Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More centuries than tigers?

More centuries than tigers?

Business Standard / New Delhi March 29, 2009, 0:27 IST

When Sachin Tendulkar dedicated his 42nd Test century, in the first India-New Zealand Test match at Hamilton two weeks ago, to tiger conservation, he seemed to be drawing attention to the unabated threat of extinction faced by this magnificent big cat. Tendulkar’s publicly stated concern is not misplaced, as can be seen from the alarming number of deaths of tigers that are still taking place in India’s wildlife reserves, notwithstanding the revamping of ‘Project Tiger’, the key tiger conservation programme. Nearly 30 tigers are reported to have perished in the first three months of the current calendar year, or one every three days. Most of these deaths are said to be the result of causes other than poaching which is believed to have come down following the crackdown that followed the disappearance of tigers from the Sariska reserve in Rajasthan and the intensification of tiger protection efforts, based on the report of the Tiger Task Force of 2005.

In some ways, though, the fact that deaths are caused by factors other than poaching points to a much larger problem than poaching. For, this would be a sign of the increased incidence of territorial fights between tigers, and the growing conflict between the animals and humans when the former transgresses into the latter’s territories in search of prey. The root cause of this is the decline of tiger habitats, within the protected areas as well as on their fringes, due to degradation. The Panna tiger sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh is the latest to go tigerless, largely on account of this factor.

Restoration and proper management of the health of tiger habitats are going to be tougher tasks than countering poaching, as these tracts need good forest cover, sufficient area for stalking and an abundance of prey. If any of these elements is missing, the tiger is forced to move out of the core reserve area and turn to livestock as food, or even become a man-eater. The dangerous truth is that this has been happening in increasing measure in and around many sanctuaries. The latest case, reported early last week, was from the Kaziranga National Park where a Bengal tiger sneaked out of the protected area to attack humans and got killed in the process.

The Tiger Task force, appointed by the Prime Minister, had very rightly included habitat maintenance in the plan of action that it suggested so as to reverse the decline in the tiger population. In particular, it laid stress on managing the fringe areas around the tiger’s protected enclaves, so that neither tigers nor the local communities that depend on forests for livelihood have to go beyond these zones. The problem is that little has been done on this front. Since Indian conditions are such that the complete isolation of the tiger from human beings is difficult, if not impossible, wildlife reserve management has to strike a balance between the interests of animal and people. In reality, though, the investment in tiger conservation has benefited neither the tiger nor the communities living in and around tiger reserves. Where the villages located within the reserves are concerned, they should ideally be relocated elsewhere. Simultaneously, the concept of joint forest management, involving the forest authorities and forest dwellers, needs to be promoted to protect the tiger as well as preserve its habitats, even while sustaining the livelihood of the people who live off the forest. This has been tried out with considerable success in the notified forest areas (even if not exactly wildlife sanctuaries) in Uttarakhand. Given a chance, it could prove its worth in protected areas and their peripheries as well.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/more-centuries-than-tigers/353204/

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Fading roar

Fading roar

DNA (Daily News & Analysis)
Monday, March 30, 2009 20:56 IST

The deaths of five more tigers, this time in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district, can be added to the sad statistics that make up India’s sadder record of preserving its dwindling wild life. The tiger has been the focus of a concerted effort since the 1970s and yet we appear to be worse off than we were before.

There are only about 1400 tigers left in wild in India, according to government statistics and this is an approximation — the actual figure could be somewhere between 1100 and 1600, according to experts. When Project Tiger was launched in 1972, a census report showed about 1800 tigers. Progress, certainly, has been somewhat regressive.

The usual moan when it comes to tigers is of its shrinking habitat, as development and progress eat into forests and open countryside. This is true but increasingly, is not the sole or the main reason for the fall in the tiger population. Substantial effort has gone into preserving tiger sanctuaries and national reserve forests since 1972. The deaths of the tigers in Chandrapur have been put down to the inefficiency of forest department officials. The local problem is the man-animal conflict, common in the Tadoba-Andhari area as in most borders between wildlife reserves and human habitation.

The bigger threat today is from poachers. According to the Wild Life Preservation of Society figures, India lost 832 tiger to poachers between 1994 and 2007. Various parts of the animal have some kind of value — the skin as a trophy and the bones as aphrodisiacs or some kind of virility potion. Chinese medicine makes extensive use of the tiger and that country remains the biggest market for poachers.

This is where the bigger government and NGO effort needs to focus. Africa has already suffered considerably, where the elephant and the rhinoceros were brutally massacred from their tusks and horns. Sustained efforts have seen some progress, though the human threat also remains.

The Indian tiger is bleeding similarly, because of human greed and human faith in symbolic cures. The issue of human versus animal can create a debate where both sides may find legitimate space. But the problem of poaching brooks no such argument. It has to stop and we need better security and more stringent laws to catch poachers. The tiger is falling prey to greed and blind faith. Future generations may be able to see this magnificent cat only in zoos or in wildlife films. Surely, we owe our national animal more?

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1243910

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

India loses 5 more tigers

India loses 5 more tigers

Ashwin Aghor / DNA
Monday, March 30, 2009 3:32 IST

India has lost five more tigers, as the forest department failed to protect them outside protected areas.

The half-burnt skin of a cub was found near Adhyalmendha lake, in Chandrapur district. Forest officials recovered the carcass of a three-month-old cub on Wednesday. A post-mortem revealed the cub died of starvation.

Sources said the presence of a tigress, three cubs and a full grown male tiger was recorded near the spot. But they all went missing last week. The cub’s death is the fourth in a series. Two tiger cubs were rescued from villagers near the Adhyalmendha lake last November. Three cubs were shifted to Maharajbaugh zoo in Nagpur after their mother went missing in the Junona forest, near Chandrapur.

The cub died despite claims by forest officials of having taken care of it. They had information about five tigers — a full grown pair and three cubs — in the area that is worst affected by man-animal conflicts, near the Tadoba Andhari tiger reserve. Little was done to protect them.

The pair of full grown tigers has gone missing even though the department is implementing the corridor development project with the Tiger Research and Conservation Trust. After a forest fire, one dead and one live cub were found on Wednesday.

Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra regional manager Mohan Karnat said the pair was still in the area. Principal chief conservator of forest B Majumdar said in inquiry would be ordered.

http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1243794

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Monday, March 30, 2009

Fresh tiger census in the offing

Fresh tiger census in the offing

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Delhi (PTI): An year after "scientifically" estimating the big cats' population at nearly 1,411 in the country, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is gearing up to revise the head count by conducting a fresh census later this year.

To be conducted in association with Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), likely from October, the census methodology will be similar to that conducted in the previous count when camera traps were extensively used which were considered to be accurate.

"Like last census, this time too scientific assessment of the population will be done, thus giving us a comparative data, indicating decline or rise in number of the tigers in reserves spread across the country," sources in the environment ministry told PTI.

The NTCA, monitoring Tiger Project in the country, early last year had released a report 'Status of Tigers, Co-predators, and Prey in India 2008' painting a grim picture of tiger population at 1,411 with variation of 17.43 per cent, the lower limit stands at 1,165 and the upper limit at 1,657.

"A team of 88,000 forest staff and 50 field biologists led by WII had carried out the census within the span of two years begining 2006. However, this time the task is likely to be executed maximum within six months covering almost all the tiger landscapes," the sources said.

Modalities are being prepared to train the officials to carry out the exercises which is quiet elaborate but considered to be accurate.

Till 2003, pugmark spottings were used to determine tiger population, which is considered unscientific. Also, data was said to be systematically fabricated to show an increasing trend in population.

But it was the first time in 2008 that the WII census used actual tiger sightings using camera traps, pugmarks and faeces for the tiger count.

Detailing the scientific methodology adopted in the last census in distribution ranges of the predator's prey, the report said, "Robust statistical approaches like mark-recapture and distance sampling to estimate absolute densities of tigers and their prey were used.

