Tuesday, November 3, 2009

we are the cows, you eat the analogs!!



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chasing Vultures: Video

Chasing Vultures: Video

Wildlife in words and pictures, makes you want to be there....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


een panter in Luxemburg?

Nu is er ook al in Habay, een plaatsje in Belgisch Luxemburg, een zwarte panter gezien! Is het een hype of is het realiteit?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

India’s tigers face extinction - The National Newspaper

India’s tigers face extinction - The National Newspaper

Shared via AddThis

प्रोटेक्शन फ्रॉम tigers

Printed from India times

Villagers use fishing nets to keep big cats at bay
5 Jul 2009, 0344 hrs IST, Debamoy Ghosh, TNN

HINGALGUNGE (NORTH 24-PARGANAS): Sonai Mondal had a tiring day finding a fishing net not to fish, but to keep tigers at bay.

Sonai had gone around the Par-Gumti Bazaar area in search of a net since the morning till late afternoon. Primarily a fishing village in the Sunderbans, Par-Gumti's residents can no longer fish as saline water flooded their bheris when Cyclone Aila

ravaged their village. And now, tigers are adding to villagers' woes. So, villagers like Sonai are using fishing nets to guard against the big cats. They believe tigers cannot tear through these nets into their homes.

"From our experience, we know that tigers can't tear this net," said Sonai. So, fishing nets are being tied around houses and cowsheds in the village to prevent possible tiger attacks. Villagers know that the big cats, being good swimmers, can stray into their village at any moment.

Lying on the banks of the river Raimangal, a tributary of the Ichhamati, is Hingalgunge, in North 24-Parganas. Adjacent to it is Shamsernagar, which like all villages on the banks of the Raimangal has a history of tiger intrusions.

"The tigers usually swim across the Katakhali Canal. An old tiger had intruded into a village near Shamshernagar in February this year. But it could not tear through a fishing net," said Arup Roy, a schoolteacher in Par-Gumti.

Their are around 3,000 villagers in the Par-Gumti. After Aila, fishing nets are in short supply in the Hingalgunge market as those selling them can't reach the area. So, it has been near impossible for the villagers to purchase the nets. "Moreover, the price of each net is now Rs 180, which villagers can ill afford. So, those without nets can't guard themselves from tiger attacks," said Rina Mondal. Hence, she and others like her are tying their homes with old tattered nets.

Hingalgunge block development officer Prabir Ghosh said, "We have urged NGOs and rotary clubs to come forward and supply nets to the villagers. These can be distributed through panchayats. Besides protecting themselves against tigers, villagers can also use them to fish in the Ichhamati."

Monday, June 29, 2009


Slaughtered Jaguars Link New York Doctors wih Brazilian Ranchers

Commentary by Mike Di Paola

June 29 (Bloomberg) -- Jaguars took a serious hit after First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was photographed in a leopard coat in the early 1960s.

As thousands of women copied her, the subsequent slaughter of big cats helped reveal the fragility of their populations. In 1975, the jaguar was among animals protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or Cites.

That wasn’t enough. Today, in Brazil’s vast Pantanal, a wetlands area the size of South Dakota, ranchers believe jaguars are slaughtering their cattle. The issue is usually addressed with shotguns.

Yet thanks to a novel partnership between the new conservation group Panthera and New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Pantanal ranchers are about to get an alternative to the gun.

“We can’t accomplish conservation without the human side, it just won’t work,” says Alan Rabinowitz, a zoologist and Panthera’s president. “A successful, sustainable project has to be something that people know they want.”

Panthera plans to school ranchers in more benign ways of protecting their livestock while Mount Sinai sends a team of doctors to provide free health care and training for the locals. The doctors will also be investigating zoonotic diseases, those shared between animals and humans.

In return, the Pantanal ranchers will stop shooting jaguars. If all goes according to plan, their ranches will be more efficient and profitable, the doctors will learn something valuable about infectious diseases, and jaguars will thrive again.

‘Apex Predators’

Rabinowitz, who founded the world’s first (and still only) jaguar preserve, in Belize in 1986, cites two reasons to put so much energy into protecting big cats. For one, they are “apex predators” at the top of the food chain. As such, they are barometers for an entire ecosystem’s health: protect the cats and you’re protecting everything.

Second, it is a perhaps unfortunate truism of environmentalism that warm, furry animals (cats, polar bears, pandas) command more attention and fundraising opportunity than do unattractive cold-blooded creatures (snail darters, say). Rabinowitz has found that heads of state respond very positively to powerful, noble cats, whether he’s lobbying for tigers in Bhutan or jaguars in Brazil.

Panthera estimates that the Pantanal ranchers kill as many as 1,000 jaguars a year, though these numbers are hard to confirm. So, too, is the jaguar population itself, which is believed to be only around 10,000 worldwide and shrinking.

The ranchers shoot the cats largely out of ignorance, since jaguars normally don’t prey on cattle, favoring peccary and deer. Still, you can’t blame the humans for wanting to keep marauding carnivores away from their homes.

Lights and Buffalo

Nonlethal alternatives have worked well elsewhere: Electric lights keep jaguars away, and integrating a buffalo or two into a cattle herd discourages predators.

If Rabinowitz has his way, jaguars will be able to roam unmolested on a contiguous trail from northern Argentina to Mexico. Not every hectare has to be pristine: ranches and citrus farms, for example, will necessarily be among the links in the chain, so coexisting with cats is key.

Panthera has commitments from local governments from Mexico to Colombia to work with the group to protect known jaguar paths, Rabinowitz says. This usually takes the form of creative zoning (as opposed to designating preserves or otherwise “protected” areas). He says the organization has spent almost $3 million on this project to date and expects it will require much more.

Establishing corridors for wide-ranging mammals is gaining currency among conservationists. While game preserves are better than nothing, where they are surrounded by humanity -- as is the case with India’s tigers -- they are little better than zoos, needing constant management. A healthy, genetically diverse population of cats can be sustained only when they have room to roam.

Historical Range

Jaguars today live on an estimated 40 percent of their historical range, which isn’t bad compared with other big cats. Lions survive on less than one fifth of their original habitat, and tigers are down to about five percent of theirs.

As for the doctors, they plan to use the opportunity to study diseases where human and animals share space. “There are emerging infectious diseases -- such as West Nile virus or avian flu -- that seem to come out of nowhere, but in fact you find the source is often at the human-wildlife interface,” says Paul Klotman, who is chairman of Mount Sinai’s Department of Medicine and helped concoct the partnership with Panthera.

Mount Sinai’s initial participation will be small -- just a half dozen faculty and students are to begin the exchange in July -- but the school aims to bring similar arrangements to other remote regions around the world.

Good for them, and good for the jaguars.

Panthera’s Web site has a place where donors can click to make a gift: http://www.panthera.org/.

