Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rent-a-tiger idea met with scorn by some

Rent-a-tiger idea met with scorn by some

Indonesia plans to charge $107,000 a pair

msnbc.com news services
updated 1:58 p.m. ET, Mon., Jan. 25, 2010

JAKARTA - When ministers from 13 nations sit down this week to talk about ways to save dwindling tiger populations, one proposal is sure to get lots of attention: Renting out tigers in order to raise money for conservation.

That's what Indonesia is planning to do with some its few remaining Sumatran tigers, but the idea has drawn scorn from environmental activists, who say it's the wrong approach to conservation.

There are only 400 Sumatran tigers left in Indonesia, where deforestation has destroyed much of their native habitat and they are hunted for traditional medicines and illegal menageries.

Tiger "adoption" — where a pair can be rented out as pets in exchange for a 1 billion rupiah ($107,100) deposit — could help curb illegal hunting and trade, a forestry ministry official said.

"There are many orders from rich people who want them, who feel if they own a tiger they are a big shot. We have to take concrete steps to protect these animals," said Darori, the ministry's director general of forest protection and nature conservation.

The tiger "renters" will be Indonesians and must allow visits at three-monthly intervals by a team of vets, animal welfare officers and ministry staff.

The animals will come from those already kept in captivity, and must be given cages with minimum dimensions of 16 feet by 19 feet by 32 feet.

"That's almost as big as my house," said Darori. "And because these people are rich, they will definitely give them good food."

The tigers will remain state property and will be returned to the state if they are no longer wanted, he said. Any cubs the tigers produce will be the property of the state.

Darori said he had received complaints about the plan from 12 environmental NGOs.

"So we have invited them for consultation before we continue with this plan. If we can agree, it will be put into practice as soon as possible," he said.

Greenpeace's forest campaigner, Bustar Maitar, said the plan was tantamount to selling the tigers off.

"It shows the government is not serious about addressing the real issues threatening Sumatran tigers. They need to stop issuing forest concessions [to logging companies]," he said.

Multinational tiger talks
Around the world, tigers are in critical decline because of human encroachment, the loss of more than nine-tenths of their habitat and the growing trade in tiger skins and body parts. From an estimated 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century, the number today ranges between 3,200 to 3,600, most of them in Asia and Russia.

Ministers from the 13 countries with tiger populations will hold a first-ever meeting Wednesday through Friday in Hua Hin, Thailand, to write an action plan for a tiger summit in September in Russia, where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been championing the survival of the tiger.

The purpose of this week's meeting is to elicit promises of more money for conservation and to persuade countries to set tiger population targets. It is being organized by the Global Tiger Initiative, a coalition formed in 2008 by the World Bank, the Smithsonian Institute and nearly 40 conservation groups. It aims to double tiger numbers by 2020.

"The bleeding continues," said the World Bank's Keshav Varma, the initiative's program director. "I'm not sure if these poachers are feeling the heat of regional and global and national action. They seem to be operating rather freely."

David Smith, a tiger expert at the University of Minnesota who will attend the meeting, says action "has got to be now. We are at that critical stage."

But at least one skeptical activist is skipping the meeting.

"All we have gotten from ministers and heads of state is rhetoric," said zoologist Alan Rabinowitz, president of Panthera, a New York City group that works to conserve the 36 species of cats. "Putin loves tigers but (Siberian) tiger numbers are plummeting in the Russian Far East."

The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates the number of Russian tigers in the wild at 300 — down from a 2005 estimate of 500.

Past efforts in tiger countries have been dogged by a lack of financing, poor coordination among conservation groups and weak government response.

India acknowledged in 2005 that Sariska National Park, a premier tiger reserve, had lost all of its big cats to poachers, who cash in on a huge market for tiger skins and a belief, prevalent in east Asia, that tiger parts enhance health and virility.

Poaching could undermine Malaysia's goal of doubling its tiger population to 1,000 by 2020, and tigers could go extinct in China in the next 30 years, the World Wildlife Fund has warned. Populations have also crashed in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Environmentalists say governments need to overhaul their protection of sanctuaries, involve local communities more deeply in their conservation efforts, and protect critical habitat from the encroachment of roads, bridges and dams.

Park patrols are often outgunned by poaching gangs, underpaid and vulnerable to bribes.

Thai success stories
Smith said countries are starting to invest more in patrols and that the successful methods from Thailand's Huai Kha Kheang and Thung Yai reserves are being introduced in Laos, Cambodia, Nepal and Bangladesh.

The two sanctuaries are patrolled by 300 rangers. Dubbed Smart Patrols, they are equipped with guns and uniforms, digital cameras and GPS devices, and a detailed form for listing signs of poachers, tigers and prey.

Instead of just patrolling a park's perimeter, the Thai rangers trek through forest and mountains for up to five days. The data they gather go into a computer so trends can be detected to guide rangers on the next patrol.

Campfires, gunshots, shell cases, snares and other evidence of poaching have fallen by 80 percent in the past five years, said Anak Pattanavibool, the Thailand director for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Poachers still enter the park — one was nabbed this month — but Anak said they remain at the periphery, no longer build camps and rarely stay longer than a few hours.

That's a remarkable turnaround for a time when gunfights with poachers were routine. Monuments honor four rangers killed in the line of duty 15 years ago.

A recent visit to the Huai Kha Kheang reserve revealed an ecosystem on the mend —fresh tiger tracks on a muddy river bank, and sightings of a panther, scores of deer, wild pig, jackal and a lone fish owl.

Still, conservationists say patrols alone are not enough — that institutions must look at the big picture of humanity and wildlife in growing confrontation.

Indian scientist K. Ullas Karanth, a tiger expert, says World Bank infrastructure projects "have been among the most damaging for tigers in Asia," and ways must be found of "separating people from breeding tigers" by drawing communities out of wildlife areas with offers of jobs and free land.

The World Bank's Varma said his organization is looking harder at development projects that split up tiger habitats.

"That is a huge change," he said. "It's a new beginning and acceptance we have made mistakes in the past."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35061091/ns/world_news-world_environment/

Black Market by Patrick Brown & MediaStorm
The wildlife trade is the third-largest illegal trade in the world after guns and drugs. Learn who is buying and selling and see the species put at risk by the trade.

Video Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25677681/ns/world_news

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

WWF: Sunderbans Tigers Face Extinction

WWF: Sunderbans Tigers Face Extinction

2010-1-26 10:4229
Video Link:
http://english.ntdtv.com/ntdtv_en/ns_asia/2010-01-26/877569686955.html

According to the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, the Sunderbans Royal Bengal tiger may only be found in zoos by the end of this century.

[Colby Loucks, World Wildlife Fund]:
"If we don't do anything to limit the impact of climate change and in this case sea-level rise or protect the tigers from more immediate threats such as poaching and habitat loss, the Sunderbans and its tigers will go under water in the next 50 to 90 years is what our study found."

Through habitat loss and poaching, the tigers are already one of the world's most threatened species. The WWF estimates that the entire global tiger population totals only 3,200 in the wild. It says nowhere are they more vulnerable than in the Sunderbans.

The Sunderbans in Bangladesh is the world's largest mangrove forests and provides a habitat for about ten percent of the global Royal Bengal tiger population.

A recent WWF study says that rising waters will submerge the area by the end of the century.

The report says an 11 inch rise in sea level - a rate they describe as conservative - is likely by 2070. By then, Sunderban tiger populations are "unlikely to remain viable."

While not all scientists agree that there is a direct linkage between climate change and rising sea levels, Colby Loucks says the research is conclusive.

[Colby Loucks, World Wildlife Fund]:
"We're going to have an increase of sea-level regardless and this is going to happen so, skeptics can be skeptical but this is happening and will occur in the next 50 to 90 years."

