Thursday, December 31, 2009

N.D. hunter will make rug out of cougar he killed

Published December 31 2009

Man harvests final cat for quota
Western North Dakota's mountain lion harvesting season closed Dec. 11 after a hunter in McKenzie County took the eighth and final cat allowed in the area.

By: Lisa Call, The Dickinson Press

Western North Dakota's mountain lion harvesting season closed Dec. 11 after a hunter in McKenzie County took the eighth and final cat allowed in the area.

Armed with a rifle, Bob Christophersen of Grassy Butte harvested the cat about 18 miles west of Grassy Butte.

Dogs belonging to Christophersen's son had run the cat up a tree.

"He was there 45 minutes to an hour when I got there," Christophersen said. "The cat bailed out of the tree and went another 120 to 150 yards farther and went up another tree."

The cat was an 80-pound female which Christophersen estimates to be about 2 years old.

Stephanie Tucker, furbearer biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, said last year seven cats were harvested by the end of November.

"McKenzie County is the hot spot," Tucker said. "That's just where the best mountain lion habitat is at. That's historically where most mountain lion reports and sightings and tracks are found, so guys just head that direction right away."

With a limit of eight this side of the state, not many have the chance to experience hunting one of the big cats firsthand.

"It's pretty exciting to see them up in a tree," Christophersen said. "You're not very far from them. When you shoot it, you're probably 15 to 20 yards away. I've seen quite a few tracks, but I haven't seen too many cats."

Christophersen plans to have a rug made out of the cat's fur.

Hunting the big cats in southwest North Dakota falls under NDGF's predetermined allotments in zone one.

State and federal highways along with Montana and South Dakota border zone one.

The point where the boundary crosses Lake Sakakawea is a straight line from where U.S. Highway 1804 lies directly across from U.S. Highway 8, according to the NDGF Web site.

Quotas for zone one do not include cats taken by United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, NDGF, private landowners defending livestock, those harvested out of human safety concerns, road-killed animals, those harvested by traps or cable devices and those taken on Native American lands, according to the NDGF Web site.

Last year's zone one mountain lion harvest did not close until March, something Tucker attributes to a harsh winter.

"It was so cold and the wind blew so much and when the wind blows it blows the tracks over, then the dogs can't smell the scent," Christophersen said. "It was a terrible year."

The remainder of the state is considered zone two, where there is no quota for big-cat harvest.

Zone two remains open until March 31 and does not have a quota as it is not the type of habitat the NDGF would expect a breeding population of mountain lions to be established, Tucker said.

"The mountain lions we typically find in zone two are dispersing individuals that are dispersing out of zone one," Tucker said.

Other than a mountain lion that was removed from Bismarck, Tucker said none have been harvested in zone two.

Despite reported mountain lion sightings in the area in recent months, Tucker said the number of mountain lion reports have decreased this year in comparison to last year.

"That's probably more of a result of people just getting used to the idea of mountain lions in North Dakota," Tucker said.


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Mark Menlove: Idaho senators need to heed more than just snowmobilers


BY MARK MENLOVE - Idaho Statesman
Published: 12/30/09

There's a move afoot from Idaho Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo to pressure their Montana counterparts, Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus, to remove the Montana side of Mount Jefferson and Hellroaring Creek from wilderness designation as proposed in the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (FJRA), a Montana wilderness bill co-sponsored by the two Montana senators. The move, which would serve only a narrow special interest, is ill-advised.

Mount Jefferson is a small but significant 4,500-acre area located in the Centennial Mountains along the Idaho/Montana border. The political pressure from Idaho hinges on the fact that Idaho snowmobilers want access to Montana's Mount Jefferson. Never mind the fact that the Idaho portion of Mount Jefferson as well as the entire Idaho side of the Centennial Range are already open to snowmobiles and would remain open to snowmobiles under the Montana bill. Meanwhile, backcountry skiers, snowshoers and other quiet winter enthusiasts from both Idaho and Montana have been pushed into one small, rugged corner of Mount Jefferson.

In addition to its recreational value, Mount Jefferson provides critical wildlife habitat. Big game species including elk, deer and moose find secure, productive habitat in this remote region, as do rare carnivores including wolverine, lynx and grizzlies. Mount Jefferson forms the eastern gateway to the High Divide wildlife corridor, an irreplaceable connection between the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and undeveloped wild country in Central Idaho made possible by the unique east-west axis of the Centennial Mountains.

The claim put forth by Idaho opponents of the Montana wilderness designation is that the winter economies of Idaho communities like Island Park are dependent on snowmobile access to all of Mount Jefferson. While I recognize and support the desire for Idaho's senators to be sensitive to their snowmobile constituents' concerns, a closer review of public land designations on both sides of the state line reveals that Idaho's demands may be more a case of simple greed than of economic need.

Analysis of Forest Service, BLM and state land data for public lands within a 20-mile radius of Island Park, including the Mount Jefferson area, show that 98 percent of those lands are currently open to snowmobile use. That's 297,933 acres. The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act would reduce that figure by just 2,344 acres and bring the percentage of public lands open to snowmobiles in the Greater Island Park area to 97 percent. On a broader scale, of the 3 million total acres on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest that surround Island Park and other eastern Idaho communities, nearly 2.5 million acres are open to snowmobiles while just 545,000 acres are protected for non-motorized winter activities. It seems a shaky argument indeed to claim Idaho snowmobilers will be harmed by the Montana bill.

The Island Park chamber's promotional materials justifiably tout the area's 500 miles of snowmobile trails and thousands of acres of backcountry snowmobile adventures. None of that will change with the passage of FJRA. On the other hand, wilderness designation for part of Mount Jefferson will enhance opportunities for regional businesses to attract clientele seeking non-motorized winter recreation and wilderness experiences. Already, two Montana businesses are catering to that clientele with backcountry hut trips, guided ski touring and backcountry pack trips around Mount Jefferson. Wilderness designation will ensure opportunities for Idaho businesses to do the same.

A broad coalition of recreation and sportsmen's groups and businesses from both states has endorsed the bill and specifically called for wilderness designation for Mount Jefferson. These groups and businesses are constituents too, and their voices should be given consideration just like the Idaho snowmobile lobby.

Sens. Tester and Baucus have good reason to stand firm on their recommendation for Mount Jefferson. Our Idaho senators will better serve their entire constituency by respecting that recommendation.

Mark Menlove is executive director for Winter Wildlands Alliance, a backcountry skiing and snowshoeing organization based in Boise.


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Cougars, bobcats, ocelots once common in Texas Hill Country

All you wanted to know about the Hill Country

Published December 29, 2009

Jim Stanley isn’t the first person to retire to the Hill Country, and he won’t be the last. He’s looking to help all those who do decide to settle here.

Stanley, a member of Texas Master Naturalists, has recently authored “Hill Country Landowner’s Guide,” a book aimed at helping non-native landowners learn about their land.

“This area is certainly a popular getaway,” Stanley said. “A lot of people come here from the suburbs, but owning property out in the country is different than maintaining a lawn in the suburbs. In the suburbs, the only rule is that you’ve got to keep your lawn greener than the neighbors’.”

Stanley’s book is a primer for those moving to the Hill Country.

It’s divided into two main topics, ecological history and tips for landowners.

The arrival of early settlers had a massive impact, he explains. Prior to their arrival, the region’s plant and animal life were much more diverse.

Black bear, wolf, mountain lion, bobcat, ocelot, coyote, alligator, bison, pronghorn antelope, deer and javelina all were common.

“The big difference was grazing,” Stanley said. “The Native Americans were more hunter-gatherers. They followed the herds around, and they would graze a certain area, eat up most of the grass, then move on, not coming back for a year or so.”

Stanley said that the institution of farms and ranches meant land was overgrazed. Tall grasses gave way to more forestation, which led to an increase in the population of deer, which thrive in such environments. And settlers’ protection of livestock led to the disappearance of predatory wildlife.

“The reason you’ll see deer roaming around your yard is because the landscape changed so much,” he said.

