Thursday, December 30, 2010

Om Nom Nom - Serval :)

Listen to Ty the Serval Om Nom Nom while eating his dinner! Ty came to Big Cat Rescue on 6/18/98. His previous owners had become worried that Ty, who has all of his claws, would harm their young children. The breeder had told them that if they raised Ty with their infant son they would bond forever. By the time Ty was three, the boy was still a toddler and Ty went after him. The parents had visited Big Cat Rescue before and felt that Ty would have a comfortable and happy home here. His owners caught him up in a crab trap and transported him to the sanctuary in the back of their pick up truck. After spening days in the heat, on the open road, he finally arrived. Ty has finally found refuge and seems to be quite happy here. He lives to eat and will begin to look down the pathways for approaching keepers an hour before feeding time.



Monday, December 27, 2010

Tiger found dead in Orang park, poisoning suspected

Posted: Tue Dec 28 2010, 01:50 hrs

Guwahati: A five-year-old female Royal Bengal tiger has been found dead inside the Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, 150 kms from Guwahati. Preliminary reports suggest it to be a case of poisoning. The park has lost two tigers this year.

S K Daila, divisional forest officer in charge of the park, said the carcass of the tiger was found by a forest guard patrol on Saturday in a dense patch of tora vegetation near the Pachnoi river under Camp No 2. The tiger’s body, however, bore no sign of physical injury.

“The post-mortem report has cited suspected poisoning, however, a forensic examination has been recommended for confirmation. Samples of vital organs of the tiger’s body have been collected and are being sent to the state’s Forensic Science Laboratory in Guwahati tomorrow,” Daila said.

The park authorities carried out an intensive search operation in the area where the carcass was found but could not gather any clues, Daila said. The carcass was disposed off in the presence of representatives of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, National Tiger Conservation Authority and others after the post-mortem examination was over.

The Orang National Park has a history of tigers being poisoned, with the authorities pointing to the park’s small size leading to a limited prey base. The park is under considerable anthropogenical pressure with the tigers straying to fringe areas to kill cattle.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Tiger-found-dead-in-Orang-park--poisoning-suspected/730037

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

The Great Indian TIGER SHOW

December 27, 2010 12:01:37 PM

The big cat has hogged the limelight throughout the year, but will it help its cause, wonders Ananda Banerjee

Brand tiger was omnipresent this year, making headlines and adorning magazine covers for all the wrong reasons — death by poisoning and poaching. Its plight was discussed in a global summit, in sports as the lovable ‘Shera’ — the Commonwealth Games mascot — and in tiger telethon (a day-long 12-hour television ‘drama’). All in all, the entire tiger jamboree has fared well in the name of public awareness; there were kids for tigers, ‘page 3’ fundraisers for the big cat, book launches, conferences, seminars, petitions, campaigns and even an anthem for tigers. “Just 1,411 tigers left,” barked a corporate-NGO campaign which caught the fancy of city slickers early this year, some of who created traffic jams deep inside the forest to click the one ‘Geographic’ moment for posterity.

According to the Chinese calendar, 2010 is the year of the tiger. It is a well-known fact that after exterminating its own source population, the Chinese have successfully pushed the Bengal tiger — the only subspecies found across the Indian subcontinent — closer to extinction. The massive demand for traditional Chinese medicine where each body part of the tiger is used (see box) is the single greatest threat of extinction and a crisis that engulfs our national animal.

From the cuddly big pussy cat to the ferocious man-eater, the magnificent animal is reduced to a commodity today, the most sought-after item for poaching syndicates supplying 60 per cent of China’s humongous population. The newly affluent Chinese, who have struck gold on the booming economy, see tiger products as a symbol of status and wealth. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) believes that at least one tiger is killed daily for its use in traditional Chinese medicine and the black market value of a tiger today is estimated around $50,000, which is a good `2 crore plus.

On the other hand, despite teething problems, everyone seems to love the crisis. The media has its breaking news, the corporate houses have put on their conservation caps for social mileage and brand enhancement, the activist and ‘experts’ their 15-minutes of fame, the celebrity more than happy to endorse the cause for the same limelight, auctions and fundraiser events to pull in millions of rupees. Suddenly, there is a great market for the ‘tiger’ — in books, art exhibitions, films, percolating down to T-shirts, key-chains, coffee mugs, ash trays, USB drives, and last but not the least the booming tiger tourism. It’s show time with both Hollywood and Bollywood coming to party where not only Leonardo DiCaprio pledges to donate $1 million for tiger conservation, but also our own Big B auctions his watch to raise money for tiger conservation. That watch fetched a cool `7.11 lakh!

The glitz and glamour have pushed ‘conservation’ on the back seat. The spotlight never falls on the few good men, the dedicated officers and forest guards on the frontline as they are not fashionable and suave enough for the lens. Being too righteous often draws the ire of seniors or political masters and routine transfers are the order of the day. To most urbanites, wildlife conservation is confused with animal welfare. The great social divide persists between the urban and the rural. The English language is alien to our forest staff and this makes a mockery of the state in which they man our tiger reserves — unequipped, unpaid and untrained. Natural history conservation is still very much an elitist subject, predominated by the Queen’s language with hardly any significant vernacular presence.

There is great debate and arguments as some think this tiger economy is a necessary conservation tool for awareness and to keep the authorities on constant alert. But for how long will this hoopla last? And how well are the funds utilised or who will support the recurring costs? Yes, we need awareness, but for that we need to go vernacular on a mass scale; after all, there are 22 official state languages, excluding English. This alone can provide maximum outreach, not a corporate-media spectacle.

The problem areas are well established since January 2005 when an exposé shocked the nation, declaring there was not a single big cat at the Sariska Tiger Reserve. Soon, the Panna Tiger Reserve followed the suit. In the last two years, Chandrapur, the tiger capital of India, has lost 28 tigers. Over the past decade, tiger numbers have fallen as much by 40 per cent and one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that tiger conservation has failed.

In the past six years since the Sariska tragedy, nothing has gone right. The Centre versus the State ego war hasn’t helped the conservation cause a bit. The Project ‘toothless’ Tiger in its newest avatar — National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) — also remains helpless as the management of the tiger reserves still rest with the States that are unwilling to cooperate. But any mishap on the tiger front, and the finger automatically points to NTCA, whereas the actual culprit, the State, goes scot-free. The NTCA directorate, under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, is mandated with the task of just providing technical guidance and funding support. During the last financial year of 2009-10, the total amount released to tiger States was `20152.99766 lakh, as per budgetary demands. If you read the tripartite memorandum of understanding between NTCA, the State Governments and the field director of the Tiger Reserve, (http://projecttiger.nic.in/whtsnew/TRIPARTITE_%20MEMORANDUM%20.pdf), it is crystal clear who is responsible for what.

Poaching remains the gravest threat, followed by habitat loss. One of the biggest problems that still plague our tiger reserves is the lack of infrastructure, especially well-paid, trained forest guards. In a few States, the vacancies are huge — in some cases almost 50 per cent. Those who are serving are old, untrained and demoralised. Worse, the new recruits are mostly hired on daily wage contract and are in perpetual insecurity without any medical or pension benefits. The problem persists for more than 15 years now. One just wonders why?

Conservation biology and management are complex issues with an array of stakeholders interlinked in a web which is not easy to comprehend. It’s a great jigsaw puzzle where each element has to fit perfectly to maintain balance and harmony. In a country as diverse as ours where social demographics change every 300 km, the task is more challenging, but all that a tiger asks for is its habitat — a sacrosanct space with sufficient prey base and protection. We still neither have strict laws, nor first-track courts for a quick trial and verdict.

With no political will, the conservation juggernaut has no direction whatsoever. The grand experiment to re-populate Sariska came back as a slap on the State Government’s face when in two years’ time the first trans-located animal was found poisoned this year. It is hard to imagine how a State functions; first, the tiger was flowed into the reserve without adequate preparations. The excuse was given that once the tiger settled in, everything would fall into place and the pressure to denotify the tiger reserve from the mining lobby would be averted! After five tigers were released one-by-one, the same State Government makes a U-turn and gives out mining permissions around the perimeter of the said reserve. This is yet another classic tale of wonder, awe and disgust.

Will the tiger survive is the million-dollar question. Well, it has to, for the hype and hoopla tigers create at five-star events, for prime-time TRPs and also for the planet earth. There is too much at stake on the big cat.

