Monday, November 30, 2009

Indonesia: Illegal animal trading uncovered

Wahyoe Boediwardhana , THE JAKARTA POST , MALANG - Fri, 11/06/2009 2:36 PM - National

A joint team of police and NGO activists arrested a man who is allegedly a member of a syndicate trading in protected animals, in Walikukun district, Ngawi regency, East Java.

The team, which comprised of personnel from the East Java Police and activists from non governmental organizations ProFauna Indonesia and Humane Society International (HSI), also seized caged protected animals from the man, identified as Sumadi, 40, during the raid on Wednesday.

"We went undercover, pretending that we wanted to buy six lutungs *long-tailed monkeys* from the suspect," ProFauna Indonesia's campaign officer Radius Nursidi told The Jakarta Post.

Radius said that a few days prior to the arrest, the team conducted an investigation in the Walikukun forest along the Ngawi-Sragen route, after receiving reports from the community regarding the suspected sale of protected animals in the forest.

Sumadi, according to Radius, agreed to meet to hand over the order after establishing a price for the animals. Each lutung was priced at Rp 200,000.

He also told the undercover official that he frequently sold protected primates including Sunda lorises and lutungs. Sunda lorises, he said, were usually priced between Rp 75,000 and Rp 250,000 each, while Javanese lutungs were sold for about Rp 200,000 each.

"After agreeing on the price, the undercover official was taken to a place in the forest to pick up the lutung. There we arrested the suspect," Radius said.

He added that the joint team also found dozens of cages filled with animals protected under the law governing the conservation of natural resources and ecosystems.

All the animals were seized and transported to the East Java Police headquarters in Surabaya as evidence.

The seized animals comprised of 21 Sunda lorises, 15 Javanese lutung, a white bellied sea eagle and a leopard cat as evidence.

Sumadi, however, told the officials that the seized animals belonged to some friends of his, who share the same "profession".

Another suspect, believed to be the owner of some of the seized animals, reportedly escaped soon after Sumadi's arrest.

Both Javanese lutungs and Sunda lorises, Radius said, were on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and were categorized as endemic animals on the brink of extinction.

The region along the Ngawi-Sragen highway, near the R Soerjo monument, has long been known as a notorious trading site for protected primates. For years, protected primates like Sunda lorises and Javanese lutungs have been freely traded in the region, on both sides of the route.

The arrest was made only two weeks after ProFauna issued its report on the trades of protected animals in bird markets across Java Island.

ProFauna Indonesia's chairman Rosek Nursahid expressed hope the arrest and seizure would help stem, or even stop, the trade of protected animals in Ngawi.

"We suspect this is part of a protected animal trading syndicate," he said,

ProFauna's latest report based on a survey conducted in 70 bird markets across Java Island shows that the trade of protected animals at those markets is relatively high.

The R. Soerjo monument market was among the markets featured in the survey.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/11/06/illegal-animal-trading-uncovered.html-0

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Korea's DMZ treads fine line between nature and tourism - Feature

Posted on : 2009-11-23 - Author : dpa
News Category : Nature

Seoul - Known widely as one of the world's most heavily fortified borders, the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea could also be called the world's most heavily fortified unofficial nature reserve. Since the Korean War ended in an armistice in 1953, the military has tightly controlled access to the 248-kilometre-long, 4-kilometre-wide frontier between the two Koreas, which has allowed nature to take its course.

"The ecosystem in the DMZ is unique because it has been able to evolve over 56 years without human disturbance," said Kim Kwi Gon, a professor of environmental planning and design at Seoul National University (SNU), who plans to lead an ecological survey into the central DMZ next month.

The results of the planned survey, as well as other studies, could lead to zone being designated nature reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization in 2012, which would also increase interest in ecotourism.

"Since it's wintertime, it's cold and therefore difficult to see some species, so we are focusing on mammals, like water deer and boar, which aren't endangered, and checking for the presence of endangered species, like the leopard cat," said Kim Myungjin, a director in the ecosystem assessment division at the National Institute of Environmental Research. "After getting reports of rare species, we go in to check."

He said the team will explore parts of two counties that lie within the military buffer zone.

Next month's survey also comes during the migration season for birds heading from Siberia to Australia, SNU's Kim said. "Normally migratory birds stay in that area starting from mid or late October through February," he said, "So next month is a good time for us to see different migratory bird species including cranes, geese and wild ducks."

In a survey held in September in Cheorwon County, researchers identified 450 species of animals and plants, including goshawks and sparrow hawks, designated as endangered species by the Environment Ministry.

"The DMZ area is home to great biodiversity," said Jeon Seonhee, a researcher at the DMZ Ecology Research Institute. "More bird species are coming to the DMZ, even though it's not easy for birds to change their habitat."

The chance to spot such rare species is leading to the government's promotion of ecotourism in the area through the Korea Tourism Organization. On its website, DMZ eco-tours are promoted to visitors as trips to a "Peace Life Zone," although the region is only accessible via application to military units guarding the area and the tourism ministry.

The Environment Ministry wants to raise public awareness of the untouched habitat and biodiversity, said Lee Namue, a former official of the Korea Wetland Project, a conservation group under the joint jurisdiction of the ministry and the UN Development Programme.

"We would really like to designate it as a protected area," she said.

The government is also promoting festivals for the area's rich crops, for example the annual Paju Jangdan Bean Festival in Gyeonggi province in late November. According to figures released by the Paju city government, the festival drew 800,000 visitors last year and recorded revenue of more than 7 billion won (6 million dollars).

Throughout the year, the provincial government holds tofu-making demonstrations for groups in Tongilchon, or Unification Village, in Paju.

"This is a famous area for tofu," said Paju resident Kim Yong Bum, who has been making tofu for 16 years.

But there is a fine line between promotion and conservation. Another profitable crop of Paju is ginseng. "Ginseng is a good source of income, but it disrupts the natural habitat of birds," said Choi Chang Yong, a researcher at the Migratory Birds Center of the National Park Research Institute, during a tour of the DMZ.

As research continues, hopes remain high that the increased attention to the region will also preserve the natural wetlands and riverbanks.

"We can use this area to teach about the history of division on this peninsula and about ecosystems," ecologist Jeon said.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/295822,koreas-dmz-treads-fine-line-between-nature-and-tourism--feature.html

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Wildlife officers look for bobcat struck by car near Naples, FL

Bobcat struck by car in North Naples near Creekside business park

By Naples Daily News staff report
Posted November 29, 2009 at 1:58 p.m.

NAPLES — State wildlife officers are on the scene this afternoon in North Naples where a vehicle struck a bobcat, which then dashed into the woods.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers said the call came in as a Florida panther being struck, but that it's a bobcat not a panther.

The animal was struck early this afternoon along Goodlette-Frank Road, about a half-mile south of Immokalee Road near an entrance to the Creekside business park.

Wildlife officers said they hope to catch the animal and take it to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida clinic for rehabilitation.

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/nov/29/bobcat-struck-car-north-naples-near-creekside-busi/

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Young bobcat a star at South Georgia park

By Mark Davis

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
12:47 p.m. Friday, November 27, 2009

Chet Powell, who knows a few things about animals, has a rule: Never, ever, bother May. Not while she's eating, anyway.

If you do, make sure you count your fingers first. She's quick, and unapologetic, just like any adolescent bobcat.

May the bobcat is the resident star of Reed Bingham State Park in South Georgia. She came to the park in spring, a tiny thing with eyes tightly shut, shaky and barely alive. But oh, what a difference a few months of hand-feedings make.

"She was kind of slow at first," said Powell, the park's director. "But not anymore."

A master of understatement, our Mr. Powell. In a race, this young Lynx rufus could make a neutron sweat. If she's coming around the corner you should go ahead and look at the middle of the yard; she'll be there momentarily. She's lightning in a fur coat, trailed by a thunderous purr.

A South Georgia timber crew found her when it knocked down a dead tree. The fallen tree revealed three bobcat kittens, not even a week old, blind and helpless. One was dead. The crew stopped everything and hustled the two living kittens to an animal rescue group. That organization took them to Reed Bingham, where people are always saving something — possums, deer, birds. Powell once took a sick snake to the doctor.

A second bobcat died, leaving one. Employees bottle-fed her every morning, every night. She strained, wiggled, dug her claws into life and held on. The kitten opened her eyes, stretched her legs, learned to walk. Employees named her May, after the month she came to the park.

Now, she eats fancy, high-protein cat food from a bowl. Powell thinks he may use her for an educational exhibit. How many people have ever had a close encounter of the furred kind with a bobcat?

