Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Conservationists to Government : Time to Aid Endangered Jaguars in United States

July 24, 2006 — By the Center for Biological Diversity

PINOS ALTOS, NM — The Center for Biological Diversity filed comments with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documenting that the jaguar, Panthera onca, the largest cat in North America, previously lived from Monterey Bay, California, to the Appalachian Mountains.

The comment letter, filed in response to a Federal Register notice requesting updated scientific information the jaguar's status, is available at: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/programs/predator/Jaguar-5-YearReview-comments-7-2006.pdf

The jaguar has been listed as an endangered species since July 22, 1997, thanks to scientific and legal advocacy by the Center for Biological Diversity. It is way past time, according to the group of biologists, lawyers and policy experts, to take affirmative steps to recover the jaguar throughout significant portions of its former range.

"A review of the scientific literature and historical reports reveals that jaguars were native throughout the southern tier of states and in some areas were even described as common," said Michael Robinson of the Center, in Pinos Altos, New Mexico.

"The jaguar was eliminated from much of its western range through organized predator control on behalf of the livestock industry," said Robinson.

"First it was an abused species, and now it's an orphaned species," Robinson added.

In the nine years since the jaguar was added to the endangered species list in the United States, the Fish and Wildlife Service has taken no steps to recover it, as required by the Endangered Species Act. The agency has not developed a recovery plan, not designated critical habitat, and failed to effectively limit predator control where jaguars that have migrated north from Mexico may be reclaiming parts of their ancient habitat.

The Fish and Wildlife Service's neglect of its legal responsibilities to recover the jaguar comports with the agency's original role leading government predator control, said Robinson, who wrote a book about the Fish and Wildlife Service, its predecessor agency the Bureau of Biological Survey, and their role wiping out carnivores (Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West, University Press of Colorado, 2005).

"Carnivores like the jaguar restore the balance," said Robinson

Jaguars typically display black rosettes (incomplete spots) on a golden pelage, but also are known to occur in a melanistic (black) phase.

In addition to their well-known range in tropical rainforests, they have been documented in deserts, grasslands, as high as 9,000 feet in coniferous forests, and in a variety of other habitats in the southern United States.

"The jaguar deserves to be welcomed home," said Robinson.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit conservation organization with more than 25,000 members dedicated to the protection of imperiled species and habitat.

Contact Info:

Michael J. Robinson
Center for Biological Diversity
Tel : 505-313-7017

Website : the Center for Biological Diversity

Friday, July 21, 2006

Conservationists urge new push to save tigers

IAN JOHNSTON SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT

TIGERS are now confined to only 7 per cent of their historic territory, international wildlife groups warned yesterday.

The majestic animals have disappeared from large areas of the planet in which they lived about 100 years ago, and three out of the eight known sub-species have become extinct.

Now some of the world's leading experts have called for international action to safeguard the remaining populations.

Research by WWF, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park and Save The Tiger Fund showed that, in the past ten years, tiger habitats had shrunk by 40 per cent. Conservation efforts, such as protection from poaching and the preservation of prey species and tigers' natural habitat, have resulted in some populations remaining stable and even increasing.

But a joint report by the four groups said long-term success would be achieved only through a renewed conservation effort supported by local people, governments and other interested parties. There are estimated to be between 5,000 and 7,200 tigers left in the wild. Three sub-species have already died out, leaving five others.

John Robinson, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said: "This report documents a low-water mark for tigers and charts a way forward to reverse the tide. We can save tigers forever."


Tigers on the brink of extinction

James Randerson, science correspondent
Friday July 21, 2006
The Guardian, UK

· Study finds massive drop in key habitat areas
· More protection urged to save wild populations

Tigers, among the planet's most iconic and secretive creatures, have been near the top of the endangered list for some time. But yesterday, a landmark study by leading conservationists warned that their plight is even more serious than previously feared.

The big cat, the report warns, is close to extinction and the area in which it lives has been nearly halved in the last 10 years.

The area occupied by tigers is 41% smaller than 10 years ago and is just 7% of its historical "range" before habitat loss and hunting slashed its numbers, according to scientists at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, the World Wildlife Fund and the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington. Tigers once ranged across Asia from eastern Turkey to the Russian far east.

In India, for example, where 60% of the world's tigers live, the population fell from 100,000 in the 19th century to 3,600 now. Many researchers believe the true figure is less than half the official estimate.