The 4 surviving subspecies

Bengal Tiger: Panthera tigris tigris
Siberian (Amurian) Tiger: Panthera tigris altaica
Sumatran Tiger: Panthera tigris sumatrae
Indo-Chinese Tiger: Panthera tigris corbetti

The 4 extinct subspecies

Javan Tiger: Panthera tigris sondaica, extinct since early 1980s
Bali Tiger: Panthera tigris balica, extinct since the 1940s
Caspian Tiger: Panthera tigris virgata,extinct since the early 1970s
South China Tiger: Panthera tigris amoyensis (possibly extinct in the wild, as reported in 2002)

http://www.dailypioneer.com/306272/The-Great-Indian-TIGER-SHOW.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Note: Omitted In Surviving Subspecies: Malayan Tiger: Panthera tigris jacksoni

Govt apathy hinders Sariska tigers’ safety

December 27, 2010 11:36:31 AM
Moushumi Basu New Delhi

Close on the heels of a controversy over relocation of villages from Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan and the death of a translocated tiger there recently, the Centre has allotted Rs 18.60 crore to the tiger reserve.

Against a demand of Rs 38.13 crore from the State Government, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has approved Rs 37.20 crore to the reserve for shifting of villages. According to figures obtained from MoEF sources, no fund allocation was made in 2009-10 and till the end of the current fiscal for the relocation of villages in Sariska.

Former chief conservator of forests (Sariska) KK Garg, who was transferred out during the last week of November after the tiger’s death, said, “Nearly Rs 8 crore were left unspent from the earlier funds, and the amount was fully spent by June-July 2010.” After that, the relocation process was affected due to paucity of funds, he pointed out. The next lot of funds arrived after Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh visited the reserve following the death of the tiger.

Following the complete extinction of tigers in Sariska, a major recommendation of Tiger Task Force in 2005 was the relocation of villages from within the reserve. There are 28 villages within the tiger reserve and the task force had listed certain villages that were to be relocated on priority.

The MoEF sources pointed out that the State had not been successful in following the task force’s recommendations, particularly the one about making the core/critical areas of the tiger habitat inviolate by expediting village relocation.

There has been only token relocation in Sariska. “Only one village, Badhani, the smallest of them all, has been relocated completely since the process began in the 1980s,” the sources said. The remaining six-seven villages, though claimed by the State forest department as partial, are actually only nominal and are inhabited by only a handful of families.

Former field director of Ranthambhore and tiger expert Fateh Singh Rathore contended that village relocation should have been completed before the tiger translocation process started. “The reserve is obviously not safe for big cats and one cannot blame the local villagers solely for the recent incident of tiger poisoning,” he said.

Tigers often stray to the villages and the State Government has failed to keep track of the damage caused to the villagers and compensation to be paid.

Meanwhile, five tigers were translocated from Ranthambhore National Park in the State to Sariska between 2008 and 2010. One of the two males — ST-1 — went missing on November 11 this year. The other male — ST-4 — was already missing since October 30, though it has since been found. On November 14, reserve officials discovered the decomposed body of ST-1 near Kalakhet village on the reserve’s fringes.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/306407/Govt-apathy-hinders-Sariska-tigers%E2%80%99-safety.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Palamu graded poor' by tiger watch body

TNN, Dec 26, 2010, 03.29am IST

DALTONGANJ: It's official. Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) has been categorized "poor" by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) responsible for categorizing tiger reserves under Project Tiger. Set up in 1974, PTA is battling hard for its existence and survival.

According to a member of the Management Effective Evaluation (EM) of NOTCH, D S Srivastava, the conclusion was reached after two evaluations of the tiger reserve. Consequently, a report was sent to NTCA in Delhi for placement before the Prime Minister. NTCA was set up in 2005 on the recommendations of Tiger Task Force, constituted by the Prime Minister.

Srivastava elaborated, "A preliminary evaluation was done by a team of experts, including Sameer Sinha of Wildlife Trust of India, Rashin Burman of Assam, Rajinder Mishra of Chhatisgarh and R K Singh of Delhi. Another evaluation was done this November by Prerna Bhendra and R L Singh among other wildlife experts."

A total of 120 parameters decide on the grade. "PTR scored the lowest in all from funding, its usage, habitat management, grassland management, anti-fire measures and anti-poaching measures," he said.

But he added that there are reasons why Palamu has fared so poorly. He felt that for starters, the government should fill up all vacant posts of ground staff. "There are only 39 forest guards in PTR as against the sanctioned strength of 179," he revealed.

The other task before the government is to prioritize wildlife management. "It is not on the agenda of the government it appears. No government fund has come to PTA since nine months," he rued.

The challenge, he said, is to revive and restore its glory. In 1974, there were 22 tigers and 32 elephants. Today the number of tigers has dwindled whereas the number of elephants has shot up to 225. "The other task is to strike a balance between human and wildlife population as the man-animal conflict has taken a toll on PTA," he said.

Srivastava favoured people's participation in the management of wildlife. There should be smaller monitoring units entrusted with the maintenance of PTR.

When asked if it is possible for PTR to regain its old position, he said, "First, people living in and outside PTR must feel that every tiger, every elephant is theirs and that protecting them is their responsibility. Only then will the situation improve in PTR."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ranchi/Palamu-graded-poor-by-tiger-watch-body/articleshow/7164633.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Monday, December 20, 2010

*Big Cat Christmas!*

WATCH Tigers, Lions, Leopards and more having fun destroying their big cat christmas presents! Big Cat Rescue is home to over 100 unwanted, abandoned and abused exotic big cats who love their presents just as much as we do!



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Help the BIG CATS this christmas!

Thanks to the generosity of the family of William and Lois Modglin of Glendale, California, this grant provides that any donations to Big Cat Rescue that indicate they are to be submitted for a match from this grant will be matched dollar for dollar by a donation from this grant immediately upon receipt of you donation up to the $200,000 maximum. This 100% match means your donation has twice the impact!

 



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Help FREE Tony the Tiger!

Breawna Smith is a ten year old animal advocate who recently visited the Tiger Truck Stop in Louisiana, listen to her report on Tony and his living conditions...

 



Monday, December 06, 2010

CUTEST Big Cat Contest! - *WIN Paw Painting!

Of course we think all of our cats are cute, but we have selected 15 different cats to let viewers decide which they think is the CUTEST! Watch the video decide which cat you think should win, then simply visit our facebook page and comment on their photo, the cat with the most comments and "likes" will be crowned "Big Cat Rescue's Cutest Cat" and the person with the funniest comment will WIN an original Paw Painting by Contestant #8 Narla the cougar worth $100 - The purr-fect Christmas gift!

 



Saturday, December 04, 2010

Man arrested for poisoning tiger in Sariska

Press Trust Of India
Alwar, December 04, 2010
First Published: 21:15 IST(4/12/2010)
Last Updated: 21:15 IST(4/12/2010)

A man, who had allegedly poisoned a tiger to death last month has been arrested in Alwar and was remanded to custody for interrogation. The accused, Parsadi was arrested on Friday and was produced before the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate - Rajgarh in Alwar on Saturday evening, who remanded him to (forest) custody till December 8.

He was arrested under sections of Wildlife (protection) Act-1972 for poisoning Sariska ST-1.

"Facial hair of the tiger was also recovered from the possession of the accused, who is a resident of Kalakhet village in Sariska," a forest and wildlife department official said.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Man-arrested-for-poisoning-tiger-in-Sariska/Article1-634418.aspx

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Ranthambore, Sariska entrapped in failing system?

Anindo Dey, TNN, Dec 3, 2010, 11.31pm IST

JAIPUR: The recent death of a tiger at the Sariska reserve and a complete reshuffle of officials later, it is a failed system that the state forest department is slowly but steadily getting entrapped into. For not only are threats of poaching are lurking large at Ranthambore but in Sariska members of the notorious Bawaria tribe are again apparently making inroads.

"The administrative and monitoring system in both the state tiger reserves are breaking down. One really needs to overhaul the entire machinery so that catastrophe of 2005 does not repeat itself once again," sources said.

There may be logic in this proposal. For, besides having declared a high alert at Ranthambore, the state forest department is yet to take any practical step to ensure that poachers are kept at bay.

"In 2005 after the shameful episode in Sariska, the forest department had requisitioned and deployed one company of RAC and 110 extra home guards for Ranthambore to ensure that nothing untoward happens. The results showed when around October that year, some poachers were nabbed. This time too, why did the state government not ask for extra personal," sources said.