"Covariate information was generated using remotely sensed data and attribute data using GPS."

Since submission of the report several steps have been taken to boost population of the royal predator including declaring tiger reserves as critical tiger habitat as well increasing relocation package from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10lakh.

On the darker side, there have been alarming reports of tigers deaths from reserves like Kaziranga and Kanha and man-animal conflicts from other areas.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/008200903301511.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

National park tiger killed during riot

National park tiger killed during riot

Published Date: 31 March 2009
By Dielle D'Souza

A tiger from an Indian national park had to be shot dead amid chaotic scenes of rioting villagers after it killed two people and injured two others.

It is the tenth tiger to have been killed at the Kaziranga National Park world heritage site in the past three months.

The tiger entered a village near Kaziranga in the state of Assam and killed a man. It was trying to feed on him when villagers chased it away. A forest department team armed with tranquillisers found it yesterday hiding in a bamboo grove outside the park boundaries.

However, more than 1,000 armed villagers gathered and surrounded the grove calling for the tiger to be killed. For three hours forest guards and vets could not get a shot to tranquillise the animal as the mob grew angrier. Police were also called.

The villagers refused to make way for the guards or the vets and one group reportedly ignored warnings and entered the grove. One was killed by the tiger in front of the horrified crowd after he attacked it with a machete.

Police fired blank shots to disperse the mob.

In the ensuing chaos, a bullet from a police weapon hit a Wildlife Trust of India vet in the arm.

Dr Bibhab Talukdar, trustee of the National Board for Wildlife, said that people in general were responsible for the incident.

"The civil authorities need to send more people to control crowds to prevent incidents like this."

http://news.scotsman.com/world/National-park-tiger-killed-during.5123641.jp

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jaguar symbolizes Arizona's wildlife future

by Larry Voyles - Mar. 28, 2009 12:00 AM

The poignant story and fate of the oldest known wild jaguar, Macho B, has captured not just the attention but the imagination of people in Arizona, across the nation and perhaps even around the world - and rightly so.

The Arizona Republic ran an eloquent and perceptive editorial on March 9 about this "male of mystery" that thrilled us all with his occasional forays into Arizona over the past 13 years, when he was occasionally photographed or videotaped, mostly via efforts to study wildlife moving along these valuable corridors near the border.

The editorial was absolutely on target. For wildlife biologists, veterinarians and other wildlife professionals involved, it was a painful responsibility to euthanize this magnificent animal, which was struggling with kidney failure. It was some of our worst fears coming true, but we had a duty to act.

We don't know if Macho B was the last wild jaguar in Arizona. But as the editorial pointed out, he is a symbol of hope for our open spaces and the connectivity of our habitats. But Macho B is a symbol for an even broader forward-looking discussion: What kind of wildlife future are we going to have in Arizona this century and into the next?

Most people are shocked to learn that a top-of-the-line predator like Macho B, a species long thought extirpated in the United States, could still roam in a state with approximately 6.5 million people. Will we still be home to such amazing wildlife when humans in this state reach 10 million?

The answer may well reside in the decisions Arizonans make today about how we choose to conserve and manage our landscapes.

Difficult decisions call for solid information. The kind of information our biologists were attempting to gather when Macho B was first snared. We need not only to collect biological information for the future but also to join together to create a shared vision for the future and then work cooperatively to ensure that vision comes true.

Yes, Macho B is a symbol for a far-ranging effort in behalf of Arizona's wildlife in behalf of current and future generations.

Macho B was originally captured by biologists trying to gather biological data so that resources managers can make better-informed decisions on land and habitat use.

How well we use that information may well determine if Macho B is to remain a symbol of what was or become a symbol of what still can be in terms of Arizona's wildlife future.

Larry Voyles is director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2009/03/28/20090328voyles28.html


---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org



India: Prowling leopard rescued from a well in Guwahati

From ANI

Guwahati, Mar 28: Residents of Sonaighuli in Guwahati heaved a sigh of relief after a leopard on prowl and which had fallen into an open well in their neighbourhood was rescued by the rangers of Forest Department on Saturday.

They spotted it when they came to draw water from the well in the early hours of morning and instantly, they informed the police who in turn summoned the forest rangers.

"We called the police and told them that the leopard has fallen in the well. Police informed the forest officials as well," said Ajot Patwari, a resident.he officials first tranquillised the leopard and then managed to bring it out from the well.

Fortunately, there was not much of water in the well.

Instances of wild animals like leopards and tigers straying into residential areas are not a new thing.

There have been many cases in the past when wildlife officials have caught the animals, which had strayed into human habitats.

Depleting forest cover and lack of natural habitat for the animals is one of the major reasons for the wild animals to stray into the residential areas.

http://www.dailyindia.com/show/304658.php


---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org


Sierra Leone: Leopard found in Gola Forest

Milene Datil And Mohammed Massaquoi

24 March 2009

Freetown — Officers of the Gola Forest Programme, operating in the southeast of the country, have confirmed the discovery of a leopard, pygmy hippo, zebra duiker, and bongo among others, animals they have not noticed in the reserve for a very long time.

Gola forest protected area manager John Moriba made the revelation on Friday whiles explaining to journalists the necessity of protecting the forest reserve.

He said the forest has a high biodiversity of birds, mammals and plants, adding that the discovery of leopard, pygmy hippo and other animals was an achievement by his organization as it would serve as an essential tourist attraction centre.

Moriba noted that a group of researchers through the camera trapping system have recorded a lot of animals and of different species, most of them were about to face extinction in the country.

"The Gola Forest is even more valuable than diamonds; the forests serve as biodiversity source and also provide ecological services such as water and crop production.

It is disheartening to note that there are serious threats to the forest which range from logging, hunting and diamond mining.

We are appealing to government to address these problems as we are contemplating that by 2012 through the support from government and other partners, the reserve would attain the status of a national park.

"President Koroma on several occasions has laid emphases on the importance of the forest reserve but we are concern about the recent proposed mining that is to be undertaking by a Chinese mining company. We are gravely concern and therefore urge the president to make public statement in order to reaffirm the operations of Gola in that part of the country"

He said adding that they have enormous support from the French government, European Union and conservation international a US based organization.

He called on all Sierra Leoneans to support the project as the Gola Forest is the green diamond of Sierra Leone which everybody should be proud of.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200903240756.html

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Florida panther killed near airport entrance

Panther killed near entrance to Southwest Florida International Airport

Originally published 10:50 a.m., Thursday, March 26, 2009
Updated 10:50 a.m., Thursday, March 26, 2009

An endangered Florida panther was killed by a vehicle late Wednesday night near Southwest Florida International Airport, according to a report this morning from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

A Florida Gulf Coast University student discovered and reported the panther about 10:20 p.m. halfway between Terminal Access Road, the new entrance road to the airport, and Daniels Parkway, the Conservation Commission reports. Time of death was shortly before that, according to the report.

The panther, which did not have a radio tracking collar, was a male, about 1 1/2 years old. It did not have a transponder chip, cowlick or kinked tail, but it did have two descended testicles.

The carcass was placed in the freezer at the Naples office of the Conservation Commission and a necropsy will be performed at a later date. The remains will be archived at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Wednesday's incident marks the fourth panther to be killed on Southwest Florida roads so far this year. A fifth panther was killed by another panther at the Seminole Indian reservation in February.

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/mar/26/panther-killed-near-entrance-southwest-florida-int/

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Lynxes mistaken for bears in Finland

Lynxes mistaken for bears appear in Nuuksio National Park

What's the difference between a lynx and a bear?

Apparently not much, at least if you are scared stiff of both of them, so much so that you even lose count of the numbers.

On Saturday, two frightened hikers were picked up by helicopter in the Nuuksio National Park after they had reported seeing a mother bear and three cubs walking some 50 metres away from them.