(Mike Di Paola writes about preservation and the environment for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Mike Di Paola at mdipaola@nyc.rr.com.
Last Updated: June 29, 2009 00:01 EDT

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Elephant Descent: Video

Elephant Descent: Video


This is an undated photograph taken in May 2009 at an undisclosed located and supplied by the Colorado Division of Wildlife that shows a lynx kitten, which is one of 10 born this spring in Colorado, according to researchers. The discovery of the kittens after finding none the last two years and the location of some of the newborns outside what is considered the cats' core area have buoyed the hopes of biologists overseeing the restoration of the long-haired mountain feline to the Centennial State. (AP Photo/Colorado Division of Wildlife)
JUDITH KOHLER, Associated Press Writer
2:04 PM PDT, June 27, 2009
DENVER (AP) — The discovery of 10 lynx kittens this spring marks the first newborns documented in Colorado since 2006, heartening biologists overseeing restoration of the mountain feline.

The tuft-eared cats with big, padded feet were native to Colorado, but were wiped out by the early 1970s by logging, trapping, poisoning and development. They are listed as threatened on the endangered species list.

Biologists found no kittens the past two years, possibly partly because of a drop in the number of snowshoe hares, the cats' main food source.

This year, seven male and three female kittens were found in five dens.

More than 200 lynx from Alaska and Canada have been released in Colorado since 1999. Biologists don't know how many lynx are currently in the state.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

a bill to protect public safety and promote animal welfare by prohibiting interstate commerce of primates for the pet trade

The Humane Society of the United States Applauds U.S. Senate Committee for Advancing Bills to Protect Primates, Endangered Wildlife

May 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — The Humane Society of the United States applauded the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for approving the Captive Primate Safety Act (H.R. 80/S. 462), a bill to protect public safety and promote animal welfare by prohibiting interstate commerce of primates for the pet trade. The HSUS also thanked the committee for approving two bills to benefit endangered wildlife, the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act (S. 529) and the Crane Conservation Act (H.R. 388/S. 197). The bills now move to the full Senate for consideration.

Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., introduced the Captive Primate Safety Act in February, and a companion bill in the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 323 to 95. The HSUS expressed its gratitude to Chairwoman Boxer and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., for moving the bill quickly through their committee.

Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., introduced the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act to help fund conservation programs to protect rare dog and cat species outside North America. Species such as clouded leopards and African wild dogs are declining drastically due to habitat loss, poaching, disease and human-wildlife conflict. Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, introduced the Crane Conservation Act to do the same for endangered crane populations in the United States and worldwide. Eleven of 15 crane species are at risk of extinction, and the North American whooping crane is the rarest of all cranes. Both wildlife bills have also passed the House.

"Given the patchwork of state and local laws, and the interstate nature of the primate pet trade, Congress needs to pass legislation to stem the tide of dangerous primates being sold in our communities," said Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of The HSUS. "Primates are wild animals who can attack and spread disease, and they don't belong in our bedrooms and basements. We are grateful to Senators Boxer and Vitter for their tremendous leadership in working to pass this urgently needed public safety and animal welfare measure. We also thank Senators Feingold, Lieberman, Brownback, and Crapo for introducing these conservation bills to provide a critical lifeline for rare dogs, cats and cranes around the world."

"The Captive Primate Safety Act is needed to complement the federal health regulations that prohibit importing primates into the United States for the pet trade and the rules that about 20 states – including Louisiana – have enacted to prohibit keeping primates as pets. Now that we've passed this important bill out of committee, we will continue working to get it through Congress and to the president's desk," said Sen. Vitter.

Born Free USA also joined The HSUS in supporting the three bills. "The desire to be close to exotic animals is understandable, but the risk to animals and people is just too great," noted Adam Roberts, senior vice president of Born Free USA. "Primates should not be pets."


* The primate bill is similar to the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which Congress passed unanimously in 2003 to prohibit interstate commerce in lions, tigers and other big cats as pets.
* Like the big cats bill, the Captive Primate Safety Act targets the pet trade and has no impact on zoos or research.
* A list of recent incidents involving captive primates can be found humanesociety.org/primateincidents.

Follow The HSUS on Twitter.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

Contact Infomation
Liz Bergstrom, 301-258-1455

Sunday, May 17, 2009

do you eat tigers?

The independent journalist and filmmaker mazoomdaar@gmail.com tells us that in China tigers are being farmed, even after Beijing was forced to ban trade in tiger parts in 1993.

Breeders use the argument that captive-bred tigers could sustain the trade and also replenish the wild stock.

The farming lobby claims that providing a low-priced supply of tiger parts to customers will reduce the profit margins of poachers, making killing of wild tigers unviable. So their solution for saving tigers from extinction is to breed them commercially in farms as we currently breed chicken or cattle.
This concept has many takers in the US, the only country with a pet tiger population larger than China's. But this lobby also needs some support in India, the country with more than half of the world's remaining wild tigers, and the campaign is gaining momentum.

Tigers are being served in restaurants in China with ginger and vegetables or as tiger soup or spiced with red curry.

Today, China has thousands of tigers in cages but less than 50 survive poaching in the wild.

Unfortunately, reintroduction of captive-bred or farmed tigers in the wild has never succeeded.

So then, how do we save the tiger?

Protected well, our wilderness will not only ensure our food and water security but also sustain a multi-billion dollar tourism industry. If alive in the wild, the tiger will remain the ultimate mascot of that economy.

See the whole article in http://bigcatnews.blogspot.com/2009/05/stripes-on-sale.html

What do you think of this? Do you have arguments pro or contra The farming lobby claims that providing a low-priced supply of tiger parts to customers will reduce the profit margins of poachers, making killing of wild tigers unviable. So their solution for saving tigers from extinction is to breed them commercially in farms as we currently breed chicken or cattle. ?
Tell the other readers about it. I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Illicit wildlife trade in Laos, for so-called medical purposes.

Laos emerges as key source in Asia's illicit wildlife trade

Laos is rapidly developing as China and other Asian nations exploit its resources. One of the first casualties has been the wildlife, now being rapidly depleted by a thriving black-market trade, writes Rhett Butler from Yale Environment 360, part of the Guardian Environment Network

Deep in the rugged mountains of Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area on the Laos–Vietnam border, Laotian game wardens came upon the following scene: pieces of the pelt of a recently killed tiger, its bones removed, with rifle shells scattered in the trampled vegetation.

The wardens knew precisely what had happened. Poachers had trapped a tiger in a baited snare that had encircled one of its front feet with a cable and lifted the animal into the air. Coming upon the snarling tiger, the poachers had shot it, then proceeded to carve out its 22 to 26 pounds of bones, which — when ground up — would be sold to middlemen for the Chinese medicinal market. The poachers then cut off the tiger's penis, which would eventually be soaked in wine and the wine drunk as an aphrodisiac.

Middlemen paid the poachers up to $15,000 for the bones and other parts of the tiger, an astronomical sum in a country where per capita income is around $400 a year. In China today, the remains of a tiger may fetch $70,000, with the ground bones highly valued as a cure for rheumatism, according to Arlyne Johnson, co-director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Laos Program, which is trying to stem the flow of the illegal wildlife trade.

Twenty-five years ago, hundreds of tigers roamed large swaths of relatively untouched jungle in Laos. But in recent years — particularly in the last decade — development, deforestation, and a booming traffic in wildlife have reduced Laos's tiger population to 50 or fewer individuals, according to Johnson and other scientists. The main driver of the rapid depletion of tigers and scores of other species of birds, animals, and reptiles is the growing affluence of neighboring Thailand, Vietnam, and especially China, where a vast new market for wildlife products has arisen.