That is not all. In the past one year there have been eight tigers that have either gone missing or have strayed just from Ranthambore. However, action in any of the cases is yet to be taken. Except one, none of the straying tigers have returned. The tale of woe began last year with two tigers being poisoned that saw two more straying towards the Kunho-Palpur area and the Chambal-Sheopur district. The incident was followed by T-7 going to Mathura only to come back to Bharatpur. In October last year, a tigress was poisoned while another made its way to the Kalisind area. The eighth Ranthambore big cat to have gone this way was when it too was poisoned.

"After the death of ST-1 in Sariska, what emerged was that none of the staff in the range offices were working properly. They had formed a pool system and if any post was to be manned by four persons what was happening is that three went home and left just one to man the post. Each one thus took turns to stay away from the forest. And to ensure this, the staff had used their resources to be posted within 20 km of their village," the source said.

Not just that, in an evaluation it emerged that 70% of Sariska's forest staff was from Alwar who choose to quietly leave for home every day at 5 pm.

"It is a government system that entails as far as possible the staff be given duty in their own district. But the pitfall was that most of them chose to stay off the forest," he added. It was in this context that after the death of ST-1 that the Talwar ranger was suspended.

"In fact, the ranger had refused to come to his range even when a senior officials has suddenly chosen to visit it," the source said.

Also pointing to the lapse at Sariska is the fact the male tiger ST-4, that had been missing and remained untraceable for more than 15 days, was located just within three days after the entire forest machinery landed in Sariska after the death of ST-1.

"This itself shows that the staff had taken things too casually. But after senior officials landed in the forest they got into the act and recovered ST-4. Moreover, when chief minister himself choose to go to Sariska after the death of ST-1 why are senior department officials not rushing to Ranthambore now when there is a threat," the source asked.

However, when contacted H M Bhatia, chief wildlife warden, Rajasthan, denied the allegations.

"There were RAC posted in Ranthambore and Sariska but they were taken away during the elections. Now again we have requisitioned the state government to give us two companies of RAC, one each for the two reserves. When they are sanctioned they will be posted there," he said.

"For Sariska, the forest terrain and the rain resulted in the initial hiccup in tracking the tiger. There is no question of the system breaking down for, if that was the case, then we would not have been able to track the tigers ever again. The field staff was doing their best in tracking the tigers but the circumstances were such that they could not track it earlier," he claimed.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Ranthambore-Sariska-entrapped-in-failing-system-/articleshow/7038248.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Forensic report says Sariska tiger poisoned

Anindo Dey, TNN, Dec 4, 2010, 04.59am IST

JAIPUR: It's official: the first tiger ST-1 relocated to Sariska from the Ranthambore reserve was poisoned to death. Forensic test reports have confirmed the presence of poison in body parts of the big cat. "The forensic tests have confirmed presence of an insecticide," said H M Bhatia, chief wildlife warden, Rajasthan.

The body of ST-1 was found near a cattle track in the Kalakhet area of the forest, just yards away from a village on November 14.

Sources said the poison used to kill the big cat was organophosphate, an insecticide used in agriculture, homes, gardens and by veterinary doctors. "It is the most widely used insecticide. Organophosphate poisons insects and mammals by phosphorylation of enzymes at nerve endings resulting in sensory and behavioural disturbance, depressed motor functioning and respiratory disorders leading to death," the source said.

Though evidence at the place where ST-1's body was found had clearly suggested poisoning by humans, forest department officials remained doubtful. For, post-mortem reports had ruled out territorial war as the reason for the death and there was no injury mark on the body. The forest officials had then blamed snake bite.

"This clearly indicates the system at Sariska has collapsed. One can imagine a tiger being poisoned once it strays out of the forest premises. But this is a murder at home. The tiger was not tracked properly, and the staff didn't react even when its radio collar signals went dead," said a wildlife expert.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/Forensic-report-says-Sariska-tiger-poisoned/articleshow/7039669.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

GEOFFROY CAT Species Spotlight

Geoffroy cats are one of the smallest species of wild cat in the world! Listen to our Education Director Willow Hecht talk about these tiny cats and the problems they are facing in captivity and in the wild.



Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Petting Lion & Tiger Cubs at Malls & Fairs

The idea of petting and playing with a tiger cub has an understandable natural appeal.  The cubs are adorable, and the tiger is one of the most powerful and fascinating of all animals.  What you don't know haunts them for a lifetime of deprivation and abuse.




Sunday, November 28, 2010

'Tiger Queen', wildlife flick shot in HD, vies for green crown


Claire Antao, TNN, Nov 28, 2010, 06.23am IST

PANAJI: "This is not a 'Save the tiger' campaign film," said S Nallamuthu before anyone even suggested it, "I think there are more NGOs working for the cause of tiger protection than there are tigers left in India. I don't want to be in the crowd."

Nallamuthu who prefers being called Nalla, said of his film 'Tiger Queen', "We have been following machli (the main tigress in the film) in the wild for many years and her life and struggles inspired me to make this film. She is 14 years old and won't live very long, so we decided to follow her life with her last litter."

India's first-ever wildlife film shot on high definition (HD) camera by director Nalla is among the 10 shortlisted environmental films vying for the Indian government's Vasudha award under the Short Film Category. The film premiered on National Geographic Worldwide and was shown on animal planet in the USA.

'Tiger Queen' explores the battle for power and supremacy in the wild tiger family. The action-packed film is set in Ranthambore and Sariska national parks in Rajastahan. "There are no anchors. It's a real story presented by tracking a tiger family in their habitat," said Nalla, who feels that after watching this emotional drama the audience will naturally be moved to protect the tiger.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/Tiger-Queen-wildlife-flick-shot-in-HD-vies-for-green-crown/articleshow/7002560.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hope for Wild Tigers Rises on Political, Financial Pledges



Tigers playing in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh, India (Photo by Samaj Kalyan Evam Vikas Adhyayan Kendra)

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, November 26, 2010 (ENS) - At the International Tiger Conservation Forum this week in St. Petersburg, government leaders and ministerial officials of the 13 countries where wild tigers remain endorsed a wide-ranging plan to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.

Tiger populations have fallen by 97 percent over the past century and just 3,200 wild tigers survive in populations scattered across Asia due to poaching, conflict with people and habitat destruction.

Hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, governments capped a year-long political process with about US$127 million in new funding to support the plan, known as the Global Tiger Recovery Programme.

In addition, the World Bank has offered a US$100 million loan package to three tiger range countries for conservation work, and the Global Environment Facility offered to provide up to US$50 million in grant funding for tiger habitat conservation.

"While our discussion today is about the fate of the tiger, we are in fact touching on issues that are critical for the entire planet, humanity and its future," Putin told forum participants on Tuesday.

"Using the example of the tiger, we are speaking about how to preserve nature," Putin said. "We are saying that human civilization can only develop sustainably if we take a responsible attitude to nature, our common home. We all have to work hard and join forces to ensure that this attitude becomes widespread."

The Global Tiger Recovery Programme will enable the 13 governments to coordinate their efforts, attract financial, administrative and technical resources, and stimulate collaborative research, Putin said.

"I'd like to emphasize that by approving this program, our countries commit themselves to complying with environmental requirements. But the most important task will be to integrate our tiger conservation targets into long-term socioeconomic development plans," said Putin. "Achieving these objectives will require firm political will and heavy investment, financial or otherwise. But I'm sure that the motivation for such efforts is there."

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told the International Tiger Forum, "The increase of human population, the expansion of human activities and the deterioration of ecological environment have driven wild tigers across the world to the brink of extinction."

"The first priority to solve the issue is to actively curb excessive human activities and work for harmony between human development and natural ecological systems," Wen said.

Addressing forum participants, Putin quoted, "the great humanist Mahatma Gandhi," as saying, 'In a country where tigers live well, everyone lives well.'"

"This is a true and profound remark," said Putin. "If people are capable of taking care of Mother Nature, of our splendid big cats, they can take care of their fellow human beings as well."

Radhika Lokesh, India's Consul General in St. Petersburg, announced on behalf of Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh, that India has allocated a budget of 10 million rubles for the Global Tiger Forum, and pledges to allocate US$1 billion for village relocation away from tiger habitat.

"With a long tradition of tiger conservation, India currently has 39 tiger reserves, and plans to add eight more," said Lokesh. "The government is now committed to securing inviolate areas for tigers and possible expansion of areas on a priority basis."