The reduction in biodiversity is directly linked to a number of local environmental problems, including the overgrowth of cedar — known to trigger allergies for many residents — and exacerbation of the drought-flood cycle.

In addition to the environmental history lesson, Stanley’s book also provides concrete steps property owners can take to deal with problems such as overgrazing, deer, erosion and wildfires.

The book is a result of Stanley’s life-long love of the Hill Country and years of volunteering with Master Naturalists, a statewide program that cultivates volunteers who are experts in local wildlife. Stanley grew up in West Texas, but frequently vacationed in the Hill Country with his family as a child.

“When the time came for me to retire, I followed in the footsteps of my father and uncle and came out to the Hill Country,” he said.

“Hill Country Landowner’s Guide” currently is available for $20 at Hasting’s, 910 Main St., and online at Texas A&M publishing and


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Chile: Rare wild cat confirmed for first time in a decade in Región de Valparaíso

Minagri confirmó reaparición del gato Colocolo en la Región de Valparaíso

15:52 | Es el primer hallazgo de la especie en una década. Director del Zoológico de Quilpué apuntó a promover la protección del animal.

El ministerio de Agricultura informó del hallazgo en Quilpué de un ejemplar del gato Colocolo (Leopardus colocolo), felino del que no se tenían registros durante la última década en la Región de Valparaíso.

El gato fue capturado por un vecino del sector de Teniente Serrano, ubicado en la parte alta de la comuna, en momentos en que había ingresado a un gallinero de su casa particular.

El ejemplar, de aproximadamente un año de edad, fue entregado al Parque Zoológico de Quilpué, para que fuese alimentado y examinado. Tras comprobar que el animal se encontraba en adecuadas condiciones físicas, el SAG local autorizó la liberación del felino, que se realizó el martes en Colliguay, sector alejado de la zona en que fue hallado.

Para el director del Zoológico de Quilpué, Mario Rivas, se trata de un hallazgo que entrega esperanzas respecto de las poblaciones de este felino.

"Es una gran noticia porque mucha gente lo mata porque desconoce el valor natural de esta especie. Esto nos permite visualizar que todavía existen ejemplares en la zona", sostuvo.

El gato Colocolo es un animal que se encuentra en peligro de extinción, que nuestro país lo tiene incluido como especie protegida y que su caza está prohibida.

La especie vive en zonas de matorrales, estepas y bosques y su rango de distribución norte corresponde a lugares abiertos en la puna y estepa alto andina. En el sur, habita áreas de bosque y zonas montañosas de la precordillera oriental de Magallanes y praderas en la estepa patagónica.


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Montana: Bobcat season to close in Trapping District 1

Monday, December 28, 2009

By order of the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission the season for trapping of all bobcats in Trapping District 1 in northwestern Montana will close at midnight on Sunday, December 27, 2009.

The district includes portions of Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Lewis & Clark, Missoula, Powell and Sanders counties.

For more information visit FWP’s web site at then "Hunting", then "Trapping" and click on "Fisher, Bobcat & Otter Quotas and Wolverine Management Unit Quotas," or call the toll free number at 1-800-711-8727.


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"Cougar Clippings" for 30 Dec 2009 from Mountain Lion Foundation

Cougar Clippings
News Links 12/30/2009

Dear Friend,

Happy New Year! Here are a few of the top stories on mountain lions from recent news articles. For more frequent updates, visit and read the news daily.

Famous Tracker Offers up Info on Cougars

Wisconsin continues to outshine its neighboring states by demonstrating tolerant and research-focused cougar policies. Not only are cougars protected in Wisconsin but during the past year, state officials have been tracking and monitoring the few cats who wandered through. A few weeks ago master tracker James Halfpenny led workshops about the elusive and often misunderstood cats at the University of Wisconsin. Participants learned how to identify tracks and walked away with a new appreciation for America's lion.

Read the actual news story...

Panther Deaths in '09 Reach Previous Year's Record

As 2009 comes to an end, hopefully the excessive human-caused mortality rate of Florida panthers will conclude as well. This year tied with the 2007 record high of fifteen endangered panthers killed in one year - with the majority occurring on roads. Environmental groups have filed an intent to sue the US Fish & Wildlife service in 2010 if they do not set aside critical habitat for panthers. There are only around 100 of these endangered cats left in the wild.

Read the actual news story...

Orphaned Cougar Found Near Springfield, Ore.

A young cub in Oregon will get a forever home at the Caldwell Zoo in Texas this holiday season. As an ambassador for his species in a state where cougars are considered varmints and killed without restriction, education about these misunderstood cats is crucial in Texas. Trophy hunting in twelve western states orphans hundreds of cougar cubs each year. This male was far too young to survive on his own, and now thanks to puma expert Michelle Schireman, he has been given a safe habitat.

Read the actual news story...


Those were just a few of the lion articles from the past week. Cli ck here to read more! The Mountain Lion Foundation follows cougar and wildlife news each week. For a complete library of the most pertinent news articles, visit the Mountain Lion Foundation Newsroom.

If you can not use the links in this email to read complete articles, cut and paste (or type) the following address into your browser:

Cougar Clippings is a service of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

phone: 800-319-7621


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Iowa: Recent shooting raises awareness of cougars

Published: December 30, 2009 09:42 am

Recent Shooting raises awareness of cougars
Steve Woodhouse

Knoxville — One Marion County wildlife expert believes a major opportunity was missed when a farmer shot a mountain lion near Marengo last week. The animal could have been tagged by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and aided officials in learning more about the cougar population in the state.

Ron DeArmond with the Pella Wildlife Company has focused on education about wildlife for years. Pella Wildlife Company offers educational programs for students of all ages, from pre-kindergarten through college and for the community as well. One of the organization’s goals for 2010 is to educate more people about the predator-prey relationship, including Iowa mountain lions.

There have been no confirmed reports of the animals in Marion County. DNR Office Ken Kenyon says he does not believe there has been a cougar attack in the state of Iowa at any time.

Over the past 14 years, there have been 16 confirmed and highly probable cougar sightings within Iowa’s borders. This includes tracks being discovered in Lucas County in February 2004 and confirmed tracks in Lucas County in February 2004.

Kenyon says the DNR does not have any way to track the animals. He said there may be three wandering around the state at any given time. They are usually young males who have had their territories displaced.

“We lost so much information just because this guy wanted a trophy,” DeArmond said.

DeArmond has been licensed to work with wildlife for over 20 years. He says if the Marengo farmer had called the DNR, they could have tranquilized the animal, tagged it and tracked it. This could have helped wildlife officials learn more about their habits and how many may be in the state. Marion County has two officials to contact, Kenyon and John Mertz.

Though there have been no confirmed sightings in Marion County, DeArmond says people have reported finding deer carcasses covered in grass and debris. This is something cougars do.

DeArmond says cougars are not to be feared. They have to be taught to attack livestock and will not do so instinctively. Deer are more of a threat to farmers by eating crops than cougars, DeArmond said.

DeArmond, like other wildlife officials, is seeking legislative protection of cougars. DNR representative Ron Andrews wrote a report on cougars. In his report, he says the DNR requested that the legislature designate cougars and black bears as furbearers, thus allowing the DNR to manage them properly. They also asked for a law against shooting these animals indiscriminately, unless there is an immediate threat to human life. Andrews writes, “The DNR was assked by the Governor’s office not to pursue mountain lion/cougar and black bear furbearer status in the Iowa Code in 2006, 2007 and 2008.” DeArmond encourages people to contact their legislators about protecting these species.

“We don’t have to be killing these things indiscriminately,” DeArmond said.

The Pella Wildlife Company is a nonprofit organization that is supported by donations. For more information, visit


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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Cougar Corner": He walked 800-miles just to be killed!

Cougar Corner
Dear Friend,

Thank you for subscribing to Cougar Corner. To read previous CC Blogs click here.