Nothing symbolizes this market more vividly than the so-called "north-south economic corridor," a recently completed road that now connects once-sleepy Laos — and its timber and other raw materials — to China. With its booming economy, China is also the world's largest — and fastest-growing — market for wildlife.

Laos is the latest front in the struggle to rein in an underground global trade that every year kills tens of millions of wild birds, mammals, and reptiles to supply multi-billion dollar markets around the world. The U.S. and Europe rank among the largest buyers of elephant ivory and tiger parts and also feed this illicit business with their demand for exotic pets.

But as I learned on a trip to Laos earlier this year, it is the Asian market — particularly in China — that powers this trade. A major source of demand is traditional Chinese medicine, which is based on the belief that the parts of certain animals have curative properties — river otter tails for labor pains, bear bile for fever, shark fins for cancer. This trade is taking a heavy toll on wildlife not just in Laos, but around the world — in Southeast Asia, the Russian Far East, Africa, and even North America.

The reasons for the rise of commercial hunting and trapping are not complex — rapid development and growing affluence that create demand; an increase in international trade; the emergence of increasingly sophisticated smuggling networks; an influx of weapons and technology; and easier access to wilderness areas because of road building by extractive industries. All drive overexploitation of wildlife, but addressing the trade in a manner that is effective but also fair to local people is a huge challenge.

Until 1986, Laos was ruled by a communist government and was largely isolated from the outside world. But a change of government and an economic liberalization program began a trickle of investment in the country that has recently become a flood. Like other forest-dependent people, rural Lao long relied on hunting to supplement their rice-dominated diet with protein. But the opening of the economy put a price on the heads of virtually all animals, ranging from river insects to tigers. This, combined with an abundance of weapons from years of war and insurgency, gave hunters the incentive and the tools to convert Laos' rich biodiversity into cash. Now the very resources upon which rural people have long depended are at risk.

The situation is particularly grim along the recently completed north-south economic corridor — an 1,150-mile road that runs from Bangkok, Thailand to Kunming, China, passing through the heart of Laos. The corridor has spurred widespread deforestation and wildlife poaching. Vast tracts of forest along the corridor have been logged for timber and converted for teak or rubber plantations, while hillsides have been burned for sticky rice cultivation. The money comes from Chinese business owners who not only provide finance, but sell snares and traps and place orders for fresh wildlife, guaranteeing a market for hunters and smugglers.

The situation deteriorated to such an extent that in 2005 the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) scaled back its project in Nam Ha National Protected Area, the largest nature reserve in the country at the time. Wildlife is commonly sold along the corridor, especially near the Chinese border. But other than dead animals in markets, I saw little evidence of animals and birds along the corridor — or, for that matter, in most of Laos.

In eastern Laos, the Vietnamese are the main financiers of new roads intended to facilitate access to Laos' resources; wildlife comes as a bonus. In Laos, like other countries, there is a strong synergism between road building and the wildlife trade. Loggers supplement their income with hunting and use logging trucks to transport bushmeat to traders and urban markets.

Extractive industries like logging and mining also actively encourage human settlement, boosting demand for game as a source of protein. Cash-rich workers can afford to buy weapons, snares, headlamps, and outboard motors to speed wildlife depletion, especially in regions where arms are widely available. A study, soon to be published in the journal Conservation Letters, found pervasiveness of firearms to be a key contributing factor to Laos' precipitous drop in wildlife.

For poachers, the tiger is the crown jewel. But tigers in Laos and other countries also face a secondary threat — depletion of prey populations from unsustainable hunting, making it difficult for tigers to survive in what would otherwise be suitable habitat and pushing them into conflict with humans. Hunters are using livestock to bait tigers; the loss of a cow is a small price to pay for catching a big cat. Sometimes a cow or a pig is slaughtered, dragged into the forest, and wired with snares or explosives so that a tiger lured by an easy meal is quickly converted into a pharmacological product.

Pangolins — scaly anteaters believed to cure blood circulation problems and skin conditions — are also highly prized. While commercial international trade in pangolins is banned under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), pangolins have been extinguished from much of Laos by poachers. The extent of the pangolin trade in Southeast Asia remains enormous. TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade-monitoring network, recently estimated that at least 100,000 pangolins — mostly from Malaysia and Indonesia — are killed each year to meet Chinese demand.

More than 25 tons of pangolin parts have been seized in Vietnam in the last year alone, but the enforcement action demonstrated one of the major challenges facing those working to control the trade. Instead of destroying the pangolins, the Vietnamese government auctioned off the contraband, thus allowing the wildlife products to ultimately reach their intended destination. "Selling off the seized pangolins sent out entirely the wrong message," said Sulma Warne, TRAFFIC's Greater Mekong program coordinator.

Mixed signals from the government are not unusual. Reports from the Environmental Investigation Agency, TRAFFIC, and WildAid have cited complicity of authorities across Southeast Asia in the wildlife trade. Cross-border trade of large volumes of wildlife necessitates collaboration between traffickers and officials. Border agents in Laos and Thailand are known to impose a "tax" on wildlife products, regardless of their origin or legality. Those who run the trade tend to be influential, often with ties to corrupt government officials or the military, and don't limit themselves to wildlife; investigations have turned up links to other illicit trade, including weapons, drugs, and people.

Some charged with carrying out the law act with impunity; forest rangers sometimes cite access to fresh meat as a chief benefit of a field assignment, according to Sarinda Singh, a University of Queensland researcher who conducted an assessment of wildlife trade in Laos.

In many parts of Southeast Asia, depletion of rare species has only increased their value, encouraging hunting down to every last individual in some cases. The result: Many areas now suffer from "empty forest syndrome," where wildlife densities are too low to support people or predators like tigers.

Addressing the wildlife trade means attacking on two fronts: supply and demand. Reducing demand for wildlife products in consuming countries is a critical component to this effort. "Wildlife trade won't end until people stop buying," said Troy Hansel, who works in wildlife trade monitoring for the WCS in Laos.

The supply side is more complex. Trade restrictions eliminate a source of income for the rural poor. So in Laos WCS is taking a multi-pronged approach to dealing with the wildlife trade. In addition to working with the government to clarify laws and strengthen enforcement through training of wildlife authorities and customs agents, WCS has established a comprehensive program in local communities to explain which animals can be legally hunted and emphasize the consequences of wildlife depletion. The program includes registration of firearms, an informant network funded through collection of fines, and a system of forest stations from which rangers launch patrols into protected areas.

Still, beyond enforcement and education, WCS's Johnson and Hansel believe it is critical to prove to the Lao people that wildlife is valuable as a living entity. The conservationists are planning to launch a small ecotourism project to help create a strong link between wildlife protection and well being of locals around Nam Et-Phou Louey. To date, WCS's efforts seem to be paying off. In parts of Nam Et-Phou Louey where it has conducted its outreach project and has a strong presence, WCS sees changes in wildlife behavior that indicate less hunting pressure, including more birds in villages and wildlife along rivers.