Loucks said the need for action is urgent. Otherwise, the Sunderbans - which means "beautiful forest" in Bengali - and its tigers will be lost forever.

http://english.ntdtv.com/ntdtv_en/ns_asia/2010-01-26/877569686955.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

"Say No to Nebraska's Legislative Bill 747" - Mountain Lion Foundation

Cougar Corner
1/28/2010

Dear Friend,

Thank you for subscribing to Cougar Corner. To read previous CC Blogs click here.

Say No to Nebraska's Legislative Bill 747
Cougar Corner 1/8/2010
Tim Dunbar

Like most Midwestern states, Nebraska extirpated (killed off) its resident mountain lion population before the turn of the Century--that's the 19th Century. For more than ninety years there were no confirmed sightings of these magnificent creatures until, in November of 1991, a young sub-adult female was spotted and shot by a deer hunter in Sioux County. Since then there have been 93 confirmed sightings (not the number of actual lions, just evidence that one had been in the area--tracks, trail camera photos, etc.) which resulted in Nebraskans killing at least eight of those lions spotted.

To date, there have been no recorded incidents in Nebraska where mountain lions have threatened, attacked, or killed any humans, pets or livestock.

Despite the lack of any evidence demonstrating a need for protection from these animals, or even strong proof that Nebraska once again has a viable resident mountain lion population, legislators in that state want to declare lions as "predators" and allow ranchers and farmers to kill them for preying on livestock or poultry.

While Nebraska's Legislative Bill 747 has many of the same provisions found in most western states' lion management plans--the right to defend oneself, family and/or property--we believe that listing lions in Nebraska as Predators is just the first step in eventually hunting them for sport.

A better action would be for the Nebraskan legislature to embrace the good fortune which has brought about the return of mountain lions to Nebraska and list the species as a "nongame animal." According to Nebraska's Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, "nongame . . . species have need of special protection and that it is in the public interest to preserve, protect, perpetuate, and enhance such species of this state . . . "

I can think of no animal which better fits that description.

To help save mountain lions in Nebraska, contact one or more of the Senators on Nebraska's Natural Resources Committee. Ask them to oppose Legislative Bill 747. Tell them you want mountain lions in your state, and request that mountain lions be listed for protection under Nebraska's Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act.

The text of Nebraska's Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act, as well as the current version of Legislative Bill 747 are now available in MLF's on-line library at www.mountainlion.org. Or you may visit them directly by clicking on the links below.

http://mountainlion.org/Nebraska_Species_Conservation_Act.asp
http://mountainlion.org/NEBRASKA_LB_0747.pdf


NEBRASKA NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE MEMBERS -- JANUARY 2010

Senator Chris Langemeier
District 23
Office: Room 1210, PO Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2719
Fax: (402) 438-4380
clangemeier@leg.ne.gov

Senator Annette M. Dubas
District 34
Office: Room 1018, PO Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2630
Fax: (402) 479-0934
adubas@leg.ne.gov

Senator Tanya Cook
District 13
Office: Room 1115, PO Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2727
tcook@leg.ne.gov

Senator Tom Carlson
District 38
Office: Room 1022, PO Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2732
Fax: (402) 479-0938
tcarlson@leg.ne.gov

Senator Deb Fischer
District 43
Office: Room 1110, PO Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2628
Fax: (402) 479-0943
dfischer@leg.ne.gov

Senator Ken Haar
District 21
Office: Room 1017, PO Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2673
khaar@leg.ne.gov

Senator Beau McCoy
District 39
Office: Room 1522, PO Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2885
bmccoy@leg.ne.gov

Senator Ken Schilz
District 47
Office: Room 1202, PO Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2616
kschilz@leg.ne.gov


Cougar Corner is a service of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

phone: 800-319-7621



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

http://mountainlion.org/blogs.asp

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Few cougars killed during hunting season on N.D. reservation

HUNTERS BAG FEW FELINES IN COUGAR SEASON
JANUARY 31, 2010

NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) -- Despite a rise in cougar sightings on the Fort Berthold Reservation, hunters have had limited success killing the cats since a special hunting season was launched three years ago, a wildlife official said.

Hunters killed two of the reclusive mountain lions on the reservation in December, the only ones since the season began in September, said Fred Poitra, game and fish director for Three Affiliated Tribes.

The mountain lion season was started in 2007 after reports of a cougar trailing two people for a time, and another incident where a horse was attacked. Poitra said cougar sightings have increased since then at the million-acre reservation in west-central North Dakota.

"They are definitely migrating here but from where, we don't know," Poitra said. "They travel great distances."

This month, people reported seeing a female cougar and her kittens eating a deer carcass near a home in New Town, which is on the reservation. The cougars appeared to have been feasting on the kill for days, he said. But professional hunters using dogs lost the cougars' tracks and scent once the cats left the city.

In the first cougar hunting season, a young female lion was killed illegally on the reservation, after the season had closed. Poitra said one cougar was caught in a trap in 2010. Another cougar was found frozen in Lake Sakakawea two years ago, he said. The quota of five has never been met.

The reservation has issued about 100 licenses this season to non-tribal members, who have come from across the country to hunt the cougars, Poitra said. While state law says only North Dakota residents may hunt mountain lions, tribes can establish their own hunting regulations on their land.

http://www.zanesvilletimesrecorder.com/article/20100131/SPORTS/1310359/1006/SPORTS/HUNTERS-BAG-FEW-FELINES-IN-COUGAR-SEASON

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India: Leopard cub doesn’t make it, pneumonia ‘official’ cause

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Paritosh Kimothi - Dehradun

The one-year-old leopard cub rescued from the residential area besides Kaulagarh Road on Friday died later during the night. According to the post mortem examination report, the cause of the feline’s death was pneumonia.

However, observers state that chances of survival of the cub were poor as at the time of its rescue, the unruly mob threw stones at it that traumatised the already-unwell feline.

It is pertinent to mention that while Union Forest and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh during his visit to Dehradun in the recent past proposed the establishment of the Forest and Environment Ministry headquarters in Dehradun, the approach of authorities in tackling incidents of conflict between humans and leopards in Dehradun has raised questions about the seriousness of the State Government towards facilitating the welfare of forests and environment.

In the latest incident, a leopard cub thought to have been separated from its mother was sighted in a residential area adjoining Kaulagarh on Friday morning. Forest department and police personnel reached the site in the afternoon by which time a large crowd of curious locals and people passing by had been gathering around the cub for hours, some people throwing stones at the feline. According to the Dehradun Divisional Forest Officer Meenakshi Joshi, the lack of crowd control at the site was a major reason for the delay in rescuing the cub.

The Forest Department follows a sectoral approach wherein it is responsible for the wildlife in forest areas but when wild animals enter wooded patches in urban areas like Kaulagarh, rescuing such animals requires coordinated effort of the department with police and emergency services.

In an ideal rescue situation the fire brigade and ambulance should also be present on the site of rescue along with police and forest department personnel in order to ensure successful rescue of the animal while preventing harm to the rescuers and public. Even if the department personnel capture a feline in a net a mechanical crane would be required to lift the animal to a transport vehicle as the claws and fangs of the feline can cause injuries to humans carrying it in the net.

According to the DFO the recent incidents of human leopard conflict in Dehradun District have exposed problems experienced while tackling such situations due to anomalies in human and other resources of the department, coordination among the department, police, administration and other authorities concerned. In the case of the leopard cub rescued from the residential area along Kaulagarh Road, the rescue attempt by department personnel was delayed due to public disorder resulting from lack of crowd control on the site.

