Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tigers wander near villages in Bengkulu

Tigers wander near villages in Bengkulu

The Jakarta Post,Jakarta Sun, 11/01/2009 11:52 AM National

Local residents in the Bengkulu regencies of Seluma and Kaur have spotted footprints of at least three Sumatran tigers around their villages.

Begkulu nature conservation center official Jaja Mulyana told Antara on Sunday a tiger was believed to wander around Tanjung Aur and Air Bacang villages near a production forest in Kaur regency, which borders the South Bukit Barisan National Park.

Footprints of an adult tiger, believed to be female, and a cub were found in Puguk and Lubuk Resam villages near Semidang Bukit Kabu conservation area in Seluma regency.

A village chief, Sirajudin, said local residents had often spotted a tiger near their farmland recently.

Jaja said the provincial nature conservation agency would not capture the tigers despite the residents’ fear, saying the carnivores had been hunting for their preys there before their habitat was converted into resettlement areas.

Jaja called on the residents to keep their cattle from the forest.

Straying tiger trapped in Gosaba

Straying tiger trapped in Gosaba

TNN 1 November 2009, 06:18am IST

KOLKATA: Sundarban Tigers Reserve officials on Saturday caught a straying tiger at Gosaba's Pirkhali-I village in the Sunderbans. The tiger has been kept under observation and is expected to be released into the wild on Sunday.

Villagers tipped off forest officials about the tiger which, they said, swam across the river and entered the villages of Sonagaon, Mitrabari and Bijoynagar in Bally Island.

Villagers remained tense ever since pug marks of the tiger were spotted. Forest officials then laid a trap for the tiger. Three cages were placed at as many entry points from the river to the jungle to catch the animal.

Early on Saturday, the tiger finally fell into one of the traps. Sundarban Tiger Reserve officials said no tagging or micro-chipping will be done and no tranquilliser will be administered on the tiger.

"The tiger does not have any external injury. It would be kept under observation for 24 hours and then released into the core jungle area, probably by Sunday," an official said.

Save the Big Cat

Save the Big Cat

Published on 2009-10-31 07:26:04

It is a matter of disgrace that people have entered into an era of war with the wild. The declining rates of our endangered species such as the wild tigers, which now number only about 3,500, their prey base and habitat loss is testimony to that fact. Not to forget that at the turn of the century, there were some 100,000 tigers in the jungle. One data has estimated that in Asia alone, the illegal trade in animal parts has now crossed $1 billion, which is only second to arms trafficking. This is then a signal of a pertinent threat that no country – rich or poor – can ignore any longer. Moreover, what is lacking is a political will to save and protect the wild animals, especially those on the verge of extinction, as a result of man’s insatiable greed for money and power.

The four-day Kathmandu World Tiger Workshop, which concluded Friday with a 17-point recommendation, is a beginning in the right direction to save the tiger species and their habitats. Some 20 representatives, including the 14 Tiger Range Countries, have laid down concrete suggestions for the next ministerial meeting ultimately to be taken up by the Bangkok Summit on Tiger Preservation to be attended by head of states. They have called for declaring 2010 as the ‘Year of Tiger,’ develop and strengthen regional cooperation, discourage encroachment through infrastructure development, give community incentives to the poor around forest areas and strengthen law enforcement mechanism against rising poaching activities, among others. These are serious recommendations and demands urgent attention of the world leaders, especially those countries where illegal trafficking in animal parts continue unabated.

Unfortunately, however, the workshop has once again failed to convince China to ban tiger farming, which is considered key in protecting the wild tigers. China has explicitly said that it has too much at stake to give up either breeding or farming. Apparently, medicines produced from tiger parts are sold to over 60 countries from China. It is thus clear that there is now a need for an international convention aided by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to save tigers as even Cambodia, Vietnam and US are said to be taking to tiger farming.

At home, the decision-makers are already faced with a major challenge to give priority to conservation over development and tourism. Although Nepal’s direct contribution to the organized trans-border crime is considered minimum, it is a major hub for killing, storing and transporting of animal parts. Thus, the job to protect the tigers will now be doubly challenging. The government’s much-talked about plan to formulate a high-level crime control bureau, add appropriate resources and technology to fight poaching and mobilize the security agencies in the buffer zones should be implemented at once. If the state remains a silent spectator to the plight of our tigers even now, our future generations will surely see this incredible species only in comic books and movies.

Call to stop infrastructural projects in tiger zone

Call to stop infrastructural projects in tiger zone

Staff Correspondent, Kathmandu
Saturday, October 31, 2009

Representatives from 13 tiger range countries yesterday called for a halt to infrastructure projects in core tiger breeding areas.

They also asked financial institutions to stop financing development projects that adversely affect critical tiger habitats.

The five-day Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop also felt that empowering local communities that live in and around tiger landscapes with alternative livelihood is vital to stop human-tiger conflict. In Bangladesh, such conflict is the main reason for killing of tigers.

The recommendations of the workshop will be carried forward to the ministerial meeting on tigers to be held in Thailand in January where nations will commit to work for tiger conservation.

The workshop also stressed strict protection of wild tigers by stopping poaching and their core breeding areas.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in a statement welcomed the Kathmandu recommendations and said, “without immediate, urgent and transformative actions, wild tigers will disappear forever.”

Range Countries Firm On Conserving Wild Tigers

Range Countries Firm On Conserving Wild Tigers

KATHMANDU, Oct 31: The four-day Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop, which concluded Friday, has pointed out that a collective political commitment from all levels of governments is the most important action required to save tigers in the wild in the present context.

In its 17-point recommendation, also called "Kathmandu Declaration," the gathering has suggested celebrating 2010 as the Year of the Tiger throughout the world, creating global awareness of the critical plight of the wild tiger and "enlisting broad and deep support" for its conservation.

Significantly for Nepal, the World Bank has pledged support to the government´s plan to extend the conservation area of Bardiya National Park. Meanwhile, Russia has extended an invitation to the stakeholders for a follow-up meet in that country.

The workshop has also called upon the states to conserve and manage buffer zones and corridors that connect core tiger breeding areas in tiger landscapes. Other recommendations include: tiger range countries (TRCs) to stop infrastructure projects in core tiger breeding areas and financial institutions to avoid financing development projects that adversely affect critical tiger habitats; to empower local communities that live in and around tiger landscapes with sustainable economic incentives and appropriate technologies to minimize human-tiger conflict.

The workshop has urged all countries to implement CITES resolutions, enhance the capacity of INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the CITES Secretariat and regional wildlife enforcement networks (including ASEAN-WEN) to effectively combat the illegal trade in wildlife at the international level and though relevant national agencies and also to implement the Manifesto on Combating Wildlife Crime in Asia, decided in Pattaya, Thailand, in April.

The participants from more than 20 countries also sought the international community´s commitment to supporting long-term behavior-change campaigns "with measurable outcomes on tiger conservation in the wild" and helping achieve the goal of doubling the tiger population within the next 10 years.

It recommended intensification of regional cooperation for better management and enforcement of trans-boundary tiger landscapes, implementation of capacity development programs to achieve effective landscape and protected-area management, use of innovative science and technology to closely monitor and protect wild tigers and their prey and habitats, adoption of innovative, sustainable mechanisms to finance wild tiger conservation, and generation of collective support from donor agencies.

The recommendations will be presented to the ministers of the TRCs, who will meet in Thailand in January, 2010, and ultimately to the heads of governments, who will meet in Vladivostok, Russia, in the fall of next year.

Collective political commitment needed, say tiger experts

Collective political commitment needed, say tiger experts

Special Correspondent
Saturday, Oct 31, 2009

Equip Interpol to combat illegal trade in wildlife

KATHMANDU: Experts from the tiger range countries have called for a collective political commitment from all levels of the government to save the animals and enhancing the capacity of the Interpol and other international agencies and enforcement networks to combat illegal trade in wildlife.

Apart from the Interpol, the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Secretariat and regional wildlife enforcement agencies should be authorised to take more effective measures in controlling trafficking, the experts said coming out with a set of recommendations at the end of the four-day Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop here on Friday.

Announcing the plan to celebrate 2010 as year of the tiger globally to create awareness of the critical plight of the animal and enlist broad support for its conservation, the experts gave a clarion call for strict protection of the beast and its core breeding areas. They asked the tiger range countries to stop infrastructure projects in core breeding areas and appealed to financial institutions to avoid financing development projects that adversely affect critical habitats.