A short foray into the park showed hopeful signs. During a single evening boat trip in Nam Et-Phou Louey, I spotted owls, civets, a pair of otters, and an East Asian porcupine. The day before, rangers even came across tiger tracks.

"Lots of good habitat remains," said Johnson. "The recovery of wildlife populations is possible with proper management."

Slaughter of the elephants

Slaughter of the elephants

Legal ivory sale linked to poaching surge across Kenya's huge Tsavo National Park

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

February 2009

From Reuters, february 2009:

An auction of legal ivory from animals like this South African elephant is thought to have encouraged poachers in Kenya.
There has been an "unprecedented" surge in elephant poaching in one of Kenya's principal national parks since a large-scale ivory sale late last year, which gave a renewed boost to the international ivory market.

The sale was of more than 100 tonnes of legal ivory from four southern African countries whose elephant populations are not threatened, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. It was permitted by the UN's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) in the teeth of fierce opposition from many observers, from environmentalists to politicians, who warned it was bound to stimulate the illegal ivory trade across Africa, and increase the killing of elephants in other countries further north where elephants are much more at risk.

The Labour MP Alan Simpson said at the time: "This is obscene. This isn't a licence to trade. It's a licence to kill, and Britain should not be party to it."

Now five elephants have been killed illegally in the past six weeks in Kenya's Tsavo National Park, home to Kenya's largest single elephant population of about 11,700. Kenyan wildlife officials and conservationists are making a direct link between the recent ivory auctions and the deaths.

"We have noted an unprecedented rise of elephant poaching incidents in Tsavo," said Jonathan Kirui, Tsavo's Assistant Director. "Our security team is on full alert, and is going full force to ensure the poachers are deterred."

James Isiche, the director of the East African regional office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), is concerned that the incident could portend a return to the mass-poaching era of 1970s and 1980s, when African elephant numbers fell from 1.3 million to 625,000 in a decade; the international ivory trade was banned in 1989.

"We believe that there is a strong correlation between this upsurge and the ivory stockpiles sales allowed by Cites that were completed in late 2008," Mr Isiche said. "Our concern is that the situation may be even worse in other elephant range states which face more serious law enforcement capacity challenges, as compared to Kenya or some of the southern Africa countries. The situation is dire, and needs to be stopped before it escalates further."

Only last week, a leading elephant researcher, Dr Cynthia Moss, released a report indicating that an elaborate poaching syndicate had led to a surge in elephant killings in another Kenyan National Park, Amboseli. Sources in the Kenyan Wildlife Service say elephant poaching in Kenya rose by more than 60 per cent in 2008 compared to 2007.

The bodies of the five elephants recently killed in Tsavo were found, with their tusks hacked off, in three different parts of the park. Kenya Wildlife Service rangers have arrested two suspected poachers and one middleman, and recovered two AK-47 rifles and 38 rounds of ammunition.

IFAW sources say the middleman had already sold the tusks to other dealers in the illegal ivory trade network. An elephant carcass was found close by. The other elephants are suspected to have succumbed to poisoned arrow wounds.

Many people warned that such killings would increase when news of the proposed four-nation ivory auction emerged last July. It was the second time since the 1989 ivory trade ban that a sale of legal ivory (from elephants that died from natural causes) was being permitted; the first, from the same four southern African countries, of 50 tonnes of ivory, was in 1997, pushed forward by Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, in the face of many protests.

The second sale raised even more concerns, not least because, for the first time, China was being allowed to bid as a legal ivory buyer, alongside Japan. China not only has a potentially gigantic demand for ivory, but is already the home of a flourishing underground market.

Conservationists feared that the unleashing of a massive Chinese demand for traditional and popular objects such as trinkets, name seals, expensive carvings and polished ivory tusks would itself give an enormous boost to the illegal trade, which is entirely poaching-based.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Drenthe in the Netherlands a lynx has been spotted.

The Eurasiatic lynx (Lynx lynx) is a cat as big as an Alsatian dog. The lynx hunts in the evening, at hare and small deer, and also birds.

One finds the lynx in dense woods of Europe and Asia. Officially the lynx is extinct in the Netherlands. It coud be that the animal is getting used to smaller habitats.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


News from www.hindu.com:

10 Tigers sighted in Wayanad sanctuary

Kalpetta, Kerala (PTI): Forest officials at the Wayanad Wild Life Sanctuary here are excited as a preliminary assessment of tiger population, conducted by the Sanctuary, indicates an increase in the number of big cats by about 10in the last two years.

Ten big cats, including three cubs, have been sighted in the sanctuary during the three-day survey of tigers and co-predators, which concluded on Monday evening.

Five tigers and a cub were sighted in Tholpetty range, one tiger and two cubs in Sulthan Bathery range and one tiger each at Kurichiayd and Muthanga areas, a Wildlife Department official said.

Though only 10 tigers were sighted during the survey, their exact population in the range could be between 20 to 25, C.T. Joju, Assistant Wildlife Warden, told PTI.

This is considered as a sharp increase in the Tiger population as the last survey conducted two years ago put the figure between ten and fifteen.

What was important is that the sighting of the cubs showed that the sanctuary is a healthy habitat for tigers, he said.

A firm idea of the exact number of big cats in the Sanctuary could be given only after a detailed analysis of the indicators gathered during the survey, like pug-marks, droppings, hair and scratches made on the trees by the tigers, he added.

The team, which carried out the survey, came across about 50 pug-marks, droppings and hair and scratches on trees.

Pug-marks are important indicators of the distribution of tigers in an area.

The droppings and hair of the animal are as important as sighting itself since DNA of the animal could be extracted from them, based on which a fair idea about the gender distribution of the population in the area could be made, the official said.

The genotyping would be done at the Wildlife Disease Diagnosing Laboratory at Sulthan Bathery near here.

This would also throw light into genetic relationship, prey preference, parasitic load and individual identity of the tiger population, he said.

The results were considered to be a positive sign indicating the success of the Tiger conservation project here as a similar survey at Panna Sanctuary has revealed that male tigers have virtually disappeared from the range.

The Wayanad Wild Life Sanctuary is spread over 344.44 sq. km under four forest ranges divided into 35 blocks.

Each block would be surveyed by a four-member squad comprising a forest official, a NSS volunteer and two watch men of anti-poaching camps in the sanctuary.

Monday, May 11, 2009

poaching lions in Gir sanctuary


Key accused in 2007 Asiatic lions poaching case held in MP
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Express News Service
Posted: May 11, 2009 at 0335 hrs IST

Rajkot/Ahmedabad Minter Singh, a key accused in the Asiatic lions poaching case of 2007, was arrested in Kutney, Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, in a joint operation by the Gujarat CID (Crime) and the MP Police. Singh will be brought to Gujarat for prosecution.

A total of 36 people have been convicted for the poaching of eight Asiatic lions at three different sites in and around the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary in 2007.

The arrest of Singh, who is suspected to be the kingpin of the poaching racket, is considered significant for the case, as some villagers of Kutney were involved in the poaching that had jolted the state.