"The current trajectory will surely cause wild populations to disappear in many places, or shrink to the point of 'ecological extinction' - where their numbers are too few to play their role as the top predator," the authors write. "Now more than ever, tigers need homeland security." This grim prediction will come true in 20 years, the authors estimate, unless urgent action is taken.

The study is a follow-up to similar work carried out in 1995. It draws together satellite data on habitat type, information on poaching in different regions and data on tiger numbers.

Counting tigers is notoriously difficult because they are extremely secretive and very spread out. Data is collected either by counting paw prints or setting camera traps which snap unsuspecting tigers on their nightly prowl.

The study, paid for by the Save the Tiger Fund, identifies 76 "tiger conservation landscapes" - places with habitat which has the best chance of supporting viable tiger populations. Half would be able to support 100 tigers or more.

The grim headline figure is not simply a measure of how much tiger habitat has been destroyed since 1995, although much has been lost. The data take into account whether habitat that has become fragmented would be big enough to support a tiger population. The cats are reluctant to cross open areas and so need well connected forest. Also, it takes into account whether heavy poaching of the tigers' prey means that there would not be enough food for females to raise cubs.

"The last decade has been catastrophic for tigers and they simply can't afford another one like that," said Eric Dinerstein, chief scientist with WWF and one of the study's authors. But the news is not all bad, he said. "Like the Dow Jones, there are some stocks that are up while the rest are down."

The tiger population in the Russian far east, for example, has increased over the past half century from around 50 to 500. Also, the survey shows that targeted conservation efforts can pay off. "Just by applying a little bit of protection, they can rebound dramatically," said Dr Dinerstein. Tigers breed quickly for a large mammal and do not require pristine habitat to survive, so preventing poaching can lead to a rapid recovery of a local population. Apart from physical habitat destruction, the main threat comes from hunters. A tiger skin can fetch more than £5,000 and the penises, used in traditional Chinese medicine, are worth £14,000 a kilo.

"A lot of money is involved and a lot of people are involved," said Tito Joseph with the Wildlife Protection Society of India. Criminal gangs with links to drugs and arms trading smuggle tiger parts from India to China and Tibet. Skins are popular as garments called chubbas, and are also traded to collectors in the west.

Contrary to popular belief, tiger penises are not used as an aphrodisiac in Chinese medicine, but in cures for fevers and rheumatism. The Chinese government and NGOs are working with traditional medicine sellers to promote alternatives. The bones of a common mole rat called the sailong are now often used.

"There is cause for optimism," said Sabri Zain, advocacy and campaign director of Traffic, an NGO that combats illegal wildlife trade. "In terms of trade there is an appreciable reduction in demand for tiger bone-based medicine."

The authors of the report - Setting Priorities for the Conservation and Recovery of Wild Tigers 2005-2015 - advocate a "tiger summit", involving the heads of state of the 13 countries which still host the species. They believe this would galvanise political will and raise funds for conservation. To safeguard the remaining animals, the report says increased protection of the 20 most important tiger habitat areas should be a priority. Of the six tiger sub-species, the Javan tiger, Caspian tiger and Bali tiger have already become extinct.

World's Tiger Habitat Said Down 40 Percent

BANGKOK, Thailand — Tiger habitats worldwide have shrunk 40 percent in the past decade and their survival depends on cracking down on poaching, working to reduce conflicts with humans, and protecting key ranges, according to a study released Thursday.

The worldwide tiger population has steadily declined to about 7,500 globally, and the big cats continue to face a myriad of threats -- including the trade in tiger parts to meet demand for traditional medicines in China and Southeast Asia.

Tigers now reside in only 7 percent of their historic range -- 40 percent less than a decade ago, the World Wildlife Fund said.

The study by a coalition of conservation groups identified for the first time 76 areas, mostly in Asia, that have the best chance of supporting tiger populations.

"Many important areas have been overlooked for funding, largely because there has been no method to systematically identify areas of high conservation potential," the study said.

About half of the 76 areas can support 100 tigers and "offer excellent opportunities for the recovery of wild tiger populations."

Researchers are focusing on a few key regions in India, Russia's far east and parts of Southeast Asia. Tiger breeding areas must be protected and efforts to link different tiger habitats need to be improved, the study said.

"We have learned many important lessons over the last 10 years, and this study provides a blueprint for scientists and the countries that hold the key for the tigers' survival," said Mahendra Shrestha, director of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Save The Tiger Fund, which commissioned the study.

Conservation efforts so far have helped stabilize certain tiger populations, but many initiatives were "ad hoc" and "did little to stem the crisis," the study found.

