the Skinners discovered that Mufasa had been escaping through a bathroom window, which meant that he had to pass the family’s two big dogs outside, who he was normally terrified of. Now, says Skinner, all the exits have been secured.

“He’s definitely under house arrest now,” she says.

(Shana Skinner)

With the mystery of who was bringing home the toys now solved, a new mystery emerged — where did they come from? Skinner says she’s been trying to reunite the stuffed animals with their rightful owners, but so far she’s had no luck.

“We’ve spoken to all our neighbors, and none of them have seen the toys before. They have no idea where they’ve come from,” she says. “We checked everywhere in the area, and no one has seen the stuffed animals before.”

She’s even set up a Facebook page, “Help - my cat is a kleptomaniac”, to try to return the stolen property.

(Shana Skinner)

While Mufasa’s thieving is certainly not behavior which could be condoned, it’s a bit more benign than what many of his feline counterparts are up to. According to the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, feral cats are wreaking havoc on fauna, hunting down an estimated 75 million native animals every night in Australia.

In fact, kitties have been linked to the extinction of several Australian species and the decline of as many as 80 others.

Skinner says that as far as she’s aware, Mufasa had only ever hunted stuffed animals, but he won’t be getting the chance to graduate to the real thing now that he’s securely indoors. Still, he’s less than remorseful for his actions, particularly since his plush “prey” was probably meant to be gifts for his family.

“I don’t think he feels bad. I don’t think he thinks he’s done anything wrong,” says Skinner. “I think he’s a bit proud of himself, to be honest.”


Your Daily (sleepy) Cat

Leonie starting to yawn
Leonie starting to yawn by Tambako The Jaguar

Monday, September 29, 2014

Your Daily Cat

Profile of BlackyProfile of Blacky by Tambako The Jaguar

Kittens Learning Important Lessons From Their Elders

By Audre Az
Some cats are born troublemakers. Others are taught. And these 14 adorable kittens appear to be acing these lessons in mischief-making!

1. How to reach high for even the most forbidden places.


2. How to turn the litterbox into your private playground.


3. How to climb a tree with bravery and skill.

(YouTube/Mark Mckelvie)

4. How to treat human toys like your own personal castle.


5. How to move beyond petty human limits like "doors."


6. How to look extremely innocent.


7. How to clean a plate like a champion.


8. How to leap over any obstacle:


9. How to take down the curtains in style.


10. How to decorate the carpet with your glorious cat hair.


11. How to turn a chair into a jungle gym.


12. How to make anyone pay attention to you.


13. How to conquer any obstacle.

(YouTube/One Smile at a Time)

14. And finally, how to make the entire world fall in love with you, instantly.



Gator Has a Go at Cat (Video)

If you're a cat, it pays to steer clear of the Florida Everglades...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Your Daily Cat!

Lyiong lion cub looking at meLyiong, the lion cub looking at me by Tambako The Jaguar

Wildfire that displaced mountain lion cubs caused by exploding target


HAMILTON, Montana — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say a wildfire that displaced two mountain lion cubs in August was caused by a target shooter who detonated an exploding target in a state wildlife management area.

The Ravalli Republic (http://bit.ly/1t848JM) reported that the 50-acre fire started in an area of waist-high grass east of Florence in the Sapphire Mountains.

U.S. Forest Service and local volunteer firefighters suppressed the fire with help from helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft at a cost of about $94,000.

No one has been cited for the fire and the investigation continues.

Two male mountain lion cubs thought to be just a few weeks old received national attention after they were rescued by firefighters working on the blaze. The cubs, named Lewis and Clark, have since been moved to a zoo in Ohio.

The Forest Service's Northern Region prohibited the use of exploding targets on national forest lands in May. At the time, the agency said exploding targets had caused at least 16 wildfires in Western states that cost taxpayers more than $33 million.

Those using an exploding target on national forest lands could be fined up to $5,000 and imprisoned for up to six months.

No law specifically regulates the use of exploding targets on state lands.

Paul Moore, Hamilton unit manager for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, said exploding target use is a fairly new activity on public lands, but it is an issue the state likely will have to address.

"Right now, it's more of a fire-related issue for us," Moore said. "If fire restrictions are in place, it would be a violation to set one off."


Do Wild Cats Like Toilet Tissue? You Betcha!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

How Do Tigers Roar?

Tigers go missing from Telangana, AP sanctuaries

While officials say three tigers, last spotted in Kawal Tiger Sanctuary in Adilabad, are said to be missing for months now, two tiger skins, one of it of a cub, have been seized in the AP side of the Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR).

"We have caught four people, and so far been able to recover two tiger skins from their hideouts. We are on the verge of cracking an organized network involved in tiger poaching," said Rahul Pandey, field director, NSTR (AP).

Pandey said analysis showed that one of the seized skin matched with that of a tiger codenamed 'M7' in the NSTR database of 41 tigers roaming in the jungles. "The other was of a cub, barely six-seven months old, with its nails intact. Since we do not have a database of tiger cubs, it's difficult to identify its origin. Both tigers were poisoned by poachers," he said.