The half-a-dozen department personnel who reached the site to rescue the leopard were unable to do so as swiftly as intended because the few policemen at the site were unable to effectively control the crowd of uninvited audiences which also caused substantial trauma to the feline which was already unwell. According to the post mortem examination report of the cub the feline died due to pneumonia.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/232828/Leopard-cub-doesn%E2%80%99t-make-it-pneumonia-%E2%80%98official%E2%80%99-cause.html

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In Corbett, tiger & elephant deaths remain whodunits

In Corbett, tiger & elephant deaths remain whodunits

Lalit Kumar, TNN, 30 January 2010, 03:48am ISTText

CORBETT TIGER RESERVE (RAMGAGAR): The Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) authorities have made no serious attempt to find out the causes for the deaths of 13 tigers, six leopards and 17 elephants that perished in the Corbett landscape in the last three years.

Four of the tigers were found dead in CTR in less than two months, since December 13 last. The carcass of yet another leopard was found in the Ramgagar forest division, bordering the CTR, early on Wednesday morning.

Yet, no autopsy has been carried out on the dead leopard till this report was filed, late Friday evening. CTR director R K Mishra said, "We are not responsible for anything in the neighbouring forest divisions."

He could not comment on the possibility of the cats that died in forest divisions neighboring the CTR having strayed from the reserve.

Mishra did say that the Bareilly-based Indian Veterinary Research Institute, to which viscera of all 33 dead animals have been sent for forensic examination, "has not sent reports of a single viscera examination, despite reminders". He said, "Now, we will send a team to IVRI to make inquiries."

CTR warden, Umesh Chand Tiwari, however, said that two reports had been received. "Reports of two viscera had arrived. One said the concerned tiger did not die of any disease while the other said the viscera was not fit for examination."

The problem, according to a senior official of the Central government-run IVRI, is not that the reports are not being delivered. "We have sent to CTR reports of all the viscera sent to us. These have been sent either by registered post or by hand," he said. But the nub was that the viscera were too decomposed for any meaningful examination.

"The trouble is that they have sent us only viscera that are too decomposed or otherwise unfit for examination. We have repeatedly been advising Corbett that we can train their officials on how to collect and preserve viscera. But, they have never bothered to respond," said the IVRI official.

"While Uttar Pradesh forest divisions send us entire carcasses of wild animals, Corbett has not bothered to do so," IVRI sources said.

D Swarup, head of the veterinary medicine division at IVRI, said, "If the CTR were serious, they would have formed a panel, including government and private facilities and NGOs, to carry out the autopsies and viscera tests."

Swarup said IVRI also often carried out examinations in the presence of NGO representatives. CTR warden Tiwari, however, did not respond to these statements.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/In-Corbett-tiger-elephant-deaths-remain-whodunits/articleshow/5515385.cms

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Ministerial council to save tigers in offing

Ministerial council to save tigers in offing

AKANSHYA SHAH

KATHMANDU, Jan 31: Ministerial-level talks of the 13 Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) of Asia held in Thailand from January 27 to 29 have endorsed a proposal for forming a ministerial council for tiger conservation, and also to mark July 29 as a day for hosting awareness campaigns in all TRCs simultaneously.

Speaking to myrepublica.com after returning from the Thai coastal resort of Hua Hin Saturday, Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Deepak Bohara said, “The Thai government´s proposal for formation of a ministerial council was endorsed at the talks.” He added, “Nepal´s proposal to launch an awareness drive in all 13 countries on July 29 simultaneously was also accepted.”

Bohara said that a follow-up second ministerial meeting would be held in Bali, Indonesia, in June to firm up on the council plan and also to set the agenda for a heads of state meeting to be hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok between September 9 and 12.

The ministerial-meeting representatives, who pledged to double the number of wild tigers by 2022 and to save the tigers´ prey base, have also called upon international donor agencies including the World Bank (WB) for “generous support” to fight illegal trade in tiger parts.

“The WB has promised a meeting of TRCs soon to discuss what kind of monetary support would be required for tiger conservation,” Bohara said. He added that the summit was successful in pushing the agenda to the highest political level, thereby reaching out for the much-needed political commitment, and also in persuading donors to contribute to a fund for tiger conservation. Bohara said that the World Bank will be supported by WWF, USAid and others in this endeavor.

China, which has been taking a rigid position on the issue of tiger breeding and farming, has also been “positive towards doubling the number of wild tigers,” Bohara added.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has pledged $250,000 for setting-up the Regional Secretariat in Kathmandu for law enforcement and control on sale of animal parts. Such a secretariat representing India, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal was recommended at the Tiger Workshop held in Kathmandu in October.

“WB has pledged $ 250,000 for the secretariat in Kathmandu. Other donors too have shown interest,” Minister Bohara told myrepublica.com.

http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=14662

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Asia urged to 'save the tigers'

Asia urged to 'save the tigers'

UPDATED ON:
Friday, January 29, 2010
12:34 Mecca time, 09:34 GMT

The World Bank has urged China and other Asian countries to close down privately-run tiger farms, saying they are inhumane and fuel demand for body parts of the endangered big cats.

The call came at a multinational meeting in Thailand where representatives from 13 countries with wild tiger population are discussing efforts to pull the world's remaining tigers back from the brink of extinction.

The three-day Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation in the beach resort of Hua Hin is also expected to agree a target to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022 by protecting the animals' natural habitat.

The declaration however excludes new money to finance the conservation programme, The Associated Press reported, citing from a copy of the document.

The 13 nations attending the meeting are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The number of wild tigers has plummeted because of human encroachment, the loss of more than nine-tenths of their habitat and poaching.

From an estimated 100,000 wild tigers in the world at the beginning of the 20th century, there are now believed to be less than 3,600 animals today.

'No room left'

Robert Zoellick, the World Bank president, in a video message to the 180 delegates warned that "there will be no room left for tigers and other wildlife in Asia" if governments continued to neglect conservation efforts.

"The tiger may be only one species, but the tigers' plight highlights the biodiversity crisis in Asia," he said.

The warning comes as conservation groups step up efforts to try to raise awareness of the tigers' plight ahead, much of it tied to the start of the upcoming Chinese year of the tiger.

Earlier this week the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a report that the Indochinese tiger population, one of the rarest, had hit an all-time low.

"Decisive action must be taken to ensure this iconic sub-species does not reach the point of no return," said Nick Cox, the co-ordinator of the WWF Greater Mekong tiger programme.

"There is a potential for tiger populations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to become locally extinct by the next [lunar] Year of the Tiger in 2022, if we don't step up actions to protect them."

Owners of tiger farms - found mainly in China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand – say legal products help eliminate illicit trade in tiger parts, long blamed for contributing to the regional threat of extinction of the wild tiger.

But environmentalists claim allowing tiger farms to exist only encourages smuggling.

"Our position is that tiger farms as an animal practice are cruel. They fan the potential use of tiger parts," said Keshav Varma, the programme director for the Global Tiger Initiative.

"That is extremely dangerous because that would continue to spur demand."

Corruption

He also blamed rampant and pervasive corruption among officials responsible for conservation and forest management in some countries for the tiger crisis.

"Corruption is gradually and persistently nibbling away at our natural resources," Varma told The Associated Press from the sidelines of the meeting at the Hua Hin beach resort.

"The politics of money is drowning out the weak voices of the tiger and the poor."

China, home to most tiger farms, shut down the domestic trade in tiger parts in 1993, imposing stiff sentences on offenders and ordering pharmacies to empty their shelves.

Tiger parts such as skin and bones are mostly used in traditional medicine purportedly to cure ailments from convulsions to skin disease, and increase sexual potency.

Last month China last announced it would take stronger law enforcement action on the trade in tiger parts and products, and promised stricter regulation for captive breeding.

John Siedensticker, the head of conservation at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and chairman of the Save the Tiger Fund, said he had watched the Javan and Bali subspecies of tiger disappear in the 20th century.