John Robinson of the Wildlife Conservation Society said tiger conservation requires commitment from local groups, governments, and international donors to "bring the species back to all parts of its biological range."

Source: Associated Press

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mountain lions and fear growing out West

Thursday, July 13, 2006 8:13 p.m. ET

EVERGREEN, Colo. (AP) -- Carrie Ann Warner has repeatedly called authorities about the stalker that has peered into her son's bedroom window at night, killed the family cat and even chased the family into their home in the wooded hills west of Denver.

The mountain lion has eluded wildlife officers perched on the porch with shotguns, traps baited with roadkill and even a motion-detection camera fastened to a pine tree.

Six-year-old Schylure told his parents the lion stared into his room "like it was mad at me."

"We're living in this vale of fear," said Carrie Ann Warner, whose family has built a steel enclosure around their back porch. "I've reached my wit's end. I don't know what to do."

Reports of mountain lions roaming neighborhoods and devouring family pets have cropped up from suburban Denver to Fort Collins, one of the most heavily populated stretches in the Rockies. In April, a lion attacked and broke the jaw of a 7-year-old boy on a trail in Boulder before it was chased off.

The following month, witnesses said a mountain lion walked into a Boulder home, ate a pet cat and the cat's food before being captured. And a man shot and killed a 130-pound mountain lion that attacked his dog in May outside the family's home near Buckhorn Canyon in the Arapahoe National Forest.

The number of human-lion encounters nationwide has increased from about two each year in the 1970s to between six and 10, said Paul Beier, a conservation biology professor at Northern Arizona University.

Still, mountain lion fatalities are rare _ only 17 nationwide since 1890. The last fatal attack is believed to be in January 2004, when a lion killed a bicyclist in an Orange County, Calif., park.

A 2003 book by David Baron, "The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature" suggests mountain lions may be learning to look at family pets and people as potential food.

However, wildlife experts insist that, for the most part, the animals are naturally wary of people. Ken Logan, a nationally recognized mountain lion biologist, said science doesn't support the premise that lions are starting to view humans as dinner.

There are an estimated 3,000 to 7,000 mountain lions in Colorado. Hunting, development and other activities wiped them out in most of the East and Midwest, though most experts agree they are gradually moving east, prompting North Dakota and South Dakota to start hunting seasons.

Wildlife officers are trying to educate people about how to get along with the big cats as development pushes farther into the canyons and pine-studded hills the animals once had to themselves.

"These are intelligent animals," Logan said. "They can learn to live around humans."

But some Colorado residents say they're living in fear of the mountain lions, which can weigh as much as 180 pounds.

Tracey English no longer allows her teenage son to jog by himself in a nearby open space and her dog stays inside unless it's being walked on a leash. Last month a mountain lion was captured in a trap in her backyard.

"I don't feel like we're living in a natural wilderness. Nothing about it is natural," English said. "I believe the lions need to be managed."

Jon Silver says he has caught rare glimpses of mountain lions in the nearly 30 years he has lived west of Boulder, and warns the people living on his rental properties.

"It's just a matter of adapting to your surroundings," Silver said. "If I'm in Manhattan and it's 11 o'clock at night, maybe I wouldn't be walking down streets that weren't well lit."

For Silver, adaptation has meant devising a special dog run. His wife's German shepherd puppy, Me Too, goes outside by running through a doggie door into the garage, where it enters a door on the floor, scampers through a 40-foot underground tunnel, complete with a light triggered by a sensor, and bursts into a 24-foot-long chain-link cage.

The door over the tunnel closes when the garage door opens so the Silvers can drive cars in with no problem.

"I want to live with wildlife. It's their territory," Diana Silver said. "But I also want to protect my dog."

For the animals,
Laura Lluellyn-Lassiter

Conservationists To Sue Over Jaguar Decision

For Immediate Release – July 12, 2006

Contact:
Michael J. Robinson, 505-313-7017

Conservationists To Sue Over
Bush Administration’s Jaguar Decision

Rare Cat Denied Critical Habitat Protection

The Center for Biological Diversity today sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its decision to not designate critical habitat for the endangered jaguar. The government’s decision, also issued today, was required by a court approved settlement agreement in a previous Center-led lawsuit.

“This latest decision will not withstand judicial review,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity in Pinos Altos, New Mexico. Center litigation, public education and organizing were responsible for the original listing of the jaguar as an endangered species in the United States on July 22, 1997.