He walked 800-miles just to be killed!
Cougar Corner 12/29/2009
Tim Dunbar

On December 14, 2009, Raymond Goebels Jr., a 47-year old deer hunter from Cedar Rapids, shot a non-threatening mountain lion out of a tree near the town of Marengo, Iowa. If the experts are correct, the young, dispersing adult lion Mr. Goebels killed had traveled at least 800-miles from the Black Hills of South Dakota before crossing the path of a man who wanted to kill something . . . anything. Since it is not illegal to kill lions in Iowa at this time, Mr. Goebels felt justified, even triumphant in killing the scared, helpless animal.

Many decry the number of laws which are in existence in America today. There are even commercials making fun of ones which are outdated, possibly even a little silly when considered in modern terms or conditions-but it is because of hunters like Mr. Goebels, for whom if something isn't strictly forbidden then it must be OK, that states like Iowa, which don't even have a recognized mountain lion population, need laws to protect these magnificent creatures.

Over a hundred years ago, misguided pioneers changed the ecological landscape of that state by eradicating the cougar. This was done in the mistaken belief that it was necessary for the safety of all Iowans and their domestic livestock. Science has since proven this action to be unnecessary. Now, as individual cougars try to recolonize those portions of the state which still provide suitable habitat, Iowans must learn from past mistakes and embrace the returning creatures as a part of their state's lost heritage.

Cougar Corner is a service of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

phone: 800-319-7621


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Rare wild cat convalesces at Japanese wildlife center

Endangered and elusive Tsushima leopard cat captured

TSUSHIMA, Nagasaki -- A Tsushima leopard cat, an endangered feline unique to Nagasaki Prefecture's Tsushima Island, was found in southern Tsushima and placed in the care of a wildlife center, officials said.

Officials at the Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center, which opened in 1997, said it was the first time in several decades that a living leopard cat had been taken into protection on the southern part of Tsushima.

The Tsushima leopard cat was found on the premises of Kyudenko Co. in Tsushima city, and captured by several employees. It is believed that the male leopard cat, which weighed about 1,130 grams, was born in about spring this year. It appeared weak, but was eating food given to it. The center will wait until it regains its health and decide whether or not to return it to the wild.

Tsushima leopard cats are designated by the Ministry of the Environment as an endangered species. There are an estimated 80 to 110 of the cats mainly in the northern area of Tsushima. Previously they lived on both the northern and southern areas of the island, which are separated by water channels, but as the result of environmental changes their numbers have declined markedly, particularly in the southern area.

(Mainichi Japan) December 30, 2009


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Bobcat freed from illegal trap in N.Y.; 2 teens charged

December 30, 2009

Bobcat freed from illegal trap in Carmel; 2 teens charged

By Michael Risinit
Gannett News Service

CARMEL — Spending some time stuck in a leg trap apparently left a female bobcat in Carmel with a bit of an attitude.

Two teenagers eventually were charged in the illegal trapping of the animal, which was discovered in the woods Sunday off Drewville Road by a man and his grandson out for a stroll. They heard growling and found the animal with its left front paw in the trap.

Carmel police Chief Michael Johnson said the trap was on watershed land owned by New York City, which doesn't allow trapping on its property, and was not labeled with the owner's name, which is required by state law.

The bobcat was released by Kricket and Chuck Dyckman, the town's dog-control officers. The two also run Dyckman's Wildlife Nuisance Control in Mahopac.

"She was not happy. That's understandable, as you can imagine," Kricket Dyckman said Tuesday.

Police kept an eye on the area. After spotting a gray pickup truck parked nearby, Carmel police Officer James Evans on Monday found two boys, a 17-year-old from Carmel and a 13-year-old from Bedford, checking the trap. They were taken to Carmel police headquarters.

Johnson said a New York City Department of Environmental Protection police officer charged the Carmel resident with trespass and not possessing a city access permit. A state Department of Environmental Conservation officer charged him with having an unsecured bow in his truck and no name tags on his traps. All of those charges are violations. The 17-year-old, who had a state trapping license, is due Feb. 23 in Carmel Town Court.

The 13-year-old was charged with possessing a BB gun without parental supervision. He was released to his parents and is due in Putnam County Family Court.

Police would not identify the teens because of their ages and because the charges were violations.

There is no minimum trapping age for state residents, according to the DEC, but all new trappers must pass a trapper-education course before receiving a license.

A female bobcat weighs about 20 pounds, according to the state DEC, and males weigh about 26 pounds.

The animals are solitary and mostly active at night, DEC wildlife biologist Gordon Batcheller said.

"They're a secretive species. Few people observe them," he said.

Bobcats, he said, tend to prefer a diverse habitat, which provides a decent source of prey. There is no statewide population estimate, but mandatory reports from trappers and hunters provide some idea of their numbers. In Putnam County, bobcat-trapping season runs from Oct. 25 to Feb. 15. There is no season in Westchester.

Batcheller said five bobcats were taken last year in Putnam. Dutchess County, with its mix of farms and forest, saw 48 bobcats taken.

Depending on market prices, he said, a pelt in good condition could be worth $20 to $40.


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Bridges across German motorway will provide crossing for lynxes, other wildlife

Niemegk: Hilfe für Luchs und Fuchs
Wildbrücken über die Autobahn Berlin-Leipzig

29.12.2009 · NIEMEGK (dpa/bb) Zwei neue Autobahnbrücken werden von August 2010 an über die A 9 Berlin-Leipzig bei Niemegk und Beelitz entstehen.

Sie sollen allerdings nicht von Menschen sondern von Tieren genutzt werden. Die 50 Meter breiten und bewachsenen Brücken ermöglichen es Tieren wie Wölfen, Luchsen oder Elchen, ungefährdet die Autobahn zu überqueren.

Die beiden Brücken sind Bestandteil des geplanten Wildkorridors von der Oder bis zum Fläming. Mit ihm sollen Wildtiere wieder geschlossenere Lebensräume erhalten.

Dafür werden allein bei Niemegk bis zu fünf Millionen Euro investiert. Das Projekt der Stiftung Naturlandschaften Brandenburg wird aus dem Konjunkturprogramm II der Bundesrepublik finanziert. Aus diesem sollen insgesamt 450 Millionen Euro aufgewendet werden, um die Vernetzung der Lebensräume an Autobahnen zu fördern.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chile: Home of rare South American wild cats named to list of national monuments

Tres nuevos lugares pasan a engrosar lista de monumentos nacionales 24/11/2009 12:09

SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov 24 (UPI) -- El Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales aprobó la incorporación de un asentamiento urbano característico de la explotación del carbón en Coronel, un centro ritual y de salud indígena cercano a Futrono (Región de los Ríos) y una antigua estación ferroviaria en Talca, a la lista de patrimonio protegido.

Las resoluciones del Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales aprobaron declarar Zona Típica a la localidad de Puchoco Schwager, asentamiento urbano industrial característico de la explotación del carbón, en la comuna de Coronel; Monumento Histórico a la Estación Ferroviaria de Mercedes, en Talca; Monumento Histórico al Centro Ritual y de Salud de Hueinahue, en la comuna de Futrono. Además, se preciso la aprobación para declarar Santuario de la Naturaleza al predio Altos de Cantillana, en el sector montañoso de la provincia de Melipilla.

En el primer caso, Puchoco Schwager está conformado por instalaciones industriales y urbanas características del modelo de asentamiento conocido como Company Town, donde la vida comunitaria se desarrollaba en torno a la actividad minera. Como tal fue escenario de las primeras manifestaciones obreras del siglo XX, entre ellas las largas huelgas de 1920 y 1960.

La mayoría de sus edificios fueron proyectados en la década de los años 50, como los colectivos habitacionales 'Cholín' el hospital, el retén y la parroquia, considerados expresiones representativas del desarrollo industrial de la minería del carbón. Su principal diseñador fue el arquitecto Hernán Vega, contratado por la empresa Schwager.

En cuanto al Centro Ritual y de Salud de Huaeinauhue, está emplazado en terrenos de la comunidad indígena Bernardino Vera Pichilguen, y conformado por un sector de guillatún (ceremonial), pozos termales y bosques aledaños. Sus baños han sido utilizados por generaciones inmemoriales para la cura, el control y tratamiento de enfermedades.