Later on, there has been some doubt cast about the sighting of the bears, as traces of three lynxes have been spotted at the same site.

And now it seems the the four-legged perpetrators of the wildlife scare have earlier been caught on film at the scene of the crime.

Sundry parts of his camera went flying, when Veli-Matti Parmala rushed to photograph three lynxes which had appeared in his yard.

"Probably the self-same animals", Parmala guesses. He has been spending his time on the northern shore of the lake known as Pitkä Saarijärvi in the Nuuksio National Park for more than 50 years.

Whatever the truth, seeing the cats with tufted ears in his yard made Parmala’s heart beat nineteen to the dozen.

After getting hold of his camera, Parmala continued to struggle with the power switch of the device.

"I should have stopped and taken a deep breath and started from the beginning", Parmala says now.

Luckily for him, the lynxes remained playing in the yard for some five minutes, offering a generous photo opportunity.

"The mother and one of the kittens jumped over the fence, but the other youngster did not want to jump. It ran some 30 metres towards the shore, and came back to the others through a gate. It was obviously a familiar place for them", Parmala recalls.

The three animals showed up in Parmala's yard on Friday of last week, a day before they were mistaken for bears.

According to game researchers, the number of lynxes has increased strongly for example in the province of Uusimaa in the course of the past ten years, and apart from Espoo, lynx tracks have been spotted at least in Helsinki’s Viikki as well as in Kirkkonummi.

http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Lynxes+mistaken+for+bears+appear+in+Nuuksio+National+Park/1135244622118

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Oregon: A hunter's view of cougar management

by Lori Cooper, guest opinion
Thursday March 26, 2009, 12:00 PM

While walking recently along a BLM road near my property in the Applegate Valley in southern Oregon, I was thrilled to see cougar tracks in the newly fallen snow. As a hunter, I am grateful that I share local forests with these big cats. They are a top predator species and a key part of the food chain in our forest ecosystems, killing and eating deer, elk, and other prey in a finely tuned relationship that has endured across the ages.

I am also the mother of two young children. I recognize that the children's fast movements as they run and play on our hikes resemble the movements of a cougar's prey. So my husband and I have taught them to be aware that cougars live among us, and if they ever see one, they should not run, keep their eyes on the cougar, raise their arms, and slowly back away from it.

Chances are, we will never see a cougar in the wild. Contrary to what some would have us believe, the woods are not crawling with cougars. These generally shy creatures would rather avoid humans than have a confrontation with us. Despite this well-known fact, the Oregon
Department of Fish & Wildlife has implemented its cougar management plan, which establishes a minimum cougar population of 3,000 cougars. This would be an approximately 40 percent reduction in the ODFW-estimated population of 5,000 cougars that currently live in Oregon.

Reports of cougar sightings have risen in the past several years in southwestern Oregon. This is probably the result of several factors, including the fact that many more people have moved into cougar habitat. I have seen first hand the increasing number of house lights twinkling at night in the view from my porch overlooking the Applegate Valley.

But killing a large percentage of the cougars in a given area will not solve the issue of human-cougar interactions, and may even create a bigger problem. According to scientific studies, wholesale killing of cougars is actually increasing conflicts by removing adult, resident cougars who are more wary of people. This opens up territory to younger, potentially more aggressive cougars.

Instead of funding part of the cougar study with money generated from hunting licenses that I and other hunters purchase, ODFW should focus its resources on techniques that are far more effective in reducing conflicts between cougars and humans, such as wildlife habitat preservation, improved animal husbandry, and comprehensive public education, such as teaching people to avoiding feeding wildlife, bringing companion animals in at night, and sheltering domestic farm and ranch animals, which will help prevent conflicts with the big cats.

And in the event that a cougar is truly threatening a human, state law allows the cougar to be shot, with the requirement that the incident be reported to ODFW or the Oregon State Police immediately.

Besides reducing human-cougar "conflict," another objective of the ODFW study is to determine the effect on elk and deer populations when cougars are killed. It's no secret that cougars kill deer and elk -- it's in their job description, and has been for thousands of years. As a hunter, I view cougars not as competitors for deer and elk, but as an integral part of my hunting experience. A landscape devoid of cougars, but with perhaps a few more deer or elk, is an impoverished landscape. Given the impacts humans have had on deer, elk and cougar habitat in the form of logging, fire exclusion, agriculture and housing developments, surely we hunters can afford to share some big game with cougars, who were here long before we were.

Cougars are a magnificent and natural part of Oregon. Recognizing this, Oregonians have voted twice in the last 14 years to ban hound hunting of cougars. ODFW should be stopped from persecuting cougars in the name of science and a trumped-up public safety issue. The cougar management plan is a misguided and unscientific effort that should be stopped immediately.

Lori Cooper lives in the Applegate Valley, near Jacksonville.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/03/a_hunters_view_of_cougar_manag.html

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Texas bobcat loses paw in trap

Injured bobcat prompts Frisco officials to warn against animal traps

02:22 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 24, 2009

By SARAH PERRY / The Dallas Morning News

Frisco officials are reminding residents it is illegal to trap wild animals after a bobcat was found with a missing paw this weekend.

Dispatchers were notified about 9 a.m. Sunday that a bobcat was wandering in the 4100 block of Freedom Lane, said Mike Hansen, a Frisco senior animal control officer. The animal had likely been caught in a "claw-type" trap was missing its back paw.

Animal control officers captured the cat which was taken to the Outdoor Learning Center in Plano and later transferred to the Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch in Terrell.

Hansen said traps are dangerous because pets and people can be caught in them.

"There's no way to set it (the trap) for one specific species," he said today.

To ensure wild animals such as bobcats and coyotes don't prowl around homes, people should take away the animals' food source and shelter area, Hansen said. Residents should remove any food pet food or birdseed from their yards and keep shrubs trimmed and neat.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/032509dnmetfrisco.6867db70.html

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Oregon: Cougar kills below target

arch 24, 2009

I see from your article about the Cougar Management Plan that the state has killed 21 cougars in Jackson County over the past two-plus winters as part of some study. Isn't that enough dead cougars to figure out whether killing them reduces conflicts?

— Steph F., via e-mail

The study, which is being conducted through Oregon's three-year-old Cougar Management Plan, includes a 1,000-square-mile area of Jackson County as one of three study areas.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has hired a federal Wildlife Services agent to trap and kill the cougars for the study.

The study calls for an "annual objective" of 24 cougars killed for the study here, but the most killed in any one year has been eight so far this winter, according to ODFW statistics.

Only one study unit, the East Beulah Target Area in northeastern Oregon, has reached its target. That unit's target of 12 dead cougars was reached in the winter of 2007-08, statistics show. Through Feb. 25, 11 cougars were killed in that study area so far this year, ODFW statistics show.

The Heppner Target Area, also in eastern Oregon, has a target of 30 dead cougars. The most killed for the study there was 22 last winter.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090324/NEWS/903240310

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

"Cougar Clippings" for 3/25/2009 from Mountain Lion Foundation

Cougar Clippings
News Links 3/25/2009

Dear Friend,

Here are a few of the top stories on mountain lions from recent news articles:

Lion sightings spur Santa Paula safety campaign

After numerous reported sightings and the unfortunate killing of a lion kitten in a Santa Paula neighborhood, local law enforcement officers underwent a training session on mountain lions last Thursday. In addition, they handed out informational brochures to nearly 2,000 residents on the following Saturday. Spreading education in the community about mountain lions and what to do in case of an encounter should help calm residents' fears. Understanding our wild predator neighbors is the first step to living peacefully alongside them. See the Mountain Lion Foundation's Library page for additional resources.

Read the complete article...

Governor Crist Proclaims March 21 Save the Florida Panther Day

This year's Save the Florida Panther Day was a huge success with many residents turning out for the event at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday. Governor Charlie Crist issued a statement to Florida residents encouraging them raise awareness and help save the state's big cat. Money raised at the event and also from the sales of specialized Florida panther license plates will contribute to funds for the recovery of the species. Hopefully our beloved panthers will be around to celebrate many more Save the Florida Panther Days.