A single tiger skin fetches about Rs 4-5 lakh in the international market, while its nails and teeth are bought for thousands of dollars for their medicinal value in China and Thailand.

Officials in Telangana are a worried lot with recent developments.

The three missing tigers, all females aged under 4, were sighted in Adilabad district between July last year and August this year. The last animal was spotted in Gundala village in August this year which was making its presence felt by attacking cattle.

The other cats were last spotted in Nilwai and Kusnepalli areas.

"Animals frequently come to these areas, but are not tracked all the while. We had sighted three big cats, but lost track of them after a few months. It's highly possible that they have been poached," said a top forest department official.

Activists say that the forest department has not done much when the animals were spotted. "We were aware of the cats' presence as we received information from villagers when they were making their presence felt. They should have been immediately radio-collared to keep track of them. The animals were spotted multiple times and their photos captured. But then they all disappeared," said tiger conservationist Imran Siddiqui of the Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society.

He said at least three of the animals, barring the tigress Malini, could have been poached. He, however, added that no traces of poaching were found.

"It is not easy for big cats like tigers to fall off the radar. Tigers attacking cattle is bound to bring them in conflict with humans. They were also captured by cameras in the forests. The sudden calm is disquieting," he said.

The disappearance of the animals raises questions about the forest department's functioning and the Telangana government's efforts to protect the endangered species. While efforts were initially made by the Kagaznagar forest division, they did not prove sufficient with the animals eventually going off the radar.

Forest officials said that the four cats were sighted in north Adilabad, but only one of them (Malini) is being tracked.

The missing big cats also bring into question the functioning of the Kawal Tiger Sanctuary and introduction of an extended non-contiguous facility around Kagaznagar forest division, which is known to house tigers moving out from the Kanergaon area of Maharashtra where currently 15 to 20 tigers are said to be thriving.

Animal rights activists say a century ago, about 40,000 tigers roamed the jungles across the country, but now the number is down to just about 3,700.


Your Daily Cat (Hey, it's Caturday!)

Attacking mom! Let's play, Mom by Tambako the Jaguar

Lion Vs Mongoose: Mongoose Fends Off Four Lions

Friday, September 26, 2014

Calgary-born tiger kills another big cat in Manitoba Zoo

Courtesy of assiniboineparkzoo.com
Cindy White

A young Siberian Tiger shipped from The Calgary Zoo to Winnipeg earlier this year, has killed another tiger at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.
A gate was mistakenly left open and Baikal, an adult male, wandered into the enclosure where brothers Vasili and Samkha are housed. Baikal got in a fight with Vasili, and the older cat died from his injuries early Thursday morning.
The two younger cats, born in Calgary, were sent to Winnipeg at the beginning of the year to help with breeding programs there.
An investigation is underway into how the gate was left unlocked.
Assiniboine Park officials say the loss of Baikal, who’s been at the facility for five years, is heartbreaking for both staff and visitors.


Big Cats Trying Marmite For The First Time

And some of them really don't like it. lol

Your Daily Cat (Think Snow!)

Snuggling snow leopards

Snow Leopards canoodling by Tambako the Jaguar

Posing together

Snuggling snow leopards II

Camera Trap Captures Stunning Photos Of Rare Tibetan Snow Leopard

By Stephen Messenger
Camera traps placed high in the Himalaya mountains have captured some stunning images of one of the rarest, most elusive cats on the planet — a critically endangered Tibetan snow leopard.

Researchers based in Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve, where Mount Everest is located, say that this is the first time the species has been caught on film there. The South China Morning Post reports that since monitoring began earlier this year, cameras have collected 27 photos of the cats, and the team is now working to identify individual leopards to better understand their population and distribution.

The photographic evidence of a snow leopard in the remote region comes as welcome news at a time when the species has been pushed to the brink by human activity. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, as few as 4,080 of the leopards are still in existence globally — their numbers plummeted by 20 percent in recent decades due to habitat loss and poaching.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Watch Out For Wildlife by #Defenders of Wildlife

bear crossing sign, © Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission
I imagine if you’re anything like us, you’re looking for wildlife wherever you go, whether it’s at a national park, a city boulevard, or your own backyard. This seeking takes on a different purpose when you’re driving a vehicle. Not only are you looking for wildlife for the sake of seeing an interesting critter, but now you’ve got your own safety to consider, and the animal’s safety as well. This week is Watch out for Wildlife Awareness Week. It’s a time to remind ourselves to put aside distractions while driving and focus on the road – for our sake and for wildlife.

We’ve all had those cringe-worthy moments where that squirrel jumped out at just the wrong moment or the skunk was too dark to see. Each year, there are between 1 and 2 million collisions between vehicles and wildlife on U.S. roadways. Though the majority of these accidents involve white-tailed deer, regions that are still lucky enough to have large species like elk, moose, black or grizzly bears, and bighorn sheep can have the same problem with those species. Most estimates of wildlife-vehicle collision numbers in the U.S. don’t even include the incalculably vast numbers of small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even insects like migrating butterflies, that collide with tires, grills and windshields of the millions of vehicles careening across the country’s roads.
Grizzly crossing, © Greg Ochocki
Road fragment wildlife habitat, forcing them to cross to get to food or other resources.