May is not the only draw at Reed Bingham, a 3 1/2-hour drive south of Atlanta. The 1,600-acre park is home to a variety of creatures, furry and otherwise. The limpkin, a rare wading bird with a dagger beak, stalks the edges of the Little River and park lake. Bald eagles build nests the size of Smart cars in its trees. The longest snake native to America, the Eastern indigo, is a Reed Bingham regular.

The park also is renowned for its annual release of baby gopher tortoises, the state reptile. Buzzard Day is another visitor favorite, and small wonder: Your Georgia experience isn't complete until you've seen a tree sagging with carrion-eaters.

Other parks also use animals to educate visitors about Georgia's nonhuman residents, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. Amicalola Falls, for example, frequently features birds and mammals in programs. Many parks bring out lizards, snakes and other things that crawl past your tent.

May, meantime, is learning the nuances of bobcat life, tracking stuffed animals in a grassy compound. The toys trigger a hunting instinct, preparing her for a life grabbing squirrels, rats, mice "and whatever she can catch," Powell said.

Eventually, she'll return to the forests. Bobcats, which aren't endangered, thrive in the leafy tangles of South Georgia, and that's where Powell will take her. She must go where the wild things are.

"Obviously," he said, "a bobcat is not a pet."

He probably will take her to a stand of distant woods, maybe the piney plains near the Georgia-Florida border. There, he'll open a cage, bid her goodbye and watch her go, a bolt of lightning wearing a fur coat.

http://www.ajc.com/news/young-bobcat-a-star-216033.html

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Wisc. DNR out to improve handling of cougar sightings in future

November 29, 2009

Outdoors: DNR out to improve handling of cougar sightings in future

By Jim Lee
Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers

MADISON -- On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the Department of Natural Resources will conduct a "Cougar Tracking, Ecology and Behavior Workshop" at Crex Meadows Center near Grantsburg in Polk County.

How quickly attitudes change.

It seems only yesterday that department policy was to summarily dismiss all cougar sightings in Wisconsin as either escaped pets or viewer misidentification.

Not anymore. After a cougar was sighted, trailed by hounds and treed near Spooner in March of this year with DNR personnel in the pursuing party, a new approach was obviously warranted. It was the second verified cougar sighting in the state within a year.

Dr. James C. Halfpenny, a Montana-based writer, film maker and lecturer on cougar and other carnivores, is the featured workshop instructor. According to the prospectus, Halfpenny "knows what level of skills it takes to find (carnivore) signs that will 'stand up in a court of law.'"

He is expected to discuss cougar-related topics involving biology, behavior, interactions with humans, pet trade, locating tracks, identifying footprints, verifying presence, collecting evidence, and determining size and sex.

"As western cougar populations saturate and dispersal occurs, the Great Lakes region will continue to experience the occasional (cougar) 'visitor,'" the prospectus notes.

"As wildlife professionals, additional knowledge is needed regarding this species. The public, both rural and urban, will demand it."

John Olson, DNR furbearer expert, said the Spooner cougar was treed by local bear hunters who "wanted the department to verify the presence and existence of this one cougar."

DNR attempts to dart the cougar with a tranquilizer gun were unsuccessful. The animal was able to shake off the effects of a reduced sedative and escape. The department had hoped to fit it with a radio collar and track its movements.

Olson said the agency is unaware of any further cougar sightings in the Spooner area since the failed tranquilizing effort, though 'we received several cougar observations from various locales across the state. None were confirmed."

The workshop should enable DNR personnel to better handle future cougar incidents that appear destined to occur.

Olson said there likely is more than one cougar in the state at the present time. "We've seen young male cougars showing up in the Midwest somewhat more frequently since the establishment of a breeding population in the Black Hills of South Dakota," he said.

"Due to their ability to travel long distances in short periods of time, there's no predicting where or what locale" in Wisconsin would be the most likely place for cougar to appear.

"All (cougar) that we've been able to verify have been young dispersing male cougars here in the Lakes States area," Olson said. "These young males are 'hot wired' for dispersal and will continue to wander in search of another cougar population, especially in search of female cougars.

"However, from research conducted in South Dakota, they've learned female cougars stay put or disperse only short distances from their natal site. The reason for such a difference is adult male cougars defend territories from other male cougars, but protect or at least accept the presence of female cougars primarily for breeding rights."

The most concrete evidence of cougar presence is often found along the nation's roadways. "Wherever a cougar population exists, they're killed on our highways at a high rate," Olson said.

Prior to the Spooner incident, a cougar was spotted near Milton in southern Wisconsin in January of 2008. It was later killed outside a Chicago suburb. In early June of this year, the DNR said late spring tracks found outside a livestock pen on a farm in Pepin County were likely that of a cougar.

The presence of wild cougar has already been documented in the surrounding states of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, according to Wisconsin DNR officials. Cougar supporters in Michigan have sought for years to have wildlife officials verify and acknowledge the presence of cougar in that state.

While the two-day workshop at Crex Meadows is limited to 40 people and aimed at DNR personnel, a few slots may open to the public.

Registration must be made by Monday. For more information, call 715-685-2934 or 608-261-6452. The fee is $115, which does not include lodging.

http://www.wisconsinrapidstribune.com/article/20091129/WRT0204/911290400/1829

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W. Neb. deer hunters encounter mountain lions

Associated Press - November 28, 2009 6:55 PM ET

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) - Two hunters in western Nebraska's Pine Ridge area have had close encounters with mountain lions in the last week.

Todd Nordeen is district wildlife manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks commission. He says in both cases the cougar showed up after the hunter had either wounded or killed deer.

Nordeen says the hunter with the wounded deer found it being attacked by the lion. He fired again at the deer, killing it and scaring off the mountain lion.

Upon returning from getting field-dressing equipment, he found the lion had returned and eaten part of the deer.

Mountain lions are protected in Nebraska. Nordeen says anyone who sees one near their home or livestock needs to contact local authorities or Game and Parks before taking lethal action.

Information from: KNEB-AM, http://www.kneb.com

http://www.nebraska.tv/Global/story.asp?S=11585216

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Mountain lion shot in Bismarck, N.D.

By LEANN ECKROTH Bismarck Tribune - Posted: Saturday, November 28, 2009 9:15 pm

"In 38 years of being a game warden, I've never met a live cougar," said Bruce Burkett, investigation superintendent for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

That changed Friday night after a 100-pound male mountain lion was shot near the former Home Depot Building in north Bismarck.

For Marvin Beck and his two children, it was also a first. En route to buying groceries at the north Wal-Mart, they saw the animal crossing in front of their headlights at around 6:30 p.m. to the east on Calgary Avenue.

"Less than 50 yards. We could see it plain as day. It was a mountain lion," Beck said.

"My eyes got really big, and I went ‘omigosh, is that really a mountain lion?'" said daughter Maari, 14. "We went into this street, turned our headlights on it and kind of lost where it went."

"I saw it coming and he started running," said his son Meric, 11.

Beck called the Bismarck police, who brought in NDGF wardens. He watched from his vehicle to the south until authorities came.

"Once he saw the headlights ... he did a pretty good jog going across," Beck said.

"(I wanted) to make sure it wouldn't come out of the south side of the street," he said. "I noticed a couple of kids out on their bicycles and told them ‘you probably want to go home.'"

He used his lights to see where it would go. The animal settled in a grassy area on a rock pile about 150 yards away.

NDGF Warden Pilot Amy Brown arrived shortly before 7 p.m. "I shined the spotlight across the field to see . ... There in a rock pile ... I saw these big green eyes. ... I called Bruce (Burkett) and said ‘I think this is the real deal.'"

Brown's biggest concern was how close it was to the homes.

"It was a matter of keeping an eye on it to make sure it stayed there, or if we spooked it away, I wanted to know where it was until I had someone else there," she said.

The NDGF partnered with the Bismarck Police Department on the call.

Brown continued to shine the spotlight while Burkett and and a police officer moved toward it.

"We approached it from the east. If it was a cougar in there, if we flushed it out, it would be in the light instead of the dark toward the houses," Burkett said.

Bismarck Police Officer Jason Bullis fired a shotgun from 15 yards away after the mountain lion peaked its head out of the rock pile. Burkett said a shotgun was used because it was safer in the neighborhood than a rifle.

"It exposed itself to Officer Bullis. Our policy is if a cougar is in an urban setting, we have to take it out," Burkett said.

"If a mountain lion becomes habituated to humans, it is a dangerous situation," said Randy Kreil, chief of the Wildlife Division for the NDGF. "We don't want to take that chance."

"It was within 100-200 yards of occupied houses," Burkett said. "It was the only thing we could do. We didn't want to chase it into a populated spot. It was sitting in a spot we felt we could control," Burkett said.