They recommended conservation and management of buffer zones and corridors that connect core breeding areas in tiger landscapes, empowering local communities in and around the landscapes with sustainable economic incentives, and appropriate technologies to minimise human-tiger conflict. Making core/critical habitats truly inviolate with incentive-driven, generous, participatory and voluntary relocation was also suggested.

The workshop called upon the international community to make financial commitment to support long-term behaviour change campaigns with measurable outcomes for tiger conservation in the wild. Stressing the need to reach out to the target population to reduce the demand for tiger parts, the recommendations call for intensifying regional cooperation for better management and enforcement in trans-boundary tiger landscapes.

Use of innovative and sustainable mechanisms to finance conservation, and generation of collective support to tiger range countries from the international donor community to reverse the decline of wild tigers were also suggested.

The recommendations will be presented to the Ministers of the tiger range countries who are expected to meet in Thailand in January 2010.

Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop declares 2010 as "Year of Tiger"

Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop declares 2010 as "Year of Tiger"

KATHMANDU, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- The four-day Global Tiger Workshop held in Nepali capital Kathmandu, which concluded Friday with a 17-point recommendation, is a beginning in the right direction to save the tiger species and their habitats.

This is the first time that a conference has been organized for the protection of the tigers.

Some 200 representatives, including the 14 tiger range countries -- Nepal, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- have laid down concrete suggestions for the next ministerial meeting ultimately to be taken up by the Bangkok Summit on Tiger Preservation to be attended by head of states.

They have called for declaring 2010 as the "Year of Tiger" , strengthening regional cooperation and discouraging encroachment through infrastructure development, giving community incentives tothe poor around forest areas and strengthening law enforcement mechanism against rising poaching activities.

Recommendations and demands were initiated to draw urgent attention of the world leaders, especially those countries where illegal trafficking in animal parts continue unabated.

It is a matter of disgrace that people have entered into an era of war with the wild. The declining rates of the endangered species such as the wild tigers, which now number only about 3,500,their prey base and habitat loss is testimony to that fact. Not toforget that at the turn of the century, there were some 100,000 tigers in the jungle.

Nepali government has announced a highly ambitious plan to double the number of tigers in a decade.

According to a 2009 estimate, adult tigers number 121 in the nation. Deepak Bohora, Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), plans to take that number beyond 240 in a decade.

First nationwide survey of tigers was done in 2000 in Nepal, way after the damage had already been done.

"We don't have any official record of the tiger population before 2000. But the hunting records indicate that tigers numbered more than a thousand a few decades ago," said Shiva Raj Bhatta, spokesperson of the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation.

One data has estimated that in Asia alone, the illegal trade in animal parts has now crossed 1 billion U.S. dollars, which is only second to arms trafficking.

This is then a signal of a pertinent threat that no country -- rich or poor -- can ignore any longer. Moreover, what is lacking is a political will to save and protect the wild animals, especially those on the verge of extinction, as a result of man's insatiable greed for money and power, the spokesperson noted.

It is thus clear that there is now a need for an international convention aided by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to save tigers as even Cambodia, Vietnam and the United States are said to be taking to tiger farming.

For the tiger, a year closer to extinction

For the tiger, a year closer to extinction

By Deepesh Shrestha (AFP) – 10.31.2009

KATHMANDU — Next year, according to the Chinese calendar, is the Year of the Tiger but conservationists say the omens are inauspicious for an animal on the brink of extinction.

If anything, the tiger's year in the Chinese zodiac may hasten its demise, conservationists fear, with festive demand for its skin and body parts encouraging poachers to hunt the few animals that still remain in the wild.

"The Year of the Tiger will put more pressure on wild tigers," Michael Baltzer, head of the WWF Tiger Initiative, told AFP during a tiger conservation conference held in Kathmandu which wound up on Friday.

"The use of tiger parts in traditional Chinese medicine has fallen, but the trend of giving tiger parts as gifts and souvenirs is growing," Baltzer said, adding that he expected this demand to increase next year.

"There is a certain consumer group who want to use tiger parts to show how wealthy they are, as a status symbol, and this group of people is increasing."

Experts from the lobby group Save the Tiger Fund estimate that only 3,200 tigers survive in the wild, down from 100,000 a century ago, mainly due to poaching and loss of habitat in south and southeast Asia.

Although tiger hunting is illegal worldwide and the international trade in tiger parts is banned under a treaty binding 167 countries -- including China -- experts say the illicit trade is still flourishing.

Despite officially banning the trade in tiger body parts in 1993, China has 6,000 tigers on 14 farms across the country, said Li Zhang, programme director of Conservation International in Beijing.

These farms are able to produce around 1,000 cubs annually.

China has been pushing for an agreement to resume trade in tiger products and delegates at Kathmandu conference say its officials raised the issue at the conference.

Chinese officials at the conference, which was organised by the Global Tiger Initiative, an alliance of governments, NGOs and the private sector, declined to comment to the media.

Tiger skins, which fetch high prices in China and elsewhere in Asia, are used for furniture and decoration, while body parts are used in traditional medicine and aphrodisiacs. In China, the animal is also a symbol of power, energy and bravery, as well as good luck.

Huang Lixin, president of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, told AFP in Kathmandu that the threat to tigers posed by the Year of the Tiger, which will start on February 14, was real.

"Owning tiger skins in China is becoming a status symbol, a luxury item," she said. "Chinese consumers will want tiger bones or tiger wine and liquor, or tiger skins, to celebrate the year."

At last week's conference, which drew more than 200 delegates from 20 countries, delegates said Chinese officials had argued that tiger farming could reduce pressure on the wild population, which in China is a mere 50 animals.

The idea is that body parts from captive tigers would satisfy domestic demand and reduce the market for poachers who hunt wild tigers.

But conservationists opposed to this say it would send the wrong signal by suggesting that the use of tiger parts is acceptable.

"The tiger farms in China pose a grave danger to the last remaining wild tigers. Every day there are more tigers on the farms and fewer in the wild," Judy Mills, coordinator of the International Tiger Coalition, told AFP.

"Their mere existence encourages demand for tiger parts. It is causing poachers and traders to stockpile skins and bones of wild tigers," she said.

"If China ever decides to lift the ban, it will stimulate market demand and the world will lose all the tigers in the wild," said Mahendra Shrestha, programme director of Save the Tiger Fund.

"If you commercialise tigers, it will create bigger demand. That's the end of wild tigers because we simply don't have the resources to protect them," said John Seidensticker, a scientist from the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoological Park.

"China holds the key to tiger conservation. If China cracks down on illegal trade, they will save wild tigers and we know they have the capacity to do that."

Montana: "Hunter shoots cougar in self-defense"

John Grant Emeigh Montana Standard | Posted: Friday, October 30, 2009 10:35 pm |

BUTTE - It was the big cat's eyes that haunted Eric Boyd. The 14-year-old from Anaconda was hoping to bag his first elk on opening day Sunday. Instead, he found himself face to face with a large mountain lion.

"It was his eyes that really hit me," he told The Montana Standard Friday. "They stared right at me and were glowing yellow-green."

Eric Boyd and his dad, Mike Boyd, were hunting in the Jerry Creek area, southwest of Butte. They were tracking a lone elk, so Eric took up a position near an outcropping of rocks while his dad moved up the ridge to try to push the elk toward his son.

The young hunter waited for a long time but never saw the elk.

"I heard a twig crack behind me and I thought my dad was coming back," he recalled.

It wasn't his father.

The Anaconda High freshman turned and walked a few steps, then he saw it: A cougar stepped from behind a tree about 25 yards ahead of him. The animal sat there and the two just stared at each other for what Eric Boyd felt was about 20 seconds.

"I was more shocked than afraid. I was face to face with this animal and I had never seen one in the wild before," he said.

The cat then hunched its shoulders and started walking toward him. Eric Boyd raised his 7 mm Magnum rifle to his eye and fired. The bullet struck the lion in the shoulder, and the animal leapt and clawed wildly at the air. Eric worried that his father might be coming and could be attacked by the wounded cat.

"I just kept firing at it," he said.

He fired three more times, and all shots hit their mark.

The animal was motionless, but the young hunter was too shocked to call to his father. He ran to the road and fired a warning shot into the air to alert his father. He was still stunned.

"When I was running to the road, every time I closed my eyes all I could see were those mountain lion's eyes," he said.