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the world community to help her country to protect the Sundarban and the Royal Bengal tigers. "The international community can join in our efforts to save this natural green wonder, the Sundarban," she said.

"Too often, conservation efforts languish for lack of political will," said WWF Director General Jim Leape. "At the forum here in St. Petersburg we have seen political will at the highest level - heads of government committing themselves to saving the tiger, and laying out concrete plans to turn those commitments into action on the ground."

Leape warned that wild tigers could become extinct in the wild by 2022, the next Chinese calendar year of the tiger if they are not protected. Three of the nine tiger subspecies - the Bali, Javan, and Caspian tigers - have gone extinct in the past 70 years.

"We have never before seen this kind of political support to save a single species," Leape said. "We now have the strategy needed to double tiger numbers and real political momentum. Initial funding commitments offered here will help get action underway. Much more funding must be mobilized in the months ahead."

In St. Petersburg, American actor Leonardo DiCaprio pledged $1 million to WWF to benefit wild tigers. DiCaprio is a member of the board of the nonprofit conservation organization. His difficult first trip to Russia involved a commercial jet plane that caught fire on November 21 and turned back to New York, and a smaller plane, rocked by Atlantic storms that ran out of fuel and had to land in Finland's capital Helsinki for refueling before eventually making it to St. Petersburg.

In a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Putin in St. Petersburg, DiCaprio, who is half-Russian, said he first became interested in tiger conservation when tiger experts had addressed him.

"Mr. DiCaprio has not just come to us, but simply burst through the frontline. Excuse me if you may, but in our country people usually say - that's what we call a real man," Putin said. "And I think that if people with such character would be responsible for defending nature or a tiger in this particular case, we're destined for success."

World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick, who has backed the tiger forum during the organizing period, told participants the World Bank is working with tiger range countries and nongovernmental organizations to save wild tigers.


Prime Minister Vladmir Putin and actor Leonardo DiCaprio in St. Petersburg (Photo courtesy Office of Prime Minister Putin)

"First, the World Bank is working with Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, and we hope India, to finance a South Asia regional Wildlife project of approximately $100 million," Zoellick told the gathering.

Zoellick said the bank's cooperating partners include WWF, the wildlife monitoring network TRAFFIC, the the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, among others.

"Second, we will work on a similar project with tiger range countries in Southeast Asia," said Zoellick.

Additional partners include the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the international policing agency INTERPOL, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Customs Organization, and, regional institutions, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Wildlife Enforcement Network to stop the illegal trade and trafficking in tiger body parts.

"This could include additional finance," said Zoellick.

While delegates in St. Petersburg were pledging their commitment to sustain tigers in the wild, in Ussuriysk, Russia, a magistrate in the Primorsky Krai, a Russian South Far Eastern territory, found Sergey Burtsev guilty of killing a female tiger in June 2010.

The court imposed a fine of 150 thousand rubles ($4,800) as punishment and additional fine of 575,125 rubles ($18,400) as a compensation for environmental damage to the state. Burtsev ahd already paid $1,600, and the court confiscated two guns illegally in his possession.

Poaching is a major threat to tiger conservation. Reinforcement of environmental control and punishment for illegal trade, keeping and trafficking in tiger skins and other parts was one of the proposals that WWF submitted to the Russian government this year.

"We are planning to toughen punishment for tiger poaching and for the criminal business on these animals," Prime Minister Putin told tiger forum participants.

Yet within the past two weeks, a tiger was poached in the Russian Far East, another was found poisoned in north India, and Tuesday IFAW reported that a third wild tiger was killed in the northeast Indian state of Assam.

"These tiger deaths highlight how critical it is to translate talk into action," IFAW head Fred O'Regan told forum participants. "IFAW is committed to providing enforcement training and capacity-building support to range countries dealing with the challenge of protecting tigers and the people living near tiger reserves."

"The tiger summit delivered what we hoped - the turning point in our efforts to save one of the world's best-loved species," said Ginette Hemley, senior vice-president at WWF. "Never before have we seen the world rally together to save a single species and now we all need to put in the hard work necessary to get wild tigers from the current point of crisis to healthy recovery."

The 13 tiger range countries will meet during the next six months to secure additional funding for the recovery plan, and will finalize the long-term financing of the plan in July. They will meet again in December 2011 to monitor how well the 12-year plan to save tigers is working.

At a news conference following the forum, Prime Minister Putin said, "The goals set forth in the Global Programme for Tiger Conservation cannot be achieved without the active participation of ordinary citizens. Broad public support and understanding of the process are extremely important for the success of the programme."

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/nov2010/2010-11-26-01.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vietnam commits to tiger conservation

Updated : 9:53 AM, 11/27/2010

Vietnam stands ready to cooperate with foreign countries and international organizations in improving tiger conservation on its own soil and the region as whole.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bui Cach Tuyen made this commitment at a historic tiger conservation forum held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, from November 21-24.

The forum, hosted by Russian Prime Minister V. Putin, was the first international forum on conservation of an endangered wildlife species.

The event was attended by high-profile representatives from 13 countries home to wild tigers, namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, China and Vietnam. Also present were representatives of UN agencies and foreign non-governmental organisations engaged in biodiversity conservation.

At the forum, governments capped a year-long political process with about US$127 million in new funding to support the plan known as the Global Tiger Recovery Programme. The funding will include a large loan package from the World Bank to some tiger range countries and millions in additional grants from the Global Environment Facility.

The World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) committed US$50 million over the next five years on tiger conservation and set a goal of increasing that to US$85 million.

The Global Tiger Initiative was raised by the WB President in 2008 with tiger range countries committed to doubling the current wild tiger population of close to 3,200 individuals by 2022.

http://english.vovnews.vn/Home/Vietnam-commits-to-tiger-conservation/201011/121781.vov

http://www.bigcatresue.org/

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day for TIGERS!

We celebrate Thanksgiving at Big Cat Rescue and it's a favorite holiday for the Tigers, Lions and Leopards too! Watch as we hand out whole turkeys and chickens to the big cats living at the sanctuary, the cats consume the whole bird bones 'n all!



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Protecting where the wild things are


By Kathy Lally
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 20, 2010

IN MOSCOW The tale of the magnificent Siberian tiger, and its unfinished fight for survival, should be a compelling one for the 500 conservationists and world leaders arriving for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's tiger summit this weekend.

The summit on the fate of the tiger has been convened in St. Petersburg as the singular chance to keep the world's last 3,000 or so wild tigers from extinction, and the near-death experience of Russia's big, beautiful animals informs how they can be saved elsewhere.

"Russia was the first country to almost lose its tigers," said Dale Miquelle, director of the Russia program for the Wildlife Conservation Society, "and the first to bring them back. There's a long history of lessons in Russia."

Miquelle, who has been working in the Russian Far East since 1992, will attend the summit, and if asked, he knows what he would tell the dignitaries.

"Tigers need three things," he said Friday, from Vladivostok.

"They need space. They need their habitat and prey protected - deer and wild boar. And they need laws against poaching vigorously enforced. It's a very simple formula. It's very doable."

Everyone seems to agree tigers - which numbered 100,000 worldwide a century ago - won't go on living unless people behave differently. But the world has never found it easy to agree on what to do about anything, and so it is with the tiger, which has inspired the imagination of humans everywhere, who see strength, fierceness and passion in the graceful cat.

In 2008, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick organized the Global Tiger Initiative, targeting the summit in 2010 - the Chinese Year of the Tiger - as the time tiger countries would figure out a plan, now aimed at doubling the number of cats in the wild by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.

Each of the 13 tiger range countries is arriving with its own plans, and the summit - from Sunday through Wednesday - is meant to consolidate them, set a common agenda, attract financing and mobilize the political and popular will to carry them out. The United States, a major donor to tiger conservation, will be there.

So far, there's been polite disagreement about how far-reaching the plans should be, with much sentiment to go big and broad - engaging and educating communities, vastly expanding protected landscapes and restoring tigers to a much wider range than they now inhabit. Others argue that the situation is so dire that time and money should be concentrated on relatively few areas before declaring loftier ambitions.

"We want to see tigers living in large, healthy landscapes," said Barney Long, WWF tiger program manager, "not in small parks where they are vulnerable to outbreaks of poaching."

The Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera, a conservation organization dedicated to wild cats, have proposed narrowing efforts, and WCS has suggested 42 sites where tigers should be protected.