Read the complete article...

The lions of Los Angeles

The old veteran male tomcat, named P1, from the Santa Monica Mountains in southern California may have possibly been killed last week. Local ranch hands found his bloody GPS collar and tufts of lion fur nearby. It is unclear what happened to P1 but some biologists think he may have been killed for his territory by a younger lion. P1 had previously killed three other lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. It is an unfortunate loss and further indicates the limited habitat available in the area.

Read the complete article...

"Lucky" Libby relocated after suspected alpaca kill

In Washington adult cougar populations are dwindling. Seventy-five percent of cougars who were radio collared in a study have been killed in just five years. So when an adult male was accused of preying on an alpaca, wildlife officials decided to let him off with a warning. After being trapped, sedated and tagged, the newly named "Libby" was released farther into his territory away from the city. He was then purposely chased by a Karelian bear dog to help solidify the negative experience and encourage the cat to stay away from town.

Read the complete article...

###

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:

http://www.mountainlion.org/newsroom.asp

Cougar Clippings is a service of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

phone: 800-319-7621
web: http://www.MountainLion.org


Mountain Lion Foundation | P.O. Box 1896 | Sacramento | CA | 95812




---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tiger cub found dead

Tiger cub found dead

Published: March 24,2009

Chandrapur (Maharashtra), Mar 24

A tiger cub was today found dead in the Talodhi (Balapur) forest range in the district, forest officials said.

The caracass of the three-four-month-old cub, which was examined by a veterenarian doctor was partially eaten, Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) Regional Manager Mohan Karnat said.

A tigress along with two cubs (including the dead cub) had been spotted near Jankapur under the range a week ago, Karnat said adding the progress of the trio were being monitored since then.

The place from where the body of the cub was recovered is a rough terrain, Karnat said.

The exact cause of the cub and a possible death is yet to be ascertained, Karnat said adding samples had been sent for testing.

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/531377/National/1/20/1

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Govt sets up panel to formulate tiger relocation guidelines

Govt sets up panel to formulate tiger relocation guidelines

Archana Jyoti

New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) With tiger relocation becoming the buzz word in wildlife conservation, government has, for the first time, set up a panel to formulate regulations for shifting of the big cats from one reserve to another in the country.

The panel has been constituted at a time when there is an uproar over the Madhya Pradesh government's proposed plan to relocate a tiger from Kanha tiger reserve to Panna national park.

With the setting up of the panel, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has put a spanner on Madhya Pradesh's ambitious plan to shift a tiger in Panna where a single predator does not exist.

"A detailed translocation regulation will be developed by the panel comprising NTCA, Wildlife Institute of India and independent tiger experts. It will cover all the critical issues of relocating a tiger," Rajesh Gopal, member secretary NTCA told PTI.

"This (regulation) should include the essential requirement that established, adult tigers should not be removed from the core of a protected area. No state will be allowed to relocate the tiger unless the state agrees to strictly implement the protocols," he said. PTI

http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/A6D39185FDA9E801652575830037048B?OpenDocument

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

The end of a tiger, 'Most unfortunate' - says WWF official

The end of a tiger, 'Most unfortunate' - says WWF official

Dibya Jyoti Borthakur 24 March, 2009 01:44:00

A full grown Royal Bengal tiger that had strayed into human habitation in Jakhalabandha area in Nagaon district four days back was shot dead on monday in a joint operation launched by Forest department and Police.

The tiger created panic in the area for several days and attacked some-over enthusiastic onlookers and killed a person named Uttam Saikia (45) of Sakhmutha village under Koliabor subdivision.

On commenting the whole episode directed by State Forest department and Police , a WWF official said to Assam Times,” It was a really tragic moment for all nature and animal lovers.He said that there was little coordination between the participants who engaged in this task and they neither tried to tranquilize nor capture the tiger nor prevent villagers from making undue intervention.

“ At a time when tiger conservation has become a major global issue , it is tragic that the tiger was killed. He could have been captured as he was not a man-eater”, the official further said.

Dr Prashanta Bodo ,the vet from Wildlife Trust of India ,working with the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabiliation Centre,Kaziranga,also received a bullet injury on his arm in the melee that prevailed after the tiger attack. Acording to the Forest officials, the tiger had strayed out from either Kaziranga or the Karbi Anglong hills.

http://www.assamtimes.org/hot-news/2833.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Monday, March 23, 2009

Kaziranga tiger shot dead while feeding on forest dweller

Kaziranga tiger shot dead while feeding on forest dweller

24 Mar 2009, 0242 hrs IST, Naresh Mitra, TNN

GUWAHATI: A tiger, which had sneaked out of Kaziranga National Park and killed two people and injured two others, was shot dead on Monday after hours of panic and chaos in which policemen and forest personnel allegedly fired indiscriminately in panic, hitting one of their own men. It is not yet known who fired the bullet that killed the killer animal.

The shocking incident comes at a time when there is an uproar over 10 tiger deaths in Kaziranga in the last three months. Most conservationists believe they were killed by poachers.

The tiger gunned down on Monday was approaching old age, and in search of easy prey. It entered Sakmuthia village in Nagaon — on the outskirts of Kaziranga — and killed a man on March 19. It was trying to eat him when villagers chased it away. The forest department sent a team to tranquillize and capture the animal. After tracking it for three days, they found it hidden in a bamboo grove in the wee hours of Monday. Realizing it was very aggressive, they sought reinforcements.

But by then, local people had noticed the forest team and surrounded the bamboo grove to avenge the villager’s death. The tiger had been terrorizing them for weeks. By 8.30 am, there were over 1,000 villagers, armed with machetes, knives, rods and shovels, screaming for blood.

Pandemonium followed for the next three hours. The forest guards and veterinarians could only watch as the mob went berserk. In the chaos, they could not get a shot at the tiger to tranquillize it. Police were called in since it was an operation outside the national park. They tried to make way for the forest guards but the villagers refused to budge.

The mob was bent on killing the tiger. One group ignored warnings and entered the grove. One of them, Uttam Bora, attacked it with a machete. The hungry tiger pounced on him, ripped off a chunk of his neck and started feeding on him, as hundreds watched horrified. The gory sight sparked a riot. Police moved in to try and control the situation. Blank shots were fired to disperse the mob, which was preventing forest guards from going anywhere near the animal to tranquillize it. In the melee, a bullet fired by a policeman hit a Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) veterinarian, who was trying to dart the tiger.

About 20 rounds were fired, say witnesses. But it had no effect on the mob. They tried to storm the bamboo grove. The gunshots enraged the tiger and it came out charging. A policeman was mauled severely; claws and canines dug deep holes in his head and neck.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Earth/Kaziranga-tiger-shot-dead/articleshow/4307728.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

A stray tiger caught and released in Rajasthan

A stray tiger caught and released in Rajasthan

ANI
Sawai Madhopur
Mon, 23 Mar 2009:

Sawai Madhopur (Rajasthan), Mar 23 (ANI): A tiger that entered a residential area and injured a woman in the Sawai Madhopur area of Rajasthan has been captured and released in a nearby forest.

Forest authorities swung into action by tranquilising the tiger and releasing it into the forest.

"A tiger caught hold of me. I was in the field. I screamed for help. Some four people came to rescue me," said Vimala Devi.

Instances of tigers straying into residential areas is not a new thing. There have been instances in the past when wildlife officials have caught the animals after they strayed into houses.

Depleting forest cover and lack of natural habitat for the animals is one of the major reasons for the wild animals to stray into the residential areas.

There were about 40,000 tigers in India a century ago.