Burkett said it is the first time in NDGF history that a cougar was taken out in city limits anywhere in the state. There had been no solid evidence from earlier investigations.

The NDGF is storing the remains. A biologist will study it this week to determine its age, where it came from and what it has been eating. DNA tests will help wardens determine its origin. Burkett said it appears to be a full-grown male, measuring six feet long.

Burkett said should not be alarmed about other mountain lions clustering here. Males are generally alone.

"It was probably just a transient that was moving and stopping overnight in the wrong spot," Burkett said. "This is the time of year, males get kicked out of home."

He said they travel hundreds of miles in a short time. It's not uncommon for the animals to move between South Dakota and Canada or across the border from Montana.

Kreil said the Missouri River proves a popular corridor for the animals to travel.

"It's bound to happen," Burkett said. "There are more of them around. They've just expanded their range."

Burkett said the mountain lion can be aggressive. "If it felt cornered, it certainly would defend itself."

Burkett said no people have been injured by a cougar in North Dakota, but it can happen.

"The ones that do become dangerous are the ones that become injured, that aren't naturally able to fend for themselves or they got sick, or put them at a disadvantage to survive out in nature," he said. "The average situation of meeting a cougar is he doesn't want to meet you and he wants to go the other way."

What happens on the scarce chance you meet a cougar on foot?

"Don't run away from it. Don't go towards it. Just stand your ground and face it. It doesn't like to be challenged either," Burkett said.

He said 99.9 percent of the time the animal will go the other way if you ignore it.

"If it's a healthy animal, it doesn't want to have any contact with us," Burkett said.

Beck is certain it's not something his kids will forget.

"It's not something you expect to see," said Beck. "It should be an eye opener for other people."

(Reach reporter LeAnn Eckroth at 250-8264 or leann.eckroth@bismarcktribune.com.)

Posted in Local on Saturday, November 28, 2009 9:15 pm Updated:
12:38 am.

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/news/local/article_23d0bb94-dc45-11de-9244-001cc4c03286.html

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S.D.: Why doesn't GF&P relocate cougars that wander into city?

By Kevin Woster Journal staff - Posted: Saturday, November 28, 2009 9:00 am

John Kanta listened to people cry, swear and complain in the days following the killing of a mountain lion that was found in a Storybook Island neighborhood.

He also listened to the question: Why can't you just relocate it?

Some people angered by the state Game, Fish & Parks Department's decision to kill the 2-year-old, 120-pound male lion Nov. 19 think it could have and should have been relocated, rather than killed.

GF&P had already tranquilized the big cat, after all. It would have been simple to drive it somewhere up in the forest and turn it loose. But Kanta said there's one problem with that: It doesn't work.

"We've done that six times that I can think of, where we relocated various age or sex mountain lions, and none of them worked," said Kanta, the regional game manager for GF&P in Rapid City. "We located a young male, and he ended up about 10 miles away, killing geese in another guy's backyard."

Then there was the female lion that kept getting into trouble with people. GF&P relocated her twice, and she returned both times.

"We moved her once, roughly 25 miles as the crow flies, and she was back within two weeks," Kanta said. "The next time, it took less than a week."

There's really no place to put mountain lions in the Black Hills, a habitat that is at, near or above its carrying capacity for the big predators, regional GF&P supervisor Mike Kintigh said.

"The Hills are saturated. There's no place for these cats to go," he said.

That's probably why some end up wandering into towns, possibly during a migration to find their own territory, he said. Kanta suspects the Storybook Island-area cat was moving through, possibly along Skyline Drive, and wandered down into the neighborhoods.

So, why not capture him and release him somewhere outside of town and hope he continues to migrate?

GF&P isn't willing to take a chance that the same cat will come back into town or end up in trouble in a nearby town, Kanta said. Nor can the cats be relocated to adjoining states with more lion habitat, such as Montana and Wyoming. Those states don't want them. Neither does North Dakota nor Nebraska, Kintigh said.

"If we've got a cat that's a problem, the surrounding states don't want it. They won't want our cats," Kintigh said. Along with the potential for trouble, a transplanted cat could carry disease to its new population, Kanta said.

Mountain lion kittens that are orphaned when their mothers are killed by hunters or GF&P can and have been accepted by zoos in other states. But zoos typically don't want full-grown, wild lions, Kanta said. They're more difficult to handle and have a tougher time adjusting to life in captivity, he said.

"I don't think there would be anybody out there remotely interested in a 2-year-old, 120-pound male lion," he said.

GF&P does occasionally move a lion, in the right situation. One that killed a deer on the edge of the Spearfish city limits was captured and released a half-mile away. And it didn't come back.

"It wasn't a heavily populated area, kind of near the last house before you hit the wild," Kanta said. "What we did was drive it down the road off this guy's property. I wouldn't even really call that a relocation."

Kanta understands the questions and frustration from some regarding the GF&P's removal policy for lions that come into town. But he thinks the majority of people support it.

Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or kevin.woster@rapidcityjournal.com

http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/news/article_539ff74a-dbbe-11de-b893-001cc4c002e0.html

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Spain: Goodall says that by saving the lynx we save our own ecosystem

Jane Goodall dice que "al salvar el lince salvamos también nuestro propio ecosistema"

Por Agencia EFE – hace 3 horas

Sevilla, 29 nov (EFE).- Jane Goodall, una de las más acreditadas conservacionistas del mundo, ha declarado a EFE que es "absolutamente necesario" salvar el lince ibérico porque, con él, "estamos salvando su ecosistema, que también es el nuestro".

Goodall, quien esta semana ha sido investida doctora honoris causa por la Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla, ha destacado en una entrevista con EFE que al conservar el lince ibérico se preserva también el monte mediterráneo, "del que, al final, también dependemos nosotros".

Esta jovial británica, que en 2010 cumplirá medio siglo en defensa de los primates africanos, anima "absolutamente" a los españoles a preservar este felino "atractivo y carismático".

Poseedora entre numerosas distinciones internacionales del Premio Príncipe de Asturias, Goodall considera que la humanidad "no puede seguir destruyendo especies que han tardado miles de años en evolucionar".

"Puede que algunos consideren caros los planes para salvar especies como el lince, pero tenemos que estar preparados para pagarlos", ha opinado.

Su último libro, "Esperanza para los animales y su mundo", a punto de editarse en castellano, incluye un capítulo sobre los esfuerzos para evitar la extinción del lince ibérico, el felino más amenazado del planeta, situación que Goodall conoció en 2007 cuando al volar hacia España leyó un reportaje sobre este carnívoro en la revista de Iberia.

Nada más aterrizar en Barcelona invitó a Miguel Ángel Simón, responsable desde hacía más de una década del plan de la Junta de Andalucía para conservar el lince ibérico, a la capital catalana para que le expusiera los esfuerzos que un puñado de científicos y técnicos desarrollaban -con más voluntad que presupuesto- para salvar el centenar de linces que sobrevivían en Sierra Morena y en Doñana.

Goodall recuerda este encuentro en su blog: "El proyecto de reproducción del lince lo conozco en persona. Miguel Ángel Simón, de la Junta de Andalucía, fue el primero con el que me entrevisté en febrero del 2007 y con quien pude compartir una agradable cena improvisada en casa del director del Instituto (Goodall) en España. Recuerdo con cariño nuestro intercambio de peluches: un precioso peluche de lince ibérico por uno de chimpancé".

Simón le puso en contacto con Astrid Vargas, la joven bióloga que dos años antes había logrado la primera reproducción en cautividad del lince ibérico en el centro de El Acebuche (Doñana) y a quien Goodall visitó semanas después.

Vargas no olvida esa visita que considera "un rayo de luz en medio de la tormenta" pues coincidió con la desafortunada muerte de "Doñana", un cachorro de lince de cuarenta días, tras una pelea con un hermano de camada.

Goodall transmitió su cálido apoyo a estos jóvenes científicos, atribulados por una muerte que, con todo, sirvió para confirmar las peleas mortales entre cachorros de lince, que el equipo de Vargas ha logrado evitar desde entonces en varias ocasiones.

"Astrid no es sólo una gran profesional, sino que posee una sensibilidad para empatizar con otros seres vivos, característica no siempre habitual entre los científicos. Su implicación y dedicación absoluta a un proyecto extremadamente difícil la sitúa entre mis héroes de conservación actuales", escribe Goodall.