La comunidad le asigna el valor espiritual de Lahuentuwe, que expresa en mapudungun, "lugar de sanación de enfermedades o donde las plantas brindan alivio a las dolencias de las personas".

Respecto al tercer sitio, ser trata de la antigua Estación Mercedes, que formó parte del ramal ferroviario que conectó la ciudad de Talca con la localidad de Mariposas entre 1900 y 1971. El lugar es parte de la identidad local. Actualmente es sede social, biblioteca, sala de reuniones y alberga a instalaciones de televisión y radio locales. Durante 2005 fue restaurada con el apoyo del Programa Chile Barrios.

Respecto de Altos de Cantillana, el Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales preciso el área declarada Santuario de la Naturaleza, limitándola 2.743 hectáreas, lo que excluye una porción de terreno actualmente involucrado en un proceso de revisión de límites. El predio se ubica en la zona de mayor valor ecológico del Sitio Prioritario para la Conservación de la Biodiversidad 'Cordón de Cantillana'.

El 40 por ciento de su flora es endémica, o sea, sólo puede encontrase en ese lugar. La riqueza de su fauna incluye especies propias de la región: lagarto gruñidor de valeria, endémico y en peligro; sapito de cuatro ojos y sapo arriero, endémicos y en peligro; torcaza, loro tricahue y choroy, todas en peligro; cóndor, vulnerable; gato colocolo, güiña y puma, en peligro; quique, en estado vulnerable; zorros culpeo y zorro chilla, yaca, vizcacha y ratón chinchilla, especie endémica.

De acuerdo a la Ley de Monumentos Nacionales, cualquier persona, puede solicitar una declaración de Zona Típica, Monumento Histórico o Santuario de la Naturaleza. Los antecedentes son revisados por la comisión respectiva del Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, la que emite un informe que luego es presentado ante el pleno del Consejo que finalmente aprueba o deniega. La declaración de monumento nacional se realiza en forma expresa mediante un Decreto Exento del Ministerio de Educación y es válida una vez publicada en el Diario Oficial


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Florida: Record number of panthers killed by vehicles in 2009

* Posted December 29, 2009 at 2:30 p.m.

Naples — Florida panthers are closing out 2009 with an unfortunate distinction.

Just three days before the end of the year, state wildlife officials have announced that a 16th panther died in a vehicle collision — making this the deadliest year on record for panthers on the roadways.

The female panther was found dead Tuesday on S.R. 29 just south of Interstate 75 on the shoulder of the northbound lane. That portion of roadway did not have any fencing, according to a notice from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The panther, estimated at 4 years old, weighed 80 pounds, had no microchip, and no kink or cowlick — both signs of inbreeding. The carcass, which had been scavenged by other wildlife, will be stored for an eventual necropsy, but no cause of definitive death has been announced yet.

The death is also the third in Collier County in as many weeks, with a 15th panther found dead after a vehicle collision Dec. 23, 14 miles east of I-75 on Corkscrew Road, which brought panther roadkills to the same record set in 2007. That panther, a male, was estimated to be 3 years old and weighed 148 pounds, but did not have a tracking collar or microchip identification.

The week before, a 14th panther was found dead Dec. 18 on I-75.

"Certainly, it is a sad milestone," Ferraro said. "We did put out a news release last week to encourage folks to pay attention to those panther speed zones. We’re asking folks to slow down and obey the posted speed limit, and remember that this is an endangered species and there are only 100 left in the wild."

In the past 20 years, the Florida panther population has been on the rebound from 30 cats living in the wild, though panther roadkill deaths have also steadily increased in the past decade.

In all, 23 Florida panthers have died in the wild in 2009. Three deaths were ruled the result of fights with other panthers, two causes of death remain unknown, one was shot in Big Cypress Mitigation Bank, and two deaths, including a vehicle death, remain under investigation. That one vehicle death is being investigated because officials determined the head of that panther had been removed after it died.

Connect with reporter Leslie Williams Hale at


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Afghanistan military escalation bad sign for snow leopards, other wildlife

Afghanistan Escalation a Bad Sign for the Country's Environment

Monday 28 December 2009

by: Joshua Frank, t r u t h o u t | Report

Shipping off 30,000 more troops to the land of the Taliban may be infuriating to devoted antiwar activists, but the toll the Afghanistan war is having on the environment should also force nature lovers into the streets in protest.

Natural habitat in Afghanistan has endured decades of struggle, and the War on Terror has only escalated the destruction. The lands most afflicted by warfare are home to critters that most Westerners only have a chance to observe behind cages in our city zoos: gazelles, cheetahs, hyenas, Turanian tigers and snow leopards among others.

Afghanistan's National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA), which was formed in 2005 to address environmental issues, has listed a total of 33 species on its Endangered list. By the end of this year, NEPA's list may grow to over 80 species of plants and animals.

In 2003, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released its evaluation of Afghanistan's environmental issues. Titled "Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment," the UNEP report claimed that war and long-standing drought "have caused serious and widespread land and resource degradation, including lowered water tables, desiccation of wetlands, deforestation and widespread loss of vegetative cover, erosion, and loss of wildlife populations."

Ammunition dumps, cluster bombs, B-52 bombers and land mines, which President Obama refuses to ban, serve as the greatest threat to the country's rugged natural landscape and the biodiversity it cradles.

The increasing number of Afghanis that are being displaced because of military conflict, UNEP's report warned, has compounded all of these problems. It was a sobering estimation. However, it was an analysis that should not come as much of a surprise: warfare kills not only humans, but life in general.

As bombs fall, civilians are not the only ones put at risk, and the lasting environmental impacts of the war may not be known for years, perhaps decades, to come.

For example, birds are killed and sent off their migratory course. Literally tens of thousands of birds leave Siberia and Central Asia to find their winter homes to the south. Many of these winged creatures have traditionally flown through Afghanistan to the southeastern wetlands of Kazakhstan, but their numbers have drastically declined in recent years.

Endangered Siberian cranes and two protected species of pelicans are the most at risk, say Pakistani ornithologists who study the area. The war's true impact on these species is not yet known, but President Obama's escalating of the combat effort in the country is not a hopeful sign.

Back in 2001, Dr. Oumed Haneed, who monitors bird migration in Pakistan, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that the country had typically witnessed thousands of ducks and other wildfowl migrating through Afghanistan to Pakistan.

Yet, once the US began its bombing campaigns, few birds were to be found.

"One impact may be directly the killing of birds through bombing, poisoning of the wetlands or the sites which these birds are using," said Haneed, who works for Pakistan's National Council for Conservation of Wildlife. "Another impact may be these birds are derouted, because their migration is very precise. They migrate in a corridor and if they are disturbed through bombing, they might change their route."

Intense fighting throughout Afghanistan, especially in the White Mountains, where the US has hunted bin Laden, have been hit the hardest. While the difficult-to-access ranges may serve as safe havens for alleged al-Qaeda operatives, the Tora Bora caves and steep topography also provide refuge for bears, Marco Polo sheep, gazelles and mountain leopards.

Every missile that is fired into these vulnerable mountains could potentially kill any of these treasured animals, all of which are on the verge of becoming extinct.

"The same terrain that allows fighters to strike and disappear back into the hills has also, historically, enabled wildlife to survive," Peter Zahler of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) told New Scientist at the onset of the Afghanistan invasion.

But Zahler, who helped to open a field office for WCS in Kabul in 2006, also warned that not only are these animals at risk from bombing, they are also at risk of being killed by refugees. For instance, a snow leopard, whose endangered population in the country is said to be fewer than 100, can score $2,000 on the black market for snow leopard fur. That money in turn can help these displaced Afghanis pay for safe passage into Pakistan.

Bombings, however, while having an initial direct impact, are really only the beginning of the dilemma.

As Zahler recently told Truthout, "The story in Afghanistan is not the actual fighting - it's the side effects - habitat destruction, uncontrolled poaching, that sort of thing."

Afghanistan has faced nearly 30 years of unfettered resource exploitation, even prior to the most recent war. This has led to a collapse of government systems and has displaced millions of people, all of which has led to the degradation of the country's habitat on a vast scale.