Carcasses were found at different places, including Babariya Range in the Gir sanctuary as well as from Bhunduriya village in the coastal belt of Bhavnagar district, 100km from the sanctuary.

A total of 36 people, half of them women, were arrested from Una in Junagadh district and from the Bhavnagar railway station in 2007.

A Junagadh court had sentenced 20 people to three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 each, while the Bhavnagar metropolitan court sentenced 16 people to four years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000 each. They were convicted under provisions of both the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Singh was wanted in the same case.

The CID (Crime) was handed over the investigation of the case at a time when the state government was under pressure to shift some of the Asiatic lions to MP. While poaching left no tigers in neighbouring Rajasthan, it was for the first time that Asiatic lion’s last abode — Gir sanctuary — had become a target of poachers.

of cats

Of Cats
Weekly Feline News

Posted: 10 May 2009 05:09 PM PDT

Here are last week's cat-related news..

First tigers. Controversy is surrounding the recent death of a Royal Bengal Tiger in Sattari wildlife sanctuary in Goa, India. The tiger is thought to have been shot by poachers, according to photographic evidence obtained by a wildlife activist. However, the local administration is trying to hush up the matter and deny the occurrence of a poaching incident in the forest. The reason for that may be simple. Goa has not reported the presence of any tiger in the Sattari forest in the past. There are numerous multimillion dollar mining ventures going on in the periphery of the forest, run by politicians. If the local government decides to acknowledge the presence of a resident tiger in its forest, the national tiger conservation authority in India will immediately change the status of Sattari to a protected tiger reserve. This will put the whole mining enterprise there in jeopardy. A dead tiger will not cost the administration any votes or political favors, but the halting of mining operations in the forest might do so! More on this here and here.

Incidents like the above have resulted in the issuance of a new directive by the chief tiger conservation body in India, the NTCA. All dead tigers are now to undergo a postmortem in the presence of a NTCA representative. This will help to ascertain the cause of death in many cases where the circumstances surrounding the animal's demise are ambiguous. The NTCA has also set up a panel to draft a set of guidelines for the proposed relocation of tigers across forests in India. The need was felt for this when after the relocation of a tigress to Panna tiger reserve, to repopulate it with the big cats, it was discovered that there was no male tiger in the reserve to breed with the female. Fortunately, a male tiger is now being translocated to Panna. More on the above here, here and here.

While browsing through the site that hosts the second of the three links above, I came across a couple of interesting articles about the maneating tigers that were terrorizing northern India a couple of months ago. You can find them here and here.

There's good news for Siberian Tigers. South Korea has resumed a breeding project for the big cats, the largest wild felines extant. The move has come after repeated failures to breed the Amur Tigers there in the past. Let's hope that the project is successful this time around and aids the conservation of the endangered cats. To read more about this and see the picture of the beautiful male tiger that has been donated by China for this purpose, go here.

Good news for Jaguars too. For the first time, a jaguar has been photographed in Barro Colorado Island, an important wildlife research site in Panama. The camera trap picture is a significant milestone for the researchers tracking the big cats in that area. For even though the image shows a single migratory jaguar traversing the island, it indicates the presence of the elusive big cats in the tropical forest and their ability to move across fragmented island habitats to survive as a species in that particular region. More here.

For lions too, this has been a good week. This is owing to the long-awaited arrest of a kingpin in a gang of poachers who were responsible for the deaths of several Asiatic Lions in India in 2007. The arrested poacher was the last remaining member of the poaching gang that was still eluding the authorities. With his arrest, a degree of closure has been brought to the tragic series of poaching events couple of years ago when six lions were killed by this gang. Let's hope that similar incidents are not repeated in Gir. More on this on the Asiatic Lions blog.

So positive news mostly, for this week. The only 'negative' one is from UK where government is contemplating a law that would make it easier to keep exotic pets in private captivity. The new law will ease the restrictions on owners of big cats and reptiles, thus encouraging a wrong trend towards private ownership of dangerous pets, who belong in the wild. The harmful impact of having such animals in private captivity has been well demonstrated across the world, both to the animals who often suffer from abuse once they grow up, and their owners who are frequently mauled by their 'pets'. Here is one such account from Abu Dhabi. And here is more on the proposed legislation.

And, before you leave, go here for a quick laugh. I won't be able to blog next week owing to some professional engagements, but will be back a fortnight later. Take care, all :)

Of Cats, c/o Google, 20 W Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610

animal lovers!!! declawed big cats!!!

The Paw Project
Sun, 5/10/2009 - 10:56 AM — christinabush
by Christina Bush, V.P., Sr. Financial Consultant, Wells Fargo Investments PR Director, Forever Wild Exotic Animal Sanctuary

There are more than 100 big cat sanctuaries in 41 states caring for over 1000 declawed big cats that live each day in constant pain. The Paw Project's goal is to help every one of these cats by providing support to animal sanctuaries and veterinarians.

Paw Project Founder Dr. Jennifer Conrad has over two decades of experience caring for wildlife on six continents. An impassioned advocate for animal welfare, Dr. Conrad has witnessed animal suffering and exploitation, destruction of habitat, and gratuitous hunting, which threaten the welfare and the very survival of many species. Dr. Conrad supports and participates in many programs to protect and improve the lives of wild and captive animals as well as domestic cats.

The Paw Project exists to promote animal welfare and increase public awareness about the crippling effects of feline declawing, to rehabilitate big cats that have been declawed, and to end the practice of declaw surgery. Dr. Jenny Conrad and The Paw Project initiated efforts which led to the ban on declawing in West Hollywood, CA, the first law of its kind in North America. The Paw Project was also the sponsor of AB 1857, introduced by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-42nd District). In January 2005, the California Anti-Declaw Act, signed into law by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, became the first state law in the US banning the declawing of wild and exotic cats. Now, because of The Paw Project, it is illegal to declaw exotic cats in all 50 states.

Scientific research published by Paw Project veterinarians provided the data behind the 2006 USDA ruling forbidding declawing of animals by USDA-licensed owners of exotic and wild animals. The USDA ban is enforced by the federal Animal Welfare Act. Declawing is a surgical procedure, also called onychectomy, in which the animal's toes are amputated at the last joint. Most people do not realize that a portion of the bone—not only the nail—is removed. Declawing may result in permanent lameness, arthritis, and other long-term complications. It is actually illegal in many countries. View case studies of cats that have suffered negative health effects due to declawing.

Since April 2000 veterinarians working with The Paw Project have performed reparative surgery on lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, and jaguars that had been victims of declaw surgery. Enjoying relief for the first time after years of suffering, declawed cats that could hobble only a few agonizing steps prior to reparative surgery are able to leap, run, and play much more as nature intended.

ALL CATS NEED THEIR CLAWS. Please don't declaw!



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Conflicts between tigers and human beings in India, tigerwidows grow in number.

Washington, May 5 (ANI): Reports indicate that constant face-offs between humans and tigers in India’s Sundarbans region are on the rise, with tiger populations dwindling and rising seas pushing humans into the territory of the big cats.
The 2,700-square-mile mangrove forest in the Sundarbans is the world’s largest, and the region is one of the few remaining natural tiger habitats in India.