La laureada conservacionista británica invitó esta semana a Simón y a Vargas a compartir con ella su doctorado honoris causa, pero ninguno pudo acudir a Sevilla pues el primero ultima la primera reintroducción de linces en fincas de Córdoba y Sevilla, y Vargas concluye los traslados de linces a Portugal, tareas que, para Goodall, evidencian que la lucha por preservar el lince ibérico es "un motivo para la esperanza".

http://www.google.com/hostednews/epa/article/ALeqM5jWOPFRh9GpiS-Nr-wKfWpcHdsg7g

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Similipal Tiger Reserve remains closed

Similipal Tiger Reserve remains closed

Express News Service
First Published : 27 Nov 2009 05:03:26 AM IST
Last Updated : 27 Nov 2009 09:36:38 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Similipal appears to be nobody’s business. Closed after a series of bloody attacks in March, its reopening is nowhere in sight even as the monsoon closure period is long over.

It is not as if the park is not ready for normal tourist business yet - the local community has a lot at stake because of tourism - it’s the authorities are not just prepared to make a bold move on their own. Forest officials say restoration of tourism would boost confidence of the staff and help the situation get normal sooner than later but for the State Government which is at its noncommittal best. The famous national park closes for monsoon between June 16 and October 31.

But, this year, it had to shut down in March after Maoists struck targeting tourists, the existing facilities and even elephants.

While Special Operation Group (SOG), Orissa Police’s anti-Naxal outfit, did move in and kept guard, it was not possible to put them on job over a longer span. The security forces have since arrested a number of Maoist cadres, including the ones involved in the attacks. However, fear continues to stalk the field staff while procrastination has been the buzzword for the State administration. A curious spate of events in the recent past has showed how Similipal, Orissa’s first Project Tiger area, is a picture of apathy.

Soon after monsoon break was over, a meeting was convened where it was debated if there existed a Naxal threat. While forest officials were for reopening, contrasting views over security and intelligence inputs came in. It was apparently decided that three additional battalions of force will be required for a secure reopening.

While the Similipal Tiger Reserve authorities sent in an official letter to district collector and SP over reopening of the park, district authorities, in turn, marked a copy each to Home Department and Forest Department seeking their approval along with the force requirement.

This seems to have delayed the decision-making because neither the Home Department nor the Forest Department is willing to give a green signal in clear apprehension of any untoward incident in the future. Besides, allocation for three battalions is unlikely to get a go-ahead given the critical scene of Maoist menace in the State. In both events, the park remains closed.

“No one wants to bite on the bullet albeit reopening is in best interest of the park and the people dependent on it. Maoists wanted to make a statement and they have done it successfully. The life must go on,” said an analyst.

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Similipal+Tiger+Reserve+remains+closed&artid=/GRatHpDKLI=&SectionID=mvKkT3vj5ZA=&MainSectionID=fyV9T2jIa4A=&SectionName=nUFeEOBkuKw=&SEO=
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State tiger count from January 15

State tiger count from January 15

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN 26 November 2009, 05:08am

NAGPUR: The actual exercise to count tigers, co-predators, prey and their habitat in protected and non-protected areas of the state for all India tiger estimation (2009-10) using the refined methodology (line transect method) is expected to start from January 15.

Alok Kumar Joshi, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), wildlife, Maharashtra, on Wednesday said a meeting of conservators of forests (CFs) from all circles has been called on December 5. All the officials will be intimated about the new methodology and a training schedule will be finalised.

"We expect to complete the training process by December-end. The training workshops will be held at circle level to build capacity of field personnel. The 10 officials and NGO representatives, who were trained on the new methodology at Ranthambore in October, will impart training to officials and field staff," Joshi stressed.

Sources said in the first week of January, transects will be laid and field training protocol for primary and field data collection will be held. The actual exercise is expected to start from January 15. Joshi said collation and analysis will be coordinated by the WII in collaboration with outside experts, with guidance by a specially constituted core committee. The department has sought 9,000 field guides on dos and don'ts about the new method. "We have also asked for such field guides in Hindi language," he added. On funds, he said Rs 90 lakh have been proposed for the entire exercise.

The all India tiger estimation will be a joint exercise with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, NGOs, forest staff, and civil society institutions participating. The WII is going to provide funding support for holding workshops. Officials said the revised method will address an array of parameters related to the survival of tigers. The first line transect census was conducted in the state in January 2006. Last year, pugmark and water-hole census to count prey-predators and herbivores respectively was not done following directives from NTCA, which decided to abandon the old method after questions over its accuracy.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/State-tiger-count-from-January-15/articleshow/5269227.cms

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Green forest depletes in Mizoram's tiger reserve: Report

Green forest depletes in Mizoram's tiger reserve: Report

Aizawl, Nov 26 : The tiger habitat analysis in Dampa Tiger Reserve(DTR) in western Mizoram has found that closed evergreen or semi evergreen forest in the tiger reserve has considerably decreased over the last few decades.

The report of the analysis to the state environment & forest department today disclosed that the green forest was reduced to 95.27 sq km in 2005 from 152.47 sq km in 1978 and was inversely proportional to human settlements in the area.

However, the analysis indicated that the present green forest is suitable for tigers and emphasised the need to preserve the habitats.

The report, jointly conducted by the Mizoram Remote Sensing Application (MIRSAC) and North East Space Application Centre(NESAC), Shillong, was handed over to Chief Wildlife Warden L R Thanga by Principal Secretary and MIRSAC Chairman Lalsawta.

Lauding the efforts of MIRSAC and NESAC in carrying out the analysis, Lalsawta hoped that the report would help the Mizoram government protect the depleting environment and the tiger habitats in particular.

The DTR, the largest wildlife sanctuary in Mizoram sharing a 127-km border with Bangladesh, was notified in 1985 and declared a tiger reserve in 1944.

The tiger reserve covers an area of approximately 550 sq km. It consists of forest interpolated with steep precipitous hills, deep valleys, jungle streams, ripping rivulets, natural salts licks, with an altitudinal zone of 200-800 mts.

Wildlife activists have opposed the ongoing Indo-Bangla border fencing as it will prohibit the movement of animals.

The DTR encompasses a variety of rare and endangered animals in abundance such as Rhesus macaque, leaf monkey, pigtail macaque, stumptail macaque, hoolock gibbon, Assamese macaque, slow lorris and giant squirrel.

Tiger, leopard, Indian elephant, gaur, serow, barking deer, wild boar, porcupine, sloth bear, Himalayan black bear, great hornbill, oriental pied hornbill, grey peacock pheasant, red junglefowl, crested serpent eagle, emerald dove, hill myna are also found there.

http://www.newkerala.com/nkfullnews-1-158572.html

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Malaysia battles tiger extinction

Malaysia battles tiger extinction

UPDATED ON:
Saturday, November 28, 2009

View Video At: http://tigerworldnews.wordpress.com/2009/11/29/malaysia-battles-tiger-extinction/

Conservationists are warning tigers will become extinct in the wild within the next 20 years unless a major effort is made to protect them.

At the beginning of the last century, there were an estimated 100,000 tigers. Today their population is believed to be around 3,000.

But poachers and illegal traders are better at breaking laws meant to protect the big cats than policy makers and wildlife experts are at upholding them.

Al Jazeera's Laura Kyle travelled to Malaysia to find out why poaching is rife and why efforts to stop it are failing.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/11/2009112881717284599.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

India: Leopard cub dies in road accident

Prithviraj Singh - Dehradun
DEHRADUN - Saturday, November 28, 2009

Death of a three-month-old leopard cub near Timli village in Kalsi Forest division three days ago has forced the forest officials to be extra cautious about the safety of villagers.

The wailing mother and a sibling of the dead leopard cub were found roaming around village Timli early on Wednesday morning. Following which a patrolling team of forest officials took away the carcass. Noise of the wailing sibling of the dead cub was clearly heard by foresters when they reached near the carcass around 6.30 am at a site between 58 and 59 kilometers milestones on Herbertpur-Saharanpur Road.

According to the patrolling team, the cry of the cub was heart rendering. The mother and her cub remained in the forest near the body of the dead cub, till it was taken away. "In all probability, the cub died in a road accident. Apparently it was hit by a small speeding vehicle on Saharanpur-Herbertpur road," said Kalsi Forest division SDO Gulveer Singh.

Meanwhile Kalsi DFO and his staff have decided to increase patrolling in the area to avoid leopard's attack in future. According to them, the cub's death has alerted them as Timli village with more than 1000 population is not far away from the spot the cub died. "We have to take special care for the safety of Timli villagers as it's barely half a kilometer away from here," said Singh, adding that patrolling will be increased at Timli forest range in order to keep the leopard away from entering into the village.

Foresters have also decided to sensitise villagers to keep them alert about big cats particularly after the death of the cub. In another wildlife casualty in the State, an elephant calf died after falling from a hill top in Pauri.