Imperiled species are even more heavily impacted by roadways. Traffic has been shown to be the leading human-caused mortality source for some wide-ranging mammals such as the critically endangered Florida panther and the endemic Florida black bear. Collisions with vehicles take a terrible toll on these panthers, whose population is estimated at fewer than 200 adults. In 2012, a record 19 were killed on Florida roads. So far this year we’ve lost 15 panthers to vehicle collisions – with several months left to go. These deaths prevent panthers from expanding their range. Whenever populations of an animal are small and every single individual matters in terms of the long-term survival of the species, deaths from highways can be a serious threat.

Even when animals aren’t killed, roads can have an impact on their survival. Some sensitive species tend to be reluctant to move across roads. This causes fragmentation of their habitat as they are blocked into the roadless areas of their habitats, unable to freely move to find food sources and mates. This can lead to lower reproduction rates and smaller populations – a major concern for species that are already imperiled.

What You Can Do – Both On and Off the Road

This seems like a depressing array of information about the terrible impacts of roadways and highways. So what can be done about it? As individuals, we can all become more attentive drivers – try to think like an animal when you consider the landscape you’re driving through – where would an animal move through and across the road? At those locations, slow down. Of course there are those times when animals jump out at the last moment and we simply can do nothing about it. In those moments, if you’re able, report the roadkill to your department of transportation since every bit of information about wildlife collision hotspots can inform wildlife and highway managers. Visit our Watch Out for Wildlife page for a complete set of driving tips and a handy card with reminders and contact info for your glove box.

As a U.S. citizen, you can encourage the federal government to increase funding for this wildlife and human safety issue. Although animal-vehicle collisions have increased significantly since 2000 (while overall crashes have decreased), transportation officials are spending nowhere near enough of our nation’s safety dollars for highway programs needed to address this issue. It is critical that the U.S. DOT and Federal Highways Administration ensure that adequate funding is allocated to curb this mounting safety hazard.

Within your community, you can organize together to pressure departments of transportation (DOT) to consider wildlife when designing or reconstructing roadways. There are many steps these DOTs can take to reduce the chance of wildlife-vehicle collisions, including culverts, bridges, underpasses (tunnels) or overpasses (bridges over roads for wildlife), and fencing used to guide animals to these structures. Wildlife fencing with a combination of underpasses and overpasses has proved to be one of the most effective measures to reduce collisions with large wildlife species – in fact, research shows that it can reduce collisions with large wild ungulates (deer, elk, moose, etc.) by 79-97%. Contact your DOT and ask them to consider wildlife in their designs and reconstruction projects.
And remember to always Watch Out for Wildlife while driving!

Wildlife Overpass, © People's Way PartnershipSuccess Stories – When Wildlife Crosses The Road Safely

A wildlife overpass or underpass can give animals a way to get across without putting themselves in the path of speeding vehicles.

We’ve been involved in a great example of successful wildlife crossings through the US Highway 93 North reconstruction project on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwest Montana. As the DOT reconstructed 56 miles of this road, it installed 41 fish and wildlife crossing structures and 18 miles of wildlife exclusion fencing to reduce accidents, give wildlife safe ways to cross the road, and minimize impacts to sensitive wetlands.

This highway section has more wildlife-safety structures than any other stretch of roadway in the United States. Between 2010 and 2013, motion-triggered cameras documented 30 different species using the structures a total of 53,600 times. White-tailed deer and mule deer are common, but other users include black bear, grizzly bear, red fox, coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, elk, moose, river otter, muskrat, beaver, raccoon, skunk, rabbit, badger, marmot, porcupine and more. Since the crossings were installed, the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions in several areas has dropped. We are proud to be involved in this effort as part of the People’s Way Partnership , spreading the word about the value and importance of these structures.

In Florida, wildlife crossings have been extremely effective in preventing endangered panthers and other wildlife from being killed on roads. One of the earliest projects in the country occurred during the conversion of two-lane Alligator Alley (State Route 84 between Naples and Miami) to part of I-75 from 1986 to 1993. The two-lane road already had a high rate of panther road mortality, so wildlife advocates were seriously concerned about a four-lane interstate highway that would cut through panther habitat in Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.

By coming together to advocate for a way to protect panthers, we helped convince officials to include 24 wildlife crossings and 13 bridge extensions (which give animals room to cross under the bridges) to allow safe passage of panthers and other wildlife under the highway. These changes along 40 miles of I-75 virtually eliminated road-related panther deaths in that area, and are used by many other species, including Florida black bear, deer, bobcat, marsh rabbit, alligators, turtles, snakes and more.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

'Sensitize Public to Respect Animals, Don't Punish Delhi Zoo Tiger'

Published: 23rd September 2014
KOLKATA: Lamenting the lack of sensitisation among zoo visitors who tease animals and provoke them, wildlife experts and ace magician P.C. Sorcar Junior - who once had three Serengeti lions as pets - say the white tiger that mauled a man to death in the Delhi Zoo Tuesday is not to be blamed

The shocking incident was captured live on cameras. The Delhi zoo clarified that the youth had "jumped into the enclosure" and did not slip and fall as claimed by some witnesses.