But, according to a report in National Geographic News, the predator’s long shadow looms large over village life. Local government records report that each year about 40 people are attacked by tigers.

There are several ‘tiger widows’, which is a local term used to describe women whose husbands have fallen victims to tiger attacks.

Once more common in the south, where no humans live, tigers have been increasingly seen in northern woods, closer to inhabited islands.

At the same time, rising sea levels, erosion and increasingly brackish waters have ruined once-dependable crops, forcing farmers to venture into the tigers’ domain in search of fish, crabs and honey to sell.

Sundarbans is an established tiger protection zone, and to ward off tigers from creeping into populated villages, officials have built a nylon fence around the tiger reserve.

Patrolling and monitoring of the big cats’ movements within the region has also been stepped up.

The Indian government now wants to recruit retired soldiers to patrol tiger sanctuaries in the hopes of saving the last of the cats.

There are only 1,500 left in India’s reserves and jungles - down from about 3,600 six years ago and an estimated 40,000 a century ago. (ANI)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Poachers shot dead tiger in Goa reserve

8 May 2009, 1202 hrs IST, IANS

PANAJI: A tiger believed to have died after being caught in a steel trap in Goa's Sattari wildlife sanctuary was actually shot dead by poachers, a
wildlife activist said while alleging that the forest department was trying to cover up the incident.

Noted wildlife conservationist Rajendra Kerkar had last month provided the media with a photograph of the dead beast with a bloodied, fatal slash running horizontally from its rear torso.

Now, he says another photograph proves that the tiger was shot a little above its left flank by poachers since it was bleeding profusely.

"They shot the tiger because it was already injured and was of no use to them alive," Kerkar said.

He added that the photo was taken from a cellphone camera by the poachers and transferred via bluetooth to the mobile phones of their friends, from where it was leaked.

Kerkar alleged that the forest department was under pressure to cover up the poaching incident because several politicians run mining operations in the periphery of the wildlife reserve.

"The chief conservator of forests is under tremendous pressure to cover up the poaching. Mere acknowledgement of a resident tiger is very, very significant to Goa. The forest department has always been trying to scuttle efforts by wildlife enthusiasts to establish the presence of a tiger here. But this is different. A poached tiger makes it an extremely sensitive situation," he said.

However, chief conservator of forests Shashi Kumar said that department was finding it difficult to piece together the tiger poaching incident.

"Who gave Kerkar the photo? Why does he not tell us that? Why has he not been able to produce the person who took the photo?" Kumar asked.

Incidentally, the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee on wildlife is yet to be intimated by the forest department about the alleged poaching incident.

"There has been no formal representation by the forest department yet. We will ask for a report from the state government if someone informs us formally in writing. As of now we have only read some newspaper reports about a killed tiger," CEC member Sanjiv Chadha said


Posted by TigerAngel at 4:56 PM

Sunday, April 26, 2009

protection of lions and tigers in India

In India Gujarat opposes Centre's plan to relocate 5 lions from Gir where there are about 350 to a 300 sq km forest at Kunopalpur in Sheopur district.

Pro relocation argument is to save lions from a disaster that could wipe them all in one go since they are concentrated in one place. Think of the disaster at Seringeti forest in Africa where a disease, canine distemper, wiped out 80% of the lion population in a short time.

Against relocation argument is that lions could not be relocated to experimental surroundings already inhabited by tigers. Better not mix them.

Also there seems to be a lot of poaching going on in Gir.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

big cat protection

Chances are growing that "the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act" will be approved in the House of Representatives.The act seeks greater protections for endangered cat and dog species, like leopards, cheetahs and African wild dogs.
Passage of the act supports conservation programs, educational resources and increased monitoring and law-enforcement measures to prevent poaching and illegal trafficking. Also financial resources will become available to help and protect rare species."Rare" is any of the felid species lion, leopard, jaguar, snow leopard, clouded leopard, cheetah, Iberian lynx, and Borneo bay cat, including any subspecies or population of such a species. It does not include any species that is native to the United States and the tiger.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Siebold collectie Naturalis Leiden

Schatten uit de Sieboldcollectie
Uitgestorven Japanse wolf, ibis en Kappa
3 april 2009 - 8 november 2009

Ter ere van 400 jaar handelsbetrekkingen tussen Japan en Nederland toont Naturalis unieke Japanse natuurhistorische objecten. Schatten uit de Sieboldcollectie toont unieke objecten èn hun bijzondere verhalen uit de natuurhistorische collectie van handelsreiziger Philipp von Siebold.Op de foto de uitgestorven ibis.

Extinct bird, an ibis, from the Siebold collection in museum Naturalis, Leiden, Netherlands

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another extinct animal, felis canadensis


Here you can enjoy an important song and film about the conservation of nature:

Rainforest Rescue long term supporter Wendy Johnson has made a movie about the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia. Rainforest Rescue has been instrumental in purchasing 10 properties in the Daintree and is about the buy the 11th property, which will be protected forever under a conservation agreement.

“There are another 200 rainforested properties we could purchase so that residential development in the area is kept to a minimum” said Jeni Cavanagh, long term supporter and Administration Manager of Rainforest Rescue.

Watch Wendy’s movie here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wU2kytIXhQ

Friday, April 17, 2009

Endangered again......

Grizzlies hunted in record numbers
Lack of food pushes habitat away from park

Associated Press
BOZEMAN - Hunters are killing grizzly bears in record numbers around Yellowstone National Park, threatening to curb the species' decadeslong recovery just two years after the bear was removed from the endangered-species list.

Driving the high death rate, researchers say, is the bears' continued expansion across the 15,000-square-mile Yellowstone region of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

Bears are being seen - and killed - in places where they were absent for decades. And with climate change suspected in the devastation of one of the bear's food sources, there is worry the trend will continue as the animals roam farther afield in search of food.

"Last year may have been one those fluke years," said Chuck Schwartz, a bear biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "Last year could be the beginning of a trend."
Yellowstone's 600 grizzlies were removed from the endangered-species list in 2007 following a recovery program that cost more than $20 million. If the death rate stays high for a second consecutive year, that would trigger a review of the bear's endangered status.

Federal officials say there were 48 bears killed by humans last year, out of 71 total deaths. At least 20 of the bruins died at the hands of hunters who shot bears in self-defense or after mistaking them for other animals.

"It's kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. All you see is a big bear coming at you full speed," said Ron Leming, a Wyoming elk hunter who survived an attack from a 500-pound male grizzly after his father shot it dead with an arrow.

"If you play dead he might sit there and eat you," Leming said.

Schwartz and other biologists who study grizzlies insist that the population remains strong for now, growing on average 4 percent to 5 percent a year. Yet they acknowledge that climate change could prove the wild card that puts that growth in check.

An epidemic of beetles in Yellowstone's high country has laid waste to tens of thousands of acres of whitebark pine trees, which have seeds that some grizzlies rely on as a dietary staple.

Beetle epidemics are cyclical in the Northern Rockies. The latest one has been prolonged by several consecutive winters in which subfreezing temperatures did not last long enough to knock back the infestation.