"… Losing a tiger is like losing a very close, dear relative and I'm still saddened by that experience," he said.

Conservation groups like Traffic, the global wildlife trade monitoring network, have praised China's move to clamp down on the illegal tiger trade but say more still needs to be done, including closing tiger farms.

The group says trading in tiger parts fuels poaching because it is cheaper to kill a wild tiger than a farm-bred animal, and the parts are indistinguishable.

James Compton, a Traffic spokesman, acknowledged that closing down farms was a complex undertaking and that the short-term goal should be on stopping their expansion.

"The process of shutting down the farms is more complex than doing a simple blanket decision to close all the farms," he said.

"What do you do with all the tigers? What do you do with all the investment from the tiger community?"

Tigers in crisis

Scientific name: Panthera tigris

Among the most threatened species on earth with less than 3,600 animals left in the wild

Poisoned, trapped, snared, shot and captured to meet the demand for meat and parts considered exotic and medicinal

Of the 9 sub-species, the Amur (Siberian) Tiger, Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, Sumatran and South China are endangered, while Caspian, Javan and Bali are extinct

Population dropped by about 95 per cent since 1900, habitat shrunk by 93 per cent

Source: WWF

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2010/01/20101298179913338.html

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Tigers and other farmyard animals

Tigers and other farmyard animals

Page last updated at 15:37 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010
By Patrick Jackson
BBC News

For every one wild tiger alive in the world today, there may be three "farmed" tigers in China.

They have been bred for their hides but also their bones, which are used to infuse some wines prized in South East Asia.

Some in the region believe that the consumption of certain parts of a tiger's carcass can give strength and virility.

China banned the trade in tiger bones and products in 1993 but that has not stopped the practice, which is currently on the agenda of an international tiger conservation conference in Thailand.

According to the World Bank, which leads the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), the trade is being spurred by privately run tiger farms in Asian countries. It has called for these farms to be shut down.

Tigers on the farms are kept in cages and are also allowed to chase cows or chickens for the amusement of the paying public.

"Our position is that tiger farms as an animal practice are cruel," said the World Bank's Keshav Varma, GTI's programme director, as he attended the conference in Hua Hin.

"They fan the potential use of tiger parts," he told the Associated Press news agency.

In order to get an idea of what goes on in these farms, which are often presented as parks for tourists, BBC World Service spoke to Judy Mills of Conservation International, who has visited some of them.

'Speed-breeding'

The world's entire surviving wild tiger population is somewhere between 3,600 and 3,200, conservationists believe.

In China, there are now close to 10,000 tigers on farms, says Ms Mills, while other estimates suggest the number may be around 5,000.

"These are speed-breeding factory farms," Conservation International's tiger specialist says.

According to her research, farm tigresses produce cubs at about three times or more their natural rate, bearing up to three litters a year. Cubs are often taken away from their mothers before they are properly weaned.

These cubs, she says, are usually made to suckle from other animals, such as pigs or dogs - their "wet nurse surrogates" - so that the tigresses can produce more young.

"The part [of the farm] which people rarely see is basically a winery in which the skeletons of grown tigers are cleaned and put into vats of wine," says Ms Mills.

The bones are steeped for years, she explains, and the length of the infusion determines the value of the wine.

Conservation International says it is very difficult to clarify the legal status of these farms in China.

"When I first visited a tiger farm in 1990, it was part of a fur farm raising racoon, dogs, mink and other fur-bearing animals for commercial use," says Ms Mills. "The owner of the farm was showing me the log of orders for tiger bones and skins and other parts and products from tigers.

"Then in 1993, because of international pressure, China banned its commercial trade in tiger bone and tiger bone products but, at the same time, these tiger farms were allowed to expand.

"It's something the conservation community has been trying to address with the Chinese government ever since."

Late last year, the Chinese State Forestry Administration promised to monitor tiger breeders more closely, and crack down on the illegal trade in tiger parts and products.

The fear must be, however, that with the Chinese Year of the Tiger due to fall on 14 February, demand for such items will be as strong as ever.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8487122.stm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Pledge to double tiger population

Pledge to double tiger population

Published: 30/01/2010 at 12:00 AM

Senior officials from 13 Asian countries have committed to double tiger populations in the wild by 2022.

Seven ministers and six senior officers yesterday adopted the Hua Hin Declaration on Tiger Conservation at the First Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, held in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The declaration includes preserving and expanding tiger habitats, improving policing of the illegal wildlife trade and sourcing financing for the programme.

Over 100 delegates attended the three-day meeting which ended yesterday and was being held in the run up to a global tiger summit in Russia in September.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti said Thailand joined other "tiger-range" nations to co-operate on conservation efforts with the aim of increasing the tiger population in the country from 2.3 tigers per 100 square kilometres to five by 2022.

"We plan to expand the western forest complex to provide tigers with a bigger habitat," he said.

Thailand also proposed establishing a so-called "Tiger Council" as a co-ordinating centre on tiger conservation.

Delegates adopted the proposal and plan to discuss the matter in more detail at their next meeting, which is expected to be held in Indonesia this June.

Mr Suwit said he was hopeful the multinational co-operation would lead to the better protection of tigers roaming in border areas.

Signatories of the Hua Hin Declaration on Tiger Conservation agreed to launch campaigns to tackle the demand for tiger body parts and to build support for the initiative to increase the number of tigers living in the wild.

They also agreed to crack down on and, if possible, eliminate the illegal supply of tigers and tiger body parts through more effective legislation and law enforcement at both the national and international level.

Financing for the initiatives would be sourced by mobilising domestic funding, including new mechanisms based on forest carbon financing, as well as seeking support from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Lixin Huang, president of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said China had taken great efforts to stop the illegal tiger trade by banning the use of tiger bones in traditional medicines since 1993.

China is a major destination for trafficked wildlife where the animals typically end up being served as exotic dishes in restaurants or being used in traditional medicines. The Chinese government has been working with NGOs to educate the public that tiger bones had no medicinal benefit, despite traditional beliefs.

"Please do not point your fingers at China," said Ms Huang. "The rapidly declining tiger population is not only caused by poaching, but also by dramatically decreasing habitats."

She called for legal action to be taken against the illegal wildlife trade in Cambodia, Burma, Laos and Thailand. The global wild tiger population has declined to just 3,200 worldwide from 100,000 a century ago.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/31984/pledge-to-double-tiger-population

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

India: "Avoidable loss of a leopard"

State Pulse: Kashmir: Avoidable loss of a leopard

Category » Editorial Posted On Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kashmir is notorious for clean felling of jungles and all, from ministers down to forest rangers, are into this business. Militant activities over a period of two decades have also adversely impacted the forests- Proloy Bagchi

A national daily reported the other day that a leopard was shot dead in a village close to Pulwama, a town in western Kashmir.

It seems it strayed into the village and injured a female child and several other persons. The villagers were able to confine it into a cowshed and then they called for the wildlife officials. Since the latter couldn't reach the village before sundown, afraid of further injuries to people the villagers persuaded the resident police officials to kill the big cat. The wildlife officials arrived from Srinagar much later having been held up in a series of traffic snarls.

A leopard was thus needlessly lost.

Pulwama is a pretty little town in Kashmir located 31 kms south of Srinagar. Situated in the shadows of mighty Peer Panjal ranges, it is surrounded by verdant pine forests and is known for its saffron and milk production. The fact that a leopard had strayed into a nearby village and that it had to be killed due to inability of the wildlife officials of Srinagar to reach the place in good time due to traffic jams raises at least three questions.