Sorcar Jr., whose wife and three daughters, "mingled freely" with the big cats, said the zoo authorities shouldn't in any way "punish" the beast.

"Animals will attack when they are extremely hungry, insecure and irritated by teasing. I request the authorities not to punish the animal... it is not to blame.

"Public should not invade their privacy," Sorcar told IANS.

He said he never had to face any "accidents" with the now-deceased big cats, Sultan, Samrat and Begum. One even used to sleep under his bed, he recalled.

"Samrat and Sultan were male, Begum female. Samrat, the first one, lived with my family for 23 years. They were very intelligent and used to get jealous of our daughters," the magician said.

Director of Alipore zoo - India's oldest, Kanailal Ghosh said despite the safety measures instated by the zoos, public behaviour is a "concern".

The Alipore zoo has 10 big cats at present - seven Royal Bengal tigers and three white tigers. The zoo has had its fair share of controversies surrounding similar incidents.

In December 2000, a tiger killed a youth who ventured into the open-air enclosure by scaling the high wall surrounding it. In January 1996, two drunk men tried to garland a tiger after entering inside the enclosure. The animal killed one of them and injured the other.

Ghosh, who also saw the video of Tuesday's incident in Delhi, suggested the tiger was "provoked".

"I saw the video. One can't blame the animal... for an animal in captivity, animal instincts aren't really present in them as found in wild ones. It had given the victim a long time. I don't know what exactly transpired but it seems it was provoked," Ghosh told IANS.

Nitin Desai, Central India director of Wildlife Protection Society of India said "animals are not meant for entertainment of visitors."

"If they have to commit to suicide then why the zoos? The animals are not at fault. Why blame them? There should be more sensitisation among the public about respecting the privacy of the animals," Desai told IANS.

Bittu Sahgal, leading environmental activist, writer and founding editor of Sanctuary Asia, India's premier wildlife and ecology magazine said "the incident should surely be followed by an investigation".

"While details of the incident are yet to be fully explained, the incident should surely be followed by an investigation, not only into this tragedy, but into the whole issue of zoos in India, their mismanagement, the safety of both inmates and visitors and the fact that Indian zoos seem to have lost direction completely and have turned into entertainment parks where the animals are miserable and visitors are not oriented either towards conservation, or the welfare of animals," he said in a Facebook post.


One By One, Peru's Circus Animals Are Being Freed

By Melissa Cronin
Life took a drastic change for nine circus lions in Peru this week, when they were each freed from a life in captivity. As part of a massive move to free the country’s circus animals, rescuers placed the lions in a quarantine facility to prepare them for their eventual move to sanctuaries.

The rescues, named Operation Spirit of Freedom, were spearheaded by Animal Defenders International (ADI), along with the help of Peru’s SERFOR (wildlife and environment), ATFFS (enforcement) government bodies. The mission was funded in large part by a donation from TV personality Bob Barker.

Peru banned performing exotic circus animals in 2011, following Bolivia’s lead. But many animals are still being held in circuses there. Rescues are continuing to happen on the ground in Peru right now.

“We are pleased to be assisting the Peruvian authorities with this important mission to save animals from suffering and which can put Peru at the forefront of animal protection law enforcement in South America,” said Jan Creamer, president of ADI.

This isn’t the first time lions have been rescued from a circus and sent to better living conditions. A similar rescue mission in 2011 airlifted 29 lions from eight circuses in Bolivia to sanctuaries in the U.S.

Around the world, 27 countries have banned performing wild animals in circuses. These include Austria, Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Greece, India, Israel, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden and Taiwan.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bouncing Back: Nepal’s Tigers Survive Civil Turmoil

By Joseph Allchin

Dhaka, Bangladesh–For years the Himalayan nation of Nepal lacked a functional government. Years of war and subsequent reorientation of the state, left vulnerable the nation’s rich fauna and in particular its tigers to the rampant poaching that has decimated wildlife populations across Asia. While Nepal’s politicians bickered, fears rose for its iconic tiger, one of its most majestic animals.

But now Nepal’s big cat may be on the rebound. “When tiger range countries (TRCs) met in St. Petersburg in 2010, we realized we needed to do something. The population [in Nepal] was a total of 121, [we] realized it had gone down dramatically,” said Sabita Malla, from WWF Nepal, on the sidelines of a recent global tiger conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh. “During the civil war we knew that the rhino population was being decimated, but we didn’t know about the tigers,” explained Dr Marshwar Dhakal, from Nepal’s department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.
Tiger numbers and poaching of the big cats are harder to detect, Dhakal said, because poachers take the entire carcass to sell body parts for various traditional medical uses. “Security forces were not prioritizing wildlife protection during the war,” he added. “Now peace has been restored the army is now deploying in protected areas to prevent poaching at its source.” Latest estimates put the number of wild tigers in Nepal at 198, up from 121 in 2010–a rare success story in the fight to preserve the Critically Endangered big cat.