Jaguars are the largest cats native to North America, typically displaying black rosettes (incomplete circles) on their golden fur but occasionally exhibiting a “melanistic,” or black, phase.

Jaguars once roamed the entire southern suite of states from Monterrey Bay in California through the Appalachian Mountains and Florida. Jaguars were hunted out of the southeastern United States by the 19th century. In the western United States they were exterminated by the Fish and Wildlife Service and its predecessor agency to protect livestock. The last female jaguar known in the United States was killed in 1963 in eastern Arizona where Mexican gray wolves have been reintroduced.

Jaguars have continued to migrate from Mexico into Arizona and New Mexico throughout the 20th century. Most of the returning animals have been killed. However, over the past 10 years five different jaguars have been photographed by trip cameras and hunters who allowed the jaguars to live. It appears several male jaguars are consistently using areas in the United States for all or part of their ranges and some of these are still alive today.

Jaguars are losing habitat in the southwestern United States at an accelerating pace. The riparian forest of the San Pedro River in Arizona, which may serve as a travel pathway for jaguars from Mexico, is threatened as a result of the ongoing draining of the river for agriculture and urban development. The riparian forest of the Gila River is threatened by a major water project that Congress authorized in December 2004. Livestock grazing continues to destroy streamsides, and massive new strip mines are being proposed and approved that would destroy riparian habitat and further de-water rivers and streams.

The jaguar’s upland habitats are threatened as well. Urban and exurban development significantly encroaches into jaguar habitat throughout much of its range. And increasing border developments – such as fences, stadium-style lights, roads and off-road vehicle destruction of vegetation – threaten the ability of jaguars to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Today’s decision is based on purposefully inadequate information, and erroneous logic,” said Robinson.

The Federal Register notice states that “Because the area used by jaguars in the United States is such a small part of the overall range of the species and because of nomadic use by jaguars, the range of the jaguar in the United States is not enough area to provide for the conservation (i.e., recovery) of the jaguar or even make a significant contribution to the conservation of the jaguar, and cannot be defined as essential to the conservation of the species.”

However, the Jaguar Conservation Team (JCT) has identified a northern population of the jaguar that could be recovered separately from jaguars in Central and South America. The JCT identified more than 62 millions of acres of suitable habitat for jaguars in Arizona and New Mexico (a copy of the report is available from Robinson by request). There has been no assessment of whether the habitat that has been identified or habitat in other states is sufficient or not to recover the northern population of jaguars.

“Jaguars are beautiful animals, and they help to keep the balance of nature,” said Robinson. “Critical habitat provides legal protection for the areas required to recover the jaguar. The longer the government stalls, the harder it will be to recover the jaguar. This decision is disappointing, and it will not stand.”

The government’s notice is posted on today’s Federal Register, Vol. 71 FR 39335, accessible at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/fr-cont.html.

Background on Critical Habitat
The Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 28, 1973 to recover threatened and endangered species and conserve the ecosystems upon which they depend. Critical habitat is essential to fulfilling the Act’s hopeful promise.

The Endangered Species Act requires the designation of critical habitat, which is defined as the areas needed for the conservation of an endangered species. Conservation is defined as recovery – or the point at which an animal or plant can be removed from the endangered species list. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service has abused narrow exemptions to the requirement to designate critical habitat, and the Bush administration has proved particularly hostile to such designations. Its related decisions are routinely overturned by federal courts.

A peer-reviewed article in the journal Bioscience found that species with designated critical habitat were approximately twice as likely to be making progress toward recovery (the goal of the Endangered Species Act) than those without.

Administrative History on Jaguars
The Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision today follows a consistent pattern of antipathy toward conservation of carnivores and failure to abide by legal requirements. Jaguars were listed in 1972 as an endangered species under the 1969 statutory precursor to the Endangered Species Act. This designation made it illegal to import jaguar pelts from Mexico and Central and South America. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service used a legal loophole to continue issuing “hardship permits” to safari companies, which allowed them to kill jaguars and import them into the United States.

After President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law in 1973, the Fish and Wildlife Service created two lists of endangered species – one foreign and one domestic. Jaguars were listed as a foreign species but not as endangered in the U.S. Within a few years, the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledged that jaguars deserved protection and recovery in the U.S.: In a July 25, 1979, Federal Register notice, the agency pledged that “action will be taken as quickly as possible to . . . correct the oversight” and list jaguars as endangered. But the agency failed to follow through.