His father heard the shots and was certain his son hit the elk they were tracking. He met his son at the road, but he could see something was wrong. His complexion pale and tears in his eyes, Eric Boyd told his father he shot a mountain lion. The two left the carcass in the woods and drove to Wise River to call authorities. That evening, an official from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks called them at home. They met Butte area game wardens Shane Yaskus and Coy Kline at the site the next day.

After investigating the scene Monday afternoon, they determined the shooting was justified, Yaskus said.

Authorities said the animal measured about 7 feet long from nose to tail. The carcass was left in the forest where it was shot, as is proper procedure in these situations, Yaskus said.

Eric Boyd said his encounter with the big cat hasn't stopped him from hunting: he was out every day last week. However, he stays closer to his father.

"I'm not going to hunt by myself for a long while," he said.


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Russia, China launch joint project to protect tigers, leopards

MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and China have started a joint program on the conservation of Amur tigers and Amur leopards in the Far East, the World Wildlife Fund announced on Friday.

The program, set up with the assistance of the WWF, got going in Russia's Primorye Territory and China's Jilin Province following the signing of an agreement between the countries on Thursday.

The sides acknowledged the importance of joint programs in restoring wild animal populations in cross-border regions, and the agreement stipulates ways to protect the Amur tiger and Amur leopard populations and preserve their habitats.

"We put in a lot of effort to support to a program that we have worked on for almost 10 years together with WWF China, and scientific and public environmental organizations," WWF Amur department director Yury Darman said.

Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, are the largest subspecies of tigers, growing to over 3 meters in length and weighing up to 300 kilograms. They are on the World Conservation Union's critically endangered status list, and there are only about 500 of them left in the wild. Since 2006, poachers are known to have killed around 10 in Russia's Far East.

Amur leopards, which are native to the Russian Far East and also the mountainous areas of the taiga, are at extremely high risk of extinction, with only around 40 animals remaining in the world.


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India: Leopard strays into Jammu area

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mohit Kandhari | Jammu

Panic gripped Doordarshan lane in Janipur area of Jammu late on Thursday evening after several residents spotted a healthy leopard moving freely in their vicinity ‘fearlessly’.

The animal strayed inside the civilian area from the nearby jungles.

Reports of man-animal conflict in frontier districts of Rajouri and Poonch are quite common but this is the first such incident of its kind in Jammu city.

According to eyewitness reports, “the first sighting of a leopard in a thickly populated civilian area was reported around 7.20-7.30 pm”.

Alert residents immediately raised an alarm and also informed the police control room for help.

Without wasting any time and waiting for the help from the Wildlife department, several local residents armed with sticks and iron rods swung into action and chased away the leopard using search lights as well.

They were assisted by the policemen posted on guard duty in the Doordarshan office.

Harpreet Singh,who was one among those who spotted the leopard inside his lawn said, “I was sitting inside my room when I first heard a loud noise in the street outside my residence.

“As I stepped out of the room I spotted a leopard moving in front of the gate of my house. After moving around for some time, the leopard jumped the wall and entered inside the house of my neighbour Vini Sharma”,Singh said describing his ordeal.

Vini Sharma, an assistant director in the directorate of economics and statistics had a close shave. “It was a close shave for me, I was barely meters away from the leopard when it passed by, she said in panic.


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Friday, October 30, 2009

Florida: Scientists recommend improvements after reviewing Panther protection plan for eastern Collier

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

COLLIER COUNTY — A team of scientists is calling for improvements to a plan to protect the endangered Florida panther in eastern Collier County.

In an 80-page report — chock full of number-crunching tables, aerial images and detailed maps — the scientists issue a ground-breaking overview of what could become the plan by which panthers either stay or disappear in the heart of what is left of their habitat.

The report strikes a careful bottom line: A 2008 proposal by a coalition of environmental groups and farmers and ranchers to guide growth across almost 200,000 acres around Immokalee “would represent an enhancement of panther conservation” over existing controls, the report states.

“The conservation value to panthers would increase,” even more if a long list of recommendations by the science review team is added to the plan.

However, it doesn’t change the fact that growth in eastern Collier County has the potential to cut into habitat for the panther, and that “does not aid panther recovery,” the report concludes.

“In an ideal world, obviously, we wouldn’t have any development in panther habitat,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service panther recovery coordinator Chris Belden, a member of the science review team.

The report also recommends that a proposed new Interstate 75 interchange at either Everglades Boulevard or two miles east, between the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Desoto Boulevard, “receive no further consideration” because of its impact to panther habitat.

The interchange is not part of the 2008 plan, which builds on a landmark rural growth plan adopted by Collier County in 2002.

The 2002 plan, which is voluntary, allows landowners across almost 200,000 acres around Immokalee to preserve natural land in return for credits to develop on less sensitive land.

The Florida Panther Protection Plan would award credits for preservation of agricultural land, create two panther travel corridors, cap development at 45,000 acres and require additional mitigation under the federal permitting program for development in panther habitat.

The plan also proposed new fees on mitigation credits and real estate sales in eastern Collier County that would raise an estimated $150 million to buy panther habitat for preservation and to pay for habitat restoration and wildlife crossings.

The number of wild panthers had dwindled to around 30 before scientists released eight female Texas cougars into South Florida to restore the population’s genetic diversity.

Now, scientists estimate between 100 and 120 panthers roam across less than 5 percent of its historic range, mostly south of the Caloosahatchee River.

Scientists say habitat loss continues to threaten the survival of the panther, including in eastern Collier County, where the 2002 plan laid the groundwork for the new town of Ave Maria and Ave Maria University. A second new town, called Big Cypress, and an earthmine also are on the drawing board.

The coalition that hand-picked the six scientists to answer the question of whether the plan would benefit the Florida panther issued an upbeat assessment of the science review.

“The PRT (Panther Review Team) unequivocally and unanimously responded in the affirmative,” the statement says.

Other members of the review team besides Belden were senior scientist Randy Kautz and vice president Tom Logan, with consultants Breedlove, Dennis and Associates in Tallahassee; Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission panther team leader Darrell Land; Conservancy of Southwest Florida biologist David Shindle; and University of Central Florida research associate Daniel Smith.

As for the recommendations to improve the plan, the coalition will carefully consider whether they are feasible in light of other issues the review team did not tackle, including private property rights and economic viability, the statement says.

The Florida Panther Protection Plan coalition includes Audubon of Florida, Collier County Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife, Florida Wildlife Federation and landowners Alico Land Development Corp., Barron Collier Partnership, Collier Enterprises, Consolidated Citrus LP, English Brothers, Half Circle L Ranch Partnership, Pacific Tomato Growers Ltd. and Sunniland Family Limited Partnership.

The science review team’s recommendations would bring the plan “very close” to a proposal put forth by the Conservancy, which has been critical of the coalition’s plan, Conservancy President Andrew McElwaine said.

“The concern I have going forward is there not be an effort to cherry pick the recommendations but that they go forward as a bloc,” McElwaine said.

The federal permitting mechanism that would put the plan into action will require further review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including public input.

Collier County also will have to adopt changes to its 2002 plan, which will require a sign-off from the state Department of Community Affairs.

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Cougar hunting: Oregon's Measure 18 threatened again!

To read previous CC Blogs click here.

Oregon's Measure 18 Threatened Again!
Cougar Corner
Tim Dunbar

No longer satisfied with sitting back and letting the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, and the state legislature gut Measure 18's minimal cougar protection measures, pro-lion hunting proponents in Oregon are now circulating petitions to repeal the 1994 citizen-placed initiative.Citing too many cougars in the state, "people fearing for the safety of their children," * and a bad opening day hunt for mule deer as justification for their actions, this small, special interest group wants to re-allow the use of hounds while hunting cougars for sport. What these "sportsmen" really want is to turn back the clock so they can achieve their trophy kills with the minimum amount of sweat and effort. The standard practice for hound-hunting - which Measure 18 restricted - is to loose a pack of radio collared hounds on a scent and then wait comfortably back at the cabin until the cougar has been treed. At that point the hunter can walk calmly up to the base of the tree and shoot the cougar from point-blank range.Instead of letting fear tactics and fraudulent claims dictate the reversal of an important lion protection initiative, maybe Oregonians should be thinking about restoring Measure 18 to its full measure so it can fulfill its intended purpose - saving cougars.Better yet - pass a new initiative to ban the trophy of cougars all together!

* Despite "public safety" rhetoric, there has been no recorded incident of a cougar attack against humans in Oregon.

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phone: 800-319-7621

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"Cougar Clippings" for 28 Oct 2009 from Mountain Lion Foundation


Dear Friend,

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.