Forests have been ravaged to provide short-term energy and building supplies for refugees. Many of the country's arid grasslands have also been overgrazed and wildlife killed.

"Eventually the land will be unfit for even the most basic form of agriculture," explained Hammad Naqi of the World Wide Fund for Nature in Pakistan. "Refugees - around four million at the last count [in 2001] - are also cutting into forests for firewood."

In early 2001, during the initial attacks, the BBC reported that the United States had been carpet bombing Afghanistan in numerous locations.

John Stufflebeem, deputy director of operations for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the time that B-52 aircraft were carpet bombing targets "all over the country, including Taliban forces in the north.

"We do use [carpet bombing strategies]," said Stufflebeem. "We have used it and will use it when we need to."

If Obama opts to carpet bomb, which the White House denies it will implement, this could lead to even further environmental problems and increase the already high refugee numbers.

Additionally, Pakistani military experts and others have made allegations that the United States has used depleted uranium (DU) shells to target specific targets inside Afghanistan, most notably against the Taliban frontlines in the northern region of the country.

Using DU explosives is not far-fetched for the United States. The US-led NATO air force used DU shells when it struck Yugoslavia in 1999. Once these deadly bombs strike, they rip through their target and then erupt into a toxic cloud of fire. Many medical studies have shown that DU's radioactive vapors are linked to leukemia, blood cancer, lung cancer and birth defects.

"As US and NATO forces continue pounding Afghanistan with cruise missiles and smart bombs, people acquainted with the aftermaths of two recent previous wars fought by the US fear, following the Gulf and Balkan war syndromes, the Afghan War Syndrome," wrote Dr. Ali Ahmed Rind in the Baltimore Chronicle in 2001. "This condition is marked by a state of vague aliments and carcinomas, and is linked with the usage of Depleted Uranium (DU) as part of missiles, projectiles and bombs in the battlefield."

France, Italy and Portugal have asked NATO to halt DU use, yet the Pentagon still does not admit that DU is harmful or that it has used such bombs during its assaults in the country.

Afghanistan's massive refugee crisis, lack of governmental stability, and extreme poverty, coupled with polluted water supplies, drought, land mines and excessive bombings, all contribute to the country's intense environmental predicament.

Experts seem to unanimously agree, there simply is no such thing as environmentally friendly warfare.


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Presence of rare Japanese wild cat confirmed for first time in decades on island

Leopard cat found for 1st time in decades on Tsushima's lower island


A rare leopard cat has been found for the first time on the lower island of Tsushima, in Nagasaki Prefecture, directly confirming their existence there for the first time in more than two decades, conservation officers said Tuesday.


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Colorado: Pet dog killed by skinny, young mountain lion

Cougar kills dog in Gypsum

Wildlife officer says mountain lion may have been sick or starving

Derek Franz

Gypsum, CO Colorado

GYPSUM, Colorado — Tara Haymond woke up at 2 a.m. Sunday to the sound of Bubba, her 150-pound Great Pyrenees dog, crying.

"I thought I better tell him to be quiet so he wouldn't bother the neighbor," she said.

She opened the sliding door next to the bed and discovered a mountain lion on top of Bubba.

"There is nothing in anybody that would prepare them to find that," she said.

The 47-year-old grabbed a shotgun but couldn't find ammunition, so she started hitting the cougar with the gun.

"The cat didn't even flinch," she said. "Then I realized the cat might hurt me so I stopped. I guess I might be lucky in that way."

Her husband was home and she also called a neighbor and Eagle County Sheriff's deputies to the scene, which is near the Sky Legend neighborhood at Gypsum's Cotton Ranch development.

The cougar was still on the dog when they arrived and didn't move until the sheriff fired on it several times, Haymond said.

Bubba was still suffering, however, so the sheriff put him down as well at the owners' request.

The deputy was unavailable for comment.

According to John Grove with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the mountain lion was young — about nine months to a year old — and it was very skinny. Probably it was sick or starving or both, which could result in such atypical behavior as attacking an animal in a populated area. Since this was an anomaly, residents shouldn't be overly worried about any more "aggressive" animals in the area, Grove said.

The town of Gypsum is encouraging residents to be alert for future mountain lion encounters.

The large cats are considered to be nocturnal animals, so it is ideal for dogs, house cats and other domestic animals to be brought inside from dusk until dawn. Additionally, small children should not be left alone outside after dark and should not be left to play outside in more remote areas at any time.

Though the number of mountain lion/human interactions has increased in recent years, the number of fatal attacks on humans remains very small. There have been less than two dozen fatal attacks in the last 100 years. Most of the attacks were by young lions, forced to hunt on their own. Young mountain lions may key in on easy prey, such as pets and small children. They can be attracted to pet food and trash left outside, especially in cold temperatures.

Haymond feels that residents in her area should've been more vigilant about alerting each other to possible danger.

"A little advance notice could've prevented this," she said. "I believe it's really important that neighbors tell each other when they see a cougar in their driveway. People had known the cat was around and didn't say anything. There are kids in the area. Fortunately this [victim] was a four-legged kid and not a two-legged one. If I had known I might've had a round in my shotgun."

Haymond is also appreciative of the neighborhood's show of love for her dog, which she described as sweet and shy.

"Everyone — the whole neighborhood — happened to show up at just the right time and we buried him," she said.

Besides Bubba, Haymond and her husband also have three dogs and three cats, but the third cat has been missing for a few days.

Haymond expressed despair.

"I felt hopeless when I couldn't find any bullets, utterly hopeless," she said. "And I still feel hopeless."


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Utah: Juvenile mountain shot after killing pet

Mountain Lion Shot after Killing Family Dog

Aaron Vaughn Web Content Producer

10:40 PM MST, December 28, 2009

PEOA, Utah - Elain Jorgenson walked outside her house to feed her dog only to discover her 11-year-old Yorkshire Terrier mauled to death, bloodied and in nearly an unrecognizable state. She turned around and took two steps back to find a Mountain Lion hissing at her. Reeling in shock, she turned and ran into the house calling out her husband. "So I'm yelling at him 'please get the gun'; he shoots it, we call 911 to let them know what happened."

The couple is from Peoa, a small town just northeast of Park City, nestled in the mountains.

Wildlife experts call this an isolated incident, but warn those to be safe and try to keep pets inside as much as possible this winter.

"This situation was a young juvenile cat, first winter on its own in my estimation...looking for food in the winter," Jorgenson says.,0,61337.story


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Monday, December 28, 2009

In one day, three leopards die in same western Indian district

In one day, three leopards die in Junagadh

TNN 27 December 2009, 05:03am IST

AHMEDABAD: In yet another case of infighting among big cats in Gir, a leopard was killed by a lion on the outskirts of Dalkhaniya village in Gir west recently. Officials said, the reason of the fight could not be ascertained.

In two more unnatural deaths of the spotted beast, a leopard was run over by a train while crossing an unmanned railway crossing near Gadu village in Junagadh district on Saturday.

In another case, a five-year-old female leopard was electrocuted to death in Varsinghar village of Una taluka in Junagadh district on Saturday morning. The animal got the electric shock after coming in contact with a transformer in an unused mine, sources said.

About the fight between a lion and leopard, officials said: "It could be that the lion had made an attempt to scare another big cat away. Instead, this led to a fight between the two," officials said. Range forest officer A D Atara, said pug marks and injuries on the leopard, suggest a lion was the killer.

The incident, however, gave senior forest officials a chance to reiterate their claim that just like leopard and lion cannot stay together, a tiger and lion cannot survive together in Kuno Palpur in Madhya Pradesh.


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Leopard dies in vehicle-hit on highway in northern India


Jammu, Dec 28 (PTI) A leopard died on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway after being hit by a vehicle at Banihal, about 200 kms from here today.

State wildlife officials said the carcass was found on the highway in Ramban district with multiple injury marks.