If a warming world leads to less whitebark pine, environmentalists fear grizzlies will become more aggressive in challenging hunters - contests that bears usually lose.

"The prospect is that every year is going to be a bad food year because of what's happening to whitebark," said Doug Honnold, an attorney for the group Earthjustice.

Citing dying pine forests as a major threat, Honnold's group sued the federal government in an attempt to get Yellowstone grizzlies back on the endangered species list.

Christopher Servheen, bear recovery coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said his agency is closely monitoring the population and already crafting a plan to stem the death rate.

Promoting hunters' use of bear spray - a macelike substance that deters charging bears - tops the list of non-lethal strategies for handling bears.

But some hunters including Leming, who narrowly escaped his bear run-in near Cody, Wyo. last fall, say they would rather rely on a gun. Bear spray, Leming said, is great to have on hand when he's sleeping in his tent. In the woods, he'd rather have a handgun at his side.

Gregg Losinski, an education specialist with Idaho Fish and Game, said promoting the possibility of future grizzly bear hunts might convince more people to buy into bear conservation.

Hunts currently are not allowed, but Losinski said the mere possibility could give hunters a sense that they will get a "payback" for conservation.

Other measures being considered to curb bear deaths are stepped-up public education efforts and restrictions on livestock grazing, to prevent bear attacks on sheep and cattle.

Even with those measures, researchers say bear deaths are inevitable as the animals returns to a different landscape than that occupied by their ancestors.

Before early European settlers drove bears to near extinction, there were an estimated 50,000 grizzlies in the western half of the United States.

Yellowstone's bears are among about 1,500 that have since repopulated the Northern Rockies. They must compete for space with several million tourists, and property owners.

"Some people say, 'This is terrible, there's more bears killed now than in many years,' " Servheen said. "Well, there's more bears now."

Published on Friday, April 17, 2009.
Last modified on 4/17/2009 at 12:33 am

Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dit vertelt Wikipedia over de caracal (zie het vorige plaatje):De caracal (Caracal caracal, syn. Felis caracal, Profelis caracal) is een middelgrote katachtige uit Afrika en Zuidwest-Azië. Hij wordt soms ook woestijnlynx genoemd, vanwege de pluimpjes aan de oren. De caracal is waarschijnlijk echter meer verwant aan de Afrikaanse goudkat en (in mindere mate) de serval, dan aan de lynxen.

De caracal wordt 62 tot 91 cm lang. Het staartje is 18 tot 34 cm lang. Mannetjes zijn over het algemeen groter dan vrouwtjes. Vrouwtjes worden 8 tot 13 kg zwaar, mannetjes 12 tot 19 kg. Het is een slanke katachtige met een kort staartje. De achterpoten zijn langer dan zijn voorpoten en zeer gespierd, een aanpassing aan het jagen met sprongen. De brede, ronde kop heeft een korte snuit, grote ogen en driehoekige oren met lange zwarte haarpluimpjes op de toppen. Deze pluimpjes dienen waarschijnlijk om het gehoor te versterken, maar zouden ook kunnen dienen voor communicatie met andere caracals. De achterzijde van de oren zijn zwart, de binnenzijde wit met een zwarte rand. De caracal heeft over het algemeen een gelig roodbruine vacht, alhoewel er ook donkerdere tot zelfs bijna zwarte dieren bestaan. De borst, buik en binnenzijde van de poten zijn wit.

Hij komt voor van Afrika en Arabië tot Pakistan en Noordwest-India, in alle drogere bossen, savannes, steppen en halfwoestijnen. De caracal heeft een voorkeur voor drogere vlakten en rotsachtige heuvels met kort gras en voldoende schuilplaatsen, als kopjes en struikgewas. Hij ontbreekt in hete woestijnen als de Sahara en de Arabische woestijn, evenals in de regenwoudgordel van Afrika, maar komt algemeen voor in drogere gebieden als de Sahel, de Kalahari en de Hoorn van Afrika. Hij komt ook ten noorden van de Sahara voor, in Noord-Marokko en -Algerije, Tunesië en Noord-Libië en -Egypte.

De caracal is voornamelijk 's nachts actief. Overdag schuilt hij meestal tussen rotsen, in een holle boom, een grot of het verlaten hol van een aardvarken. Hij leeft voornamelijk solitair in een territorium van enkele km²s. Enkel in de paartijd leeft hij in een paartje. Tijdens de paartijd laat hij een kenmerkende kuchende roep horen.

De caracal krijgt tot vier jongen per worp na een draagtijd van 62 tot 81 dagen. Deze jongen worden geboren in een hol, struikgewas of een grot. Na negen dagen gaan de ogen open. Het eerste vlees wordt gegeten als de jongen een maand oud zijn, en na vier maanden worden de jongen gespeend. Na een jaar zijn ze zelfstandig.

De caracal is een snel roofdier. Middelgrote zoogdieren vormen zijn voornaamste prooi. Belangrijke prooidieren zijn onder andere hazen, kleinere apen, knaagdieren als ratten, kleine antilopen als gazellen, en klipdassen. Ook vogels, van duiven en patrijzen tot zelfs arenden en struisvogels, worden gegrepen. Hij bespringt zijn prooi met een snelle, krachtige sprong. Met deze sprong kan hij enkele meters hoog komen en vogels uit de lucht slaan. Ook vruchten en reptielen worden soms gegeten. De caracal vangt soms ook geiten, schapen en pluimvee, waardoor hij in conflict kan komen met veehouders.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The sudden meeting and interaction between humans and predators certainly is a fascinating subject.There are some exciting examples mentioned in the book "Monster of God" by David Quammen, 2003

Read also about it here:Mountain Lion! Stand or Run? (Taken from http://bigcatrescue.blogspot.com
A new UC Davis study of 110 years of mountain-lion attacks on people suggests the conventional wisdom of standing your ground may not always be the right course.
"Even though we found evidence that pumas will indeed chase, and capture, people who run, we also found that people who stand still are possibly more endangered," said the study's lead author, psychology professor Richard Coss, an expert on the evolution of predator-prey relationships.
"Immobility may be interpreted by the mountain lion as a sign that you are vulnerable prey, either because you are unaware of its presence, or because you are disabled and not capable of escaping."
Thus, running might be the smartest move, Coss concluded, if you are in a situation that allows you to run in a surefooted fashion with even strides -- for instance, on dry, flat ground rather than uneven, rocky terrain or deep snow.
Most state and federal wildlife agencies advise against running. The California Department of Fish and Game says on its Web site, in part: "Do not run from a lion. Running may stimulate a mountain lion's instinct to chase. Instead, stand and face the animal."
Coss said the new study reviewed personal accounts, news reports and wildlife agency reports of attacks by pumas on 185 people in the U.S. and Canada from 1890 to 2000. His goal was to identify what kinds of activities people were doing during a mountain-lion attack and determine whether these activities predicted the severity of their injuries.
"An understanding of how large cats select humans as prey and the situations that promote the greatest likelihood of attack is an important component of wildlife management," he wrote.
Coss' co-authors are E. Lee Fitzhugh, a University of California Cooperative Extension specialist; Sabine Schmid-Holmes, a UC Davis postdoctoral researcher; Marc Kenyon, a UC Davis undergraduate researcher; and Kathy Etling, a wildlife specialist and author of the 2004 book "Cougar Attacks: Encounters of the Worst Kind."
The study, "The Effects of Human Age, Group Composition, and Behavior on the Likelihood of Being Injured by Attacking Pumas," is published in the current issue (volume 22, issue 1) of the quarterly journal Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interactions of People & Animals.
Media contact(s):
Richard Coss, Psychology, (530) 752-1626, rgcoss@ucdavis.edu
Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704, swright@ucdavis.edu
Claudia Morain, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9841, cmmorain@ucdavis.edu