The jaguar was finally listed as an endangered species on July 22, 1997 as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity. In refusing to designate critical habitat at that time, the Fish and Wildlife Service wrote in the Federal Register: “To the extent that identification of habitats that are essential for recovery of the species range-wide is necessary, the Service would identify these areas as part of the recovery planning process.” However, the Fish and Wildlife Service has also failed to begin a recovery planning process.

The Center and other conservationists sued the Fish and Wildlife Service in July 2003 to compel designation of critical habitat and development of a recovery plan. In a good-faith gesture, the plaintiffs agreed to hold off on the requirement that a recovery plan be developed in return for a re-assessment of the initial decision to deny the jaguar’s critical habitat designation. With the Fish and Wildlife Service’s refusal to do so today, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice to warn it will sue once again.

No other recovery actions are taking place for the jaguar. The animals continue to be harassed by hunting dogs. One of the jaguars residing in southern Arizona was chased by dogs into Mexico and killed there. Others have been displaced from their habitats and may have been killed – unknown to American authorities – as a result of the known encounters with hunting dogs.

The Wildlife Services (WS) predator killing program, which is carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has only limited its operations in a small portion of areas in which jaguars are known to roam, and even in those areas, there is evidence (previously presented to the Fish and Wildlife Service) that WS continues to use proscribed killing techniques.

The Border Patrol and Department of Homeland Security have utterly failed to participate in, or even use the information developed by the Jaguar Conservation Team, in planning and carrying out their actions. Thus border developments continue to fragment jaguar habitat and likely restrict jaguar movements.

For the animals,
Laura Lluellyn-Lassiter

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lion shot, killed by rancher as it attacked his dogs

Lion shot, killed by rancher as it attacked his dogs

 

 

A rancher shot and killed a mountain lion that was fighting with his dogs Sunday morning on his ranch east of Watford City, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department said Monday.

 

According to the official report, the rancher, Kelly Hanna, heard a commotion involving his dogs and investigated. The dogs had treed a mountain lion about 50 yards from his house.

 

After he got a rifle and returned, he found the lion was on the ground and in a fight with his dogs, said Brent Schwan, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden in Watford City

 

The rancher then shot the lion, which had slightly injured one of the dogs.

 

The lion is believed to be a young female that weighed about 80 pounds.

 

Hanna immediately called Schwan, who investigated and transported the carcass to Dickinson, where it is being stored in a freezer until it's examined.

 

A necropsy is planned for Wednesday, NDGFD furbearer biologist Dorothy Fecske said Monday.

 

Schwan said the rancher was within the law in killing the lion.

 

"State law specifically allows the killing of mountain lions to protect individuals or their property. The law also requires that the Game and Fish Department must be notified - which the rancher did," NDGFD said in a statement issued Monday.

 

North Dakota will hold its second experimental mountain lion season later this year.The animal taken Sunday will not be included in the quota of five cats for the upcoming season, which tentatively is set to open Sept. 1 and continue through March 11 or until the quota is filled.

 

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2006/07/11/news/local/117600.txt

 

For the cats,

 

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

Subscribe to our Podcast View RSS XML

 

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.

 

Bobcat mom & kittens relocated

July 11, 2006 - A mother bobcat and her two kittens captured late last week are back in the

 

The cats were found last Friday at Pima Community College East in Tucson, Arizona. The college is home to lots of desert wildlife, including bobcats. But when a mother bobcat had kittens and the kittens hung out in campus trees, the college figured it's time to call for an animal expert to remove them. The kittens were caught first and then used as bait to get the mother bobcat.

All three were taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center for several days. Monday, the mother and her kittens were released into the wild, a safe distance from people.

 

http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=animals_oddities&id=4354377

For the cats,

 

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

Sign our petition here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

Subscribe to our Podcast View RSS XML

 

This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.

 

Monday, July 10, 2006

11 tiger reserves have lost forest cover

Aarti Dhar

Forest cover remains unchanged in 12 reserves, increases in 5


  • Major loss in forest cover found in Nameri, Buxa, Manas, Indravati and Dampa Tiger Reserves
  • Attributed to socio-economic reasons and natural disasters
  • Loss in the outer surround more than loss within the reserves

  • NEW DELHI: There has been a decrease in forest cover in 11 of the 28 tiger reserves in the country while 5 reserves have shown an increase in the same. The forest cover in the remaining 12 has remained unchanged, according to a report brought out by the Forest Survey of India and Directorate of Project Tiger.

