Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Small wild cat news for July 2009

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International Society for Endangered Cats Wild Cat News

Vol 23 July 2009

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In this issue
Photo Gallery
New Wildcat Book
Chinese to Curb Desert Rats

Dear Friend,

Wild Cat News has a brand new look! This format is easier to read, easier to produce and is now suitable for printing. Drop us a line and let us know what you think!This month we are featuring one of the least known wild cats in the world. The Chinese Desert Cat Felis bieti is also called the Chinese Mountain Cat, as details on its actual range are still unknown. There are none of these cats known to be in captivity.Read more about these mysterious little wild cats on our website.

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Our Wild Cat Conservation Website
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Photo Gallery

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This adorable little fluffball is a very young Canada lynx, born this spring at the NEW Zoo in Wisconsin. For more baby pics visit this website.

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Wildcat Haven

ISEC Canada is now the North American distributor for Wildcat Haven, an astonishing book about the endangered Scottish Wildcat.One man's extraordinary adventures in raising and releasing no fewer than three litters, two pure wildcat and one hybrid from a domestic male gone wild, are full of incident, at times hilarious, and deeply moving. The runt of Cleo's second litter demolished Mike's last defences by giving him her total trust and affection while fiercely retaining an utterly wild and independent nature, so he became first to 'tame' a wildcat.The author became the custodian of two spitfire kittens, found abandoned in a ditch when only a few weeks old. Even before they were fully weaned they could be approached only with extreme care, usually with thick gauntlets as protection against the ravages of tooth and claw. The kittens were only seven months old when a spitting and snarling ten-year-old tomcat arrived from London Zoo to change all their lives.For more details or to order, visit our website.


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Chinese to Curb 'Desert Rats'

China's authorities have scattered 200kg of rodent contraceptive pellets across the Tibetan plateau to control what they describe as a "plague of desert rats".The growing number of rodents have been blamed for destroying fragile high-altitude grasslands and accelerating the spread of deserts.Biodiversity experts warn, however, that the extermination campaign could worsen the problem of soil degradation and the poisons could damage other parts of the plateau ecosystem.China's chemists custom-designed the drugs to induce abortions and prevent pregnancy in "gerbils", according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. It is possible they are referring to pika, a small cousin of the rabbit with rounded ears and long whiskers that has long been the target of government eradication campaigns.Government workers began spreading the contraceptive in the Gurbantunggut desert last May, leaving it in pellet form near the entrance of burrows. Since then they have reportedly distributed 200kg of the drug over 49,000 hectares in China's western region of Xinjiang. They say the drug will have a minimal impact on other animals."It's a good way to tackle the desert rat plague," local forestry official Du Yuefei was quoted as saying. He claimed populations of the pest have declined almost 10% as a result of the eradication campaign.Pika and other rodents are accused of contributing to China's alarming desertification problem by over-eating grass and digging into the soil.But foreign zoologists say the epidemic of the small mammals is a symptom rather than the cause of grassland degradation, which is mainly the result of human behaviour such as the exploitation of water resources and over-grazing."That the pellets have 'little effect' is highly debatable," said a conservationist who asked for anonymity. "All drugs have an effect when put into a system, on other rodents, on birds of prey that eat the rodents and so forth ... It's business as usual - attack nature and hope for the best."Conservationists say the small animals are an important source of food for bigger species such as [the Pallas' cat above], bears, eagles and leopards, while their burrowing adds to the moisture of the soil.Previous attempts to cull pika numbers, including mass poisoning campaigns and the construction of hundreds of perches for owls and eagles, have failed or had limited success.Source: guardian.co.uk
Thank you for caring about the small wild cats!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada is a non-profit conservation group working for the small wild cats. All proceeds raised go directly to wild cat conservation programs around the world.Wild cats don't have nine lives, and they need all the help they can get. Become an ISEC member, contribute to field research, purchase products or make a donation. Learn how you can participate in wild cat conservation by visiting our website today.Help spread the word - forward this email to a friend with the link below!

Website www.wildcatconservation.org

Email isec@wildcatconservation.org

Phone: 1-800-465-6384
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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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