Een nieuwe Disneyfilm:

'Earth': It's where the wild things are

Ben Osborne / BBC Worldwide
A film crew records a group of carnivorous big cats dining on prey in the wild.
The nature documentary 'Earth' captures the lives of three species in exceptionally vivid digital detail.
By John Clark April 12, 2009
Most Disney fans associate the circle of life with the lessons young Simba learns in "The Lion King," usually as a celestial chorus swells in the background. It's all very dignified and respectful.However, in the new Disney documentary "Earth," ratty-looking lions are shown attacking an elephant, ready to make a meal out of him. There's nothing orderly or life-affirming about it."We're going to be very real," says Disney Chairman Dick Cook. "Nature is going to write the story. What we find, what we get, that's what we'll use."

This is not to say that "Earth," which will be released in theaters on Earth Day (April 22) and is the first entry by the new Disneynature production and distribution arm, is all tooth and claw. In fact, the film does not depend on TV-nature-show-style bloodletting to grip viewers. Instead, it brings the venerable Disney nature documentary into the digital age. Elephants on the Kalahari Desert are viewed from high in fanatical detail. A great white shark sucking down a seal is aestheticized by extreme slow motion.These cinematic feats are made possible by high-definition cameras, which produce startlingly clear images at a variety of speeds, and a new stabilization system called the Cineflex, which allows wildlife scenes to be shot from great distances. And while these images are amazing, they aren't simply the documentary equivalent of a car chase. There's a point to them."If you want to understand the problem that a polar bear has, you have to see that in spite of the fact that it's the world's largest carnivore, it's a tiny white dot in a big Arctic Ocean," says "Earth" co-director Alastair Fothergill.Also, these visuals fit within the narrative framework of the film, which follows the migratory patterns of three animals: the polar bear, the African elephant and the humpback whale. Each stage of their respective journeys illustrates the hazards presented by nature and man, though the filmmakers were careful not to push the environmental message too hard. James Earl Jones narrates, but they let the footage do much of the talking. (Disney marketing had no such qualms -- the company said it will plant a tree for every moviegoer who sees the film opening week.)"There's a real danger in beating people up," says co-director Mark Linfield. "If you tell them too often that we're going to be living in a frying pan in 20 years, it's actually a good excuse for them to give up and not bother: 'I may as well go buy my four-wheel drive.' But what 'Earth' shows is that there's still plenty left worth caring about."This makes "Earth" a convenient introduction to the rest of the series, which is a reboot of True-Life Adventures, Disney's classic nature documentaries of the '40s and '50s. Cook says that Disneynature has been brewing for a while, inspired by technological advances, a renewed cultural interest in the environment, the success of such docs as "March of the Penguins," as well as the company's own DNA.Each upcoming entry will investigate a specific species or ecosystem. Among those on the horizon are "Oceans," "Big Cats," "Chimpanzees" and "Naked Beauty." (Cook says that last title, which refers to pollinators, may be changed because it "sounds like a porn film.") These films will be in the $5-million to $15-million range and be repurposed across the Disney ecosystem, including the Disney Channel and theme parks.While most of these documentaries will be original productions, some will have had previous lives or parents. "Earth" evolved from the Emmy-Award-winning "Planet Earth" series that was co-produced by the BBC and aired on the Discovery Channel. However, the film is not merely a distillation or a big-screen bookend. About 30% of the footage is new, and the narration was rewritten. In fact, there are even several versions of "Earth" itself. The iteration Americans will see differs from the British in all-too-familiar ways, starting with the decision to replace Patrick Stewart's reserved narration with a warmer one by Jones."The one big change they asked for is they wanted the happy ending," says Fothergill, who is quick to say that he had a "fantastic experience" working with Disney and that the changes were appropriate. "Disney felt that it wasn't quite uplifting enough for their audience. So they added a curtain call with a nice big score and some wonderful images from the movie."calendar@latimes.com

Thursday, April 9, 2009

satellite images used to predict extinction

Satellite images could be used 'to predict animal extinction threat from climate change'
Satellite images could be used by scientists to help predict which species are under the most severe threat of extinction due to global warming.Louise Gray, The Telegraph 5 Apr 09;The photographs from space show the amount of vegetation available in an area for animals like giraffe, buffalo or wildebeest to eat.Already the information is being used to show the impact of climate change on great wilderness areas.Now scientists at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) want to use the information to predict which species may be worse affected if the temperature rises and the grassland becomes a desert.Animals that rely on the vegetation include elephants, bushbuck and antelopes and, indirectly, carnivores like lions and cheetahs.The study, due to appear in The American Naturalist, examined patterns for 13 herbivore species in 77 African national parks.By comparing the images known as a "normalized difference vegetation index" or NDVI with traditional aerial and on-the-ground surveys of animal numbers, researchers were able to prove a correlation between healthy grasslands and wildlife.It means there could be potential to predict which species will die out first if climatic conditions change, giving conservationists a chance to focus on those species before it is too late.Dr Nathalie Pettorelli, ZSL researcher and lead author of the study, said images from space could show scientists which animals may need to be protected and even moved to a different area."Several climatic models can be used to predict changes in NDVI, allowing scientists to forecast how climate change might affect vegetation. The correlation discovered means that the effects of climate change on wildlife could also ultimately be predicted quantitatively," she said."This is a really important step forward in helping to determine conservation priorities in a changing climate."Dr Pettorelli said not every species of animal studied showed a strong relationship between NDVI and abundance. However she was confident these differences were caused by additional factors including poaching, predation or competition rather than a problem with the data."Even though we were unable to correct for several factors such as poaching intensity, predator density or soil nutrient status, we were still able to report a relationship between satellite indices and wildlife abundance," she said."This suggests that the underlying relationship between satellite data and abundance might be even stronger than is apparent from our initial analysis."
var addthis_pub="riatan";

posted by ria at 4/09/2009 09:17:00 AM
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Friday, April 3, 2009

protection or extinction ?

Lucy Williamson, BBC News 1 Apr 09 wrote: The hunt for Sumatra's killer tigers: (my italics)
"We only found out there were tigers in the area after the investors started chopping down the trees," he said."Now we have more regulations to protect the tigers' habitat. But the problem is that the tigers are already disturbed and angry."As in many parts of Indonesia's vast territory, regulations are one thing - enforcing them is quite another.There could be as few as 250 tigers left here, but Sumatra's forest is now so depleted it is struggling to support even this tiny number.