    Titled "Forest Cover in Tiger Reserves of India — Status and Changes,'' the report says that moderately dense forest has decreased by 251 square kilometres while very dense and open forests in these reserves have shown an increase of 33 sq km and 124 sq km respectively between 1997 and 2002. The major loss in forest cover has occurred in Nameri, Buxa, Manas, Indravati and Dampa Tiger Reserves, primarily due to socio-economic reasons and natural disasters.

    Forest cover in the outer surround (10 km radial distance from the periphery) has decreased in 21 tiger reserves, increased in 21 reserves and is unchanged in five.

    The total forest cover in the outer surround of the 28 tiger reserves has decreased by 124 sq km, according to the report.

    The decrease in forest cover has been significant in Nameri, Buxa, Indravati, Manas and Dampa (45 sq km, 22 sq km, 11 sq km, 11 sq km and 7 sq km respectively) while the remaining six have shown a marginal decrease of 1 to 4 sq km only. These include Bandipur-Nagarhole, Dudhwa-Katarniaghat, Kanha, Pakhui, Palamu and Sunderbans.

    As for the tiger reserves gaining forest cover, Bandhavgarh, Corbett, Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam, Namdapha and Valmiki have registered an increase between 1997 and 2002. Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam has shown a maximum increase of 7 sq km, followed by Namdapha (3 sq km) and Valmiki (2 sq km).

    For the animals,
    Laura Lluellyn-Lassiter

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Travel: Tiger tiger

    Travel: Tiger tiger

     

     

    By Daniel Davies

     

    09 July 2006

    In the sweltering Indian city of Mumbai, the first things you notice - after the heat - are the contrasts in a bustling city which is rapidly coming to terms with rampant consumerism and a booming economy.

     

    Every square foot of wall is covered by advertising. But side by side live the poor, in sprawling slums visible from the plane as it lands.

     

    Shacks and filth are the last thing you see before stepping onto the runway, where the humidity smothers you.

     

    The short drive from the airport to the palatial Hotel Leela takes time on gridlocked streets, where black and yellow taxis compete for space with bicycles and red double-decker buses.

     

    The Leela is part of a growing chain of luxury hotels around India for 'cash-rich, time-poor' travellers, who have much to see and so little time to see it.

     

    This cool marble hotel, with its lush gardens, myriad bars and restaurants, is a good stopover before flying inland to Nagpur.

     

    Our guide apologised for the six-hour drive that followed the flight, but I rather enjoyed it.

     

    The pace of these roads is dictated by the ox and cart - and impromptu sit-down protests by women whose villages have lost electricity.

     

    A stop for food or the toilet catches the eye of friendly onlookers, who gawp at wimpish Western ways.

     

    Eventually the landscape turned mountainous and tree-covered as we approached the jungle of Kanha.

     

    This vast forest inspired Kipling and was the setting for the kids' movie, Jungle Book.

     

    Its tiger reserve, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, has been a national park since the 1950s.

     

    You might not get the variety of big game here that roam the African savannahs, but Kanha still teems with birds, bison and butterflies.

     

    It's one of the safest habitats in the subcontinent for Royal Bengal tigers, of whom there are about 130, according to the last census in 2003.

     

    Although tourists are allowed into three ranges - Mukki, Kanha and Kisli - further reaches of the forest are closed to visitors.

     

    Most stay at one of the resorts that organise daily trips into the forest to see tigers.

     

    The well-run Royal Tiger Resort has comfortable air-conditioned rooms near the entrance to Mukki range.

     

    Tiger spotting usually begins with a 5am wake-up. By 6am, queues of Suzuki 4x4s wait at the gates for guides to accompany them into the forest.

     

    Walking around is strictly forbidden. If you stumble upon a bahlu - one of the elusive sloth bears - it's likely to rip your head off.

     

    The best guides, intimately in tune with the forest, halt your car at the sound of a distant call or tell-tale sign of a paw print.

     

    You may have difficulty distinguishing a tiger's paw marks from a tyre track, but your guide will recognise every cat you see by their unique stripes.

     

    Despite its camouflage and stealth, the solitary tiger causes a huge commotion when it prowls through the trees.

     

    Only one in 20 tiger's hunts are successful and the jungle seems in a conspiracy against them.

     

    Shortly into our second drive, the treetops erupted as white langur monkeys scurried up to safety.

     

    Deeper in the bush, on the other side of the road, a deer's bark let us know something lurked.

     

    On the far side of a dry river bed, for a split second, the suggestion of a massive feline body slinked behind a tree and disappeared into the jungle with tail aloft.

     

    Catching an eyeful of tiger on the road is rare.