It’s not just redeployment of anti-poaching units that are making the difference: “Fifty percent of revenues [from tourism] are given back to local communities, which is much more than most other countries,” Dhakal said. This and “other financial incentives have built trust and partnership with communities.” The additional incentives incude relatively high compensation rates for attacks on humans or livestock by tigers.

“If we talk about areas of high tiger population density, they make a lot of money from tourism,” Malla said. Tourism was worth U.S. $370 million to the impoverished South Asian nation in 2012, and even as the civil war dented the sector’s revenues it has remained a vital source of income.

In the country’s Bardia National Park, “there used to be a lot of hunting for subsistence, so prey numbers had gone down, so those communities were brought under buffer zone management system,” Malla said. “They now get support for energy and other benefits and have handed over their guns.” She also notes that “connectivity corridors” were set up to connect the park to habitats in neighbouring India. “We estimated in 2013 that numbers in Bardia had increased from 18 to 50.”

It hasn’t all been plane sailing however. Increased numbers of tigers has inevitably meant increased conflict with the increasing numbers of humans. Nepal’s human population growth has slowed, but is still growing at around 1.2% a year.

Peace has also enabled infrastructure and industrial growth. “We are facing a lot of development infrastructure, which is the main reason for fragmenting habitats of tigers,” Dhakala said. “Other [government] departments seem to get priority in building infrastructure and they always prefer virgin land,” he lamented.

Tiger range countries have met every four years since 2010 for a “stock taking” exercise, which is funded by the Global Tiger Initiative. This has helped to share ideas about what works in the conservation of the cats. For instance, Nepal and neighboring India have seen success in intelligence-sharing regarding poaching in the respective countries. “Before 2010 countries had national, but not international programs and infrastructure; [a global forum] has helped to look into common issues and find solutions for them,” said Andrew Zakharenka of the Global Tiger Initiative Secretariat. 

A global estimate put numbers at a mere 3,200 in 2010, down from over 100,000 a century ago. With little accurate data about numbers however, there is hope that a global census will be taken by 2016 to establish an accurate census. 


Save Big Cats Sold to Canned Hunting Operations

Target: Janice and Rusty Gibbs, owners of Seaview Predator Park

Goal: Protect the lions and tigers of Seaview Predator Park from canned hunting operations
The Seaview Predator Park in South Africa has become a sanctuary for endangered African big cats. However, some very disturbing happenings have recently come to light: The park has allegedly sold lions and tigers to canned hunting farms as well as to farms that harvest and sell big cat bones. The lions and tigers that reside at Seaview Predator Park must be protected from extinction, not sold to kill organizations for profit.

Seaview Predator Park’s goal is to save native and non-native African species from extinction through public education and tours of its grounds. Visiting people are encouraged to stroll through the park and admire the many animals that live there. It even hosts an opportunity to come face-to-face with lions and tigers during an animal encounter. Seaview Predator Park has successfully bred countless lions and tigers. Unfortunately, it seems that a number of these majestic beasts have been sold for canned hunting and for the harvest of their bones.

The owners of the reserve, Janice and Rusty Gibbs, sold 22 lions to Tam Safaris hunting reserve, which is known for its big game and exotic animal hunts. Tam Safaris boasts over 4o different species living on a 60,000 acre plot of land, put there specifically for people who pay money to hunt and kill them. When approached about this terrible decision, Seaview Predator Park stated that all of the people who have bought lions or tigers from them were made to sign a form that ensured the animals were not to be used in canned hunting operations.

The Gibbs may have good intentions for the animals in their care. However, the couple must follow through with the animals they’ve sold to other organizations. Urge the Gibbs to become more involved with the welfare of their animals even after they’re sold, and stop the transaction if the lives of their animals are in jeopardy.


Dear Janice and Rusty Gibbs,

Your wild animal reserve, Seaview Predator Park, has encouraged many people to care about conservation and the success of big cat species. However, recent reports have found that Seaview has sold lions and tigers to canned hunting reserves as well as to companies that harvest and sell the bones of big cats. You claim that the whereabouts of your sold lions and tigers are unknown and you do not support the canned hunting industry. I am writing to urge you to play a more vital role in the lives of all of your animals, especially those you intend to sell.
There is documentation that proves many of your big cats have been brought to the Tam Safaris hunting reserve in Eastern Cape, South Africa. This is a canned hunting reserve that prides itself on allowing wealthy people to hunt and kill big game. This is incredibly saddening and a sickening fate for already-endangered species such as lions and tigers. You must not allow this type of transaction to happen again. You must protect the big cats in your care, not transport them to their death.

[Your Name Here]

Click this link to sign the petition! 

Take a Good Look at This Rare Malayan Tiger—It May Be One of Your Last

(Photo: Bazuki Muhammed/Reuters)

A new study finds that only 250 of the big cats survive, as poachers have nearly exterminated the animal to feed Chinese demand.

September 22, 2014
John R. Platt covers the environment, technology, philanthropy, and more for Scientific American, Conservation, Lion, and other publications.
Malaysia's tigers have all but disappeared, and poachers from nearby countries have pushed them to the brink of extinction, according to a new report.