A government census report published this year says the tiger population has fallen to 1,411, down from 3,642 in 2002, largely due to dwindling habitat and poaching. (ANI)

http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/77341

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

More wolves, coyotes and cougars being spotted throughout Manitoba

Last Updated: Monday, March 23, 2009 | 2:27 PM CT

Manitoba Conservation says predatory animals like wolves, coyotes and cougars are being seen more in populated areas of Manitoba as they expand their habitats in search of food.

Numerous coyote reports have come in from West St. Paul, a community on Winnipeg's northeastern edge, while a couple in Lee River, 130 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, shot video footage of a cougar in their yard.

It's an issue that's taking a bite out of livestock profits across Manitoba. Brady Fonds, who manages cattle herds across central Manitoba for a farm support group, said he's lost 145 cattle to wolves since 2006.

In an effort to fight the losses, Fonds has managed to trap 40 wolves in the last two years.

"Wolves are very good and very elusive but yes, we've had some success. We don't want any of our patrons to lose any animals unnecessarily," he said. "We don't think we're ahead of the game by any means. It's a constant battle."

The predator troubles aren't confined to the pastures. Residents in eastern Manitoba say they are also losing pets to wild animals.

According to Manitoba Conservation, provincial deer numbers are way down. That diminishing link in the food chain means the animals have to look elsewhere.

However, conservation officials say they can't confirm a rise in predator populations because they don't keep statistics on those animals.

Ches Carver, the bylaw officer in Lac du Bonnet, 20 kilometres west of Lee River, doesn't need the stats to tell him what's happening.

He said wolves and coyotes are hunting pets and going into barns to steal hunters' kills. He's even seen evidence of an attack outside his own front door — bloody remains of some animal surrounded by paw prints.

"I have a large German shepherd dog and [the prints were] bigger than my dog's footprints, which indicates to me it was a wolf," he said.

"We have a lot of feral cats in this area and lately, I haven't seen any," he said. "We've been feeding them all winter and all of a sudden I don't see any."

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2009/03/23/mb-predators.html

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Increased sightings of bobcats in Ohio

by Farm and Dairy Staff

ATHENS, Ohio — Increased evidence of bobcats living in Ohio’s southeastern counties continues with the confirmation of 65 sightings by state wildlife officials during 2008, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Increase

The reports show an increase from the 51 verified sightings in 2007.

The bobcat was found throughout Ohio during early settlement, but as land was converted for crops and communities the bobcat’s population declined. By 1850, the animal could no longer be found living in the state.

A handful of unverified sightings in the 1960s marked the bobcat’s unofficial return to Ohio. Since 1970, state wildlife biologists have verified 255 bobcat sightings in 31 counties.

Verification

Verification of the elusive bobcat includes photographs of the animal and its tracks; encounters through incidental trapping, from which animals are later released; recovery of road kill and sightings by Division of Wildlife personnel.

The majority of the 2008 verified reports occurred in Noble County and the immediate surrounding counties.

The year 2008 was the first year a verified bobcat sighting came in from Highland and Perry counties.

The Division of Wildlife also received 214 unverified bobcat sightings last year.

Began monitoring

In 1997, the Division of Wildlife began monitoring bobcats in Ohio using a combination of field surveys and follow-up investigations of sightings.

These efforts have been supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species fund, which receives donations from Ohioans through the state income tax check-off program and by the purchase of cardinal license plates.

Individuals wanting to donate to the fund can also make an online contribution at www.wildohio.com

The bobcat is listed as an endangered species in Ohio and protected by state law.

http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/increased-sightings-of-bobcats/11524.html

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Study claims healthy tiger population in Arunachal

Study claims healthy tiger population in Arunachal

SIVASISH THAKUR

GUWAHATI, March 22 – At a time when the tiger is being pushed to the brink even in supposedly well-protected national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the country, some reserve forest (RF) belts of Arunachal Pradesh, especially in the eastern part of the State, could still be sheltering a sizeable big cat population. A field study conducted by Wild Survey North East under the US Fish and Wildlife Service claims to have found evidence of a healthy tiger population – with an occupancy that might be higher than even many of the protected areas (PAs), i.e., wildlife sanctuaries and national parks – in several contiguous belts of tiger habitat outside the PAs.

Asif Ahmed Hazarika, who carried out the eight-month survey from February to September-2005 encompassing the entire RF belt from east to west up to an altitude of 5,000 feet in seven survey blocks, told The Assam Tribune that those RFs merited upgradation into tiger conservation areas in view of the thriving tiger population.

“There were 135 transect survey field days covering a total survey distance of 1,350 km over a total transect length of 135 km. Over this period, 133 signs of tigers were recorded in the form of pugmarks, scratches and scats,” Hazarika said.

The survey blocks were (1) Doimara and Ammatula RFs blocks, (2) Papum RF blocks, (3) Panir and Talli RFs blocks, (4) Digaru and Paya RFs blocks, (5) Denning RF block, (6) Kamlang RF block and (7) Manabhum and Tengapani block.

Although the survey is three-and-a-half-year old, its significance lies in the fact that many stretches of forests outside PAs still constitute prime wildlife habitat, including for the tiger. Conservationists have all along been calling for protection and upgradation of pristine reserve forests, especially those forming contiguous belts with PAs, for securing a better future of wildlife.

The survey reveals that the frequency of encountering tiger evidence was almost equal in all the field survey blocks but slightly higher in the central and eastern blocks. The highest sample encounters were made at transect number 16 in Denning RF block with eight encounters followed by transect number 27 in Manabhum-Tengapani RF block with seven encounters, suggesting that tigers have a bit higher concentration in the eastern part of Arunachal.

Subsequent field studies on tiger and its habitat continued to divulge several aspects of tiger ecology and habitat conditions, besides some fluctuation in tiger population distribution.

Hazarika said that notwithstanding the apparently good tiger populations in different parts of Arunachal, there was an urgent need to gear up protection measures for maintaining the status of tigers since signs of rapid changes affecting the tiger habitats were already there.

“Degradation of these habitats will steadily push the tiger to tiny islands of forests where they will remain confined as prisoners or will stray out resulting in conflict with humans,” Hazarika said.

http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/details.asp?id=mar2309/at03

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Sudarsan Pattnaik thanks Sachin by sculpting 15-feet long tiger

Sudarsan Pattnaik thanks Sachin by sculpting 15-feet long tiger

ANISun, Mar 22 09:05 PM

Puri (Orissa), Mar 22 (ANI): Renowned sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik has thanked star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for dedicating his 42nd Test century to the cause of tiger conservation.

Pattnaik has thanked Tendulkar by sculpting a fifteen feet long tiger out of sand along the Puri beach.

Sachin Tendulkar scored 160 runs against New Zealand in the first test match at Hamilton and dedicated his century to the cause of tiger conservation.

Pattnaik decided to thank the cricketer by making a 15 feet long sand sculpture of a tiger using 15 tons of sand with 'Thanks Sachin' etched on it.

"We have made a fifteen-feet long tiger to thank Tendulkar for taking a serious step towards tiger conservation. We believe it's a big step. Orissa is one of the main destinations for tigers. So it's really great that a sportsman like Sachin has associated himself and his game to the cause of tiger conservation. For thanking Sachin for taking initiative like this, we have recreated the tiger by using 15 tons of sand," Sudarsan Pattnaik said.

Foreign tourists at the Puri beach also were much impressed with the sand tiger and the marvelous endeavours of Patnaik literally ushering colourful life on the sand.

"It is a marvelous thing, very interesting. I would say I have never seen such a beautify tiger as this. And second thing to see that people do devote time to such things and especially to give thanks to Sachin, who is very-very positive and I think a great person. So it is very interesting," opined Francis, a foreign tourist.