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Spanish lynx stronghold considered one of world's best national park

December 19, 2009

The world's best national parks

Sixty years ago Britain followed America's example and created its first national parks. Simon Barnes reveals his favourites

A national park is like the Tardis: bigger than the space it occupies. This is true of all the 113,000 national parks across the world, parks that occupy 12.9 per cent of the Earth's landmass, that cover a larger area than all the croplands of the world and that are 18 times larger than the combined urban landscapes of the entire planet.

A national park is not just a space. It is a space that is guaranteed by the highest competent authority of the country in which it lies. A national park is irrefutable, immutable, irrevocable. It's almost as if God had taken direct control.

This is the 60th anniversary of national parks in this country. The Act of Parliament that made them possible was passed in 1949, and Lewis Silkin, the Minister for Town and Country Planning, said that it was "the most exciting act of the postwar parliament". A big statement: and within two years, big things were happening.

The Peak District became a national park in 1951 and was the first. It was followed the same year by the Lake District, Snowdonia and Dartmoor — quintessential British wilderness: dramatic, rugged, imposing. They are part of the meaning of Britain: without them, Britain would be unthinkable. That is what national park means: something immense, and not merely in acreage.

We now have more than 4,000 miles of traffic-free cycle routes - so it's about time you tried one

There are now ten national parks in England, three in Wales and three in Scotland. The most recent was designated this year, as the South Downs National Park rose like Venus from a sea of bureaucratic impediment and financial obstructionism.

You probably thought that it was a national park all along. It has always felt that way. Now, its proud new designation makes it as safe as a piece of paper can. A national park is something that a government, that a nation, dare not destroy.

Britain, so proud of its pioneering in so many walks of life — railways, poetry, football — was rather behind the pace when it came to national parks. In 1832 Andrew Jackson, the President of the United States, set aside four pieces of land around Hot Springs in Arkansas. The world's first official and undeniable national park was established in the US in 1872: Yellowstone.

Where Yogi Bear led the way, Britain was to follow three generations later; mind you, you can argue that this is where the American record on conservation peaked. The notion of protecting substantial areas of land at the highest possible level of secular power has subsequently been followed all over the world.

I seem to have spent an awful lot of my life in national parks. It is there that you are most likely to get something increasingly hard to find: a feeling of immensity. The parks are perhaps the only places left where human beings can feel humble: they are worth preserving for that reason alone.

In a national park it is easy to come to terms with the fundamental truth of life: that humans are one species of animal among many. We are not alone. We are simply an aspect of biodiversity, one more part of the natural order.

Shall I tell you about the time I walked straight into a huge black-maned lion in the South Luangwa National Park, about the snarl that almost liquefied my gut, about the eyes that riveted me to the ground? It was then that I felt an ancient survival mechanism cut in. I didn't run. I stood unmoving, and looked the lion in the face, not from choice, certainly not from courage, but because every muscle had locked. And after a lifetime pause, the lion backed down.

This atavistic reaction saved me. If I had run, the lion would have pursued me as a cat pursues a mouse. As it was, the lion, displeased and sleepy, was content to slouch away to a spot where he wouldn't be disturbed.

But I knew something profound in that moment, because I wasn't just in a situation of danger. I was in a situation of edibility. How bizarre it is: we think that there is something unnatural about a maneater, that a creature that eats humans is somehow violating the natural order. It does the exact opposite. The edibility of humans confirms the natural order.

Humans have been eaten for millennia: to be in a position in which it is possible to become a meal yourself is the most powerful way of being reminded of that simple fact. This moment — brought about by my own illegal and unsupervised activity, I should emphasise — told me all I needed to know about the human's traditional place in the natural economy of the soil.

We have created our national parks out of loss. There would be no need to list them and protect them with hoops of paper steel if we hadn't destroyed so many other vast and wonderful places. Our understanding of the value and importance of wild places come directly from destruction.

The Romantic movement walked hand in hand with industrialisation. The more we destroyed, the more we loved what was left. William Wordsworth said that the Lake District was "a sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy".

Wordsworth's own country woke up to that notion more than a century later. In the 20th century, demand for access to the vast and special place was growing. There was a mass trespass of Kinder Scout in the Peak District in 1932 that showed the strength of feeling. After the Second World War it was inevitable that even a nation as obsessed with property and privacy as our own would have to come to terms with the need for special places held in common.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists and defines the notion of the national park: a minimum of 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres), an ecosystem not materially affected by humans and protected by the highest possible authority. This was summed up by Achim Steiner, the UN Under-Secretary-General: "Protected areas are not a luxury and their value lies outside the economy."

There are many flaws in the concept of national park. It is easy to make what is called a paper park: one that looks good on the map but has no meaning on the ground, no staff to maintain and protect it and to stop humans from encroaching on and destroying it. There are problems of poaching for meat, for ivory, for rhino horn. There are problems with invasive species, illegal logging, every kind of abuse.

But the national parks exist, and their destruction would shame any government and any nation that permitted it. The national park is a way in which a nation holds itself to ransom and says: we stand by this piece of land, this piece of wilderness. National parks have their problems, but they exist on the right side of a line drawn in the sand. It's the rest of the world we need to worry about. And once we have destroyed that, how much longer can the national parks stand firm?

National parks: my personal top ten

1 South Luangwa, Zambia I left a piece of my heart there years ago, and have to go back every now and then to find it. I have walked with lion and elephant, watched leopards hunt and drunk beer with carmine bee-eaters.

2 Kaziranga, India One of the wonders of the world, washed by the Bramaputra river. A few weeks ago I was there gazing at a vista of 250 hog deer, 42 buffalo and 11 Asian one-horned rhinos.

3 Gal Oya, Sri Lanka The place that really opened my eyes to the wild world: a boat ride across a dramatic drowned landscape with a million water birds and distant elephant.

4 Coto Doñana, Spain Step out of modern Europe into an impossible ancientness, a place jumping with fallow deer, wild boar and flamingo. Also home to the world's most endangered big cat, the Iberian lynx.

5 Serengeti, Tanzania I was there once for the great migration: as staggering a sight as the planet has to offer. Wildebeest milled round a waterhole like passengers at a Tube station, and practised immense military manoeuvres on the open plain.

6 Corbett, India A place of dramatic and plunging landscapes where you expect to meet Mowgli at every step — and where I encountered Shere Khan: a tiger, thrillingly seen from an elephant's back.

7 Taman Negara, Malaysia This was my first experience of rainforest: the classic cathedral forest of distant canopy filled with mysterious sounds and the glorious gloom of the paths between the buttressed trees.

8 Kafue, Zambia Up on the Busanaga Plain, a nightly stand-off between antelope and lion, and a certainty that some of the antelope would die. A fraught and terrible place.

9 Lvysoke Tatry, Slovakia Europe untamed: an atavistic landscape, a trip cut short when I fell off one of the mountains, but before that the tracking and the encounter with bear.

10 Lake District, UK A revelation of drama: an instant feeling of specialness, of privilege. You enter such a place and you can believe that there are limits to the human will for destruction.


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DNA helping to unlock snow leopards' secrets

DNA: A Key to Unlock the Secrets of an Elusive Cat

Advances in genetics have resulted in a valuable new technique to estimate snow leopard populations. This is done by analyzing the DNA from samples of wild snow leopard scat and shed hairs that are collected in the field.

The Trust has been working with Dr. Lisette Waits of the Laboratory for Ecological and Conservation Genetics at the University of Idaho to apply this technique to snow leopards. Her lab is currently analyzing 85 samples of wild snow leopard scat collected as part of recent Trust-sponsored projects in China and the Kyrgyz Republic. Recently, Dr. Waits took some time out to answer our questions about how this cutting-edge science works.

* How does genetic analysis help answer questions about snow leopard populations?

First, it helps determine the presence or absence of snow leopards in a particular area. Second, it enables us to identify individual snow leopards, and as a result get a count of the snow leopards in that area. Finally, it helps answer broader questions about snow leopard populations, including the genetic health and diversity, and the migration and breeding patterns of populations.

* How is snow leopard DNA different from human DNA?

There is a smaller difference than you might expect. Less than 15% of the snow leopard’s DNA di.ers from that of humans. This is why many of the human genetic analysis techniques that have been developed in recent years can also be applied to analyze snow leopards and other species.