A four-year study of the country's big cats—the first scientific count ever conducteddiscovered far fewer tigers than previously estimated, reporting as few as 250 left in the wild. Previous estimates had the country's tiger population between 500 and 1,500.

Malayan tigers (Panthera tigris jacksoni) are one of the six remaining tiger subspecies. Three tiger species were hunted into extinction in the 20th century, and current estimates put the wild population for all six subspecies at 3,000 tigers.

The new count was announced in a joint press statement by Malaysia's Department of Wildlife and National Parks and the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers. The organizations conducted camera-trap studies at seven sites between 2010 and 2013 and concluded that the country's tiger population was likely between 250 and 340 wild cats. The organizations said the Malayan tiger should be considered critically endangered and said Malaysia's plan to increase tiger populations to 1,000 by the year 2020 "may now be unachievable."

News of the smaller-than-expected population did not come as a surprise to Dr. John Goodrich, senior tiger program director for Panthera, the global big-cat conservation organization. "We've all known for a long time that Malaysian tigers are in trouble," he said. "There's a lot of poaching going on there. It was really discouraging that the country wasn't recognizing that. Now they're recognizing that they've got a decline in their population, and they're recognizing that they have a serious poaching problem."

Goodrich blames the Malaysian poaching crisis on demand from China and Vietnam, where tiger bones and other body parts are still used as part of traditional medicine (and where prominent businessmen even pay to slaughter and eat tigers at private banquets).

The poachers come from nearby countries, such as Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, where all or most of the native tigers have already been killed. "They're really flooding Malaysia," he said. "It's going to take a lot of work to get a handle on this problem."

Although some of the poaching gangs are sent over the border by tiger traders, others are in search of a valuable tree called agarwood, which is highly endangered and valued for its fragrant oil. "That's the poachers' bread and butter," Goodrich said. "But while they're in Malaysia, they're also poaching the tigers' prey to feed themselves"—one more factor working against the tigers. While some poachers may not be targeting tigers, if they see signs that one is nearby, they'll hunt it down, knowing a good profit awaits them for the kill.
To combat the decline, Malaysia's Department of Wildlife and MYCAT are calling for patrols to protect tigers, undertaking a comprehensive nationwide survey of the big cats, increasing protective measures, and improving the implementation of the country's tiger conservation plan.

Goodrich says getting the Malayan tiger listed as critically endangered will help efforts to conserve it, as will improving anti-poaching law enforcement, something Malaysia has begun to do.

He points to a recent case in which a group of Cambodian poachers got six months in jail just for being illegally present in a protected forest. "We need more of that, to send a message that Malaysia will not tolerate foreign poachers coming in and stealing their natural resources," Goodrich said.


Your Daily Cat

Cheetah nicely lying 
Cheetah nicely lying by Tambako The Jaguar

Monday, September 22, 2014

Your Daily Cat

Posing Amur leopardPosing Amur leopard by Tambako The Jaguar

Big cat count reaches upper limit

KOLKATA: The Sunderbans tiger population may have reached its carrying capacity. The scientists of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), who are compiling data as part of the all-India tiger census, have revealed this.

The carrying capacity of a population is the maximum number of individuals that can live in a population stably. This, the scientists said, can be a cause of concern especially if movement corridors are disrupted, as this would lead to over-crowding of tigers who would be compelled to enter human habitation triggering conflict.

In the case of the Sunderbans, corridors can be disrupted by continuous movement of cargo vessels that would not permit animals to cross channels between islands. Movement of tigers across the Sunderbans of India and Bangladesh are very important to distribute tigers from high densities (sources) to low densities thereby minimizing their need to venture outside the mangrove forests into human habitation.

"Since 2010, when the population estimation of the swamp tigers was done for the first time using scientific methods, there is not much change in the big cats' density in the mangroves. In 2010, the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR) threw up a density of 4.3 big cats per 100 square kilometres which meant there were 64 to 90 tigers in the mangroves. Based on data available so far, the density of tigers this year is so far hovering around 4 per 100 square kilometres. It points to the fact that the population is either very close to the carrying capacity of the forest or has already reached it," said Y V Jhala, senior scientist with WII.

According to sources, taking into account the number of tigers outside the reserve area, the tiger count in the entire mangroves may reach close to 100 which is the minimum number given by the state last year. A separate study by WWF-India may throw up an estimation of 120 tigers in the mangroves this year.

"The trend on prey population that we are getting from the tiger reserve area at the moment — 8-11 deer per square kilometre or around 25,000 across the reserve — can at the most sustain a healthy population of about a 100 tigers," said Jhala, adding that it's natural as every forest can support ungulates up to a certain limit. "In Kanha, there are 50 deer per square kilometre. The nature of the mangroves forest is such that it is good for the marine system and not for the terrestrial one," he said.

According to another scientist of the institute, Qamar Qureshi, the forests outside the reserve area should be protected now. "Because, the young tigers will start moving out. There should also be a joint mechanism by India and Bangladesh to track the movement of tigers between the Sunderbans of both the countries," he added.