Joe Walston, director of WCS-Asia, says that with 70 percent of the world's tigers fairly concentrated - including 18 "source sites" in India, eight in Malaysia and six in Russia - money should be aimed at monitoring and strengthening law enforcement to stop poaching in such areas.

Broader attempts are too risky, warns Luke Hunter, Panthera's executive vice president. "If you start talking about infrastructure and saying a dam can't be built unless it doesn't harm tigers, that's all good," he said. "The problem is we don't have time for it. Educating communities is a good thing, but by the time the children have grown up, the tigers will be gone."

Zoellick contends that those points of view are less contradictory than they appear. "We all agree that if you don't preserve the core population, there's nothing to talk about," he said, but at the same time those populations need room to roam.

Somehow, the WWF says, everyone will agree, because they must if there's any hope of saving the tiger. "The impediment will be financing," said Mike Baltzer, head of WWF's Tigers Alive initiative. "We're hoping donors will step up."

Strong anti-poaching laws and financing strict enforcement will be on Russia's agenda as it hosts the summit. Russia has watched tigers decline or prosper as laws and police weakened or grew powerful.

Its Siberian tiger - the Amur tiger - once roamed the forests and mountains of the Russian Far East by the hundreds. But hunting and trade destroyed them, and by 1940, when Lev Kaplanov, the director of a Russian nature preserve, did the first scientific count, he found only 20 to 30.

By 1948, the Soviet government had outlawed tiger hunting and there was little means or reason to violate the law.

Guns were strictly controlled, the border with China was very much closed, preventing trafficking, and the sale of tiger parts was prohibited. By the late 1980s, perhaps 400 were on the prowl.

"There was no incentive to poach," Miquelle said, "and it largely ended."

As the Soviet Union slowly crumbled into chaos, however, those controls disappeared, replaced by a poverty that encouraged hunting and a ready market in nearby China, where tiger parts are valued for folk medicine. Now 20 to 30 tigers are poached in Russia every year, and Miquelle fears for the future of the 500 Siberians thought to be left. Few die of old age.

Just Monday, anti-poaching police in the Russian Far East stopped a truck in the Khasan region near the border with China and North Korea. They found a tiger carcass inside and arrested four people on poaching charges.

Miquelle mourned the dead tiger but rejoiced in the arrests.

"If we can't protect the tiger, we can't protect the natural resources we rely on," he said. "If we can save the big cats, we can save ourselves."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/19/AR2010111906543.html

Protecting where the wild things are


By Kathy Lally
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 20, 2010

IN MOSCOW The tale of the magnificent Siberian tiger, and its unfinished fight for survival, should be a compelling one for the 500 conservationists and world leaders arriving for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's tiger summit this weekend.

The summit on the fate of the tiger has been convened in St. Petersburg as the singular chance to keep the world's last 3,000 or so wild tigers from extinction, and the near-death experience of Russia's big, beautiful animals informs how they can be saved elsewhere.

"Russia was the first country to almost lose its tigers," said Dale Miquelle, director of the Russia program for the Wildlife Conservation Society, "and the first to bring them back. There's a long history of lessons in Russia."

Miquelle, who has been working in the Russian Far East since 1992, will attend the summit, and if asked, he knows what he would tell the dignitaries.

"Tigers need three things," he said Friday, from Vladivostok.

"They need space. They need their habitat and prey protected - deer and wild boar. And they need laws against poaching vigorously enforced. It's a very simple formula. It's very doable."

Everyone seems to agree tigers - which numbered 100,000 worldwide a century ago - won't go on living unless people behave differently. But the world has never found it easy to agree on what to do about anything, and so it is with the tiger, which has inspired the imagination of humans everywhere, who see strength, fierceness and passion in the graceful cat.

In 2008, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick organized the Global Tiger Initiative, targeting the summit in 2010 - the Chinese Year of the Tiger - as the time tiger countries would figure out a plan, now aimed at doubling the number of cats in the wild by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.

Each of the 13 tiger range countries is arriving with its own plans, and the summit - from Sunday through Wednesday - is meant to consolidate them, set a common agenda, attract financing and mobilize the political and popular will to carry them out. The United States, a major donor to tiger conservation, will be there.

So far, there's been polite disagreement about how far-reaching the plans should be, with much sentiment to go big and broad - engaging and educating communities, vastly expanding protected landscapes and restoring tigers to a much wider range than they now inhabit. Others argue that the situation is so dire that time and money should be concentrated on relatively few areas before declaring loftier ambitions.

"We want to see tigers living in large, healthy landscapes," said Barney Long, WWF tiger program manager, "not in small parks where they are vulnerable to outbreaks of poaching."

The Wildlife Conservation Society and Panthera, a conservation organization dedicated to wild cats, have proposed narrowing efforts, and WCS has suggested 42 sites where tigers should be protected.

Joe Walston, director of WCS-Asia, says that with 70 percent of the world's tigers fairly concentrated - including 18 "source sites" in India, eight in Malaysia and six in Russia - money should be aimed at monitoring and strengthening law enforcement to stop poaching in such areas.

Broader attempts are too risky, warns Luke Hunter, Panthera's executive vice president. "If you start talking about infrastructure and saying a dam can't be built unless it doesn't harm tigers, that's all good," he said. "The problem is we don't have time for it. Educating communities is a good thing, but by the time the children have grown up, the tigers will be gone."

Zoellick contends that those points of view are less contradictory than they appear. "We all agree that if you don't preserve the core population, there's nothing to talk about," he said, but at the same time those populations need room to roam.

Somehow, the WWF says, everyone will agree, because they must if there's any hope of saving the tiger. "The impediment will be financing," said Mike Baltzer, head of WWF's Tigers Alive initiative. "We're hoping donors will step up."

Strong anti-poaching laws and financing strict enforcement will be on Russia's agenda as it hosts the summit. Russia has watched tigers decline or prosper as laws and police weakened or grew powerful.

Its Siberian tiger - the Amur tiger - once roamed the forests and mountains of the Russian Far East by the hundreds. But hunting and trade destroyed them, and by 1940, when Lev Kaplanov, the director of a Russian nature preserve, did the first scientific count, he found only 20 to 30.

By 1948, the Soviet government had outlawed tiger hunting and there was little means or reason to violate the law.

Guns were strictly controlled, the border with China was very much closed, preventing trafficking, and the sale of tiger parts was prohibited. By the late 1980s, perhaps 400 were on the prowl.

"There was no incentive to poach," Miquelle said, "and it largely ended."

As the Soviet Union slowly crumbled into chaos, however, those controls disappeared, replaced by a poverty that encouraged hunting and a ready market in nearby China, where tiger parts are valued for folk medicine. Now 20 to 30 tigers are poached in Russia every year, and Miquelle fears for the future of the 500 Siberians thought to be left. Few die of old age.

Just Monday, anti-poaching police in the Russian Far East stopped a truck in the Khasan region near the border with China and North Korea. They found a tiger carcass inside and arrested four people on poaching charges.

Miquelle mourned the dead tiger but rejoiced in the arrests.

"If we can't protect the tiger, we can't protect the natural resources we rely on," he said. "If we can save the big cats, we can save ourselves."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/19/AR2010111906543.html
Representatives of 13 countries are meeting in Russia to outline plans to double the wild tiger population, currently as low as 3,200.

By Simon Montlake, Correspondent / November 19, 2010

New Delhi
This weekend, representatives of 13 countries will gather in St. Petersburg, Russia, to pledge support for the tiger, a rare example of a summit on behalf of a single species. The meeting will be hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and has been in the works for two years.

Countries will outline plans to double the wild tiger population by 2022, the year of the tiger in China, which is also the largest market for tiger skins and body parts, according to researchers. Tigers once roamed much of Asia, but are virtually extinct in some countries due to poaching and forest clearance.

But, as with Afghanistan, the tiger summit is fraught with deep divisions over how to turn around an increasingly dire situation. Some conservationists are skeptical that the meeting will yield much. Others argue that it will attract political support to a broad-based conservation effort that requires a sustained focus to succeed.

A separate debate among conservationists is whether the current patchwork of tiger reserves is sufficient to stop the decline and if it should be replaced by a smaller number of "source sites" where female breeding tigers are found, effectively giving up on marginal populations.