The report in the newspaper did not indicate whether it was a snow leopard or an ordinary tropical leopard found in the jungles in India. One wonders whether it was a snow leopard, which is a dwindling species and is under great threat. Though their habitat is at elevations of more than 9000 ft, they could climb down to around 5000 ft which is the elevation of Pulwama if they happen to be chasing a prey. That, however, seems to be highly unlikely, as snow leopards prefer rugged terrains, rocky outcrops and ravines and not a lush valley like Kashmir.

The leopard that was shot down was most probably of ordinary kind generally found all over India in lower elevations. Unless it was chasing a prey, its foray into a village would be indicative of its degrading habitat. Human encroachments in its domain and cutting down of the jungles may have diminished its prey-base making it to stray into a human settlement looking for food. Kashmir is notorious for clean felling of jungles and all, from ministers down to forest rangers, are into this business. Militant activities over a period of two decades have also adversely impacted the forests. Be that as it may, a leopard straying into a human settlement is a highly unusual incident and needs to be taken serious note of. It may be indicative of disappearing forests along with their wildlife and an oncoming water scarcity - already evident - in the Valley.

The inability of the wildlife officials to reach the village on account of traffic jams raises the third question. The report says they were repeatedly held up at various stages of their journey because of jams. Apparently, vehicular traffic that was sparse a few years ago has risen manifold causing traffic jams even in winters. Besides, the jams on way to a place which is not known for hectic industrial or commercial activities would seem to be alarming. Earlier only the army convoys would put a squeeze on the traffic. Are the roads in Kashmir chock-a-block with vehicles choking all movement? It should be a matter for concern both for the State Government as well as the Centre. Being the hotbed of militancy free vehicular movement is essential.

Leopards in India, like other big cats, are a vanishing species. Almost every month there is a report or two of one being killed having strayed into a village or a town. Kashmir is a state with few leopards and even fewer snow leopards. And, one of the species seems to have been killed quite needlessly. Such avoidable killings adversely impacts on the state of wildlife in the country. Hopefully, the keepers of wildlife in Kashmir will look at all aspects of this sorry incident and initiate appropriate conservational measures.

http://www.centralchronicle.com/viewnews.asp?articleID=25490

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Zimbabwe: Last lion believed to have been hunting humans is killed

The Herald
Published by the government of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Last Rogue Lion Killed
29 January 2010

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Harare — The remaining lioness from the pride of five that killed four villagers in Kanyemba, along Zimbabwe's border with Zambia and Mozambique, was killed on Tuesday.

National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers shot the lions after they wreaked havoc in Chief Chapoto's area forcing villagers to flee their homes to seek refuge at Chapoto Primary School.

The rangers killed four of the lions, two lionesses and two cubs, last week while the remaining one escaped wounded.

However, rangers tracked it down and killed it this week and villagers are starting to return to their homes.

National Parks spokesperson Caroline Washaya-Moyo said: "Our team managed to track down the remaining lioness and shot it dead. We are glad to say that people have safely returned to their homes after the lion was killed and we hope the scenario will not repeat itself."

Parks investigations showed one of the felines was old and had missing teeth. The lion was also partially blind and opted for humans as easy prey. Ms Washaya-Moyo said one of the lionesses was teaching its cubs to hunt by attacking people.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201001290058.html

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Kenya villagers threaten to kill lions

Kenya: Fear in Village as Lions Kill 20 Animals

Daily Nation On the Web
28 January 2010

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Nairobi — Residents of Ng'elecha in Marigat District fear for their lives after four lions, believed to have strayed from a Laikipia ranch, killed more than 20 animals.

Arabal ward councillor Kimunyang' Meja told the Nation that 17 goats, four cows and a donkey were among the animals the lions had killed.

Mr Meja accused Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers in the area of failing to take any action. "Our children are not going to school while we no longer engage in our daily activities," the councillor said.

"Children report to school at 9am and there are no afternoon classes as parents fear for the lives of their children," said Arabal chief William Koech.

The residents have threatened to take the matter in their hands and kill the stray beasts. "This is the second time the animals have invaded our homes. The four cows were my only source of livelihood," Mr Ripkwe Rerimoi said.

KWS officers who visited the area on Thursday were chased away by residents, who accused them of taking too long to respond to their grievances.

KWS warden William Kiptoo, who spoke to the Nation by telephone, said the residents' action was ill-advised.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201001281114.html

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India: Gang dealing in leopard skin smashed, three arrested

STAFF WRITER 17:47 HRS IST

New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) Delhi Police today claimed to have smashed a gang involved in the trade of leopard skin with the arrest of three youths and seizure of the skin of four wild animals.

The arrested were identified as Satish Thakur (27), Vipin Kumar (28) and Mahender Nath (21). Among the three, who hail from Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, Thakur had unsuccessfully contested assembly elections two years ago, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sagarpreet Hooda said.

The arrest came following investigations into an input that three persons would be coming to Inderlok Metro Station from Himachal Pradesh with leopard skin. The officials of Wildlife Department were also informed and they joined the raiding party.

"They came in a car and were intercepted. The car was searched and one leather bag was found at the rear seat.

http://www.ptinews.com/news/492598_Gang-dealing-in-leopard-skin-smashed--three-arrested

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'Rent-a-tiger' Idea

'Rent-a-tiger' Idea

Indonesia may let people adopt critically endangered Sumatran tigers born in captivity for $100,000 a pair to help save them from extinction, officials said.

The plan, which could go into effect this year, would require prospective adopters to have at least 53,000 square feet of land - close to the size of an American football field - but preferably more, forestry ministry conservation Director General Darori said at a Sumatran tiger conservation workshop in Jakarta.

The tigers would remain Indonesian government property, he said. The animals' health would be government-monitored and mistreatment would be punished by fines or jail terms.

Some 500 tigers still exist in the wild, living on 18 acres on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and about 400 live in northern Sumatra's Gunung Leuser National Park, the forestry ministry said.

Some ecologists say the living-in-the-wild figure is closer to 200, the BBC reported.

Conservationists including Greenpeace Southeast Asia criticized the government's adoption plan, saying a better plan would save the animals' natural habitat from destruction.

Many forests where the tigers lived have been wiped out by illegal logging and deforestation, the BBC said. The tigers' numbers are further depleted by poaching for souvenirs, Chinese medicine and jewelry.

World Wildlife Fund Indonesia plans a "save the tiger" campaign beginning Feb. 14, the start of the Chinese year of the tiger.

Sumatran tigers are the smallest of all surviving tiger subspecies, with males averaging 6 feet 8 inches from head to tail and weighing 300 pounds and females slightly smaller and 100 pounds lighter.

Their stripes are narrower than those of other tigers, and they have a more bearded and maned appearance. They also have webbing between their toes that make them very fast swimmers.

Go here to read more about the rent-a-tiger plan. Below is a link to a video clip of two Sumatran tigers being released into the wild. (c) UPI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR4XPODUFTE&feature=player_embedded


http://www.postchronicle.com/news/strange/article_212280789.shtml

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

Friday, January 29, 2010

Threat to tigers focus of Thai meeting

Threat to tigers focus of Thai meeting

Updated January 27, 2010 14:19:01

Listen: Windows Media

Ministers from 13 countries are gathering in Hua Hin, Thailand for a three-day meeting on securing the future of the tiger. Tigers are found in 13 countries in Asia, but nowhere are they safe - tiger numbers have declined from an estimated 100,000, a century ago, to an estimated 3,000 today. In a report released this week, animal protection group WWF says the tiger population in the Greater Mekong region has plunged 70 per cent in just 12 years.