Wildlife biologist Vidya Athreya said this was an exciting finding. "Carrying capacity of tigers in a forest mainly depends on the prey population. Keeping aside factors like poaching and calamities, a certain number of prey species can only sustain a certain number of tigers. If the tiger number reaches that limit, one can say that the big cat population has reached the forest's carrying capacity, which means the forest can't support tigers beyond this," said Athreya.

According to her, the population should be monitored properly in the days ahead to find out whether it's showing any decreasing trend or new tigers are coming in from other population.

But, WWF-India's Sunderbans chapter head Anurag Danda said since Sunderbans is a single block of mangroves spread over India and Bangladesh, it's not possible to create any physical corridor. "So, a time will come, may be 15-20 years down the line, when we will have to think of creating a genetic corridor for the tigers to keep the variation in gene pool alive," he said. However, the WII scientists feel the population is large, considering Indian and Bangladesh tigers as a single population. "So, they have sufficient genetic variability," said a WII scientist.

Chief wildlife warden Ujjwal Bhattacharya said that he can't offer any comment without going through the report. "We need to know the basis on which they have come to the conclusion," he added.

The tiger census in the mangroves has detected the presence of 5 big cats in the Ramganga range under South 24-Pargnas forest division and 19 in the National Park East Range under tiger reserve area so far this year. Of this, eight tigers appeared before the cameras for the first time.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Your Daily Cat

Standing Siberian looking at the sideStanding Siberian looking at the side by Tambako The Jaguar

Conservation of Big Cats in the Russian Federation

tiger growling© Chris Martin Bahr / WWF-Canon
This $12.7 million GEF project focuses on the critical habitats of big cats in the Russian Federation: the Amur tiger, snow leopard, Persian leopard and Far Eastern leopard. The project will conserve unique landscapes within the Altai-Sayan, North Caucasus and Amur regions, which are critical for the survival of these rare species. The project will invest in federal and regional government bodies, scientific institutions, businesses, NGOs and local communities that are cooperating to establish sustainable habitat management regimes. It will also support the improvement of legislation and law enforcement at federal and local levels to protect the big cats’ habitats. Additionally, the project will help to develop international collaboration on monitoring big cat populations and work with neighboring countries to combat poaching and illegal trade.

Source: the WWF

Panna tigress dies in a collar

The tigress was found dead on Friday. The tigress was found dead on Friday.
Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Posted: September 20, 2014
Panna Tiger Reserve’s turnaround was made possible in part by collaring of the big cats but the very contraption may have contributed to the death of a tigress in the reserve, in possibly the first such case.

T4, the hand-reared tigress translocated from Kanha to Panna, was found dead in Madla range of PTR on Friday. Shifted in March 2011, the tigress had littered thrice which in itself was a remarkable achievement in conversation history.

PCCF (Wildlife) Narendra Kumar told The Indian Express that T4 had a wound on the neck, probably sustained while hunting, but the collar may have made it difficult for the tigress to lick it, as animals normally do to get better. He said the collar itself may not have caused the death but it aggravated the wound.

Another big cat from Panna which dispersed to Sanjay tiger reserve also had a wound on the neck and would have met a similar fate had the collar not stopped functioning. The wound was noticed when the tiger was tranquilized to replace the collar. The park authorities sutured the wound and did not collar it again.

The monitoring party of PTR received mortality signal from T4’s radio collar around 6.45 pm on Thursday and the carcass was found by the search party on Friday. The post-mortem was conducted in the presence of NTCA representative Rajiv Dixit.

Park Director R S Murthy, however, claimed that the cause of death appears to be natural. He said viscera had been sent to two laboratories and only after a detailed analysis the exact cause of death would be known. He said the tigress’ stomach was empty and it had probably not eaten anything in the last 10 days. Murthy said even he suspected initially that the collar could have contributed to the death but it was not the case.

Kumar described the death as a one-off case and added that collaring was necessary to monitor the dispersing males and there was no question of reviewing the practice. In response to some experts’ observation that collars hinder mating, Kumar said the big cats have bred despite it.


No One Knows How Many Wild Tigers There Are — But 13 Countries Are Trying To Find Out

By Ben Guarino
This post is part of a Dodo series focused on endangered species. Go to racingextinction.com to learn about an upcoming film on threatened animals and an event the evening of September 20 sponsored in part by The Dodo.

The tiger, the biggest of the big cats, is getting a headcount. There’s a lot of uncertainty about the number of tigers in the wild — but there’s no debate that the population of this endangered species is small and shrinking. The Humane Society of the United States, for example, postulates there are more captive tigers in Texas than there are wild cats in Asia’s jungles.

But any current count of tigers in the wild is, at best, a “guesstimate,” says John Seidensticker, a researcher at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, to AFP. An accurate and scientific census, he says, is critical.

That’s why 13 countries, representing the wild tiger’s range, plan to count the striped cats the best they can, with the goal of a completed census by 2016. It’s part of a bigger plan, dubbed Tx2, to double the number of tigers in wild by 2022 — the next Chinese zodiac Year of the Tiger.

Two times the tigers won’t an easy feat, however, considering the twin threats of habitat loss and poaching bearing down on the tiger. The wildlife trade monitoring organization TRAFFIC estimates that poachers kill two tigers a week for their claws, fur and skulls.