Hunting for the Right Result

In recent news articles, cougar biologists and wildlife advocates have opposed the so-called cougar studies put forth by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. It has been clear to most people their research is a biased push to increase the killing of big cats for sport. And now, those who consider themselves "no cougar huggers" and even support hunting with hounds are voicing their disapproval for the state's wildlife management policies.
Read the actual news story...

GF&P looking for home for cougar kitten caught in Deadwood

A female mountain lion with poor eye sight was killed by a trapper in Deadwood, South Dakota, because he believed her visual impairment could make her a threat to public safety. In actuality, she had successfully killed a deer that week and was returning with at least one of her cubs to the feeding site. The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks has captured one of her three-month-old cubs and is on the lookout for more. In the meantime, the young male is being housed at South Dakota State University because he is too young to survive on his own.
Read the actual news story...

Mountain Lion Shot on 1st Day

As hunting seasons begin to kickoff, the tally of orphaned cubs has already started. On the first day of deer hunting season in Utah, a man panicked when he encountered a cougar. Rather than simply backing away, the man shot and killed the cat. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources discovered it was a lactating female whose cubs were likely in the area. There is no word on whether the cubs have been found.
Read the actual news story...


Those were just a few of the lion articles from the past week. Click 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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India: PCCF orders shootingof 'man-eater' leopard

30 October 2009, 05:02am IST

NAGPUR: The principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Maharashtra, A K Joshi, has authorised shooting of a 'man-eater' leopard moving near Sangvi village in Akole forest range of Sangamner territorial division in Ahmednagar district. In 2007, a problem tiger was shot dead in Talodhi (Chandrapur).

According to forest department sources, the leopard has killed two children in Sangvi village and has injured a dozen people. The frequent killings by the animal led to law & orders problem and even the Ahmednagar district collector wrote to the PCCF to grant permission to shoot the leopard.

On October 15, at 7 am, Pratik Rajendra Binnar (3), was picked up from Keli village and his body was dragged four kms by the animal. It was found on October 16 with its head missing. The leopard had also eaten other body parts. On October 26, at 5.30 am, two-year-old son of Tukaram Pathwe was picked from near his house by the same leopard. The same day, another kid was seriously injured by it. The boy is in coma and battling for life.

Forest officials told TOI that after the first incident, efforts to cage the leopard failed as the animal came near the cage but did not enter it. Attempts to net it also failed. The CCF (Nashik) V K Mohan had sought permission from chief wildlife warden to shoot the problem animal following tremendous pressure from the villagers. However, forest officials were asked to take all steps like tranquillising and monitoring the leopard, before issuing orders to shoot it. On Tuesday, angry villagers did not allow forest staff to enter the area unless orders to shoot the leopard were issued. They had also detained a couple of foresters.

Joshi, who is in Nashik to monitor the situation, said: "I issued orders on October 27 to shoot the animal. We tried our level best to drive it away from the villages and laid traps for it but were not successful. The situation has now gone out of our hands as the leopard is seen frequently near the villages. Sharp shooters from police department will now carry out the order."

Vidya Athyera, an expert working to rehabilitate problem leopards in Ahmednagar, justified PCCF's decision as leopard was showing strange behaviour. "I have relocated many leopards in the area but the one in Sangvi seems to be rabid. Accidental attacks could be understood you have to do something when children in villages are being killed. The leopard has also consumed body parts," she told TOI.

Athyera said the area where the leopard is moving has no forests but dry hillocks. Prey base is zero and leopards mostly depend on goats, sheep, pigs and dogs. The pugmarks show it's a sub-adult and all the attacks had taken place in four km area. The strange thing about the animal is that on October 26, when people chased it with sticks and stones, it attacked them. "Generally, a leopard is easily trapped in a cage but this one did not enter," the expert stressed.


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Elusive Florida panther population increasing, expert says

VERO BEACH — They prowl and hide in the deepest parts of the Everglades National Park, but wildlife biologists said they're making progress in getting more accurate counts of the Florida panther population.

Roy McBride, a wildlife biologist and houndsman from Texas, spends several months a year in Florida finding its panthers.

The searches are done either on foot with his pack of hounds or by setting up cameras throughout the Everglades to spot the beasts unaware.

"This is fascinating to me," McBride said about the camera footage. "I usually only get to see the panthers when they're in a tree staring down at my hounds."

McBride spoke Thursday to staff at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Vero Beach. He said documenting the panther populations has come a long way in the last 50 years.

"In the 1950s, we thought they were extinct," McBride said. "Then we had some sightings, but they were unreliable. We needed something we could hang our hat on."

About 120 panthers were counted in the state in 2008, McBride said. That's compared to just 20 counted in 1985, when state officials began refining their counting methods.

"They're secretive and difficult for us to census," McBride said.

Years of studying the panthers allows McBride to determine the gender of a cat based on the footprints it leaves behind. The fallen prey left behind by a panther also has helped population counts, he said.

Since panthers typically attack other creatures at the neck and eat only certain parts of the body, wildlife biologists have used the carcasses of deer, otters, hogs and even alligators to determine where a panther can be found, McBride said.


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Maine lynx slaying investigated by authorities

Authorities investigate slaying of endangered lynx

10/30/2009 12:09 PM ET
The cat was shot to death after being caught in a trap set for a fox or coyote.

State and federal officials are investigating the killing of an endangered Canada lynx in a wooded area north of Rangeley. The cat was shot to death after being caught in a trap.

Officials with the state's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife say they're investigating the incident in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Canada lynx have been listed as a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act since 2000.

Conservationists say they're dismayed by the shooting. Daryl Dejoy of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine says the lynx was shot in the trap by a passing bird hunter, though state officials declined to confirm that, citing the ongoing investigation.

Dejoy says there are very few of the cats left in Maine. "Trapping them is illegal, whether it's on purpose or incidentally," Dejoy says. "And certainly what the hunter did, which was to blatantly kill a lynx -- in my opinion, he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Biologists estimate that there are between 200 and 500 Canada lynx in Maine. The Wildlife Alliance of Maine and the Washington, D.C.- based Animal Welfare Institute are suing the state for allowing traps capable of catching Canada Lynx. The court case is pending.


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Limited cougar season to open on Colorado plateau

Limited lion season to open on plateau

By Katharhynn Heidelberg
Daily Press Senior Writer
Published/Last Modified on Friday, October 30, 2009 4:11 AM MDT

MONTROSE - Five years ago, the Division of Wildlife launched a study into mountain lion population dynamics on the Uncompahgre Plateau.

It's now launching the second phase, a "treatment" period, which will allow limited hunting in the study area and, researchers hope, provide state-specific data concerning assumptions about lion populations in Colorado.

Prior to the study's inception in 2004, there hadn't been any long-term, intensive research in Colorado upon which the DOW could base its lion management policies, Ken Logan, mammal researcher for the DOW's Montrose field office, said.


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Bangladesh forms first tiger plan

Bangladesh forms first tiger plan

By Alastair Lawson
BBC News
Last updated at 12:11 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Bangladesh government has created its first national plan to conserve the endangered Royal Bengal tiger.

The Tiger Action Plan aims to save an estimated 300-500 tigers in the Sundarbans mangrove forest.

The area in the south-east of the country has one of the largest remaining Bengal tiger populations.

Experts have described the plan as "a tiger-sized leap for conservation" which will preserve the Bengal tiger - the world's largest tiger sub-species.

On Tuesday a conference on tiger conservation in Nepal began with a warning that traders and poachers were better organised than conservationists.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick said that the illegal activities of traders and poachers was estimated to be worth over $10bn annually.


Officials and conservationists in Bangladesh say they hope that they have now made progress in protecting one of the world's largest tiger populations.

"We involved the top tiger conservation experts from Bangladesh and around the world in the review process and as a result we have a strong and well thought-out document capable of uniting tiger conservation efforts in the country," said Professor Anwarul Islam of the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh.

The plan argues that saving the tiger will also help to save the Sundarbans, which represents almost half of Bangladesh's remaining forest.

Environment Secretary Mihir Kanti Majumder says that the plan provides essential ecological services for the whole region and the livelihoods of millions of local people.

"The conservation of the Sundarbans and the coastal green belt is critical for the security of the nation, particularly in light of predicted impacts of climate change. As the national animal of our country, the tiger represents an ideal focal point for our conservation efforts, particularly for the Sundarbans."