DNA from domestic cats is even closer to snow leopards. So in addition to techniques used in human DNA analysis, data from the Feline Genome project at the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the National Cancer Institute has been extremely helpful in our genetic analysis of snow leopards.

* Are there differences in testing snow leopard samples versus other species you study?

Basically we use the same lab protocols testing snow leopard samples as we do for other carnivore species. But since there is less genetic diversity in snow leopard populations, it is more challenging to identify individual snow leopards from the genetic material.

* Is it possible to test snow leopard hair?

Yes, it is definitely possible to test shed snow leopard hairs. But for the current project we are only working with scat samples. At my lab we have done DNA analysis on hairs from a variety of species, including several species of bears. In addition to hairs, we have even been able to analyze DNA from molted parrot feathers. Scat contains much less DNA material than a genetic sample of multiple hairs hairs. But, it is much easier to find snow leopard scat samples than hair samples.

* What is the progress on the current snow leopard samples at your lab?

So far we have extracted the DNA from the snow leopard scat samples we have, and have done a first screen of 20 samples using a species identi.cation test. The point of the test is to confirm which samples are truly from snow leopards, and those we will be able to use for additional testing, such as identifying individual snow leopards. We have been able to amplify DNA and determine the species from 100% of these initial samples, which is a promising result. In this group of 20 scats, we found 12 snow leopards, plus foxes, martens, and one wolf. After completing species identifcation on all scats, the snow leopard samples will be analyzed to determine how many unique individuals were sampled.


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Mine expansion proposed in Florida panther habitat

Rock mine expansion proposed for panther habitat in west Broward
Environmentalists fear for panther habitat

By David Fleshler, Sun Sentinel

4:20 AM EST, December 28, 2009


The Seminole Tribe has applied for a permit to expand a rock mine in a remote corner of northwest Broward County, in a proposal that could generate opposition from environmentalists concerned about the Florida panther.

The tribe has asked the Army Corps of Engineers for permission to destroy 198 acres of wetlands to mine limestone on its Big Cypress Reservation, a place of pastures, forests and wetlands where panthers hunt deer, hogs and other prey.

The rock would be used mainly to rebuild a bridge, widen shoulders and make other safety improvements to Snake Road, a notoriously dangerous road that winds through the reservation. But the project could face a fight from conservationists concerned about the construction of housing developments, roads and other developments in the endangered cat's shrinking habitat.

"The panther is getting squeezed," said Matthew Schwartz, Everglades chairman of the Broward Group of the Sierra Club, who has led hikes through the area and seen panther tracks. "Each development may not be the final nail in the coffin, but it's the cumulative impact. It's not just the rock mine, it's the residential development on the western side of Big Cypress."

The rock mine is within the area used by panthers to hunt deer and other game, Schwartz said, and it serves as a travel corridor connecting the important panther habitat of Big Cypress National Preserve to the forested public game lands of western Broward and Palm Beach counties.

"The mine in and of itself is a small footprint, but it does bring human disturbance into the area," Schwartz said. "It just makes it that much harder for panthers to use that habitat and use it as a travel corridor."

The Army Corps of Engineers plans to seek an opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the likely impact on the panther. But many environmentalists have little faith in the government's willingness to stop or restrict projects that could threaten the endangered cat.

Several environmental groups this month filed 60-day notices of plans to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to designate critical habitat for the panther, a requirement under the Endangered Species Act. The proposed rock mine expansion would fall within the area for which they are seeking protection. The groups include the Sierra Club, Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and Center for Biological Diversity.

Ken Warren, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said radio-collared panthers have been recorded in the general area of the mine, but that the wildlife service just received a copy of the application and can't yet comment on its possible impact on the panther.

Although rock mining typically involves blasting, no explosives will be used for this one, according to the Corps of Engineers. Using a backhoe, the tribe's workers would mine in strips 20 feet deep, 200 feet wide and 2,195 feet long, leaving behind rock pit lakes. To mitigate the loss of wetlands, a federal requirement, they have proposed making improvements to 736 acres of existing wetlands on the west side of the reservation, which the tribe says will enhance habitat for panthers and endangered wood storks.

Gary Bitner, spokesman for the tribe, said the mine is needed to make safety improvements to the two-lane road that runs through tribal land.

"Much of the fill will be used to build up the soft shoulders of the road, which has claimed many lives over the past several decade," he said in an e-mail.

David Fleshler can be reached at or 954-356-4535.,0,6254643.story


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Old guards, rusty guns hit anti-poaching drive

Old guards, rusty guns hit anti-poaching drive

10 foresters ailing, 22 posts lying vacant in Orang national park, says wildlife board

Monday , December 28 , 2009

Guwahati, Dec. 27: Age here is a big bar.

The over-aged forest guards of Orang Rajiv Gandhi National Park, most of whom are older than the oldest living rhino in the national park, are perceived as a major handicap in the anti-poaching activities.

A life span of a rhino is about 35-40 years.

This point has been mentioned in a report prepared by the National Wildlife Board, which was set up to study the cause of increasing rhino poaching and tiger poisoning at the smallest rhino habitat in Assam in recent times.

Sources said of the 57 forest guards at the park at present, 18 have already been declared unfit for service, because of injuries and illness and the average age of the remaining is above 45 years.

In fact, the park authorities have written to Dispur recently to replace the 18 ailing forest guards who are in no condition to take on armed poachers.

The park witnessed the death of six rhinos at the hands of poachers this year. One Royal Bengal tiger has also been poisoned.

The park currently has 65 rhinos.

Stung by the spurt in the poaching at Orang, the Centre has formed a two-member committee to probe into it and invited suggestions to put an end to it.

Sources said it was not only the age factor but shortage of forest guards had also hit the park hard in the anti-poaching drives.

Twenty-two posts of forest guards are lying vacant at present.

The forest department did, however, deploy 68 homeguards in September last year after poachers killed two rhinos and poisoned a tiger the previous month.

The report prepared by the committee also stated that untimely release of funds allotted to the national park was demoralising the employees, which had indirectly let to an increase in poaching activities.

“Homeguards had received their salary after five months in September and the casual workers after eight months. These factors have a demoralising effect on the persons engaged in anti-poaching activities,” the report stated.

While the homeguards help the rangers in anti-poaching drives, the casual workers are mostly engaged in looking after elephants. The elephants are used by the forest guards to patrol inside the park and ferry tourists.

Another factor that was mentioned in the report is that most of the rifles used by the forest guards are old and outdated.

Sources said it was because of this fact that at least four rifles misfired when a group of forest guards engaged in a gun-battle with poachers recently inside the park.

“Although all the five forest guards were armed with .303 rifles and .315 rifles, shots could be fired from only one rifle, the rests were not working,” a highly placed source told The Telegraph today.

At least three poachers escaped.

The park at present has nearly 110 rifles but most of these are old and rusty.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

'Homesick' tiger to be kept under 24x7 surveillance

'Homesick' tiger to be kept under 24x7 surveillance

2009-12-27 16:10:00

The 'homesick' tiger that strayed from Panna tiger reserve and was found in Tendukheda forest region of Madhya Pradesh's Damoh district will now be kept under round-the-clock surveillance, an official said Sunday.

The forest officials have deployed four tracking teams for a 24x7 surveillance of the tiger that had disrupted Madhya Pradesh forest department's plans to encourage tiger breeding in the Panna National Park.

'The step has been taken so that it may not move out again for its original home 400 km away in Pench reserve. Four tracking teams have been constituted to keep watch on its movements round the clock as the 'homing instinct' might drive the tiger once again towards its original habitat,' Panna National Park director R. Sriniwas Murthy said.

The 'homing instinct' is the ability of an animal to perceive direction - beyond the usual human senses. It helps the lost animal to return to its home or owners. According to experts, this ability can be attributed to the animal's sensitivity to the earth's magnetic field.

'The tiger was brought to Panna on Nov 14 to mate with two tigresses translocated to revive the big cat population in Panna but he moved out of the reserve by Nov 25 and remained untraceable for a month, leaving wildlife scientists baffled,' Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) R.S. Negi said.