Presenter: Stephanie Foxley
Speakers: Dr Robert Steinmetz, head, Conservation Biology Unit, WWF Thailand; Rachel Lowry, Zoos Victoria Community Conservation Manager

FOXLEY: The WWF the World Wildlife Fund is planning a year of action in this the Year of the Tiger to save the tiger from extinction. Ministers from 13 tiger range countries are about to meet in Hua Hin inThailand to discuss the future of the tiger. Dr Robert Steinmetz Head of the Conservation Biology Unit at WWF Thailand, says tiger numbers worldwide have diminished significantly.

STEINMETZ: Tigers have been declining for a number of decades now and it's reached a critical point, so, to be honest we could lose the tiger like we've lost other species in this region, in Asia. We've lost other large mammals like the kouprey and the Schomburgk's deer. Tigers have a couple of things going for them, they can be prolific breeders, if they're given enough prey and enough space. We have a few core areas with relatively large populations, breeding populations, that we know are reproducing. So, tigers are not going to go extinct, but there's going to be very few places where they still have reasonably large populations.

FOXLEY: Rachel Lowry, Zoos Victoria's general manager of community conservation, agrees.

LOWRY: Ultimately we need to put our efforts into saving habitat. That's what it's going to come down to largely, and also tackling this trade that's going on between India and China for medicinal purposes. So, there's poaching still in areas of India, but when you look to areas such as Sumatra it just comes down to conserving habitat, like there's very, very little forest left for the Sumatran tiger.

FOXLEY: So what role can zoos play in protecting the tiger from extinction?

LOWRY: The ultimate importance of zoos and the main roles zoos are playing at the moment when it comes to tiger conservation is really to maintain what we call insurance populations. So when you are talking about 3,200 tigers in full that exist in the wild, on the planet, unfortunately that day may come too soon when there's none left out there in the wild and the only tigers people will be able to see may potentially be in zoos. But, hopefully one day, if we can get balance put back in check out there to save these habitats then zoos can play a much better role in being able to assist with field-based conservation.

STEINMETZ: Well the field project that I'm working on is one of these small populations rather than a stronghold. It has approximately 10 tigers, we've counted them through camera traps, that's a very small population. However we know that they're breeding in one part of the park. We have photographs of their cubs. This happens to be a place in the park with the highest remaining prey density. We've looked at the threats to tigers in this area. Unlike a lot of places the tigers are not directly poached, the main challenge is recovering prey as quickly as we can and tigers will follow. If prey become more dense, then tiger reproduction will increase and will be on the road to recovery. There's three main threats, and they vary from place to place in these different countries and they also vary over historical timespan. Historically habitat loss was the main threat to tigers and still remains a major threat in certain areas. In some country's such as Thailand, habitat is relatively a thing of the past and the main problem is directed tiger poaching in those forests and poaching of tiger prey. So the three main problems are habitat loss, tiger poaching and then poaching of their prey.

FOXLEY: Come 2022 the next year of the tiger what does Dr Steinmetz predict?

STEINMETZ: I see an increase in the tiger. We're seeing it already in places where people are making concerted efforts, working together with governments and local people, establishing new partnerships in these landscapes and we're seeing hopeful signs already. So, the next year of the tiger in 12 years, certainly I predict higher numbers.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/201001/s2802475.htm

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Olympic skier from Ghana supports snow leopard conservation

Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:50 pm EST

Your new favorite Olympian: Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong

By Trey Kerby

Who is Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong? Besides spellcheck's worst nightmare?

He's Ghana's entire Winter Olympics team.

The first Ghanaian in the history of the Olympics, Nkrumah-Acheampong began skiing just six years ago after getting a job as a receptionist at a ski center in England. Two years later, he skied outdoors, and that same year, attempted to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics. Now, he's heading to Vancouver.

Nicknamed "The Snow Leopard," Nkrumah-Acheampong will be competing in alpine skiing events. And he's super quotable:

"No problem; choo, choo, I'm the train which never stops," he cackles. The computer beeps. "Jackpot!" It's a message from a major online poker site who want to back him because they think he will be the story of the Winter Olympics

...

"I was not built for this pain, pain, pain. I still get frostbite," he says.

...

"I was number 111, last to go in a blizzard, bitter cold and on a desperately icy piste. The starter asked me 'You OK?' and I said 'No, I don't want to go. But I must'. I finished last (by nearly half a minute) but I fought. And I survived."

Those come from Ian Chadband's essential profile on the skiier. He has recently picked up a sponsorship from the online poker site mentioned in the article, and if he has extra dollars, those go to charity to help save the endangered snow leopard from extinction.

It's a great story about what seems like a great guy. I'll be rooting for him this February.

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/vancouver/blog/fourth_place_medal/post/Your-new-favorite-Olympian-Ghana-s-Kwame-Nkruma?urn=oly,216025

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Leopard rescued from Indian factory

Leopard rescued from Jodhpur factory

Friday, January 29, 2010,12:41 [IST

Jodhpur, Jan. 29 (ANI): Wildlife officials in Jodhpur rescued a leopard that had strayed into a factory.

Officials had been hunting for this leopard, which was spotted five days earlier at the army cantonment area in the city.

After spotting the leopard at a factory in Jodhpur on Friday, Locals informed the forest officials, who then captured the animal after sedating it.

The animal was later taken to the office of the department of forest where health officials examined it.

Rajiv Jukavat, a forest official, Jodhpur, put the age of the captured leopard to two to two and half years old.

"The leopard is around two to two and half years old and it is a male," said Jukavat.

The leopard is one of the most successful members of the Indian wildcat family and is distributed throughout the subcontinent, including Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh and also southern China.

Being the most widespread, it faces threat from poachers and hunters, who kill it for its valuable skin.

India had about 7,300 leopards in the wild according to a 1997 census, but conservationists say the number is now likely to be much lower. (ANI)

http://news.oneindia.in/2010/01/29/leopardrescued-from-jodhpurfactory.html

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Sweden: Illegal Lynx Traps Investigated

2010-01-29

Sweden’s wild cats are suffering unnecessary cruelty due to illegal traps set by hunters, according to a new study from the national veterinary institute.

The study, commissioned by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), found that almost a half of Sweden’s lynx population captured during hunts have splinters in their stomachs as well as injured teeth and paws from trying to escape from badly designed traps.

During the hunting season in Sweden about a third of lynx are caught in traps. Certain traps are official approved, yet authorities have discovered many cases of illegally trapped animals in recent years.

“It’s scandalous that there isn’t better control over what kind of trap is used to catch lynx,” said Tom Arnbom, a biologist with WWF.

http://www.sr.se/cgi-bin/International/nyhetssidor/artikel.asp?ProgramID=2054&format=1&artikel=3406019

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tigers in focus

Tigers in focus

Tue, Jan 26th, 2010 1:16 am BdST

Dhaka, Jan 25 (bdnews24.com) – Bangladesh is stepping up conservation efforts for the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger under an action plan that includes a new census of the Sundarban big cats, which like other tiger populations around the world face tremendous threats from poaching and habitat loss.

According to the last census in 2004, the Sundarbans—the largest unbroken mangrove forest in the world stretching 6,000 square kilometres along the coast of Bangladesh—is home to around 440 Royal Bengals, one of the last significant tiger populations in the wild.

"Our tigers have to be protected for conservation of biodiversity in the Sundarbans and Bangladesh as a whole," state minister for forests Hassan Mahmud said on Monday as he inaugurated a Tiger Immobilization Training Programme at Bon Bhaban, the forest department headquarters in the capital.

The forest department, under its Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (BTAP) 2009-2017, is jointly running the first ever immobilisation training with Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) to ensure safe tranquillising procedures.

The training will help foresters save tigers intruding into human localities where either humans or the tigers are too often killed, said officials.

Mahmud also said 33 forest staff had already received training, for care and management of wild tigers, under the BTAP launched last October.