The plan was drawn up by the Bangladesh Forest Department and the Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh with help from the Zoological Society of London, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Minnesota.

Global Tiger Workshop Kicks off; PM anounces strategies to preserve tiger

Global Tiger Workshop Kicks off; PM anounces strategies to preserve tiger

Tuesday, 27 October 2009 19:57

Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop 2009, a first of its kind event organised to chart out strategies to preserve Tiger, has kicked off, Tuesday.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal inaugurated the four-day workshop amid a function in Kathmandu, this morning.

Some 250 scientists, tiger experts, policy makers, conservationists and government officials from 20 countries, including India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, China, are participating in the workshop.

Addressing the workshop, PM Nepal expressed Nepal's commitment towards the preservation of tigers and announced some key strategies Nepal will adopt for the same.

"I would like to reiterate that the Government of Nepal is firmly committed to the cause of conservation of this unique species and its habitat," PM Nepal said. "We are now in the process of having high level mechanisms for National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Crime Control Coordination Committee."

PM Nepal also sought international cooperation to curb trans-border poaching of tiger parts.

Nepal has set an ambitious target of increasing the tiger population to 250 by the next ten years. At present there are 120 adult tigers in Nepal.

In the world, the tiger population in the wild is 3,500. It was about 7,000 in 2000. Besides, tiger is also reared in controlled situation in countries like China, Vietnam and Thailand. Whether tigers should be reared in controlled situation or not will also be discussed in the workshop.

Nepal government is also planning to double the size of Bardiya National Park, one of the chief tiger habitats, by annexing some 900 sq. km of forest area in a bid to preserve tiger along with other wild animals.

The workshop will conclude Friday issuing a Kathmandu declaration which includes various strategies and policies to increase the tiger population.

China sticks to anti-ban stance

China sticks to anti-ban stance

Akanshya Shah

KATHMANDU, Oct 29: Restating its stance in favor of tiger farming, the Chinese delegation at the ongoing Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop said Wednesday that China cannot put an end to its tiger farming as medicine produced from tiger parts is supplied to 60 countries.

Professor Xiong of Beijing University in his presentation at the interaction said that although China recognizes the need to stop habitat loss, it will be extremely difficult for the country to put a ban on tiger breeding and farming, a participant of the program told on condition of anonymity.

The source said that China´s anti-ban stance was criticized by other participants. Stephen Board, Executive Director of Traffic International, is said to have pointed to the need of “attitudinal change” by countries involved in tiger farming. Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Russia, among others, are also said to be engaging is breeding practices, besides China.

The media was prohibited from attending the interaction.

Stating that the total trade in animal parts has now crossed $10 billion in Asia alone, which is second only to the illegal trade in arms, the Global Tiger Workshop has pointed out the urgent need for governments to design proactive national policies aimed at nipping poaching in the bud.

In addition, participants have strongly urged decision makers to change the paradigm of the management model and equip the concerned departments with new and modern technology to fight poachers. Similarly, they have stressed capacity-building of staff and strengthening the intelligence unit to identify poaching sites. Moreover, they have urged states to formulate a clear system and revive the existing mechanism between and among countries to stop trafficking in animal parts.

Save the Tiger Fund, the US-based Rhino and Tiger Conservation Fund and Panthera Foundation have jointly pledged 3-4 million US dollars to identify top priorities and support government efforts to fight illegal trade in tiger parts.

The workshop on Wednesday deliberated on topics ranging from steps to be taken to integrate nature conservation into development priorities and arresting habitat deterioration caused by infrastructure development and land use to engaging communities to protect tiger landscapes and helping people come out of the poverty trap, which, they said, requires “game changing actions” in order to reverse the current trajectory of extinction.

The participants also discussed strengthening wildlife enforcement and governance, improving landscape management and capacity development, suppressing demand for wild tiger parts, enhancing demand for live wild tiger, estimating conservation resource needs and developing innovative financing mechanisms.

India urged to hold anti-poaching talks

In a bid to seek renewed commitment in controlling illegal trafficking in animal parts and poaching activities from its southern neighbor, the Nepal government has asked the Indian side to hold the much-delayed secretary-level meeting on transborder cooperation as soon as possible. India has delayed the talks for three years.

“India has lagged behind in the regional effort to strengthen transborder cooperation to control poaching,” a Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation official said, adding, “We have strongly urged the Indian side to hold the talks without further delay.”

Asked to comment, spokesperson at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Shiva Raj Bhatta said, “The Indian delegation at the tiger workshop has reassured us that the talks will be initiated soon in Delhi.”

Secretary-level talks, which are supposed to design bilateral mechanisms for border management, regulation and control against poaching activities, especially illegal trade in tiger parts, have been held twice in Kathmandu in 2001 and 2006 and once in Delhi in 2003.

Govts urged to strengthen action plan

• Political will a must
• To invest in capacity-building
• WB, GTI, GTF, WWF to support regional package
• Adopt social boycott strategy
• Strengthen intelligence unit
• Change management model
• STF, RTCF and PF pledge $4 million support

Experts comment on poaching

Mahendra Shrestha
Program Director
Save the Tiger Fund

“We are only catching the smaller fish. Poaching is a deep-rooted problem and it has to be nipped in the bud. For this, the intelligence unit has to be strengthened and resources have to be mobilized to bring in new and modern technology."

Keshav Verma
Program Director
Global Tiger Initiative

“This is a matter of national security threat and has to be addressed firmly by states. There is a need for a paradigm shift in management models. Talks will not suffice; strong action is the need of the hour.”

Shiva Raj Bhatta
Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation

“Conservation has not been a priority area in Nepal due to the political instability. The government must address it with urgency and go for strengthening both national and regional mechanisms against poaching.”

Dr Hemanta Raj Mishra
Senior conservationist

“The most important factor in curbing poaching is political will followed by a strong law enforcement mechanism. The fact that the number of tigers has gone down drastically proves that the existing mechanisms have failed.”

Nepali capital Kathmandu becomes regional anti-poaching secretariat

Nepali capital Kathmandu becomes regional anti-poaching secretariat 2009-10-28

KATHMANDU, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- The regional meet of the delegates from Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan agreed on Tuesday to establish the South Asian regional anti-poaching secretariat in Nepal.

"The agreement is a great achievement in our favor and the secretariat will work as a regional network center for the anti poaching efforts," local newspaper The Himalayan Times cited Yubaraj Bhushal, Secretary of Nepali Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) as saying.

The meeting also set a target of increasing the population of the wild tigers to 6,000 by 2020.

"There are 16 landscape areas and 60 protected areas in the tiger range countries of South Asia. The meeting decided to work rigorously on those areas and principally agreed to increase the population of tiger to 6,000 by 2020," said Shiva Raj Bhatta, a spokesperson of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), adding that South Asia is home to about 4,000tigers in their natural habitat.

The Nepali government and some international organizations including The Global Tiger Forum, The World Bank is organizing a four-day Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop 2009 from Tuesday.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal inaugurated the Workshop Tuesday, addressing the government was all set to save the endangered tiger population.

According to The Himalayan Times, Deepak Bohora, Minister for Nepali Forest and Soil Conservation said on the meeting that the area of the Bardia National Park (in the mid far western Terai, east of the Karnali River, Nepal) would be doubled for the purpose.

"The Bardia National Park area will be doubled and we have set up the target to increase the population of tiger to 240 by 2020,"said Bohora.

As per the plans, the area covered by the Bardia National park will increase to 1,868 square kilometers.

Earlier, representatives from the tiger range countries of South Asia had presented their papers at the workshop.

Two decades before tigers stop roaring

Two decades before tigers stop roaring

KATHMANDU: Tigers could become extinct in the wild in two decades unless the world ramps up conservation efforts to halt the decline in their population, wildlife experts said Wednesday.

Barely 3,500 tigers are estimated to be roaming in the wild in 12 Asian countries and Russia compared with about 100,000 a century ago, experts and conservationists said.

"Despite our efforts in the last three decades, tigers still face threats of survival. The primary threat is from poaching and habitat loss," Nepal's prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal told a conference of tiger experts from 20 countries.

Tigers are being illegally killed for their body parts and Asia is a hotspot for the illegal wildlife trade, which the international police organization Interpol estimates may be worth more than $20 billion a year.

Skins sell as rugs and cloaks on the black market, where a skin can fetch up to $20,000.

Habitat destruction and depletion of prey base are other perils facing the "Asian heritage", conservationists said.