'It crossed hills, fields, human habitations and rivers and was moving towards his home at Pench before it was located and trapped after being tranquilised.'

Tiger released back in Panna Reserve

Tiger released back in Panna Reserve

Panna Saturday, Dec 26 2009 IST

A young tiger caught in the forests of Damoh district was today relased back in the Panna Tiger Reserve after being brought here last night.

The tiger had ventured out of the Panna Tiger Reserve on November 26 and wandered for nearly a month in the forests of Damoh, Chhatarpur and Sagar districts before being caught by the forest officials yesterday.

Panna Tiger Reserve Regional Director R Sriniwas Murthy told UNI that about 30 police personnel besides another 40 officials and employees of the State Forest Department were involved in the task to catch the tiger in the forests of Tendukheda in Damoh district.

He said a team of wildlife experts and veterinarians helped tranquilize the tiger and bring it back to the Reserve.

The task was aided by four elephants that surrounded the tiger.

''The tiger is healthy and is wandering in the Panna Reserve now.

The big cat venturing out of the reserve is once again not ruled out. As a result, four separate teams have been formed in the Reserve to keep a track of the tiger,'' Mr Murthy added.

2 tuskers poached near Bangalore

2 tuskers poached near Bangalore

Jayashree Nandi, TNN 27 December 2009, 03:40am IST

BANGALORE: Two adult elephants were shot dead on Saturday in the Kaglipura range of Bannerghatta National Park, and the tusks of one removed to be smuggled.

A one-and-half year old tiger cub was also found dead on Saturday morning at the Moleyur (Bandipur) tiger reserve, most likely due to territorial conflict with another tiger.

Additional principal chief conservator of forests, B K Singh told STOI: "We have commenced investigations and are documenting all deaths. We will initiate action soon."

The PCCF visited the Moleyur reserve to probe the tigress' death. "It is not foul play. The tigress has wound marks on her face, between her hind limbs and on her back. It is a case of territorial fight," he said. Local representatives from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) also inspected the spot.

Singh will be visiting Bannerghatta National Park on Sunday to investigate the elephant deaths.

During one of his recent inspections in Kollegal, he found people drawing live wires from the main power line of about 440 volts, and fencing their land to avoid elephants from straying inside.

It's a grim year-end for the state's wildlife. In July, the state lost four tigers in two months — a huge loss when seen in the light of the declining national figures. However, three of the four recent cases of tiger deaths in Karnataka were due to fights amongst each other.

Again, a two-year old tigress was tranquillized and captured in one of the reserves and relocated to Bhadra tiger reserve on June 4, but it did not regain consciousness due to an overdose of the tranquillizer.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tiger dies of starvation in Corbett reserve

Tiger dies of starvation in Corbett reserve

Prithviraj Singh Dehradun
Friday, December 18, 2009

An 11-year old tigress died of starvation in Corbett park on Wednesday, forest officials informed the media on Thursday. Carcass of the big cat was discovered at Sarpduli range of the tiger reserve near Ramganga River. The Wednesday incident has raised the big cats’ death toll to nine in Uttarakhand this year.

“Apparently the tigress died natural death as it had grown older and was unable to hunt prey. This was evident from the fact that dead female big cat had lost its canines,” informed Corbett park executive director Kapil Joshi.

The forest official also corrected their earlier statement in which it was claimed that the reason for a tiger’s death on Sunday was a territorial fight. The sources said that the tiger had died of cancer. This was confirmed in the post-mortem report handed over to the Corbett park director.

Corbett park executive director Kapil Joshi said: “Initially it appeared from external injuries that the tiger died in a territorial fight but post-mortem report confirmed that it died of cardiac arrest owing to cancer. Almost four litres of blood was extracted from cavity in its stomach during post-mortem,” informed Joshi.

Bornean clouded leopards have largest teeth of any known living cat

10 Remarkable Monsters Named in the Last Ten Years [Monsters Among Us]

Dec. 24, 2009

We know that real monsters walk, slither, and crawl among us, and each year we learn more about the amazing creatures from Earth's past and present. We look at ten of the more monstrous names we added this decade.

In the last ten years, researchers have discovered thousands of species, both living and extinct. We got dino-eating crocodiles and killer kangaroos; a fish with a transparent head and a demon duck of doom; a bright pink millipede and giant spiders. And previously named species, such as the tongue-eating isopod and the alien-limbed Magnapinna, made headlines.

A few of these species were observed before 2000, but were only named or recognized as species in the last ten years. And each has some wonderfully monstrous quality, be it their incredible size, arsenal of offensive or defensive weapons, or knack for survival.

A Big Cat With Bite: The Bornean Clouded Leopard, which was found to be a new species in 2007 (though it had been observed long before), may not look like much at first. It may weigh in at a mere 55 pounds, putting it on the small side for a big cat , but it has the largest teeth of any known cat alive. It has even been described as the modern answer to the Sabertooth Tiger.

The Largest Snake to Slither the Earth: If South America's giant Anacondas make you quiver, be grateful that Titanoboa cerrejonensis has been dead for two million years. This prehistoric constrictor grew up to 50 feet in length and weighed in at a whopping 2500, the largest snake ever found. And its favorite food? Crocodiles. I can only imagine the digestive system on that thing.

Incidentally, this decade also saw the discovery of the smallest known snake, the Barbados Threadsnake.

Fanged Frogs: 2009 was a big year for frogs with teeth. Fanged frogs turned up in the Mount Bosavi crater in Papua New Guinea, where strange and wondrous new species are being discovered all the time. But even more monstrous are the Limnonectes megastomias, recently discovered in Thailand. This amphibian has been known to use its fangs in deadly combat, dismembering its froggy opponents. On top of that, when a bird swoops near, L. megastomias will snap and turn it into a tasty feast.

Sea Monsters of the Ancient Deep: Paleontologists digging in the Arctic Svalbard islands uncovered what they believe to be a new species of pliosaur, one with a skull twice as large as a Tyrannosaurus rex's. Its teeth were 12 inches long (with a bite four times as strong as T. Rex's), and is 15-meter-long body weighed an estimated 45 tons. That would make this Jurassic beast considerably larger than any pliosaur previously discovered.

Beware the Box: Giant jellyfish are a sight to behold, but it's the diminutive Malo kingi that you'll really want to avoid. The jelly gets its name, tragically, from its first known victim, Robert King, an American tourist swimming off the Queensland coast in 2002. Some researchers believe kingi venom is among the most toxic in the world.

A Rat as Big as a Cow: They just don't make rodents like they used to. Josephoartigasia monesi weighed around a ton - dwarfing the modern capybara - and had enormous incisors that rival a beaver's wood shredding teeth. Those incisors came in hand when fending off predatory birds and Sabertooth Tigers, though this largest of the rodents snacked on fruits and vegetables.

Mammal-Eating Plants: Pitcher plants are nothing new, but these large, rat-eating veggies added a few species in the last ten years. Naturalist David Attenborough was immortalized in Nepenthes attenboroughii, a new species found in the Philippines. Rodents are attracted to the liquid in the pitchers, then drown when they tumble inside.

A Bug Bigger Than You: In 2007, diggers found giant spiked claw belonging to Jaekelopterus rhenaniae in Prum, Germany. This sea scorpion, which lived 390 million years ago, was an estimated 8.2 meters long and ate anything it could get its claws on - including other scorpions.

Extreme Living, in Your Hairspray: Extremophiles can exist in environments that would kill lesser species - in extreme heat or cold, inside nuclear reactors, or in the void of space. Microbacterium hatanonis, discovered in 2008, chooses an odd environment as its home: in hairspray. It's not clear how the bacterium affects humans, but the discovery adds more information on where and how they can survive.

Bomber Worms: This year, a researcher at Scripps Institute of Oceanography discovered seven new species of sea worms that secrete small globs of fluid that act as biological flash bombs. These bombs glow, distracting predators while the worm slips away. It's only a shame that their defensive bombs can't be weaponized for bonus monster action.

Send an email to Lauren Davis, the author of this post, at


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