Tigers are among the world's most threatened species, with only an estimated few thousand remaining in the wild worldwide. A hundred years ago, there were around 100,000.

Tiger ranges have decreased by 40 percent over the past decade alone, and Sundarbans tigers today occupy less than seven percent of their original range.

"Massive public awareness has to be created and forest staff must be properly trained for successful conservation efforts," Mahmud said.

"Nowhere in the world are there so many tigers in the wild. Bangladesh has a responsibility to safeguard them for the world."

The Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, extends across India as well as Bangladesh at the mouth of the Ganges River.

The tigers living in the mangroves of India and Bangladesh may represent as many as 10 percent of all the remaining wild tigers worldwide, say conservationists.

India has just completed its census of tigers, from Jan 5-10, over its 4,000 sq km stretch of the Sundarbans.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, is also competing for the Sundarbans to be included among the 'Seven Wonders of the Natural World' to aid global recognition for the importance of its tiger population and other wildlife.

As well as tigers, the Sundarbans is home to more than 50 reptile species, 120 commercial fish species, 300 bird species and 45 mammal species.

Swiss-based World Wildlife Foundation, the world's largest conservation organisation, has said in a recent statement the threats facing the famous Royal Bengal Tigers highlight the need for urgent international action to save this magnificent Asian big cat and other iconic species around the world.

Scientists fear that accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching could push Sundarbans tigers to the same fate as their now-extinct Javan and Balinese relatives in other parts of Asia.

A WWF-led study, published earlier this month, said rising sea levels also now threaten the Royal Bengal Tiger's survival.

Forests secretary Mihir Kanti Majumder, Dhaka University professor and wildlife expert Anawarul Islam and John Lewis of London Zoo spoke among others at the inauguration of the new training programme, chaired by chief forest conservator Abul Motaleb.

http://bdnews24.com/details.php?id=152027&cid=2

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Sea rise could spell end for Sundarban Tigers: WWF

Sea rise could spell end for Sundarban Tigers: WWF

Maruf Mallick
bdnews24.com's environment correspondent

Falun, Sweden, 23 January (bdnews24.com) -- One of the world's largest tiger populations could disappear by the end of this century as rising sea levels caused by climate change destroy their habitat in the Sundarbans along the coast of Bangladesh, according to a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-led study published in the journal Climatic Change.

Tigers are among the world's most threatened species, with only an estimated 3,200 remaining in the wild, Swiss-based WWF, the worlds largest conservations organisation, said in a report on Friday.

WWF officials said the threats facing these Royal Bengal tigers and other iconic species around the world highlight the need for urgent international action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"If we don't take steps to address the impacts of climate change on the Sundarbans, the only way its tigers will survive this century is with scuba gear," said Colby Loucks, WWF-US deputy director of conservation science and the lead author of the study on Sea Level Rise and Tigers: Predicted Impacts to Bangladesh's Sundarbans Mangroves.

"Tigers are a highly adaptable species, thriving from the snowy forests of Russia to the tropical forests of Indonesia.

"The projected sea level rise in the Sundarbans will likely outpace the tiger's ability to adapt."

An expected sea level rise of 28 cm above 2000 levels may cause the remaining tiger habitat in the Sundarbans to decline by 96 percent, pushing the total population to fewer than 20 breeding tigers, according to the study.

Unless immediate action is taken, the Sundarbans, its wildlife and the natural resources that sustain millions of people may disappear within 50 to 90 years, the study states.

"The mangrove forest of the Bengal tiger now joins the sea-ice of the polar bear as one of the habitats most immediately threatened as global temperatures rise during the course of this century," said Keya Chatterjee, acting director of the WWF-US climate change program. "To avert an ecological catastrophe on a much larger scale, we must sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change we failed to avoid."

The Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by India and Bangladesh at the mouth of the Ganges River, is the world's largest single block of mangrove forest. Mangroves are found at the inter-tidal region between land and sea, and not only serve as breeding grounds for fish but help protect coastal regions from natural disasters such as cyclones, storm surges and wind damage.

Providing the habitat for between 250 and 400 tigers, the Sundarbans is also home to more than 50 reptile species, 120 commercial fish species, 300 bird species and 45 mammal species. While their exact numbers are unclear, the tigers living in the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh may represent as many as 10 percent of all the remaining wild tigers worldwide.

Using the rates of sea level rise projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report (2007), the study's authors wrote that a 28 cm sea level rise may be realized around 2070, at which point tigers will be unlikely to survive in the Sundarbans. However, recent research suggests that the seas may rise even more swiftly than what was predicted in the 2007 IPCC assessment.

In addition to climate change, the Sundarbans tigers, like other tiger populations around the world already face tremendous threats from poaching and habitat loss. Tiger ranges have decreased by 40 percent over the past decade, and tigers today occupy less than seven percent of their original range. Scientists fear that accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching could push some tiger populations to the same fate as their now-extinct Javan and Balinese relatives in other parts of Asia.

Tigers are poached for their highly prized skins and body parts, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The 2010 Year of the Tiger will mark an important year for conservation efforts to save wild tigers, with WWF continuing to play a vital role in implementing bold new strategies to save this magnificent Asian big cat.

Recommendations in the study include:

· Locally, governments and natural resource managers should take immediate steps to conserve and expand mangroves while preventing poaching and retaliatory killing of tigers.

· Regionally, neighboring countries should increase sediment delivery and freshwater flows to the coastal region to support agriculture and replenishment of the land;

· Globally, governments should take stronger action to limit greenhouse gas emissions;

"It's disheartening to imagine that the Sundarbans – which means 'beautiful forest' in Bengali – could be gone this century, along with its tigers," Loucks said. "We very much hope that in this, the Year of the Tiger, the world will focus on curtailing the immediate threats to these magnificent creatures and preparing for the long-term impacts of climate change."

http://bdnews24.com/details.php?id=152030&cid=2

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Bangladesh tiger plan aims to cut clashes with humans

Bangladesh tiger plan aims to cut clashes with humans

Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:51pm IST
By Anis Ahmed

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh launched on Monday a program to train field staff in the Sundarban forest, home to Bengal tigers, to prevent contacts between villagers and the animals that may lead to tragedy for both.

Under a Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan, forest rangers and guards will learn to use tranquilizer guns to immobilize and capture tigers that stray from their normal habitat into human areas.

Tapan Kumar Dey, a senior forestry official, told reporters human-tiger conflicts registered a rise in Bangladesh in recent years, resulting in the deaths of three tigers and 30 people in 2009.

Dey said 193 people and 23 tigers have been killed in such encounters since 2000.

Another tiger casualty was reported on Friday in the southern district of Satkhira, where villagers initially tried to scare off a five-year-old tigress but eventually captured her and beat her to death.

The animal was the first tiger killed in Bangladesh this year, forestry officials said.

The tigers of Sundarban, better known as Royal Bengal tigers, usually feed on deer and wild boars but often slip into villages on the fringe of the world's largest mangrove forest -- recently designated by the U.N. as a world heritage site -- to steal cows and goats from farmers' sheds.

According to a survey by forest authorities in 2004, the Bangladesh part of the Sundarban, part of which lies in India, had 440 tigers.

Forestry officials believe strict enforcement of anti-poaching laws and better conservation efforts helped the tiger population rise since then, although they were unable to give a specific number.

According to the Bangladesh forests department, the number of tigers worldwide has fallen from around 100,000 in 1900, but in recent years was only about 3,200, with several tiger species now extinct.

The Royal Bengals are among the biggest groups still surviving.