"A business as usual approach in tiger conservation will doom the tiger population in the next 15 to 20 years," Mahendra Shrestha, program director of the Washington-based Save the Tiger Fund said on the sidelines of a conference on tiger conservation.

He said law enforcement, patrols to stop poaching and the preservation of remaining habitat would improve the situation.

"There is hope. We can do it. It is not rocket science. It does not require a lot of new activities," Shrestha said. "But there has to be strong political will to conserve tigers and also strong global international support for the activities of the tiger range countries."

Tigers still roam terrain in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

John Seidensticker, chief scientist at the Smithsonian National Zoo's Conservation Ecology Center, said tiger habitat had declined by 40 percent in the last decade due to destruction of forests.

"Our challenge is to make landscapes with tigers alive worth more than landscapes where tigers have been killed," Seidensticker said. "I think we have a decade from where we will slip from being caretakers to undertakers."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

World's tigers 'on edge of extinction'

World's tigers 'on edge of extinction'

29/10/2009 - 13:51:33

The world’s tiger population is on the verge of extinction, Nepal’s forest secretary has warned a conference of experts.

Delegates from 20 countries, including 13 where tigers are still found in the wild, are discussing strategies for conservation of the animal as well as challenges such as poaching, illegal trade in tiger parts and man-animal conflicts.

Yuvaraj Bhusal, secretary of forest and soil conservation, said: “We are assembled here to save tigers that are on the verge of extinction,” adding that participants are aiming to make policy makers in the top ranks of their respective governments aware of the tiger’s flagging status.

Delegates attending the meet in the capital Kathmandu include representatives from the World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund.

The country’s prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal blamed poaching and the loss of habitat as primary threats to the world’s tiger population.

“Despite our efforts in the last three decades, tigers still face threats of survival. The primary threat is from poaching and habitat loss,” Mr Nepal said.

“Global and regional solidarity and corrective measures are more necessary now than ever to face these challenges,” he added.

The tiger population has fallen from more than about 100,000 at the start of the 20th century to an estimated 3,500 to 4,000 in recent years.

Wild tigers are still found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Burma, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Bobcats frolic on Kansas patio

Last updated: 7:12 a.m.
Posted on Thu, Oct. 29, 2009

Seldom-seen cats venture into yard
Bobcats frolic on patio
The Wichita Eagle

Every day millions of people turn on their televisions to watch seldom-seen wildlife. Sunday afternoon Perry and Shari McCabe of Hutchinson only had to look out their back door to enjoy the up-close antics of four bobcats.

Though plentiful in Kansas, bobcats are rarely seen.

"We had two (kittens) playing around on the patio like a couple of (domestic) kittens," said Perry McCabe. "They were snooping around, jumping around and batting at each other. One almost had its nose on the door looking in. "

He said an adult cat, probably a female, and another kitten were watching the patio antics from about 25 yards away.

They watched the bobcats for about four minutes. McCabe was able to take several photos through a glass door.

The McCabes live east of Hutchinson, near Prairie Dunes golf course. A region of mixed housing developments and brushy sandhill pastures, it is an area where humans and wildlife often meet.

The region holds some of the highest wild turkey densities in the nation. It also has some of Kansas' highest deer/vehicle collision rates.

McCabe said they frequently see deer and turkeys in their yard and once saw a bobcat while on a walk. Sunday was the first time they'd seen them in their yard.

It's not because there's a shortage of bobcats in the area.

"We have a lot of bobcats around," said Charlie Cope, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks biologist. "Unlike some other species of mammals, like raccoons, it's taking them longer to get acclimated to the presence of people. They're still pretty shy."

Cope said a good number of bobcats can exist near civilization. Chisholm Creek and several other large parks in the area have healthy populations. They're also at home along area rivers and creeks, plus sizable patches of grass and woodlots.

Bobcats are found in all Kansas counties and have a range that stretches from coast to coast and from much of Canada into central Mexico.

Because Kansas has vast amounts of prairie and woodlands it has one of America's top bobcat populations. Such habitats produce plenty of the rabbits and rodents on which bobcats feed. They'll routinely kill turkeys and have been known to kill and eat small deer.

At an average weight of 15-30 pounds, and with a deep fear of people, they're not considered a threat to humans unless cornered or handled.

Cope said contact between humans and bobcats could increase as people encroach into bobcat habitat and the animals become better adapted to being around humans.

Some of the contact might not be popular with people.

"They'll probably learn to make good use of some easy meals like dog food and cat food," Cope said. "No doubt they could kill and eat (pet) cats and real small dogs."

Reach Michael Pearce at 316-268-6382 or


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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conservation groups offer reward for information on lynx killed in western Colorado

By Associated Press
6:08 PM MDT, October 27, 2009

DENVER (AP) — A coalition of conservation groups is offering a $4,800 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who killed a federally protected lynx in western Colorado.

The 4-year-old male lynx was found Oct. 7 near Silverton when researchers responded to a signal from the radio collar the cat was wearing. The state Division of Wildlife says the lynx was shot with a bow and arrow.

Lynx are on the state and federal endangered species lists. The Division of Wildlife has released more than 200 lynx from Canada and Alaska in southwest Colorado since 1999 to restore the long-haired mountain cat to the state.

A reward is also being offered through the state Operation Game Thief at (877) 265-6648.


On the Net:

Colorado Division of Wildlife:

Center for Native Ecosystems:,0,1995074.story


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Palm trees threaten Florida panthers on wildlife refuge

Cabbage palms threaten panthers at Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge; stimulus funds will be used to eliminate them

POSTED: October 28, 2009

Even though it is the official state tree of Florida, the cabbage palm has gotten too invasive at Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge near Naples.

The dense, nearly impenetrable stands drive out forage plants for deer, adversely impacting the deer population, and an abundant deer population is necessary for maintaining the refuge's panther population.

So the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has hired Wildland Services, Inc., of Moore Haven to cut down the invasive cabbage palms on more than 1,700 acres inside the refuge, part of the overall land management program at the refuge. The $171,094 contract will use funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, sometimes known popularly as stimulus funds.

"The construction of canals over the last century for flood control has altered the balance of nature," said Larry Richardson, refuge wildlife biologist, in a prepared statement. "They channel water away from the refuge to the Gulf of Mexico and prevent the summer rains from recharging the aquifer. And the palms have invaded the open pine habitats and wet prairies due to these man-made changes."

"This valuable project is one part of a multifaceted land management program on the refuge," said Acting Refuge Manager Ben Nottingham. "Invasive cabbage palm removal, fire management, and non-native plant control are crucial to managing the refuge for panthers and the many other species of wildlife and native plants that depend upon a healthy and diverse environment."

"The construction of canals over the last century for flood control has altered the balance of nature," said Richardson. "They channel water away from the refuge to the Gulf of Mexico and prevent the summer rains from recharging the aquifer."

Many people know that the cabbage palm is Florida's state tree, and the "heart of palm" is a favorite cabbage-like dish enjoyed by many.

"Nevertheless, the palms have invaded the open pine habitats and wet prairies due to the man-made changes in the hydrology," Richardson added.

In the 20 years Richardson has been working on the refuge he has seen grassy prairies gradually taken over. Cabbage palms have formed dense, nearly impenetrable stands, shading out forage plants for deer. Thousands of acres of the refuge have been degraded by this cabbage palm invasion, which has adversely impacted the Refuge's deer population. A healthy and abundant deer population is necessary to maintain the refuge's resident panthers.

Additionally, thick stands of cabbage palms make the pinelands undesirable for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, a former resident of the lands now within the refuge.

Wildland Services will use crews and equipment to cut cabbage palms over six feet tall, dropping them in place to rot away or be consumed by prescribed fires, which the service uses routinely to manage fuels that otherwise can promote catastrophic wildfires. Smaller palms will be eliminated with herbicides as more funding becomes available. Minimal ground disturbance is a requirement of the contract to prevent invasion by non-native plants such as Brazilian pepper and protect the native grasses and low growing plants.

Darrel Land, Panther Section leader for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, is pleased with the restoration that has already occurred on 2,500 acres of pinelands along the eastern boundary of the refuge.

"The restoration so far has greatly benefited panthers by improving habitat for deer, the panthers' primary prey," Land said.