According to a recent survey conducted by the state government, the population of the beautiful majestic striped felines has fallen to 1,411, down from 3,642 in 2002, largely due to dwindling habitat and poaching. (ANI)

http://in.news.yahoo.com/139/20090322/926/tsp-sudarsan-pattnaik-thanks-sachin-by-s.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

In just 11 weeks of '09, tiger count down by 17

In just 11 weeks of '09, tiger count down by 17

21 Mar 2009, 0454 hrs IST, Avijit Ghosh, TNN

NEW DELHI: India's tiger count has dropped by at least 17 in the last 11 weeks since January 1. Poaching, poisoning, old age and infighting are the key reasons behind their deaths, say wildlife activists and forest officals.

The incidents have occurred all over India: from Manipur to Maharashtra to Uttar Pradesh. But statistics provided by NGO, Wildlife Protection Society of India, show that a majority of the deaths have taken place in Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh and Kaziranga National Park, Assam. In fact, officers from Wildlife Crime Control Bureau have already been dispatched to these reserves to carry out investigations.

Two big cats were found dead in Dhela range of Corbett Tiger Reserve on March 10 and 17 respectively. Forest officer MS Kunwar of Kalagarh says that the second incident was a result of territorial infighting.

"Some portions of the dead tiger were eaten away by the tiger who had killed it. The other tiger died a week ago of old age," he says.

Nonetheless, the confiscation of tiger body parts including 16 kgs of bones, two skulls and two paws by army officials on the Myanmar border in February and the seizure of a fresh tiger skin in Katni the month before clearly shows that poachers continue to be active.

Belinda Wright of Wildlife Protection Society of India says tigers are being killed because they are valued more dead, than alive. "Poachers make a lot of money by killing a tiger and selling its parts: skin, bones, claws, whiskers, penis and so on. Tiger parts are traded illegally, largely to feed the demand of a market in China," she says.

Wildlife activists also feel that forest officials occasionally cover-up a tiger's unnatural death by attributing it to a territorial fight. "There should be total transparency as a first step when tigers are killed, instead of the tendency to hide the problem," says carnivore biologist Advait Edgaonkar. He believes that hiring and training more forest guards as well as involving locals in the protection of parks would go a long way in protecting the tiger.

The latest tiger census figures released in Jan 2008, showed a mere 1,411 tigers alive as compared to 3,508 in 1997, a drastic drop of 60%.

BOX: Tiger toll, 2009

Mar 20: Bhadrawati, Maharashtra: Forest officials nab three persons with tiger claws and bones
Mar 17: Corbett, UP: Infighting claims one tiger at Dhela Range
Mar 10: Corbett, UP: An aged 14-year-old male tiger found dead at Dhela Range
Mar 4: Kanha, MP: One tiger found dead near Daman village
Feb 26: Tadoba Andhari, Maharashtra: One tigress found dead
Feb 24: Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh: Man-eater tigress shot dead
Feb 16: Chandel, Manipur: Army seizes 16 kg tiger bones, two skulls and two paws during vehicle checks near Myanmar border.
Feb 13: Kaziranga, Assam: One tiger killed in infighting
Feb 8: Pilibhit, UP: One tiger found dead near Sharda canal
Jan 31: Kanha, MP: One tiger found dead near Auraicamp
Jan 21: Kaziranga: One tigress dead of suspected poisoning
Jan 19: Katni, MP: One fresh tiger skin seized
Jan 18: Kanha, MP: One tiger found dead
Jan 10: Kaziranga, Assam: One tiger found dead
Jan 5: Kaziranga, Assam: One tigress found dead
Jan 3: Kanha, MP: Two tiger cubs found dead
Jan 3: Kaziranga, Assam: One tiger found dead
Jan 2: Bhandara, Maharashtra: One tiger found dead

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/In-just-11-weeks-of-09-tiger-count-down-by-17/articleshow/4295211.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Bhalock tiger still roaming near village

Bhalock tiger still roaming near village

Daniel Kamei

TAMENGLONG, Mar 22: The female Bengal Tiger with her cub is still roaming at Phalong (Bhalock) village of Tamenglong district of Manipur since the last part of 2005. As of now the tigers have not done any harm to human beings but they have lost five cows, two buffaloes, one dog and some goats since last year. Phalong village is situated 10 kms from Tamenglong police station in the eastern side of Tamenglong district headquarters.

While disclosing this to media persons at the Phalong Village Authority Office today, Agariam, the chairman of Phalong Village Authority said that the tigers were as big as domestic cows, the pug marks six square inches large were found on the soil. It roars near and far from the village and comes near the houses at night and is seen frequently on the road and in the jungle, he added.

In the meantime, Buantiuwang said that he had seen the tiger on March 9 while he was hunting for a bird. "I saw the big tigers jumping away, I was scared and got frightened and went back home," he said. Another man was also reported to have seen the tiger, as a small deer was caught in his trap and was eaten by the tiger on the same day.

The tiger had been seen frequently on various occasions. While collecting firewood and fetching bananas and even on their way to field and home the villagers heard roaring and felt insecure and sometimes went home, narrated one villager.

"As of now the tiger has not attacked any human beings but we are frightened and feel insecure," said the chairman.

The wildlife and forest departments came rushing to the village on hearing of the roaming of Bengal tigers at Phalong village, and ordered not to kill the tiger.

He also recollected that in the year 2006 the wildlife and forest departments came to their village and asked for footprint and dung of the tigers to identify the tiger`s size. However, the two departments had not done anything till today, he regretted. We lost our domestic animals but the government has not taken up any preventive measures, he added.

The chairman also appealed to the concerned authorities to take up immediate steps to control the tiger roaming in the village and frightening innocent poor villagers. And if the tigers attack any human beings or if the tigers were killed, the government should bear the responsibility, the chairman added.

Phalong village is situated 10 kms from Tamenglong police station in the eastern side with 248 households. There are five government schools including three Anganwadi centres. These anganwadis did not teach any children, they just distribute the nutrition powder to all the households in the village, the chairman said.

He went on to say that due to rodent menace the villagers were getting less foodgrains. "Getting 100 tins paddy is the maximum foodgrains whereas we are supposed to get at least 300 tins of paddy from one field," he said. He also said that the rats were still plenty in number destroying the vegetables at their fields.

Further, the village did not get any PDS rice, sometimes got some SK oil, that also rarely, he added. However, he thanked the ASA workers for helping the villagers regularly. NREGS is the only main source of income, "we construct IVR, make banana and Umorok farms and repair roads as the main work", said the chairman.

http://www.kanglaonline.com/index.php?template=headline&newsid=45853&typeid=1

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Tiger to be translocated in Panna reserve

Tiger to be translocated in Panna reserve

Bhopal, Mar 22 (PTI) With the lone tiger in Panna reserve yet to be traced, Madhya Pradesh forest officials are now planning to translocate a tiger in the reserve next month as the two tigresses shifted recently have no partner to mate.

"We are going to translocate a male big cat in the reserve next month," Panna Reserve Director Lallan Choudhary told PTI.

Evidence of some big cat, possibly a tiger, has been noticed in the areas close to the reserve but not in the tiger reserve.

"We are verifying the evidences but at the same time we are also not giving up our plan to bring in a tiger in the reserve," he added.

"We have already sought permission from the Centre to translocate a tiger in Panna from some other reserve in Madhya Pradesh," he said.

A tiger was last sighted in the Panna Tiger Reserve in January, Choudhary said.

He said that the two tigresses translocated in Panna have adjusted in the reserve environs and were doing fine. PTI

http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite.nsf/0/5BEC01A9C6A394C6652575810039E87A?OpenDocument

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tigers thriving in logged forests

Tigers thriving in logged forests

2009/03/23

KUALA TERENGGANU: Could this be a win-win situation for conservationists and loggers? A World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) survey revealed that selectively-logged forests can potentially accommodate a high population density of tigers.

A nine-month camera-trapping survey in a permanent forest reserve (PFR) in Kelantan showed an estimated density of 2.59 adult tigers per 100 square kilometres.

The forest reserve has been selectively logged since the 1970s. And apart from a single study of a primary forest in Taman Negara, between 1999 and 2001, such a high density of tigers has not been found in any other forest types in the country.