According to officials, as the female leopard was seen venturing into areas close to the village necessary preventive steps were needed to obviate any future untoward incident.

In another incident, an elephant calf died after falling from a hilltop in Pauri district, forest officials said here on Friday. The seven-year-old calf was found injured with her hip bone broken during a routine patrolling at Lansdowne forest division, about 150 km from here, on Thursday, Lansdowne DFO Narendra Singh said.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/218864/Leopard-cub-dies-in-road-accident.html

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New foundation strives to protect Arabian leopard

New foundation strives to protect Yemen's National Animal
By: Yusef Al-Radai

Published:25-11-2009

SANA'A, Nov. 24 — David B. Stanton, advisor to the Ministry for Water and the Environment, and founder of the Yemeni Leopard Recovery Program (YLRP) is working full time to ensure an expanding population of Arabian Leopards (Panthera pardus nirm) in Yemen. These animals are on the IUCN "Red List" meaning they are critically endangered with extinction in the wild. The number of Arabian Leopards left is unknown but, it is certainly less than 200 and could possibly be fewer than 100, according to Stanton. The Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris bengalensis), by comparison, numbers about 3,500 in the wild. According to the Arabian Leopard fact sheet, a publication of the YLRP, Yemen's leopard population is "possibly extinct," however, sources indicate that Arabian Leopards probably still exist in Wada"a, Amran, Hawf, Al Mahrah, and a few other locations.

According to the YLRP, Arabian Leopards are the largest and strongest of the Arabian cats, of which there are at least three other species: Caracal (Caracal caracal schmitzi), Gordon's Wildcat (Felis silvestris gordanii), and Sand Cat (Felis margarita harrisoni). Male Arabian Leopards may weigh up to 34 kg, but females average much less at about 20 kg. These cats are the smallest and most genetically distinct of the nine recognized leopard subspecies. They have an unusually long tail, which they use to balance themselves in the steep terrain that they inhabit.

According to the YLRP website (www.yemenileopard.org) the program implements a strategy that consists of increasing public awareness, understanding, sympathy, commitment and involvement in leopard conservation, improving the breeding success of Yemen's captive Arabian Leopards, and lobbying for real protection of wild Arabian Leopards where they still exist in Yemen. As a result of YLRP lobbying, the Yemen Council of Ministers passed legislation declaring the Arabian Leopard as Yemen's official National Animal on April 29, 2008. It is a high priority of YLRP's public awareness campaign to bring this to everyone's attention and to help them understand how this can benefit both Yemen and its National Animal.

When asked why we should conserve Arabian Leopards in the first place, Stanton said, [as quoted in the Quran] "Everything that walks on this Earth, or flies with its wings is a nation like you" [Surat al Anam 38 - 6]. He also said, "Yemen currently faces the risk of being the only country in the world ever to have allowed its national animal to become extinct. If we allow this to happen, then Yemen will suffer a major loss of prestige in the eyes of the world, something the country really can't afford at present."

Stanton also argues that the Arabian Leopard is a powerful and charismatic symbol that has the capacity to help engender pride in the Yemeni public at a time when Yemen is fractured with discontent and struggle. Stanton has been asked many times by people "why so much focus on environmental issues when people in Yemen are suffering so much?" "In fact," David says, "people are part of the environment and any harm that we do to the environment we are actually imposing on ourselves." He added that the only effective way to implement conservation is to involve people, so that we can only help nature by helping people. For example, he will be bringing a team of five Yemeni biologists to Oman in January or February for special training at Jebel Samhan Nature Reserve so that they can gain the skills needed to conduct leopard surveys in Yemen. Leopard surveys will employ local people because their knowledge is vital to the success of such research. According to David, when people begin to realize that having leopards in their area can lead to employment and other economic benefits local attitudes will finally turn in favor of these animals.

Because leopards are at the top of the food chain, they can only exist in areas that are relatively undisturbed. By protecting leopards we are protecting everything that lives in their environment thereby preserving the habitat in its pristine condition.

On Wednesday, November 18th the YLRP became an officially registered foundation with the Yemen Ministry for Social Affairs and Labor. The foundation's board consists of Dr. Abdulkarim Nasher as president, HE Abdulrahman Al-Eryani, Yemen's Minister for Water and the Environment, as chairman, Dr. Masaa Al-Jumaily as advisor, Dr. Amal Al-Kebsi as advisor, and Mr. Adnan Jumman as public relations Officer. With such a strong administrative team, David is confident that people in positions of power will begin to see the wisdom of protecting Arabian Leopards in Yemen. This is good news for the foundation and for Yemen's National Animal.

http://www.yementimes.com/defaultdet.aspx?SUB_ID=33140

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Tiger Day’s team earns its stripes

Tiger Day’s team earns its stripes

chris.havergal@cambridge-news.co.uk
Published: 28/11/2009

A zoo has scooped a top prize for its tiger conservation work.

The success of Shepreth Wildlife Park’s ‘Tiger Day’ was recognised at a ceremony hosted by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).

The park won in the best marketing project category for the annual event, which has raised more than £10,000 for charity in seven years.

Tiger Day celebrates the birthday of Amba, one of the zoo’s resident tigers, and this year featured a special “tiger cake” plus a visit from Cambridge United defender and “Amber Army” star Anthony Tonkin.

But it also features talks from wildlife experts about the plight of the tiger in the wild and displays on how the funds raised will be spent by the 21st Century Tiger charity.

Judges said the event demonstrated how zoos could be a powerful force for conservation and tackle issues such as species extinction.

Rebecca Willers, animal manager at the park, is working in Indonesia to save tigers in their natural habitat.

She told the News she was delighted with the recognition for Tiger Days.

She said: “Educating our visitors is something we take very seriously at the wildlife park, so with our Tiger Day becoming such a popular event in the August calendar, I am naturally very pleased all the hard work from the staff and volunteers.

“Also, the generous help we receive from outside companies, has been recognised by such a prestigious award.

“Tigers are facing a losing battle in the wild, as I am currently witnessing first hand.

“As long as we can keep raising the funds and public awareness in the UK, in order to support the important work being carried our in the field, only then may they stand a chance at long-term survival.”

Shepreth Wildlife Park was also commended for its ‘log pile’ education programme, created by education officer Lainie Bazzoni.

Dr Miranda Stevenson, director of BIAZA, said: “These awards recognise and celebrate the vital contributions that our members are making to conservation, environmental education and raising public awareness."

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/cn_news_roystonnews/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=467333

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

John Abraham takes up cause of tiger conservation

John Abraham takes up cause of tiger conservation

STAFF WRITER 17:37 HRS IST

Panaji, Nov 27 (PTI) Bollywood heartthrob John Abraham has joined hands with three-time Green Oscar winning filmmaker Mike Pandey to produce a feature length documentary about the plight of tigers in the country.

"It's a fiction on a tigress and her three cubs which deals with the current scenario of haphazard forest management," Arjun Pandey, promoter of the film, told PTI.

The Bollywood actor will be financing 30 per cent of the production cost and the filmmakers are looking for investments from other sources also. "The documentary is budgeted at Rs 8 crore," Pandey, here for the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), said today.

The film is expected to kick off a national 'Save the Tiger Campaign' in the country, which houses half of the global tiger population, he said.

"The world has about 2,500 tigers left and half of them are in India.

http://www.ptinews.com/news/397084_John-Abraham-takes-up-cause-of-tiger-conservation

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Tigers face survival threat

Tigers face survival threat

TNN 27 November 2009, 05:13am IST LUCKNOW: Despite being the most prized possession of Indian wildlife, survival for tigers could be getting difficult with each passing year. It is not a figment of imagination but the hardcore reality as reflected in the official figures.

MoEF data for the past four years shows that tigers killed in 2009 (with count probably still on) is double and (at times) triple the number of big cats dead in previous years. In 2006, as many as 22 tigers were reported dead by several states/wildlife crime control bureaus. The 2009 figure of 59 tiger deaths (still open) is almost three times of the figure available for 2006.

The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 provides enabling provisions for protection and conservation of tigers. The tiger has been accorded the highest degree of protection and placed in Schedule I of the said Act, reads the official release by MoEF sharing the four years record of tiger mortalities.

In 2007, 30 tiger deaths were reported and in 2008, the number stood at 28. Both the figures are lesser compared to the present year's data. In 2009, tiger deaths have been reported from 14 states. Out of all, Madhya Pradesh `topped the chart' with 13 tiger mortalities, Assam followed second with 10 and Karnataka was a close third with 9 tiger deaths.