On the web:

For more information: contact Phil Kloer, public affairs officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Office, (404) 679-7125

Larry Richardson, Refuge Biologist, is also available to talk about the project at (239) 353-8442


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India: Feces, meat to be used to lure elusive leopard on Delhi outskirts


New Delhi, Oct 28 (PTI) With no sign of the elusive leopard that was spotted in a locality in outer Delhi for the past seven days, wildlife experts are now trying to catch the beast by using bait such as feces of another leopard from a zoo in the national capital.

"The beast has been untraceable for the last seven days, though we know that it must be hiding deep in the Alipur forests in outer Delhi.

"We are now planning to put up a trap cage at some suspect place along with feces of a leopard from the zoo besides meat pieces to lure it," Wildlife expert Kartick Satyanarayan from SOS Wildlife said.

Smell of feces of another leopard might motivate the elusive animal to look for a mate and thus walk into the trap, the activist explained.


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Frequent tiger, crocodile attacks in Sundarbans villages

Frequent tiger, crocodile attacks in Sundarbans villages

27 Oct 2009, 1808 hrs IST, PTI

JAMESPUR (Sundarbans): Sheba Mridha sobs uncontrollably as she looks at the thick mangrove forest on the other bank of Ganral river at Gosaba delta in Sundarbans.

She was widowed a couple of months ago when a Royal Bengal Tiger killed her husband Ramesh Mridha (32) as he was catching crabs in the creeks of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, off the limit area for villagers.

Incidents of tiger, crocodile and shark attacks are occuring with more people scouring the jungle for livelihood after a year of crop failure following sea surge by cyclone Aila in this part of South 24-parganas district in West Bengal.

"Only widows would be left to live in the villages," Sheba says, sitting at her tarpaulin shed home with two minor sons.

Almost every household in Jamespur and Annpur villages of Sundarbans has lost one member to tiger, crocodile or shark attacks.

Ramesh is one of the hundreds of delta-dwellers who are preyed upon by wild animals regularly.

"Ten persons died of tiger attacks this year. More than 20 incidents of tiger straying into human-inhabited deltas have happened since cyclone on May 25," Field director of Sundarban Tiger Reserve, Subrat Mukherjee said.

Tigers pounce on fishermen catching fish, crab or villagers collecting honey, firewood in the mangrove jungle which is home to the largest number of tigers in the world.

Estuarine crocodiles prey on the villagers when catching shrimp seeds in the tidal rivers and sharks cut limbs to bleed people to death.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in a survey in 2006 found 30 persons died of crocodile attacks in three months near Bhagabatpur crocodile sanctuary in Pathar Pratima delta, Saswati Sen of WWF says.

Meanwhile, Field Director Mukherjee says more people die of snake bites in the deltas with improper healthcare facilities.

People often become victims of wild animal attack which the residents of the car-free deltas of Sundarbans refer to as "accidents".

"An average four persons die of 'accidents' every month. The number is apprehended to increase as more villagers are now venturing in the forest," says Dilip Mondal, a resident of Annpur, whose uncle was killed when fishing in the tiger reserve.

"The villages were once emptied of males when farm yield was low and people would depend on the forest to feed families," he says.

Meanwhile, Prof Ranjan Chakrabarti, environmental historian of Sundarbans in Jadavpur University says the fears of more wildlife attack were logical.

India: Leopard sighted in Outer Delhi, search mounted

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Staff Reporter | New Delhi

In an unprecedented incident, a leopard was reportedly spotted in a farmhouse at Jindpur village in Alipur area of Outer Delhi on Monday.

This case of leopard being seen in Delhi has been reported after a big cat was spotted in the Sainik Farm area five years ago. This leopard was tranquilised and later shot dead in custody.

Nearly 20 years back, another leopard was sighted near the Aryabhatt Institute on GT Road.

Police personnel and forest officers have intensified are searching for the leopard but it had not been traced till late night. According to an eyewitness, the leopard had also eaten a dog.

According to the local police, owner of the farmhouse, Sridutt Sharma, informed the police about a leopard being seen in his farmhouse in the morning. Sharma had spotted the leopard when he was feeding his pigeons in the farmhouse. "As the farmhouse owner spotted the leopard, his first thought was that it would be a big cat . But when he came in front of him he was scared. The owner somehow managed to take some snaps and also captured videos of the leopard and then informed the police. But, by then the leopard had fled in the nearby area," said a senior police officer. Forest officers had also been called in on the spot and they had examined the footprints of the leopard.

According to the police, there are two Government protected forests near the farmhouse and the leopard might have sneaked in from these forests as the boundary walls of these forests are broken at many places. The roads leading to these forests had also been damaged to check the cases of poaching. According to the police, there are many farmhouses in this area and there are chances that someone might have illegally kept a leopard in his farmhouse. According to the police, the leopard might have come from the adjoining areas of Sonepat and Baghpat in Haryana and Loni and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh as well.

The forest officers had gone through the video being captured by the owner of the farmhouse and had stated that this is a full grown leopard and it seems that he is well fed. The forest officers had added that this leopard does not seem to be a man-eater. The police and the forest officials have cordoned off the area and search operations for tracing the leopard was going on.

The area, where the leopard is reportedly seen, is full of tall bushes and shrubs and this is making it difficult for the search team to trace the leopard. The police had advised the people of the adjoining areas to be in their homes till the leopard is traced.


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India: Hurt leopard dies in Ranthambore

TNN 23 October 2009, 06:40am IST

JAIPUR: A young female leopard succumbed to its injuries sustained in an inter-territorial fight at the Ranthambore tiger reserve on Thursday.

According to officials of the forest department, the leopard had severe injuries on its paws and back. "It looks as if the Big Cat was involved in a fight with another leopard. We had tranquillised it and had been treating it but since the injuries were so severe it succumbed," said director of Ranthambore national park, R S Shekhawat.

Last week, the leopard had attacked a motorcycle-borne youth, besides several other persons and a forest guard, when the youth was on way to the Ganesh temple in a place called Mishredarre gate at Ranthambore.

The injured leopard was nursing its wounds in a stream nearby when it spotted the youth. Fearing an attack the leopard jumped on him. Later, it attacked some more passerby and a forest guard who had tried to shoo it off.

Thereafter, the forst guard raised an alarm and a team of forest department officials rushed to the place. The guards then tranquilised the leopard and put it in an iron cage.

"`Since then doctors have been treating the leopard. But the wounds on the leopard's body had developed maggots and were severe. We tried our best to save him but we failed," added Shekhawat.


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Fossilized saber tooth tiger found in Peru

Art/Culture/History - 26 October, 2009 [ 18:01 ]
Isabel Guerra

After nearly a year of intense search, the fossilized skull of a Smilodon, known as "saber tooth tiger" was found during an expedition through the area known as "Pampa de los Fósiles" (Fossils Ground) in the province of Pacasmayo, La Libertad region.

Klaus Hönningen Mitrani, a paleontologist, said that the discovery took place eleven days after he received several indications that the remains of the predator were found in that area, in the entry road to the resort Poémape in the district of San Pedro de Lloc.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the Smilodon would belong to the geological period known as the Pleistocene, which began 2.59 million last few years to about 12,000 years BP (before present).

The skull belonged to an adult Smilodon, measures 35cm, and its characteristic fangs are 18cm long, which allowed him to hunt.

Hönninghen recalled that scientists have determined that this species was contemporary with the man of Paijan, considered as the first humans who inhabited Peru.


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Ocelot killed in Texas wildlife refuge

Nature Report: Ocelot Killed at Animal Sanctuary

Monday, October 26, 2009 at 9:16 a.m.

RIO HONDO, TEXAS -- The Rio Grande Valley is the only place in the United States where you can find the endangered ocelot.

The valley's dwindling population recently suffered a crucial loss in the wildcat's most important sanctuary.

The endangered ocelot is perhaps the rarest cat in the United States, and less than 50 are estimated to remain in the thick brush land of deep South Texas.

Tragically, there is one less since a recent road kill at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge east of Rio Hondo.

Refuge manager Sonny Perez said a visitor discovered the body of a female ocelot along the refuge's popular Bayside Drive on Sunday, October 18.

"With the investigation we have so far, it appears it was road kill related," said Perez. "We found it within a 24 hour time frame."

Even with the presence of speed bumps, posted speed limit signs of 25 mph and ocelot crossing warning signs, visitors are encouraged to be extra cautious.

"Please observe the speed limits. Also, so you know, wildlife species are active all throughout the day, and there are many other wildlife species out here besides the endangered ocelot."

Ocelots prefer to dwell in dense brush, and these remaining pockets of habitat are often separated by busy roads the cats must cross.