     

    Your first sighting is likely to be in one of the grassy meadows that dot Kanha like blotches on the jungle.

     

    Out there, word of tigers in the open attracts Suzukis like villagers to our minibus.

     

    A glimpsed cub causes dozens of people, hundreds of yards away, to grab binoculars.

     

    While guides spot a shaded beast with apparent ease, you can be close to tears as you follow instructions to "focus on the green tree then look left a bit," vainly scanning the horizon without the hint of a whisker.

     

    It isn't easy, especially when the combined influence of anti-malarial drugs and an April sun of up to 45C turns every termite mound into the illusion of a crouched monkey and every tree stump into a perched eagle.

     

    The best time to come here is probably between November and February, when the rains have stopped and the searing heat of spring has yet to start.

     

    To see a tiger close up, you may have to embark on a park tiger show, where you buy a ticket for a ride on an elephant with one of the mahouts, whose job it is to plod around the jungle and survey the beasts.

     

    When a tiger is known to be stationary, tourists can hitch an elephant ride to come within feet of it - the cats seemingly unworried by elephants crashing through the bamboo.

     

    Finding a leopard in a tree or a bear in daylight may be rarer, but the sight of a huge tiger dozing in the sun or resting by a pool is well worth dashing half-way around the world.

     

    With so many tiger populations already extinct across Asia, Kanha's 100 or so could be in a precarious position, even in a haven with a good record in conservation.

     

    Much depends on the tribe that once lived nomadically in this jungle, the Baiga.

     

    They were not properly compensated when they lost land to create the tigers' protected habitats, although they were once the inspiration for Mowgli and still venerate the tiger.

     

    Now their dances entertain tourists and they are employed by Kanha's resourceful entrepreneurs to make handicrafts.

     

    It's an intriguing path to survival in an entrancing corner of the globe.

     

    http://www.sundaylife.co.uk/features/story.jsp?story=698033

     

    For the cats,

     

    Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

    an Educational Sanctuary home

    to more than 100 big cats

    12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

    813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

    http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

    Sign our petition here:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

    Subscribe to our Podcast View RSS XML

     

    This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.

     

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Venture capitalists fund tiger conservation program

    Venture capitalists fund tiger conservation program

     

    mongabay.com

    July 6, 2006

     

     

    A new program that calls for a 50 percent increase in tiger numbers in key areas over the next decade blends a business model with hard science and has already attracted $10 million from venture capitalists according to an article published in the current issue of the journal Nature.

     

     

    The new initiative, called “Tigers Forever” and backed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), involves a dozen the conversation organization's field sites that are home to an estimated 800 tigers. The plan projects that these tiger populations can climb to an approximately 1,200 individuals across these sites within ten years.

     

    Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, director of the big cat programs at WCS, says that this kind of accountability with specific numbers over a specific time period, is a new concept for conservationists. “We're putting our reputations on the line and holding ourselves accountable that we can grow tiger numbers,” said Rabinowitz. “At the same time, we have the knowledge, expertise and track record to accomplish this goal.”

     

    The plan calls for collabortive efforts between the organization, local governments and other partners to develop knowledge on tigers in remote places like Myanmar’s Hukawng Valley – the world’s largest tiger reserve – and step up anti-poaching activities in other sites, including Thailand’s Huai Kha Khaeng and Thung Yai protected areas. In some sites, like the Russian Far East, tiger numbers may not increase from their current estimated population of 500 animals.

     

    The venture capitalists who have backed the initiative say they like the hard numbers and solid planning of the program.

     

    “I am most interested in supporting efforts that will get results,” said Michael Cline, a venture capitalist and WCS trustee. “WCS’s Tiger’s Forever initiative has brought together two key initiatives – superb people armed with an understanding of what it takes to save tigers. In an area where there have been many disappointments, I am betting that Tigers Forever will get results.”

     

    Scientists estimate there are some 3-000-5,000 tigers left in the wild, though the sheer range of estimates reflects the lack of field knowledge about the world's largest cat. What is known is that tiger populations have fallen dramatically in recent years due to habitat loss, hunting, and poaching for their parts.

     

    http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0706-wcs.html

     

    For the cats,

     

    Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

    an Educational Sanctuary home

    to more than 100 big cats

    12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

    813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

    http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

    Sign our petition here:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

    Subscribe to our Podcast View RSS XML

     

    This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.