There is also controversy over a Chinese proposal to allow a trade in farmed tiger parts, though this has been left off the summit agenda. Critics say that breeding captive tigers for slaughter wouldn’t quell the demand for wild tigers, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine for various ailments. Proponents say farmed tigers would relieve the pressure on wild populations.

India's economic boom eating into tiger conservation zones
The debate over how to save the tiger has resonance in India, home to over 1,400 wild tigers. Its delegation to St. Petersburg will be led by the head of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, an agency created in 1973 in response to a drastic fall in tiger numbers. India has 39 reserves and six conservation zones for tigers, though some have been depleted by poaching.

This commitment predates India’s recent rapid economic takeoff. “We’ve been spending money on tigers, even when the chips were down,” says Ravi Singh, secretary general of WWF in India.

But India’s economic boom isn’t necessarily a plus for its rich wildlife. A rush to develop rural areas, dig mines, and build road has eaten away at forest reserves where tigers roam, often over hundreds of miles in search of prey. Corruption and low morale is blamed for the failure of forest rangers to protect wildlife.

What galls some critics of the tiger summit is that its main backer, the World Bank, has a checkered record in India. While its president, Robert Zoellick, helped launch the two-year Global Tiger Initiative, the bank continues to fund coal-fired power stations and other development projects in India with major environmental impacts, including on forests.

“There’s a fatal flaw in the whole thing and that’s the World Bank. That’s where the problem is,” says Bittu Sahgal, editor of Conservation Asia, a magazine published in Mumbai. He claimed the bank was trying to green-wash its image. Bank officials have argued that coal is an unavoidable part of the energy mix in countries like India and China.

An estimated 104 tigers killed per year
Even the idea of a summit to save a single species may raise eyebrows. But conservationists say that focusing on a large, iconic predator like the tiger makes sense, as safeguarding its habitat also protects other species living there. The tiger initiative also aims to promote poverty reduction in catchment areas and carbon emission allowances for countries that set aside wildlife-rich forests.

Some critics say this extra baggage obstructs the pressing need to protect vulnerable wild tigers in countries like Russia and Indonesia, and to stop the illegal trade in tiger parts that is fed by Chinese demand. TRAFFIC, a wildlife monitoring agency, recently calculated that seizures of tiger parts and skins since 2000 suggested that at least 104 tigers were slain annually, a figure that omits those tiger products that evaded capture as well as natural mortality.

Samir Sinha, the head of TRAFFIC in India, argues that the summit’s holistic approach to tiger conservation is valid. “It’s basically ticking the boxes you like. But it filters into saving the species,” he says.

National reserves, or natural corridors?
Experts differ on how this might be done. A group of academics recently proposed the “6 percent” strategy, which would protect only national reserves with viable numbers of breeding tigers. Other reserves would be abandoned. The idea would be to revive the wild population by concentrating resources on 6 percent of the historic range of tigers in Asia.

This approach contrasts with the "landscape" strategy of WWF and other conservation groups, which aim to preserve natural corridors outside protected areas so that tigers can roam more widely. Mr. Singh points out that breeding tigers on core sites would eventually create a dilemma of what to do when the population is too large for its habitat. It would also be hard to take back land that had been given up for development, which is likely to accelerate if India continues its economic boom.

“If we only look at the conservation sites and give up the rest it will be lost forever,” he says.

Siberian Tiger Photo Gallery: http://www.csmonitor.com/CSM-Photo-Galleries/In-Pictures/Siberian-Tigers

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2010/1119/Putin-on-the-prowl-to-save-world-s-endangered-tigers

Wildlife group targets Myanmar-China tiger trade

By Denis D. Gray
Associated Press / November 19, 2010

BANGKOK—Wildlife trafficking officials say they have reached a preliminary agreement with an ethnic minority group in Myanmar to close down markets where hundreds of poached tigers from across Asia are sold for use in purported medicines and aphrodisiacs in China.

The markets, in an area of northeastern Myanmar controlled by the Wa minority, are considered one of the world's hot spots for wildlife trafficking, and among the only places left where tiger parts are openly sold.

"Basically closing these markets will alleviate pressure on all of Southeast Asia's tiger populations because the sourcing is being done from areas as far away as India and Sumatra," said William Schaedla of the wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC. "If we were to close these markets it would stop the drain on those source populations of tigers."

Schaedla, TRAFFIC's Southeast Asia director, spoke ahead of a "tiger summit" in St. Petersburg, Russia, aimed at saving the endangered species from extinction. There are believed to be as few as 3,200 wild tigers remaining, down from about 100,000 a century ago -- a decline of 97 percent.

The Nov. 21-24 conference, hosted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, will attempt to finalize a plan to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. It is being described as the first international meeting on a single wildlife species.

"If the markets are not closed, we will see the end of all tigers," Schaedla told a press conference Friday. None of the goals set at the St. Petersburg summit can be reached if the illegal wildlife trade in the Thailand-Myanmar-China border region is not stopped, he said.

A TRAFFIC report released Friday said in a decade-long investigation, hundreds of parts of more than 400 big cats were seen in the Myanmar-China border town of Mong La, controlled by the Wa, and Tachilek, on Myanmar's border with Thailand.

Some traders operated small warehouses with shelves of rolled-up tiger and leopard skins. Bones, paws, penises and teeth were also found, used for home decor, magic amulets and products advertised as health tonics and aphrodisiacs, the report said.

The wildlife trade is especially rife in the Wa region, with Chinese traders coming to Mong La to buy and eat wild animals, gamble and consort with prostitutes in what TRAFFIC investigators described as a "wild west" atmosphere. Tiger bone wine is a popular drink with those out for sex.

The Wa, who have forged a semiautonomous region and field a powerful army, have long been accused of massive drug trafficking.

"They're interested in establishing contact with the outside world, and this is a much less contentious issue than some of the other things that they're facing, such as human trafficking or drugs or some of the other crime issues. And it's perhaps also a much more straightforward issue for them to take care of," Schaedla said, explaining why the Wa may want to make a deal to shut down the markets.

Schaedla said he was cautiously optimistic the Wa could be trusted to keep the agreement with TRAFFIC, a joint program of WWF and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2010/11/19/wildlife_group_targets_myanmar_china_tiger_trade/?rss_id=Boston.com+--+Latest+news

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Tigers could be extinct in 12 years if unprotected

(AP) – 11.21.2010

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Wild tigers could become extinct in 12 years if countries where they still roam fail to take quick action to protect their habitats and step up the fight against poaching, global wildlife experts told a "tiger summit" Sunday.

The World Wildlife Fund and other experts say only about 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, a dramatic plunge from an estimated 100,000 a century ago.

James Leape, director general of the World Wildlife Fund, told the meeting in St.Petersburg that if the proper protective measures aren't taken, tigers may disappear by 2022, the next Chinese calendar year of the tiger.

Their habitat is being destroyed by forest cutting and construction, and they are a valuable trophy for poachers who want their skins and body parts prized in Chinese traditional medicine.

The summit, which runs through Wednesday, is hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has proficiently used encounters with tigers and other wild animals to bolster his image. It's driven by the Global Tiger Initiative which was launched two years ago by World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

The summit approved a wide-ranging program with the goal of doubling the world's tiger population in the wild by 2022 that is backed by governments of the 13 countries that still have tiger populations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia.

"For most people tigers are one of the wonders of the world," Leape told The Associated Press. "In the end, the tigers are the inspiration and the flagship for much broader efforts to conserve forests and grasslands."

He said that along with a stronger action against poaching, it's necessary to set up specialized reserves for tigers and restore and conserve forests outside them to let tigers expand.

"And you have to find a way to make it work for the local communities so that they would be partners in tigers conservation and benefit from them," Leape said.

The summit will be seeking donor commitments to help governments finance conservationist measures. The Global Tiger Recovery Program approved at the meeting estimates the countries will need about $350 million in outside funding in the first five years of the 12-year plan. About 30 percent of that estimate would go toward programs to suppress the poaching of tigers and of the animals they prey on.

Russia's Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said that Russia and China will create a protected area for tigers alongside their border and pool resources to combat poaching.

For advocates, saving tigers has implications far beyond the emotional appeal of preserving a graceful and majestic animal.

"Wild tigers are not only a symbol of all that is splendid, mystical and powerful about nature," the Global Tiger Initiative said in a statement. "The loss of tigers and degradation of their ecosystems would inevitably result in a historic, cultural, spiritual, and environmental catastrophe for the tiger range countries."