Among the other states' figure, Maharashtra -- 4 tiger deaths, Uttrakhand -- 7 tiger deaths, Rajasthan -- 3 tiger deaths, West Bengal, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh -- 2 tiger deaths each, Uttar Pradesh -- 3 tiger deaths, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Odisha and Kerala -- one tiger death each.

Apart from the mortalities reported, there 7 tiger skins have been seized in 2009, so far. While two tiger skins each have been seized from Delhi and Andhra Pradesh, one tiger skin each has been seized from Maharashtra, Uttrakhand and Tamil Nadu.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/Tigers-face-survival-threat/articleshow/5273349.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Bobcats, lynxes use power line corridors for transit

What does it take to save a species? Sometimes, high-voltage power wires

By Beth Daley, Globe Staff - November 22, 2009

FOR DECADES, NOBODY in the US had seen the bee.

The silver-haired black Epeoloides pilosula was once widespread in New England, often found where native yellow loosestrife plants grew. But as the region's pastoral landscapes gave way to forests, the bee lost its sunny open home. In 1927 it was spotted in a Needham meadow and then, despite years of searching, not again. By the start of this century, dejected bee lovers were forced to conclude that the insect was likely extinct in the US.

Then, one bright June day in 2006, eureka: The bee was found in a hillside meadow by David Wagner, a University of Connecticut conservation biologist conducting a two-year bee survey in southern New England. Once the species was confirmed, there was a celebratory Mexican dinner and a published paper that rippled through the conservation world. If a rare bee like that could be found again, biologists reasoned, maybe there were other rare bees, plants, and wildlife hidden in similar environments.

Even more remarkable, though, was the environment where this find was made: In a 250-foot-wide power line corridor off Route 163 in Southeastern Connecticut. Transmission corridors have long been considered symbols of environmental degradation, with their enormous steel skeletons and high-voltage lines slicing through forests, wetlands, and salt marshes; they divide the landscapes that thousands of species need to survive. Yet now they are gaining a new reputation: As critical homes for faltering species of birds, bees, butterflies, plants, and a host of other species.

The corridors - carefully maintained to prevent trees from growing high enough to touch tension lines - can recreate the meadow and shrubby landscape that once dominated New England. Some scientists are even looking at these corridors as grassy escape routes for animals and plants from the harsher effects of climate change as temperatures rise worldwide.

"It's hard to explain to conservation groups that [species] are being saved in the most unpopular and disturbed kinds of landscapes," said Robert Askins, a biology professor at Connecticut College who has studied birds in transmission corridors. "I was shocked originally to be working in them myself."

The idea that transmission line corridors or any human-built infrastructure may actually help species is a counterintuitive one in the conservation movement, where the emphasis is often placed on preserving a landscape - usually by leaving it alone or ensuring it remains in some "natural" state to help certain species thrive. But in crowded New England, where people have altered the landscape for so long, saving beloved species may actually take more - not less - human intervention.

As species become more integrated with the industrialized infrastructure we have constructed, people's view of nature is also changing. One reason delighted commuters on Route 128 see more turkey vultures, some naturalists suggest, is that the southern species might be enticed northward by the intricate array of highways that makes it easy for them to find road kill. And who can't be proud that Boston's skyscraper ledges have helped endangered peregrine falcons return from the brink of extinction?

"I have heard the Northeast described as a large zoo, the whole place is completely managed," said Katharine C. Parsons, senior scientist at Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Plymouth. She is spearheading a new effort to work with states, companies, and wildlife groups to best site, construct, and manage transmission lines. "Intervention is what we do, whether we are conservationists or not."

Parsons is looking at the possibility that new transmission corridors will serve as emergency exits for animals or plants as the climate shifts. New England is already experiencing warmer winters, lengthening springs, and more extreme weather, such as severe rainstorms. Challenged species may be thwarted from moving to better environments because of highways or other obstacles blocking their way. The corridors, Parsons and others suggest, may provide these species an easier path north.

Now, as thousands of miles of new lines are proposed across the country to move wind and other renewable energy, conservationists are beginning to think about ways the lines can also be used to help the species we want to save. That may include avoiding biological hotspots where endangered species live, ensuring the pathways serve as critical links between larger tracts of forest, and better managing the corridors to entice species that have few other places to go.

It may not be a purist's view of saving nature. But as the world gets more crowded and true natural lands disappear, it is quickly becoming what conservationists have to work with.

"You wouldn't go out and design a landscape for ecological services and put roads or transmission lines there," said Marc Lapin, a conservation biologist who teaches environmental studies at Middlebury College. "But this is looking for ecological value in something that is benefiting humans."



BEFORE EUROPEANS ARRIVED, New England's vast mature forest wasn't all shade. Beavers would regularly chew down trees, creating dams that would flood - and then drown - large sections of the forest. Lightning, or Native Americans, would spark fires that consumed thousands of trees. And winds from fierce storms would blow down enormous swaths of the woods.

A baby forest would then spring up in the disturbances' wake. Within months, grasses and wildflowers would begin to grow in the sunny break. Vines and thickets would follow. For a decade or two - before tall trees crowded out the brush and shaded the area again - the swaths would be dense growths of shrubland.

Many animals seek or require these shrubs or clumps of grass as nest sites or for feeding. Others find food and cover in the brambles and thickets. The chestnut-sided warbler and American woodcock birds, snowshoe hares, and New England cottontail all use this land. Frogs, snakes, bees, and butterflies also need or thrive in the areas - often called early successional habitat.

There was once lots of it. Most of New England was deforested by the late 19th and early 20th centuries for farmland and pastures. The majority of rocky ground was gradually abandoned. For generations, before the forest slowly took over, there was an abundance of this open landscape. Animals, plants, and insect species that thrived in that sun-loving habitat exploded. People began treasuring them.

Now, as forests mature, that landscape is disappearing. What's more, there aren't the natural disturbances that took place before Europeans arrived. Beavers are often not tolerated, and firefighters ensure forest blazes don't get out of control.

As a result, some birds cannot find the grass or shrubland they need to nest in and don't reproduce in the numbers they historically did. There are fewer swaths of meadow and shrub for many of the region's hundreds of species of native bees to pollinate, so they too have gradually disappeared. The reclusive New England cottontail rabbit, which once found safety in the impenetrable thickets of early successional habitat across the region, has not been seen in Vermont since the early 1970s and the population has plummeted throughout the region - largely because of habitat loss.

And now, love them or hate them, New England transmission line corridors are beginning to serve as substitutes for some of that shrub land - and are even being deliberately managed to do so. Decades ago, the corridors were hand or mechanically cut. Then, during the post-war suburbia boom when many more corridors were being built, companies turned to the wide use of herbicides, reducing most corridors to grassy swaths and reducing biodiversity.

In the 1950s, an independent Connecticut ecologist named Frank Egler began wondering if there was another way for the companies to ensure trees didn't grow without killing virtually everything else in the corridors.

"He wanted to know could you just take out the tall trees and leave the native plants, shrubs, and low trees," said Glenn Dreyer, director of Connecticut College's Arboretum. Egler's research showed yes - if herbicide was selectively applied to individual trees, only those trees would die. Wildflowers, grasses, and native shrubs would then take over, eventually making it more difficult for tree saplings to grow.

Northeast Utilities, which manages about 1,900 miles of transmission corridors in New England, was one of the first to buy into the idea. Today, it and other key regional transmission managers - National Grid with 2,000 miles, NStar with about 400 miles, and Central Maine Power Company with 2,100 miles, for example - say the vast majority of their corridors are managed that way. Every few years, vegetation managers rotate through the paths, placing herbicide on tall-growing trees such as ash, maple, birches, and other saplings. New England remains an exception, however, according to national transmission line experts.

"We have a well-educated population here; if you don't do things right you are going to be in trouble," said Tony Johnson, supervisor for transmission vegetation management for Northeast Utilities. The utility helped fund the study that found the almost extinct bee. "And if you do things right, you get to convert some people."

Of course, some people dismiss the idea of transmission lines as beneficial and say no herbicide should ever be used - especially in places with sensitive waterways nearby. In Eastham, Wellfleet, and Orleans this summer, residents became worried about an NStar plan to start using selective herbicide on transmission corridors that were historically mowed. The plan is on hold, according to NStar.



ONE RECENT SUNNY day, Manomet's Parsons stood knee high in brush on an arrow-straight transmission line corridor in Plymouth near Route 3. A loud, steady buzz of insects interrupted her identification of native shrub species. A dragonfly careened in the air toward her. The hilly area was covered with grasses, bushes, and small trees so dense it was impossible to walk through. A small wetland surrounded the base of a few steel structures.