The tigers who enter village areas or raid farms for livestock are usually too young or too old to kill enough deer to satiate their hunger, officials said.

http://in.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idINTRE60O26320100125?sp=true

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Central forest spine can take 1,000 tigers

Central forest spine can take 1,000 tigers

(Mon, 25 Jan 2010)

WE refer to "1,000 tigers in Malaysia by 2020" (News without frontiers, Jan 21 - http://bigcatrescue.blogspot.com/2010/01/1000-tigers-in-malaysia-by-2020.html )We thank you for the support in raising tiger conservation awareness, but would like to make several clarifications.

The National Tiger Action for Malaysia was formulated by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, in collaboration with the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat).

Mycat is the joint programme of the Malaysian Nature Society, Traffic Southeast Asia and the Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Programme and WWF-Malaysia.

To explain why the target of 1,000 tigers by 2020 is achievable, at the Mycat press conference held on Jan 20, Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Programme director Dr Melvin Gumal said that in Malaysia, an adult male tiger has an estimated home range of 200 to 250 sq km, which it shares with three or more females, and in many cases with cubs, juveniles and transients (young tigers that don’t have their own home range yet).

He also explained that if the prey density in an area increases, the sizes of the tigers’ home ranges could decrease, as observed in India and Russia. Studies in Malaysia have also shown that in areas with high prey densities, the number of adult tigers can go up to 2.6 tigers/100 sq km.

It is on this basis that we affirm that 1,000 tigers can be accommodated within the confines of the central forest spine of 51,000 sq km.

Malaysia is one of the most important tiger range countries in Southeast Asia because it still has a sizeable tiger population and is one of the last two stronghold countries in the region with biological possibilities for tiger survival.

Loretta Ann Shepherd
Programme Coordinator
Mycat

http://www.thesundaily.com/article.cfm?id=42772

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

1000 tigers in Malaysia by 2020

1000 tigers in Malaysia by 2020

By: Rachelle Gan (Wed, 20 Jan 2010)

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 20, 2010): The Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (Mycat) announced at a press conference today its year-long campaign to double the current number of tigers here by 2020 in conjunction with the lunar Year of the Tiger.

Several roadshows to raise awareness of the campaign have been mapped out throughout the year, with stops planned in Zoo Negara, Pahang, Puchong, Gua Musang and Perak among others.

Mycat, which formulated the National Tiger Action Plan (TAP) in 2008, is a joint programme of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Traffic Southeast Asia, and the Wildlife Conservation Society – Malaysian Programme and WWF-Malaysia.

There are an estimated 500 tigers in Malaysia, and TAP's goal is to have 1000 tigers in the Central Forest Spine – the 51,000 km2 backbone of Peninsular Malaysia’s environmentally sensitive area (ESA) network – by 2020.

"The implementation of this visionary plan ensures not only the survival of the tiger in the coming decades, but that it increases in number,’ MNS executive director Dr Loh Chi Leong said.

He said what a tiger needs most is space, and the plan is to link fragmented forest parts of the Central Forest Spine with ecological corridors, providing them that space.

An adult male tiger needs approximately 250 sq km of space however, 1000 tigers in the 51,000 sq km Central Forest Spine would mean only 51 sq km of space per tiger.

Wildlife Conservation Society-Malaysia Programme director Dr Melvin Gumal explains that eventually, male tigers will share their home ranges with three females and multiple offspring, hence their spaces will overlap. Such cases have occurred at reserves in India and Russia.

Gumal believes the plan is politically and biologically doable, and the 1000 tiger population figure achievable.

Malaysia is the most important tiger range in Southeast Asia because it still has sizable tiger populations and is also one of the last two stronghold countries in the world with biological possibilities for tiger survival. The Malayan tiger has the best chance of survival and doubling its current number.

However, the one detrimental caveat to the TAP is poaching.

WWF-Malaysia executive director and CEO Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said poaching had to be reduced. "The last 12 months alone, 10 tigers have been taken out of the Basor forest area; the poachers are very efficient," he said.

Asked if government insiders were feeding the poachers with information, Traffic Southeast Asia senior communications officer Elizabeth John said: "Poachers are going out of their way to collect this information, they have their own intelligence – they are well-armed and equipped. Whether or not information is being fed should not be the focus."

Not yet a month into the year, and already 114 snares have been removed and 10 poachers and traders arrested.

Mycat has planned a series of outreach programmes in poaching hotspots to counter it. One of their solutions is the Wildlife Crime Hotline, anyone who sees or suspects any wildlife being illegally traded can call 019-3564194 and leave an anonymous tip.

"Everyone has a part to play, the illegal trade in tigers is driven largely by demand. If there is no demand, there is no reason to kill then" said John. She compared the illegal wildlife trade to the drug trade saying it amassed billions of dollars.

"This is the best chance we have to seriously attempt to save the tigers from extinction, we have a choice to save them, to do something," concluded Dionysius.

http://www.sun2surf.com/articlePrint.cfm?id=42574

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/

Officials seek info in killing of lynx in Colorado

Officials seek info in killing of lynx near Silvethorne

Daily News staff report ,

HEENEY—The Colorado Division of Wildlife is looking for any information regarding a lynx that was killed near Green Mountain Reservoir in northern Summit County sometime on Jan. 16 or 17.

Lynx were reintroduced into Colorado in 1999, and this female was one of the first released into the San Juan Mountains. Information from the radio collar that the lynx had been fitted with provided years of information on this 13-year-old female who often moved between the Vail Pass area and Rocky Mountain National Park. It had recently been living above Cataract Lake and was last seen along the Heeney Road on the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 16.

A mortality signal from the radio collar that the lynx was wearing was received on Jan.18. DOW personnel later recovered the collar; however the carcass of the lynx was missing. DOW officers determined from evidence found in the area that the lynx was likely killed near that location and the collar removed.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call the Division of Wildlife office in Hot Sulphur Springs at (970) 725-6200, or Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648. Callers can remain anonymous and a reward is available to anyone providing information leading to a conviction of this crime.

http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20100128/NEWS/100129787/1001&parentprofile=1055

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

Spain: First captive-born lynxes released in the wild

First lynxes released in the wild

December 17th, 2009 | by nick |

An important step has been taken this week with the release into the wild of the first Iberian lynx bred in captivity. The two animals were set free in Guadalmellato, Cordoba in the Sierra Morena. Three more are to be released soon.
Photo from El Mundo of one of the released lynx as it bounds into the freedoms of the Cordoban hills.

http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2009/12/first-lynxes-released-in-the-wild/

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

"Cougar Clippings" for 27 Jan 2010 from Mountain Lion Foundation


Cougar Clippings

1/27/2010

Dear Friend ,

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.

21 Mountain Lions Harvested as of Monday

Averaging almost one lion killed per day, South Dakota's mountain lion trophy season will likely fill its quota before the end of February. Last year's season closed when the final female was killed on Valentine's Day. Since then, the quota has increased, killing lions year-round outside the Black Hills remains legal (practically encouraged), and it's cheaper to pay a poaching fine than fees to hunt legally. It is unclear how South Dakota's management practices are fulfilling their stated mission "to perpetuate, conserve, manage, protect, and enhance South Dakota's wildlife"

Read the actual news story...

Lion Hunting Closed in Some 400 Districts

The winter cougar hunting season came to a close Monday night in areas of Montana where hunters have already filled the quota. Lions are easier to track in the snow and hunters are allowed to use hounds to track and tree cougars during the winter season - a lazy and barbaric practice where cougars have little odds of getting away. During the span of just a few months, over 300 lions are killed every year in Montana by trophy hunters. These hunters will have until mid April to fill the quotas in the remaining regions.

Read the actual news story...

Private Land to be Set Aside for Panthers

4,000-acres of farmland that have been in the Milicevic family for 70 years will now be conserved as habitat for endangered Florida panthers. Located in Hendry County, panthers routinely cross this private land, and protecting it from development is a step in the right direction for panther recovery.

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

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