Three of the nine tiger subspecies — the Bali, Javan, and Caspian — already have become extinct in the past 70 years.

Much has been done recently to try to save tigers, but conservation groups say their numbers and habitats have continued to fall, by 40 percent in the past decade alone.

In part, that decline is because conservation efforts have been increasingly diverse and often aimed at improving habitats outside protected areas where tigers can breed, according to a study published in September in the Popular Library of Science Biology journal.

Putin has done much to draw attention to tigers' plight. During a visit to a wildlife preserve in 2008, he shot a female tiger with a tranquilizer gun and helped place a transmitter around her neck as part of a program to track the rare cats.

Later in the year, Putin was given a 2-month-old female Siberian tiger for his birthday. State television showed him at his home gently petting the cub, which was curled up in a wicker basket with a tiger-print cushion. The tiger now lives in a zoo in southern Russia.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jzKWRNifFmP0qjv9lbY-uyrBb2vA?docId=007fd7c5fb1549a59361cd475e58de91

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TIGER FAIL!! Vegetarian Tiger??

SHERE KHAN weighs over 700lbs! He is a Siberian/Bengal tiger and he eats grass just like your domestic cat at home :) Why do cats eat grass? ...



Saturday, November 13, 2010

*BAD BIG CATS!!

*FACT: Tigers, Lions, Leopards and any other species of wild cat will NEVER make a suitable "pet". Despite this obvious statement, it's 100% LEGAL to privately own these animals in over half of the United States!

 



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Petting Lion & Tiger Cubs

When you pay to pet a cub, what are you really supporting? This video shows you how people pimp out tiger cubs to support themselves while making no provisions for the lifetime care of the big cats they are breeding and buying. Watch this video about two such pay to play schemes run by Kathy Stearns of Dade City's Wild Things and Joe Schreibvogel of G.W. Exotics.



Monday, November 08, 2010

BOBCATS of Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue is home to 32 bobcats! Whether they are former "pets", fur farm rescues or wild bobcats that were injured and unable to be returned to the wild, they all have permanent sanctuary at BCR.



Sunday, October 31, 2010

"BEARCAT" VS PUMPKIN !!

Big Cat Rescue is home to over 100 Lions, Tigers & Leopards, we are also home to Banjo the Binturong or Bearcat! Watch Banjo enjoy his Halloween treat a pumpkin complete with a banana mouth, plum nose, Fig Newton eyes and grape hair!



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Big Cat Halloween

Tigers, Lions, Leopards...the Big Cats like to carve pumpkins too! Take a look at halloween at Big Cat Rescue!



Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wild Tigers Could Face Extinction In Just 12 Years

FILE- Two South China tiger cubs of the Gonggong breed, Hope, left, and Cathay, right, are seen in the zoo at Pretoria, South Africa, in this photo dated Sept. 2, 2003. Environmental experts who are meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, Friday Oct. 22, 2010, have warned that the world's tiger population in the wild, could be extinct within 12-years because of illegal trophy hunting, deteriorating habitats and the use of tiger parts in eastern medicine, according to World Wildlife spokeswoman Marie von Zeipel.

FILE- A caged South China tiger seen behind bars in Johannesburg in this file photo dated Tuesday, April 24, 2007.

by The Associated Press
STOCKHOLM October 22, 2010, 01:11 pm ET

The world's tiger population could soon be extinct because of poaching, shrinking habitats and the use of tiger parts in Eastern medicine, environmental experts warned Friday.

World Wildlife spokeswoman Marie von Zeipel said the world's biggest wild cat is one of the most threatened species and could face extinction within 12 years. The organization estimates there are only 3,200 tigers in the wild — with von Zeipel noting that the wild tiger population has shrunk 97 percent in 100 years.

"If nothing drastic happens, the (population) curve is heading straight for disaster," she said.

Her comments came after the wildlife organization hosted a seminar in Stockholm about the plight of wild tigers.

WWF is currently running a campaign to double the wild tiger population by 2022. It is urging nations to help protect tigers' habitats and to prevent poaching of tigers and their prey.

Russia, which has its own Amur tiger population, is holding a global tiger summit next month. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will host the four-day meeting in the city of St. Petersburg, attended by wildlife experts and delegates from the 13 countries where tigers are still found in the wild.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130747942

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

From CNN: U.S. urged to regulate ‘backyard tigers’


The WWF and TRAFFIC say that there are yawning gaps in U.S. regulation of tiger ownership which could fuel illegal trade.

By Matthew Knight for CNN
October 21, 2010 — Updated 2110 GMT (0510 HKT)

(CNN) — Rising numbers of captive tigers in the United States are putting citizens at risk and could be fueling illegal trade in animal parts, which threatens their survival in the wild, conservationists have warned.

“Tigers Among US,” published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network estimates that there are more than 5,000 tigers in captivity in the U.S. compared with around 3,200 that remain wild across Asia.

While some tigers are housed in zoos, many more are privately owned, often free to roam backyards, urban apartments and are generally kept in “deplorable conditions,” the report says.

Leigh Henry, WWF senior policy officer for Species Conservation told CNN: “We’ve seen photos and there’s a video on our website showing tigers walking around muddy wet cages.”

But its the size of the enclosures that is most distressing, Henry says, “when you know tigers are supposed to be ranging over hundreds and hundreds of acres.”

Current U.S. regulation on tiger ownership is “a patchwork of federal laws” full of “exceptions, exemptions and loopholes,” the report says.

A majority of U.S. states (28) don’t allow citizens to keep tigers as pets, while 17 have laws which regulate their ownership.

But in some states there are no regulations at all, making it easier to own a tiger than to adopt a dog, with sometimes tragic consequences.

In 2003, a 10-year-old boy was killed by his aunt’s pet tiger in Wilkes County, North Carolina.

In the same year, celebrity tiger handler Roy Horn (of Siegfried and Roy fame) was mauled during a performance at Las Vegas’s Mirage Hotel.

Nevada and North Carolina are two of eight U.S. states (Alabama, Idaho, Ohio, South Carolina West Virginia and Wisconsin are the others) which currently have no laws regulating private ownership of tigers.

These yawning gaps in regulation could be resolved by implementing “a central reporting system and database run by the federal government and that would be required for all tigers in the U.S. without exception,” Henry says.

“We want to know where all these animals are, who owns them, when they’re sold and transferred, when they are born, when they die, so we have a better grasp on what going on with this immense population of tigers to ensure they are not filtering into illegal trade,” Henry said.

It is hard to put an exact figure on just how lucrative the black market is, Henry says, but she estimates that a tiger broken up and sold in parts could fetch anywhere between $30,000 to $100,000.

Find out more about captive tigers in the U.S.

Some states, like Iowa, are leading the way. They recently implemented a ban on private ownership, Henry says.

“They put in this great regulatory system which requires DNA identification, photo identification and very strict deporting and registration systems for the tigers already in the state,” Henry told CNN.

The U.S. is one of the world leaders in the promotion of tiger conservation but the U.S. also has a responsibility to manage tigers in its own backyard, Henry says.

“By clamping down on this issue, we can better cooperate with other nations holding large numbers of captive tigers to prevent trade in these animals from threatening their wild counterparts,” Henry said.

This latest assessment updates a 2008 TRAFFIC report “Paper Tigers? The Role of the U.S. Captive Tiger Population in the Trade in Tiger Parts.”

World leaders will gather in St Petersburg, Russia at the end of November for a Global Tiger Summit to discuss proposals which will further protect breeding populations, habitats and inhibit poaching and international trade.

Their long term goal is to double the worldwide tiger population in the wild by the time the Chinese celebrate the Year of the Tiger again in 2022.

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/10/21/tigers.captive.regulation.us/index.html
http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

From WWF: Tigers Among US


Note: Please see the report at: http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/tigers/captive-tigers/ for an interactive map of the United States to learn more about “ Tigers Among US”

Did you know that there are more tigers in American backyards than there are in the wild around the world? The United States has one of the largest populations of captive tigers in the world − estimated at perhaps 5,000 tigers, compared to as few as 3,200 in the wild. They are found in backyards, urban apartments, sideshows, truck stops and private breeding facilities.

In many jurisdictions, people can legally keep a tiger on their property without reporting it to local officials or neighbors. In some states, it is easier to buy a tiger than to adopt a dog from a local animal shelter. Rarely can officials determine how many tigers there are in captivity within state borders − or where they are, who owns them, or what happens to their body parts (highly prized on the black market) when they die.