As new transmission line corridors are built, Parsons and others are looking for ways to make the corridors work with the ecosystems they cross. She says some will need to avoid rare species habitat or critical wetlands. Her program, funded by the Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund - a partnership between the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Society - is helping map those spots across New England and is beginning to talk to transmission line companies early on to site new ones in appropriate places. Others suggest the corridors should be built next to highways or railways to lessen the impact on forests. Scientists at The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire are researching how and why lynx, black bear, bobcat, and other species use the corridors. Meanwhile, David King at the US Forest Service in Amherst, Jeff Collins of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and other researchers published a paper this year suggesting that wider corridors helped threatened shrubland bird species more than narrow ones. Connecticut College's Askins came to a similar conclusion in his research.

And the tiny bee? It's not alone. Other corridors have rare plants. And a rare moth was recently found in another.

"We're finding lots of other rare plants and wildlife," said Wagner.

Beth Daley is the Globe's environment reporter. She can be reached at bdaley@globe.com.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2009/11/22/what_does_it_take_to_save_a_species_sometimes_high_voltage_power_wires/

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India: "Misplaced sympathy may cost us our leopards"

Karnataka - Mysore

Special Correspondent

Two leopard cubs 'rescued' from sugarcane field

MYSORE: It is a plea that has fallen on deaf ears. Not to pick up leopard cubs left behind by the mother that may have gone foraging for food. But yet again, a few youngsters from Arasinakere in Jayapura hobli of Mysore taluk picked up two leopard cubs found in a sugarcane field and promptly brought them to the Mysore zoo on Thursday.

And the zoo authorities turned down the request to harbour the cubs following which the cubs were shifted to the Aranya Bhavan. The two cubs are reckoned to be around 15 days old and given their fragile health, as they are still in the suckling period, their chances of survival may be slim.

Wildlife conservationists have time and appealed to the public not to disturb the leopard cubs that may be found in sugarcane fields. Leopards are highly adaptable creatures and tend to keep the cubs in the perceived safety of sugarcane fields or shrub vegetation far from their habitat.

But as experts have pointed, shifting, if any, should be done only after carefully monitoring the movement of the cubs and ascertaining that the mother has indeed abandoned them.

But the tendency is to pick up the little cats and bring them to the zoo which does not have the authority to keep more than a stipulated number of animals per species.

Such "rescues" born out of misplaced sympathy are disconcerting as leopard population across the country is declining and such misplaced sympathies may hasten their march to extinction.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/11/27/stories/2009112751380200.htm

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HC asks for report on radio-collaring of tigers

HC asks for report on radio-collaring of tigers

Odeal D’Souza / DNAWednesday, November 25, 2009 9:01 IST

Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) to submit a report over the permission granted to and action taken against Dr Ullas Karanth, promoter of the Wildlife Conservation Society, India, and eight other non-governmental organisations for their involvement in killing tigers in Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary during the radio collaring of tigers.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice PD Dinakaran and Justice Anand Byrareddy, heard a public interest litigation filed in this regard by Cheranda Nanda Subbaiah, a coffee planter in Virajpet taluk of Kodagu district. The bench directed the PCCF to file the report in two weeks' time.

Seeking a CBI inquiry into the "anti-wildlife activities", the petitioner had said, "Ullas Karanth and the eight other NGOs are not interested in protecting the forest and wildlife, but are keen only on grabbing foreign funds." He added that though the chief conservator of forests had submitted a report in this regard, no action was taken.

The petitioner's counsel, AK Subbaiah, argued that the NGOs involved must be blacklisted or banned. He had also sought a direction from the court to the state government to initiate and enquiry against the accused based on the enquiry report.

http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_hc-asks-for-report-on-radio-collaring-of-tigers_1316151

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

The vital safeguarding of Vietnam’s tigers

Tigers bred in a tourist site in Vietnam.

The vital safeguarding of Vietnam’s tigers

07:09' 27/11/2009 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – How many tigers does Vietnam have? It’s a matter that is troubling the experts and there is no definitive answer says Dr Scott Roberton from the Wildlife Conservation Society on November 24.

Dr. Roberton confirmed that according to a recent survey by Education for Nature – Vietnam and the Environmental Police department, Vietnam has 97 tigers in captivity, but numbers of tigers in the wild, are thought to be anywhere between 20 and 100.

He said that while it is relatively easy to breed tigers in captivity, if not regulated, it can harm wild tiger populations.

“Is breeding tigers always good for wild tiger conservation? The answer is ‘no’. Increasing the number of tigers in captivity is only good if it is supporting the conservation of wild tigers.”

He stressed: “It is more difficult to release captive tigers to the wild than it is to simply protect existing wild tiger populations and let them naturally increase.”

Trinh Le Nguyen, director of People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), said that according to the WWF, ten years ago Vietnam had 100 wild tigers.

According to Nguyen, the current number of tigers in Vietnam may be less than 100 because “Tigers require a large area of forest to live andcan travel up to 100km a day, but forests in Vietnam are being narrowed”.

Nguyen warned that wildlife smuggling cases discovered in Vietnam account for only 20 percent of total cases. The local press also report only 10 percent of cases calculated by the Vietnam Forest Protection Agency.

An investigation in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong showed illegal hunting of wild animals remains popular. At least 175 professional hunters are working in the two districts of Cat Tien and Da The in the forests of Lam Dong.

According to the study, hunters mainly work in protected areas like the Bi Doup National Park, Nui Ba Mountain and the Cat Tien National Park. Hunters of Don Duong, Dam Rong and Lam Ha work in Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces. They also go to Ninh Thuan and Binh Phuoc to hunt wild animals.

Hunters say they use many tools in hunting, including self-made shot guns, an AR115, an M16 or even a bow.

A hunter in Don Duong district said his group normally has between four and six hunters. After up to five days laying traps, they check the traps and often collect up to 40 kilos of wild animals in a pine forest in Ninh Thuan province.

Another hunter in Dam Rong district said his group works at night to avoid forest rangers.

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/tech/200911/The-vital-safeguarding-of-Vietnam%E2%80%99s-tigers-881058/

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Villagers on trial for eating tiger in SW China

Villagers on trial for eating tiger in SW China

(Xinhua)
Updated: 2009-11-26 20:55

KUNMING: Six people are on trial in southwest China on charges of illegally killing and eating a tiger of an endangered species as well as for illegal possession of firearms.

Kang Wannian and Gao Zuqiao, from Dachoushui Village in Mengla County, Yunnan Province, used a hunting rifle to shoot dead an Indo-Chinese tiger at a nature reserve in February and left the area after the killing, prosecutors told the Mengla County People's Court.

Kang's wife and Gao asked five fellow villagers to the reserve the next day to dismember the tiger and take it home, where they stewed and ate it, the court heard.

Kang and Gao turned themselves into local police in June.

Kang was charged with illegal possession of guns and poaching an endangered wild animal. Gao and three other villagers were accused of concealing the tiger's carcase.

The other two villagers, a couple, were exempted from prosecution due to their confession.

Another defendant, villager Bai Zhiquan, who did not eat the tiger meat, was charged with illegal possession of firearms, which, said prosecutors, he had lent to Kang.

The Indo-Chinese tiger is under state-level protection in China.

The prosecutors are demanding compensation of 480,000 yuan (70,588 US dollars) from the defendants.

The trial opened on Wednesday, but the judges have yet to deliver a verdict.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-11/26/content_9059802.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Thursday, November 26, 2009

PM's tiger still being tracked

PM's tiger still being tracked

5:15 AM Friday Nov 27, 2009

VLADIVOSTOK - A rare Siberian tiger that Vladimir Putin fitted with a radio-tracking collar is alive and well, the Russian Prime Minister's spokesman said yesterday, after concerns were raised when an environmentalist said the tracking device had gone silent.

Putin gained worldwide publicity last year when he shot the 5-year-old female with a tranquillizer gun and helped place a transmitter around her neck.

Visitors to his website could follow the animal's wandering through Russia's wild Far East.

A video of the episode is on YouTube.

Vladimir Krever of the World Wildlife Fund said yesterday that the satellite tracking device had been silent since mid-September.

Hours later, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the batteries on the collar had been running down and wildlife scientists had placed a new collar on the tiger.

"She is alive and well," Peskov said.

He said the tiger had given birth to a cub - also now fitted with a collar.

Tigers are rapidly disappearing from the far-eastern regions of Russia because of poaching and the loss of habitat, conservationists say.

Their number may have declined by 40 per cent since 1997, the Wildlife Conservation Society said and believes only 300 remain in the wild.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10611934

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Massachusetts lifts quota on bobcat kills

State lifts quota on bobcat kills

The state Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted unanimously Tuesday to remove a limit on the number of bobcats killed each hunting season, a decision that drew fire from animal rights activists, who say the change was based on anecdotal evidence and pressure from the hunting lobby.