WWF-Malaysia Tiger Conservation Programme senior field biologist Mark Rayan said the survey demonstrated the importance of selective logging for tiger conservation and the need to halt the conversion of such habitats for other uses, such as commodity crops.

He said existing selectively logged forests could serve as important core tiger habitats. And with almost 85 per cent of confirmed tiger habitats located within PFRs, these sites were critical to the long-term survival of the species in Peninsular Malaysia.

"Greater emphasis should be placed on protecting and managing contiguous PFRs so the long-term viability of tiger populations... is not affected negatively through fragmentation and isolation."

But Rayan hastened to point out that the long-term response of other wildlife -- particularly arboreal animals such as birds, flying foxes and tree pangolins -- to conditions created by logging remains poorly understood.

WWF-Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said, based on the results, there was clearly a need to enhance management guidelines for PFRs

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Monday/National/2512145/Article/index_html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Rare snow leopard found at foot of Mount Everest

www.chinaview.cn 2009-03-18 12:24:59

LHASA, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Farmers in Tibet have found a snow leopard at the northern foot of Mount Qomolangma, also known as Everest, said the local forestry department.

The leopard was spotted near Cangmujian Village, Rongxia Township in Tingri, a county in southern Tibet early this month, said the Tingri County Forestry Department.

According to villagers, the big cat was an adult 120 cm long and about 50 cm tall, and it had a 120 cm tail. But the sex of the animal is unknown.

Villagers trapped the animal in a cave after it killed an adult cow, said the forestry department. The department and the Mount Qomolangma Administration sent workers to investigate. They effectively persuaded the villagers to free the leopard.

Snow leopards live in mountains and plateaus across China, Afghanistan, India and Nepal. The number of surviving wild snow leopards is estimated at 3,500, more than half of which live in the remote high mountains of northwest Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan in China, said the International Snow Leopard Trust (ISLT).

The animal has rarely been seen in the wild recently and is worth a great deal to poachers.

According to Liu Wulin, a Tibet-based forestry expert, the last capture of a snow leopard, a female one aged five to six, took place in December 2007 in Qijia Village in Gonghe County, Hainan Tibet Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, northwest China.

Editor: Sun

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-03/18/content_11030856.htm

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Saturday, March 21, 2009

India: Dwindling leopard count cause for worry

20 Mar 2009, 0105 hrs IST, Neha Shukla, TNN

LUCKNOW: The first quarter of the year 2009 has not left a reason to believe that leopards are any safer. As many as 39 leopard skins have been
seized across the country by several enforcement agencies till the date.

The latest seizure took place on Wednesday when Uttrakhand STF along with Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) arrested a person and recovered two leopard skins in Dehradun. The accused had poisoned the mule killed by the leopards almost two years ago. He had skinned the two leopards and stored the skins to sell them off later.

According to WPSI, the only agency that maintains a wildlife crime database in the country, 39 skins have been seized till March 18. "The number of leopards killed must be higher as there is no count of bones recovered or actual poaching cases,'' said Tito Joseph from WPSI.

According to the last year's census figures, there are not more than 11,000 leopards left in the country. The figures are alarming against the backdrop that a leopard is listed under Schedule (I) of Wildlife (Protection) Act and is identified as critically endangered.

The number of leopards killed each year is four to five times higher than that of tigers or lions. But, so far its conservation has failed to garner as much attention as that of the other two big cats. Conservationists feel that this could be affecting the systematic protection of the leopards.

Leopards mostly exist on the fringes of the forest and that makes them face the most severe backlash from humans and grave threat from poachers. The declining prey base and shrinking habitat forces the animal to venture out of the forest area often bringing it in conflict with the humans.

Leopards are more visible as they exist in the buffer zone of the forest. The presence of a tiger always drives them out of the core area. This raises a doubt that leopards are over-populated. But, in reality their population is decreasing fast.

Leopards continue to be an ignored member of the threatened cat family. Though the situation is not as grim as that of tiger and lion but due to lack of serious efforts to manage forest area and leopards' natural prey base, it is destined to worsen.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Lucknow/Dwindling-leopard-population-cause-for-worry/articleshow/4289563.cms

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

India: Two leopard skins seized in Dehradun

19 Mar 2009, 1320 hrs IST, AGENCIES

NEW DELHI: In a joint operation by the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttarakhand Police Department and Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI),
one person was arrested and two leopard skins were recovered from him in the Vasant Vihar area of Dehradun.

The accused hailing from Chamoli district of Uttarakhand together with a co-accused currently absconding, poisoned the mule killed by the leopards almost two years ago. They later skinned the two leopards and stored the skins in order to make an opportunistic profit from the sale.

WPSI's wildlife crime database shows that in the year 2009 alone 39 leopard skins have been seized across the country by various different enforcement agencies.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Health--Science/Earth/Flora--Fauna/Two-leopard-skins-seized-in-Dehradun/articleshow/4286196.cms

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

India: Tiger count down by 17 so far in 2009

In just 11 weeks of '09, tiger count down by 17

21 Mar 2009, 0454 hrs IST, Avijit Ghosh

NEW DELHI: India's tiger count has dropped by at least 17 in the last 11 weeks since January 1. Poaching, poisoning, old age and infighting are
the key reasons behind their deaths, say wildlife activists and forest officals.

The incidents have occurred all over India: from Manipur to Maharashtra to Uttar Pradesh. But statistics provided by NGO, Wildlife Protection Society of India, show that a majority of the deaths have taken place in Kanha Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh and Kaziranga National Park, Assam. In fact, officers from Wildlife Crime Control
Bureau have already been dispatched to these reserves to carry out investigations.

Two big cats were found dead in Dhela range of Corbett Tiger Reserve on March 10 and 17 respectively. Forest officer MS Kunwar of Kalagarh says that the second incident was a result of territorial infighting.
"Some portions of the dead tiger were eaten away by the tiger who had killed it. The other tiger died a week ago of old age," he says.
Nonetheless, the confiscation of tiger body parts including 16 kgs of bones, two skulls and two paws by army officials on the Myanmar border in February and the seizure of a fresh tiger skin in Katni the month before clearly shows that poachers continue to be active.

Belinda Wright of Wildlife Protection Society of India says tigers are being killed because they are valued more dead, than alive. "Poachers make a lot of money by killing a tiger and selling its parts: skin, bones, claws, whiskers, penis and so on. Tiger parts are traded illegally, largely to feed the demand of a market in China," she says.

Wildlife activists also feel that forest officials occasionally cover-up a tiger's unnatural death by attributing it to a territorial fight. "There should be total transparency as a first step when tigers are killed, instead of the tendency to hide the problem," says carnivore biologist Advait Edgaonkar. He believes that hiring and training more forest guards as well as involving locals in the protection of parks would go a long way in protecting the tiger.

The latest tiger census figures released in Jan 2008, showed a mere 1,411 tigers alive as compared to 3,508 in 1997, a drastic drop of 60%.

