Monday, May 30, 2011
By TODD PITMAN Associated Press
BANGKOK May 22, 2011 (AP)
Police have arrested a man suspected of being a key player in one of Thailand's largest tiger trafficking rings, police and a wildlife conservation group said Sunday.
Authorities had been searching for the 49-year-old Thai man since last year, when they issued a warrant for his arrest after seizing a Bengal tiger cub during a separate operation, police said in a statement.
Police believe the network is buying tigers and selling them to purchasers mainly in China via land routes in neighboring Laos and Vietnam, said Chanadda Thanikulap of the FREELAND Foundation, an anti-trafficking group based in Thailand.
The suspect was arrested Saturday in northeastern Thailand and is being held in Bangkok, police said.
Chanadda said the animal was being held by the national park service and appeared to have been habituated to human contact, leading authorities to believe it had been bred in captivity.
Wildlife experts say the number of tigers in Asia has plummeted over the years due mainly to habitat loss and poachers who sell their skins and body parts to booming medicinal and souvenir markets, mostly in China. Conservationists say the government needs to do more to eliminate trafficking networks.
Thailand is a hub for illegal wildlife trafficking. Last year, authorities at Bangkok's international airport found a tiger cub that had been drugged and hidden alongside a stuffed toy tiger in the suitcase of a Thai woman flying to Iran.
Earlier this month, undercover anti-trafficking officers at the airport apprehended a 36-year-old man from the United Arab Emirates who was bound for Dubai with suitcases filled with drugged baby leopards, panthers, a bear and monkeys.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
The tiger, named Vivek, reached Van Vihar on Friday evening after a five-day journey covering 2012km on road from the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Kaziranga in Assam.
"With the arrival of Vivek, the count of Royal Bengal tigers at Van Vihar has reached 10 and breeding among the big cats is likely to get a boost," said A K Khare, Assistant Director of the Central Zoo Authority-recognised modern zoo.
"Being a wild tiger, Vivek is expected to benefit the gene pool of tigers at Van Vihar," Khare told PTI.
The tiger was rescued from Methoni tea estate near Kaziranga National Park in 2007 when it was barely six months old.
The cub was found poisoned and in a critical condition when rescued by a team of forest officials and International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) veterinarians. The carcass of another cub was found nearby and their mother was not located.
Since then, Vivek was hand-raised at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) near Kaziranga, jointly run by IFAW-WTI and the state forest department.
According to WTI chief veterinarian Dr N V K Ashraf, they decided to shift the tiger to another place as CWRC was just a rehabilitation centre and could not afford to keep adult animals for a longer period.
"CWRC''s priority is to release rescued animals in the wild, but since protocol for rehabilitation of hand-raised tigers has not been formalised, Vivek had to be shifted to a zoo," said Dr Ashraf.
"We decided to shift the animal to Van Vihar as it is one of the biggest zoological park and CZA-recognised breeding centre having near natural environment," he added.
Van Vihar National Park is a notified protected area and a modern zoo hosting animals in near natural conditions.
Spread over an area of 445 hectares, the national park boasts of the largest mammal enclosures.
Speaking about the tiger''s behaviour at Van Vihar, Khare said, "Vivek has not shown any sign of stress or discomfort since its arrival at Van Vihar. He has been very friendly and seems to be happy with the new location."
"We have provided him a 1,000-sq metre-enclosure with two chambers fitted with coolers to help him beat the summer heat. There is also a water hole inside the enclosure," he said, adding that the animal was being fed with 8kg of buffalo meat every day.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
“If we can’t save the tiger from extinction, we can’t save anything!” was repeated in a myriad of ways over the past week in Washington, DC by conservation experts from around the world at The most important conservation initiative undertaken in the history of the world to conserve wild tigers.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
TIGER TOYS! Watch tigers, leopards & cougars playing with their oversized toys... THANK YOU to all our supporters and volunteers who enable us to provide these grr-eat enrichment items for the cats to play with!
Special thanks to: http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/for providing us with the music in this video.
For more info about BIG CAT RESCUE visit: http://www.bigcatrescue.org
Friday, May 13, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Freckles the LIGER at Big Cat Rescue, Freckles was rescued along with two tigers from Mississippi in December 2008, read the full story here: http://bigcatrescuer.blogspot.com/2009/01/big-cat-bailout.html
Big Cat Rescue strives to make sure all of our cats are as comfortable as possible while living at the sanctuary, however we have to inspect and clean the enclosures daily whether the cats like it or not and this video clip is a good example of why these cats do not belong in backyards!