Vehicle strikes are considered the number one cause of death for the rare cats.

"This particular cat was not one that we have documented or recorded previously, as extensive as the amount of research we have done in this area, we had not picked up this individual, so there is still hope even though we have lost this one from our population."


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Monday, October 26, 2009

Lynx to return to Portugal after 20 years

October 24th, 2009 | by nick |

Twenty years after becoming extinct in Portugal, the Iberian lynx is to return to the country next week as part of the reintroduction programme. A female will be transferred to the new breeding centre in the village of Silves in Portugal. A total of 16 animals are to moved to the centre in the coming weeks. These animals will be used for captive breeding rather than for releases.

The first releases in the wild in Spain are now set for 2010 when 8-10 lynxes are to be released in Guadalmellato (Córdoba) and Guarrizas (Jaén). From 2011, between 20 and 40 individuals will be released a year. Público

Photo above from ex situ Iberian lynx conservation programme. Here


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India: Leopard killed in Katerniaghat sanctuary, one arrested

Posted: Oct 25, 2009 at 0420 hrs IST

Lucknow A two-year-old female leopard was reportedly battered to death in the Kakraha range of the Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday.
The incident took place on Saturday morning when the leopard fell into a trap laid by two residents of Kabelpurwa village, Shatrughan Singh and Vinod.

According to the postmortem report of the leopard, two of its upper canine teeth were broken while its right front paw was severely injured. The cause of death was brain haemorrhage, which the leopard suffered after being hit on the head, said the report.

While Shatrughan has been arrested, Vinod is absconding.

“We learnt that the accused had laid traps for other animals earlier as well. When we questioned Shatrughan, he accepted the crime saying the trap was meant for hunting jackals, which they would eat later,” said Divisional Forest officer, Katerniaghat, R K Singh.

“After the leopard was entrapped, they used a stick to deliver several hits on the head, following which the animal died,” he said.


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Nepal conference to focus on tiger crisis

Nepal conference to focus on tiger crisis

Kathmandu, October 22, 2009

Tiger experts and government officials from 20 countries including 14 tiger range nations are meeting in Nepal’s capital next week to discuss issues relating to protection of the habitat of the critically endangered big cat.

The World Wildlife Fund, National Nature Conservation Trust and Save the Tiger Fund/USA are taking up the joint initiative for the four day global tiger conference and the first International Tiger Workshop on October 27.

The workshop hopes to generate awareness among people about the state of the tiger, a species that suffers severe population decline in all range countries, and had become ‘locally extinct’ in some tiger reserves in India. The objectives of the event were highlighted by Deputy Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Megh Bahadur Pandey.

“Human intervention main cause for declining tiger population”

There are an estimated 4,000 tigers in the wild around the globe at present. In India, a report issued last year by the Tiger Conservation Authority put the estimate at 1,411 individuals at the time of the census. The tiger population has declined from 100,000 since the beginning of the 20th century, mainly due to human intervention, experts say.

The forthcoming conference aims to focus on the factors responsible for the tiger-human conflict and the scope to protect the big cat’s prey and habitat. Among the major factors affecting tigers — even in designated reserves — is the hunting of prey animals such as deer, sambhar and wild pig. The encroachment of forests for grazing is also leading to the human-animal conflict, as the tigers prey on domestic cattle. Grazing is also responsible for the loss of vegetation that would otherwise support the prey base of deer and sambhar.

Besides representatives from tiger range countries such as Nepal, India, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand, experts from the U.S. and international conservation groups will also participate in the tiger workshop.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Census in Sunderbans in winter to determine tiger count

Census in Sunderbans in winter to determine tiger count

Kolkata, October 25, 2009

With an Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) analysis raising doubts over the number of tigers in the Sunderbans, a fresh census of the big cat will be conducted this winter.

“A tiger census will be conducted in Sunderbans in winter after three years although dates are yet to be finalised,” Director of Sunderbans Biosphere Reserve (SBR) P. Vyas told PTI here.

The Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) which was asked by the West Bengal government to develop a software programme to process field data on tiger pugmarks, had claimed in July 2006 that there were only 75 tigers in the Sunderbans, a World Heritage site.

The state’s Chief Wildlife Warden S.B. Mondal, however, told PTI that the last census had put the tiger count at 274.

The ISI, he said, was entrusted with developing software for which it was given data of a few ranges. “Their claim that there are only 75 tigers is wrong.”

The Wildlife Institute of India, he said, was supplied data in 2006, but was yet to give the tiger count.

Meanwhile, the SBR director said, the census would be done on the methodology developed by the Project Tiger of the Government of India, besides radio collaring and collection of DNA samples of tigers at the Sunderbans.

It was planned to radio collar six tigers, Mr. Vyas said.

SBR sources said tiger estimation has been traditionally done in the Sunderbans by the ‘pug mark method’ in which the fresh impressions of the left hind pug were collected from the field and analysed.

The pugmark method was field friendly, but due to drawbacks, Project Tiger had developed a new methodology for monitoring tigers, co-predators, prey and habitat, the sources said.

The last census was conducted in the Sunderbans in 2001 that put the tiger population at 274, but since it was disputed in the ISI software analysis, the 2006 one was stalled.

Wildlife experts also disputed the forest department’s claim and said that the number of tigers would be much less than what was claimed.

Wildlife NGO, ‘Nature, Environment and Wildlife Society’, Secretary Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, who has long experience of working in the Sunderbans, said that the number would not be more than 100 to 110.

Nepal, China to sign pact to save the tiger

Nepal, China to sign pact to save the tiger

October 25th, 2009 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS
By Sudeshna Sarkar

Kathmandu, Oct 25 (IANS) Concerned at the spurt in the smuggling of rare animal organs and skins to China and India via Nepal, the coalition government of Nepal is pressing China to sign an agreement in a bid to jointly man the common border and curb the menace.

“We have forwarded a draft of the memorandum of understanding to the Chinese government and are hoping it will be signed in November,” said Nepal’s Forest Minister Deepak Bohra, ahead of a key meeting on tiger conservation to be held in Kathmandu from Tuesday.

China, which farms tigers for commercial use, is also the world’s biggest consumer of tiger organs, which are believed by the Chinese to have medicinal and aphrodisiac powers.

Two years ago, at another international meet in Kathmandu to discuss strategies by countries with wild tigers on how to protect and increase their numbers, Chinese tiger farm representatives had been lobbying for the lifting of the 1993 international ban on trade in tiger parts.

Though the ban still remains, it is expected that at the four-day Global Tiger Workshop 2009 in Kathmandu, which will be attended by over 200 participants comprising policy and decision-makers, scientists, conservationists from all the tiger range countries, partner organisations and individuals, China will renew the lobby.

“The MoU discussed between Nepal and China is a welcome step in the conservation of endangered wildlife,” said Ghanshyam Gurung of the World Wildlife Fund. “In the past, China had been refusing to acknowledge at all that there was a trade in banned animal organs. Now it is ready to talk about it.”

The smuggling network extends from India to China with Darchula in farwestern Nepal increasingly becoming the border point used by poachers.

Nepal plans to discuss strategies with China to step up joint vigilance along the northern border it shares with China-held Tibet, share information between the security agencies of both countries and train security, customs and forest officials for regular monitoring.

Though Nepal also has a similar pact with its southern neighbour India, it has been rusting due to political changes in both countries.

While forest officials are scheduled to hold meetings every two years to assess the situation and improve the existing vigilance, such a meeting has not been held for several years.

Bohra told IANS that Nepal is also seeking a similar pact with Thailand.

Besides government-to-government interactions, Nepal is also focusing on raising social awareness, especially through the media.

“The actual poacher gets a fraction of the money killing a tiger,” Bohra said. “Poaching is also linked with poverty and we need to address that too.”

The key partners of the workshop include CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Secretariat, Global Tiger Forum, Global Tiger Initiative, World Bank, Save the Tiger Fund, National Trust for Nature Conservation and WWF Nepal.

The main goal of the four-day workshop, to be inaugurated by Nepal’s Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, is to define strategic actions to save the wild tiger from extinction.

The experts will assess the present situation, challenges and strategies for wild tiger conservation and identify the most urgent needs and priority actions to be implemented.

It is also looking at generating agreements among the tiger range countries on effective monitoring indicators for conservation and management of tigers, prey and habitat including trans-boundary cooperation requirements.

The Global Tiger Workshop will be followed by a conference of forest ministers from Asian countries to be held in Thailand in January 2010