     

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Only 40-50 Sumatran Tigers left

    Only 40-50 Sumatran Tigers left

     

    Sumatran tigers (Panthera Tigris Sunatrae) in  the Way Kambas National Park (TNWK) (Where our sponsored tiger Nini lives) in Lampung province today number not  more than 50, the chief of the local Natural Resources Conservatin Agency (BKSDA) Agus Haryanta said here on Wednesday.

     

    "Latest data from the Lampung Wildlife Crime Unit (WCU) in 2003 indicate that the number of Sumatran tigers now is not more than 40 to 50," Agus Haryanta said at a function  commemorating Tiger Day II here.

       

    He said the Sumatran tigers are on the brink of extinction because of uncontrolable poaching and illegal logging in their habitat in Way Kambas National Park.

       

    Thus, he called on all parties to participate in the conservation of the Sumatran tiger which is found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra in habitat that ranges from lowland forest to sub mountain and mountain forest including some peat moss forests.

       

    Meanwhile, Lampung WCU spokesman Budiman said that according to International Union Commission on Nature (IUCN), Sumatran tigers were categorized into very critically endangered species.

       

    "Javanese tigers (Panthera Tigris Sondaicus) and Balinese tigers (Panthera Tigris Balica) became extinct at the end of 1970s and thus we do not want Sumatran tigers to be in similar fate," Budiman said.

       

    He said that to save Sumatran tigers, Lampung WCU on July 5, 2005 declared "Tiger Day I".

       

    Tiger Day was commemorated as part of an attempt to save Sumatran tigers.

       

    According the the Tiger Information Center and the World Wildlife Fund there are no more than 500 of these tigers left in the wild with some estimates considerably lower.

       

    Sumatra has undergone much agricultural growth and as a result, tiger habitats had become fragmented with about 400 tigers inhabiting five national parks and two game reserves.

       

    The largest population of about 110 tigers lives in Gunung Leuser National Park.  Another 100 live in unprotected areas that will soon  be lost to agriculture.

       

    The tigers that live in unprotected areas are very vulnerable to poaching as well as the killing of problem animals that come in contact with villagers encroaching on the animal`s habitat. 

       

    Sumatran tigers are critically endangered.  The Indonesian Sumatran Tiger Conservation Strategy was  established by the Indonesian Forestry Ministy and it outlines management strategies for both wild and captive tiger populations.

       

    Even without any further losses of these magnificent animals, the present populations are so small that they are vulnerable to severe environmental catastrophes, as well as genetic problems typical of small populations.

     

    http://www.antara.co.id/en/seenws/?id=15755

     

    For the cats,

     

    Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

    an Educational Sanctuary home

    to more than 100 big cats

    12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

    813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

    http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

    Sign our petition here:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

    Subscribe to our Podcast View RSS XML

     

    This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.

     

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    Three held with tiger skin, drugs

    Three held with tiger skin, drugs 

     

    Express News Service

     

    Lucknow, July 4: THE city police claimed to have busted a gang of poachers with the arrest of three persons in J P Nagar today. A tiger skin worth Rs 25 lakh in the international market was recovered from them. The trio were also found to possess a kilogram of heroin estimated to cost Rs 1 crore in the international market.

     

    The accused were nabbed following a joint operation by the local police and the Special Operations Group (SOG). They have been identified as Brahamdev Singh Saini, Yogesh Singh Jatav and Chandra Prakash Saini, all residents of J P Nagar).

     

    ‘‘They seem to be an inter-state gang of poachers, involved in the trade for quite long now,’’ said the Gomti Nagar (Circle Officer) Man Singh Chauhan.

     

    Confirming this, Lucknow SSP G K Goswami said they had received information about animal skins being smuggled from Nepal to Delhi about a few months back.

     

    ‘‘We also had information that the gang operates from J P Nagar. A few days back, a few SOG constables went to the area posing as customers,’’ said Goswami.

     

    The police decoys contacted the gang members and asked for drugs and tiger skin. The members agreed to deliver the goods today.

     

    This afternoon, at around 1:15 pm, three members of the gang reached Ring Road Crossing to deliver the consignment. The police reached the spot and arrested them. A tiger skin and drugs wrapped in a polythene packet were recovered from their possession.

     

    ‘‘The investigations are on to get more details,’’ said Goswami.

     

    http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=191265

     

    For the cats,

     

    Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

    an Educational Sanctuary home

    to more than 100 big cats

    12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

    813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

    http://www.BigCatRescue.org MakeADifference@BigCatRescue.org

    Sign our petition here:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/344896451?ltl=1140270431

    Subscribe to our Podcast View RSS XML

     

    This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.