Website: http://www.gazettenet.com/2009/11/25/state-lifts-quota-bobcat-kills?SESSe67a3655c88f6938c8fbd4b7a113186b=gnews

Detailed Information:
The state Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted unanimously Tuesday to remove a limit on the number of bobcats killed each hunting season, a decision that drew fire from animal rights activists, who say the change was based on anecdotal evidence and pressure from the hunting lobby.

In years past, the 2½-month hunting and one-month trapping seasons came to a close when 50 bobcats were killed. The regulation change removes that limit, allowing bobcat hunting to continue for the duration of the two seasons.

http://www.animalconcerns.org/resource.html?itemid=200911242137080.512682&catid=10

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

Rare Photo of Three Amur Leopards Offers Hope for World's Most Endangered Cat

Three Individuals Represent Almost 10 Percent of Population

Washington, D.C. (Vocus/PRWEB ) November 26, 2009 -- Three Amur leopards photographed during an anti-poaching operation in the Russian Far East offer a little Thanksgiving hope for the worlds rarest big cat, World Wildlife Fund said today. Only about 40 critically endangered Amur leopards exist in the wild, so the photograph of three healthy individuals around a kill is good news for the future of the sub-species.

As soon as the cats -- a female and two cubs -- were identified, an anti-poaching interagency group tightened security by blocking roads around the location. This quick response was even more critical because of the fresh snowfall on the ground, which makes it easier for poachers to track these rare cats. While at least one Amur leopard cub in a litter usually dies, both of these cubs survived their first six months.

During this holiday season, the presence of these three leopards is something we can all be thankful for," said Dr. Darron Collins, Director of WWF-USs Amur-Heilong Program. If we can protect them from poachers and loss of their habitat and recover their prey populations, Amur leopards may yet survive for future generations."

The anti-poaching interagency group was formed in January of this year to better protect the regions Amur leopards and prevent their extinction. It includes WWF, Russian government agencies and other conservation organizations. To date, the group has conducted 67 operations; instituted four criminal cases; confiscated 12 guns and rifles, filed 18 protocols for administrative infringements; and inspected 33 vehicles.

About World Wildlife Fund
WWF is the worlds leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.

Contact:
Lee Poston
(202) 495-4536 -- office
(202) 299-6442 -- mobile

# # #

http://www.prweb.com/releases/WWF/Amur_Leopard/prweb3262564.htm

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

"Cougar Clippings" for 25 Nov 2009 from Mountain Lion Foundation




Cougar Clippings
News Links 11/25/2009

Dear Friend,

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

When Mountain Lions Hunt, They Prey on the Weak

Studies have shown that trophy hunters weaken wild populations because they target the biggest and healthiest animals to get the most brag-worthy trophies. Wild predators like wolves and cougars however, go after the sick and weak animals, thus strengthening wild populations. A recent study by two Colorado Division of Wildlife biologists found that compared to human hunters, cougars were more likely to prey on deer with chronic wasting disease (an illness similar to mad cow disease). Cougars appear to be immune and by consuming the sick deer could reduce the presence of chronic wasting disease in the environment.

Read the actual news story...

Some Lion Hunting Closes (for now!)

Two hunting districts in Montana have met their cougar quotas and are now closed. However, the management agency (Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks) does not appear to be too concerned with maintaining a viable cougar population since the winter trophy season begins December 1st and these areas will reopen - this time with the use of hounds. Cougars are only given a two week reprieve before the thinning of their population will continue yet again.

Read the actual news story...

Kevin Woster: City and Lions a Fatal Mix

Although the odds of being hit by lightening are much greater than the odds of a person being attacked by a cougar, the irrational fear of cougars is still widespread in our society. The uninformed public and embellishing media often perpetuate the myth that cougars pose a high risk to public safety. As a result, South Dakota's state policy is to kill any and every lion that wanders into an urban area. And news stories like this one don't even hint at how absurd these intolerant practices really are, nor do they show a balanced view of the situation.

Read the actual news story...

Wildlife Management Will Host A Cougar Training Program

Wisconsin DNR will host a mountain lion workshop next week to discuss ecology, behavior and safety. So far their policies appear to be about increasing research and public education. Cougars are "designated a species of special concern under full protection by state law" at this time. In general, as we have seen with states like North and South Dakota, it only takes a couple years after confirming cougar presence before "research" trophy seasons begin. Voice your opinions to Wisc onsin DNR and please urge them to never open a cougar hunting season.

Read the actual news story...

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

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

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

Cougar Clippings is a service of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

phone: 800-319-7621

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

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tiger makes royal entry as green activists walk the talk

Tiger makes royal entry as green activists walk the talk

Sutapa Mukkerjee Kolkata
Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Sun is slowly setting down. There is a nip in the air and the birds are rushing back home. Down in the jungle roads thousands of villagers and urban folks are rushing to get back to their houses. The boatmen are hollering out to rush them, “Shono tomra tara tari esho, ayi jongol shondheyer porey toder jonno theek noye” (Hey guys these jungles are not safe after dark, so hurry). The masked men (few dancers wearing masks like tigers) jig a little and try imitating tigers as they hop into the boats.

And in the midst of this din a huge tiger appears right on the bank, yet maintaining distance in the jungle. He stares at the masked men and growls (read chuckles) at their attempt to emulate his brethrens. Then patiently the big cat waits till all the men, women and children safely board the boats. As the king of the Sunderbans, the royal host, he walks alongside the crowd as they sail for home.

Sometimes he stands, crouches or just stares lazily at them. Now and then he takes a break looks at the crowd as if to say, “Just hang on there and let me mark my territory”, does this bit and strides again. At the end moves into the dark and deep green while the boat moves far into the river and the tiger turns around and gives a loud roar.

This is not an extract from any folklore. Instead it is a page from the six-day campaign, ‘Walk for the tiger’ organised by Sanctuary Asia that took place in the Sunderbans a couple of weeks ago. “The idea was to educate the locals to live with the tigers with a greater sense of tolerance,” says Joydeep Kundu, coordinator Sanctuary Asia. He adds, “The people here should be trained not to get panicky if a tiger enters their village and take the right action thereon, that is inform officials and volunteers from the forest department.”

Anil Mistry from his experience (poacher to conservationist) says, “Till date over tea the locals reminiscence the ‘tiger’s three-hour walk’ they had witnessed. Personally, I have never experienced a similar case before. My friends here have started believing that this was one ominous way to convey their (tigers’) gratitude towards us mortals.” Anil says after the ‘Bagher jonne hatun’ (Walk for the tiger) campaign reaching such a dramatic climax, people are almost fully convinced that if the tigers survive, forests will grow, if the forests grow, environmental hazards will be less and people will be safer”. The message that the ‘walk’ was ordained to send out, has been well assimilated by all at Sunderbans.

The day one of this campaign, the first of its kind, started at a local fair where the ice-breaking ceremony was performed by villagers who were hired for the walk and had come all the way from Bhanjanagar hamlet in Ganjam district in South east Odisha. These dancers (all men) wear striped tawny clothing and masks akin to tigers as they dance and recite tales in favour of the wild cat. The ‘tiger dance’ has a superstitious connotation attached to it: When evil falls on any family, a ‘tiger dance’ takes away all calamities and the family lives happily thereon. The religious connotation still exists in India; Mother Goddess is oft referred as ‘sherawali’ — the one who rides on a tiger. Hence the tiger too needs to be revered.

The ‘Bahger Jonno Hatun’ took place over six days wherein villagers from most islands joined the walk. The walk was organised by several NGOs and voluntary workers. Says Col Shakti Banerjee, honorary director, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), “The purpose of ‘Bagher Jonne hatun,’ has been well fulfilled; the idea was to convey to the people here that the tigers are the true dwellers of the islands and need to be protected.”

Most often due to sudden attacks from the big-cats, it is indeed difficult to convince the villagers that they can handle the tiger with some wisdom and tolerance. The villagers here depend solely on fishery and forest products for their livelihood. Most often when while engrossed in their work, they stray into the fringe areas and become a victim to a tiger.

That this walk will be fruitful, no one doubts especially the people who have worked for tigers for decades together. Says conversationalist Belinda Wright, Executive Director, Wildlife Protection Society of India, “I missed watching a tiger walk with so many people for such a long time…it is so unusual, never have I heard something close to it before. I take it as a divine blessing from the tigers to help conserve our environment.”

http://www.dailypioneer.com/218464/Tiger-makes-royal-entry-as-green-activists-walk-the-talk.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/