BOX: Tiger toll, 2009

Mar 20: Bhadrawati, Maharashtra: Forest officials nab three persons with tiger claws and bones
Mar 17: Corbett, UP: Infighting claims one tiger at Dhela Range
Mar 10: Corbett, UP: An aged 14-year-old male tiger found dead at Dhela Range
Mar 4: Kanha, MP: One tiger found dead near Daman village
Feb 26: Tadoba Andhari, Maharashtra: One tigress found dead
Feb 24: Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh: Man-eater tigress shot dead
Feb 16: Chandel, Manipur: Army seizes 16 kg tiger bones, two skulls and two paws during vehicle checks near Myanmar border.
Feb 13: Kaziranga, Assam: One tiger killed in infighting
Feb 8: Pilibhit, UP: One tiger found dead near Sharda canal
Jan 31: Kanha, MP: One tiger found dead near Auraicamp
Jan 21: Kaziranga: One tigress dead of suspected poisoning
Jan 19: Katni, MP: One fresh tiger skin seized
Jan 18: Kanha, MP: One tiger found dead
Jan 10: Kaziranga, Assam: One tiger found dead
Jan 5: Kaziranga, Assam: One tigress found dead
Jan 3: Kanha, MP: Two tiger cubs found dead
Jan 3: Kaziranga, Assam: One tiger found dead
Jan 2: Bhandara, Maharashtra: One tiger found dead

(Source: Wildlife Protection Society of India)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Health--Science/Earth/Flora--Fauna/In-just-11-weeks-of-09-tiger-count-down-by-17/articleshow/4295211.cms

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

The lions of Los Angeles

By Dana Bartholomew, Staff Writer
Updated: 03/20/2009 10:50:39 PM PDT

THOUSAND OAKS — He was king of the Santa Monica Mountains, the baddest cat around Malibu.

But the 11-year-old mountain lion known to ecologists as P-1 — as in puma one — may have met his end this week in a treetop scrap with a smaller, younger cat.

The irony: Last month, the suspected challenger was the first mountain lion ever monitored crossing the 101 Freeway — evidence local mountain lions are getting a better chance of survival by mixing with other large cat populations.

To better track their ability to cross the freeway, the National Park Service and Caltrans will install 20 video cameras this month at potential lion crossings from Thousand Oaks to Woodland Hills.

"It's really important, because we feel if the mountain lions are going to survive in the Santa Monica Mountains, they need to have occasional animals come (in) from the north, both for genetic reasons and to replenish the population," said Seth Riley, wildlife ecologist for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the largest urban national park.

"The 101 is the barrier. If we are going to conserve mountain lions in this area, they're going to have to cross the freeway."

Biologists believe there are between five and 10 lions roaming the 153,000-acre mountain park between the Simi Hills and the Pacific Palisades.

Since 2002, National Park Service officials have monitored a dozen of the big cats with radio collars and GPS tracking devices.

On Monday, ranch hands in Hidden Valley south of Thousand Oaks reported a bloody radio collar. In the tree overhead there were tufts of mountain lion hair. On the ground there was blood. And P-1's collar.

But no lion.

For 11 years, P-1 had been the alpha male of the high chaparral, ranging hundreds of square miles from Point Mugu to Topanga State Park above Tarzana.

Weighing in at between 140 and 150 pounds, he was the largest cat ever caught by the National Park Service in Thousand Oaks.

He was also known to have killed three other lions, including two offspring, among them a female with whom he'd mated.

But whether he's still king is the question, as park officials complete a forensic examination of the remains.

"We believe he was in a big fight, and may not have made it," said Riley, an assistant professor at UCLA. "But then again, he could still be alive."

Park biologists had been recently monitoring four male lions, including the pugnacious P-1.

There's P-10, a 100-pound, 2-year-old lion that ranged from Cal State Channel Islands in Camarillo to the Pacific Palisades, where he was once trapped napping between two homes.

This week, P-10 was tracked near the J. Paul Getty Center. On Friday, park biologists were trying to trap him in Topanga State Park to fix a defunct global positioning system signal.

There was P-11, a young male whose tracking collar died recently in the western Santa Monicas.

And there was P-12, first monitored in December, who created a park service sensation when he crossed the 101 Freeway at Liberty Canyon Road at 1 a.m. Feb. 24, venturing from the Simi Hills to the Santa Monica Mountains. It's not clear whether he skedaddled across the freeway or slunk beneath the underpass.

Now living near Zuma Beach, P-12 could possibly have taken down P-1, Riley said, making him the new lion king.

"We'll see," he said cautiously. "He could be P-12 ... a little bigger at 120 pounds. We'll see."

Mountain lions generally kill one large animal per week, mostly deer. While adult males generally range about 250 square miles, Riley said, females range much less. The animals mate year round.

Last year, Congress authorized a study to expand the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area to ensure more wildlife corridors. Conservationists believed linked habitats are crucial to healthy animal populations.

"It's very exciting," said Ron Sundergill, regional director for the National Parks Conservation Association, an advocacy group, who this week inspected the lion crossing site.

"What we want to do is make sure there are wildlife corridors. That's one corridor between the (Santa Monica Mountains) park and the larger Rim of the Valley - a 600,000-acre section that could potentially be the boundaries for the new national park."

Naturalist Dan Cooper said cats aren't the only animals on the move.

"Even things that we thought were barriers are not," he said, adding he just learned of a bear being spotted at Stone Canyon Reservoir in Beverly Hills. "How do you get a bear across the 405 (Freeway)?"

http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_11963981

---------

Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Friday, March 20, 2009

29 tigers gone in 3 months, Govt sits up

29 tigers gone in 3 months, Govt sits up

First Published: 00:59 IST(21/3/2009)
Last Updated: 01:02 IST(21/3/2009)

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s support to the campaign to save tigers could not have come at a better time with the country losing 29 tigers in less than three months this year.

Ten tigers have died in Kaziranga sanctuary in Assam and seven in Kanha in Madhya Pradesh in last few months.

Based on the feedback from state governments and NGOs, the Environment ministry has sent teams of the Wildlife Crime Bureau and National Tiger Conservation Authority to investigate the cause of the deaths. “If this is a trend, then we have to stop it,” said an Environment ministry official.

“Many of these deaths have been the result of territorial fights caused by the degradation of habitat outside the core area, said Tito Joseph of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.

While the poaching incidents are on the decline, experts are alarmed at poor habitat quality becoming a cause for tiger conflict with humans — like in Corbett National Park, where two tigers were declared man-eaters in recent past.

Not only Tendulkar, country’s top tiger experts like Belinda Wright, Valmik Thapar, Bitoo Sehghal and P.K. Sen have earlier asked the Union government to take immediate steps to protect tigers.

The steps suggested by them include looking into unscientific relocation methods and fixing accountability of officers in the areas where tiger population has fallen.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=b6d6625a-b401-49ee-a3a5-aec6d2e11dee&Headline=29+tigers+gone+in+3+months%2c+Govt+sits+up

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tigers found in logged forests of Malaysia, could help expand conservation efforts

Tigers found in logged forests of Malaysia, could help expand conservation efforts

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wild tigers caught on camera in a rare study in Malaysia show the endangered carnivores can thrive in partially logged forests, experts said Thursday, in an effort to encourage Malaysian authorities to widen its conservation measures.

The study indicated that better wildlife protection in those areas, long thought to be less valuable in conservation efforts, could help Malaysia meet its aim of doubling its tiger population in 12 years, the World Wildlife Fund said in a statement.

WWF researchers used discreetly placed cameras covering 75 square miles (120 square kilometers) of the forest reserve in eastern Kelantan state to capture images of six individual adult tigers between October 2004 and July 2005, according to the study published in January in the British science journal Oryx.

Officials estimate Malaysia's wild tiger population has fallen from 3,000 to 500 in the last half-century, largely due to illegal hunting, human encroachment and the destruction of the tigers' natural jungle habitat.

The government last year announced a plan to have 1,000 tigers roaming in the wild by 2020 through increased protection of jungle corridors where poachers prey on the big cats.

The survey revealed that "selectively logged forests have the potential to accommodate a high population density of tigers," the WWF statement said — contradicting beliefs by Malaysian authorities that conservation efforts should be focused on forests where there has been less logging.

But despite the new findings, the study still indicated the need to "halt subsequent conversion of such habitats to other land uses such as plant commodity crops," for things like palm oil, said the study's co-author Mark Rayan, a field biologist for the WWF's tiger conservation program in Malaysia.

The study estimated that there are 2.6 adult tigers per 38.6 square miles (100 square kilometers) of the forest, which has undergone partial logging since the 1970s. Tigers are not often seen by humans in Malaysian forests.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2008885369_apmalaysiatigers.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org