As bleak as that rate is, the fight against poaching is not without victories. Thanks to increased patrols and “swift and harsh” justice, Nepal recently celebrated a “year without poaching” — no rhinos, elephants or tigers killed in 12 months.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Small cats with big ears arrive at Wellington Zoo

Small cats with big ears arrive at Wellington Zoo

Visitors to Wellington Zoo will be able to see New Zealand’s first Caracals in the Zoo’s new Grassland Cats habitat, with a special visitor opening day on Saturday 27 September.

The Caracals will be joined by the Zoo’s popular Servals in their brand new home. “Caracals are such striking and interesting animals; it’s fantastic to have them here at Wellington Zoo. We’re de-lighted to have developed this new space for our Servals too, that have been off visitor view for a while, in this amazing new exhibit which was designed and built by our Zoo team.” says Wellington Zoo Chief Executive, Karen Fifield “Wellington Zoo is establishing a reputation for designing and building innovative exhibits in-house, and the Grass-land Habitat continues this beautifully. Our interpretation gives visitors a chance to experience hunting like a Ser-val or Caracal.”

“Both Servals and Caracals have distinctive large ears, and are amazing athletic cats able to jump metres into the air from the ground. I’m sure our visitors will love getting the chance to meet our new cats and welcome back some favourites,” said Karen.

The visitor opening day will be full of cat based entertainment including animal talks, cat based games and activi-ties, face-painting, and giveaways.

Construction of Grassland Cats was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Zoo’s principal funder Wellington City Council.


Wildlife officers kill cougar in Calgary, reports of second big cat false

By: The Canadian Press
Calgary Police block the entrance to the South Calgary Health Campus as they search for cougars on Thursday, Sept 18, 2014 in Calgary. Police and wildlife officers are watching two cougars that have wandered into south Calgary. One of the cats is near a hospital and the other is at a nearby construction site. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Ridewood

Calgary Police block the entrance to the South Calgary Health Campus as they search for cougars on Thursday, Sept 18, 2014 in Calgary. Police and wildlife officers are watching two cougars that have wandered into south Calgary. One of the cats is near a hospital and the other is at a nearby construction site. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Ridewood

CALGARY - Wildlife officers shot and killed a cougar Thursday that wandered near a hospital in south Calgary. Brendan Cox, an Alberta government spokesman, said there were reports of another big cat in the area, but they turned out to be false. "One cougar has been destroyed by officers," he said. Cox said the wildlife officers had hoped to tranquilize and trap the cougar that was lying in tall grass.

He said after watching the animal they determined the adult male cat was too riled up. Cougars can become agitated when they get hit with a tranquilizer dart, Cox said, adding the cat could have run into a more populated area, putting people at risk. "Cougars being very quick and agile pose a high risk to escape the area," he said. "Our officers had to make a very difficult choice. Ultimately their first priority is public safety."

Cougar sightings in Alberta have become more frequent in recent years as the number of big cats has increased along with the number of deer and elk. The province says conflicts between people and cougars, which can weigh between 40 and 90 kilograms, are rare.

Alberta Justice said in a statement that the decision to kill the cougar was a difficult one, but was made in the interest of public safety.
source: The Canadian Press

World Land Trust ups the ante to protect big cats


World Land Trust's Big Cat Big Match sets out to raise money for big cats such as jaguar, which has already benefitted from WLT's protection
As part of its ongoing work to protect big cats, World Land Trust (WLT) is urgently raising money to protect large areas of habitat for species such as tiger, puma, and jaguar.

  WLT’s Big Cat Big Match will take place during the first two weeks of October. During this time, any donations made to the charity’s Big Cat Appeal will be matched pound for pound. So far £250,000 has already been pledged for the match funding pot.

  Funds that will be raised during the Big Cat Big Match will be used to enable WLT’s worldwide partners to extend existing reserves, and create important new wildlife corridors to connect fragmented protected areas. The funds will also support WLT’s Keepers of the Wild Programme, which supports the employment of wildlife rangers in the reserves.

  WLT Chief Executive John Burton commented: “After 25 years of conservation success in countries as diverse as Belize, Paraguay and India, we know that WLT’s model of land purchase and protection is making it possible for big cats to survive in the wild in Latin America and Asia. We aim to raise £500,000 during Big Cat Big Match so that we can continue to support big cat conservation in countries where we already have programmes and in other parts of the world such as Iran and Vietnam, where we are developing exciting new partnerships.”

  WLT’s conservation model is based on purchasing and protecting areas of threatened habitat in partnership with project partners in order to conserve biodiversity and endangered species. They argue that this approach is particularly well suited to the conservation of big cat species, as they are territorial and require large areas of wild habitat and protection from hunters.

  2014 sees the 25th anniversary of the organization. In that time the organization has saved more than 500,000 acres of critically threatened habitat that would have otherwise been lost, working across 20 countries, and the reserves that have been set up by the charity support variety of big cats.


Your Daily Cat

Portrait of a tiger
Portrait of a tiger and Tiger walking towards me (below) by Tambako The Jaguar

Tiger walking towards me