It’s critical that the United States better regulate the captivity of tigers. When tiger ownership and breeding aren’t monitored, captive tigers become easy targets for black market sales, and those sales end up threatening wild populations. Here’s how that happens: The illegal trade in products derived from captive tigers stimulates demand, especially for wild tigers. The more demand there is, the more wild tigers are poached.

The lack of regulation of captive tigers is also a major threat to public safety. Lax oversight means tigers can be held in areas that may not be adequately secured. Let’s not wait for another tragedy to occur before taking action.

There has never been a better time to make it right. In 2010 − the Year of the Tiger − WWF is working to close loopholes in regulations for tiger ownership set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We also play an active role in supporting tiger range countries’ commitment to Tx2, WWF’s ambitious goal of doubling wild tiger numbers by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.

In November, world leaders will gather at a Tiger Summit in Russia to discuss the plight of wild tigers and agree upon a range-wide recovery plan for these big cats. Take action today by encouraging Secretary Clinton to attend the summit and ensure strong U.S. commitment to global tiger conservation.

External resources


  • Sanctuary: Florida-based Big Cat Rescue serves as a sanctuary for abandoned and abused tigers

  • Report: Know of a captive tiger in distress? Take it to Animal Abuse 911

  • Success: An undercover operation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that netted great results Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

  • Watch: The Tiger Next Door, the acclaimed documentary by Camilla Calamandrei


Press Release:

WWF and TRAFFIC Highlight Dangers of America’s 5,000-Plus Backyard Tigers
Weak U.S. Regulations Make Captive Tigers a Target for Illegal Trade

For Release: Oct 20, 2010


WASHINGTON, DC, October 20, 2010 – With more tigers in captivity in the U.S. than survive in the wild, the United States needs a centralized federal database to monitor the big cats, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said today. Weak U.S. regulations could be helping to fuel the multimillion dollar international black market for tiger parts, according to a new review released today by WWF and TRAFFIC, the world’s largest wildlife trade monitoring network.

Additionally, WWF released a new online tool that allows users to learn about their states’ captive tiger regulations and how weak oversight puts wild tigers and human safety at risk.

As few as 3,200 tigers are left in the wild across Asia, down from 100,000 a hundred years ago. America’s 5,000-plus captive tigers are mostly kept by private individuals, not zoos. The tigers are often in deplorable conditions and in states that do not have laws or regulations that require close monitoring or regulatory oversight. Lack of sufficient state or federal regulation makes it effectively impossible to determine the number of tigers in the U.S. at any given time, where they are kept and what happens to their body parts – highly prized on the black market in Asia – when they die.

“In addition to being a threat to communities, captive tigers in the U.S. are a ticking time bomb for the illegal wildlife trade,” said Leigh Henry, WWF senior policy officer for Species Conservation. “Demand for tiger parts and products is one of the leading threats to the continued survival of the species in the wild. A nationwide database is essential to ensure that captive cats don’t end up in traditional folk medicine, tiger wine, or as somebody’s hearth rug or wall hanging.”

Among the findings in the review “Tigers Among US”:

  • A patchwork of federal laws governs the possession, sale and exhibition of captive tigers. However, due to a host of exceptions exemptions, and loopholes, federal agencies charged with implementing these laws have no mandate to maintain a current inventory of how many tigers are in the country, where they are, who possesses them, when they die or how they are disposed of.

  • 17 states allow the keeping of tigers by individuals with a state permit or registration (Iowa, Oregon and Washington recently banned tiger possession but have systems in place to regulate tigers that were grandfathered in prior to enactment of the bans).

  • 8 states have no laws on captive tigers.

  • 28 states have laws banning the possession of tigers in private collections.


Among the report’s recommendations:

  • A central reporting system and database for all captive tigers held within U.S. borders should be created under new or existing law. There should be no exemptions or exceptions.

  • Any person or facility owning a tiger should report on the number of tigers held, births, deaths, mortality and transfer or sale.

  • All tiger deaths should be reported immediately and the carcasses disposed of through cremation by a licensed facility.

  • State and federal law enforcement should be provided with resources to conduct undercover investigations to eliminate markets for tiger parts and detect international smuggling attempts.


In November, world leaders will gather at a Global Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia – the world’s first global summit focused on saving a single species from extinction. They will discuss a range-wide recovery plan for tigers that includes how to protect breeding populations, tiger landscapes and address poaching and international trade. The goal of the Summit is to double the number of wild tigers by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.

“The United States government has been a global leader in promoting the conservation of tigers, but it also has a responsibility to manage the tigers in its own backyard to prevent them from entering illegal trade,” Henry said. “By clamping down on this issue, we can better cooperate with other nations holding large numbers of captive tigers to prevent trade in these animals from threatening their wild counterparts.”

Notes to Editors:

  • Tigers Among US is an updated review of the 2008 TRAFFIC report Paper Tigers?: The Role of the U.S. Captive Tiger Population in the Trade in Tiger Parts. For a copy of the full report, go to: http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/tigers/captive-tigers/

  • High-resolution images and video to accompany this report are available by request


http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/tigers/captive-tigers/

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lion + White Tiger = Cameron & Zabu!

Say hello to Big Cat Rescue's "odd couple" Cameron and Zabu (Male African Lion & Female White Tiger) were rescued from a roadside zoo and circus in New Hampshire in 2004.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BIG CAT RESCUE - Fur Ball 2010

Big Cat Rescue's 11th annual Fur Ball was a roaring success! Thank you to everybody who attended, donated and volunteered, together we are helping to make a difference in the lives of big cats around the world!



Monday, October 11, 2010

Big Cats GO GREEN! How Tigers Recycle!

Tigers, Lions, Leopards ... we recycle a little differently at Big Cat Rescue! With 45 acres and over 100 big cats to care for we have lots of landscaping projects as well as lots of cats to keep enriched, so we do both at the same time!



Year of the Tiger Celebrated During Animal Action Week

Leonardo DiCaprio joined with IFAW for this year's theme, "Born to be Wild."

Posted: October 8, 2010, 3 a.m. EDT

Animal Action Week honored The Year Of The Tiger

This week marks Animal Action Week, an annual global initiative to educate and empower children around the world to stand up, speak out and help save animals. Actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio joined with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for the week's theme "Born to be Wild," which ends Oct. 10.

Now in its 18th year, Animal Action Week activities and educational opportunities have focused on the plight of tigers, which are on the brink of extinction in the wild. Habitat loss and poaching have reduced worldwide wild tiger populations from about 100,000 in 1900 to as few as 3,000 today.

"Tigers are dangerously close to vanishing forever," said DiCaprio, an IFAW honorary board member. "If we don't want our children to grow up in a world where tigers are extinct, the time for action is now."

Animal Action Week kicked off an international education and youth outreach program that reaches more than five million children worldwide. This year's tiger theme coincided with the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese lunar calendar, and was aligned with the U.N. International Year for Youth (August 2010-2011), which calls on the world community to give young people a chance to actively participate in decision-making on local, national and global issues.In conjunction with the U.N. initiative, the Animal Action program earlier this year launched a global campaign to ensure that the voices of the world's children are heard when world leaders gather in St. Petersburg, Russia in November at the Global Tiger Summit, where they hope to agree on a joint strategy to save wild tigers from extinction.

The campaign centers around a website that gave young people around the world the opportunity to send in various types of multimedia messages about tigers and why they should be saved: calls to action, questions, thoughts, poems, songs, paintings or even simple but passionate growls of support for protecting the last wild tigers. The messages were used to create a video that melds these young global voices into one collective Roar! for action to save tigers. It will be shown to world leaders at an event in St. Petersburg during the Global Tiger Summit.

"We are proud to join forces with Leonardo DiCaprio once again in our global mission to safeguard animals in crisis, like tigers, and to protect the habitat we all share," said Fred O'Regan, IFAW president. "His steadfast commitment is vital in our efforts to educate and empower the conservation leaders of tomorrow around the globe."

For more than 17 years, IFAW's Animal Action program has taught children worldwide about the value of animal welfare and conservation. The program provides free education packs in seven languages on a different animal welfare and conservation theme each year, including lessons, activities, video and multimedia activities. In the United States, the packs are aligned with national curriculum standards and distributed to more than 80,000 classrooms nationwide.

More information can be found here.

http://www.catchannel.com/news/2010/10/08/animal-action-week.aspx

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/