Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weekly Feline News

Welcome to this week's edition of cat-related news. Some mixed news this week, mainly emanating from India. Some disturbing statistics and some good projects to look forward to - regarding the two big feline predators there - the Bengal Tiger and Asiatic Lion. But first the straying tiger that has been keeping the wildlife officials in northern parts of India occupied for the greater part of the last month..

The young male tiger that came out of its forest into adjacent sugarcane fields, possibly in search of prey, a few weeks ago has now traveled close to one hundred and fifty miles. All attempts to capture and relocate the big cat have failed so far and the tiger has been moving constantly, passing close to human habitats, taking cattle and wild prey, and staying ahead of wildlife officials. It almost seems as if the tiger is searching for a perfect new habitat for itself. And even though it has altered its course to deviate from the major city it was heading towards in the past to a jungle, the animal is still not safe from potential conflict with locals of that region. Let's hope that this charmed passage of the tiger continues until it reaches some place safe, of its own accord or at the hands of the wildlife authorities. A news piece about the tiger here.

Some more somber news relating to the Bengal Tigers. There are roughly fourteen hundred of the great cats left in the forests of India, according to latest figures from the Indian government. This is perhaps the lowest figure ever reported for tigers in India. It seems that the numbers keep dwindling with every passing year despite the conservation moves and funding allocation seen on paper there. My understanding is that while some of the reserves in India are doing well to sustain and even increase their tiger numbers, most forests have a static or gradually declining population of tigers. This may be owing to poaching, limited forest land and ungulate numbers and competition with the human population. Whatever the case may be, it is clear that more needs to be done if Bengal Tiger numbers are to rebound - and as if to reinforce this point - news emerged this past week that one of the tigers has gone missing from one of the foremost reserves in the country, Ranthambore National Park. The tiger is question is three and a half years old and has not been spotted now for the last two months. A similar situation arose last year in Ranthambore when a tiger went missing during these months and was later found to be killed by poachers. Let's pray that the fate of this particular animal is different! More on the above two stories here and here.

Still there are encouraging signs for the future. Latest include the allocation of funds for tiger conservation in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu by the government. Uttar Pradesh is to get new sanctuaries whereas Tamil Nadu, the only state that reported an increase in the number of tigers in its forests last year, is to get funds amounting to twenty million Indian rupees for tiger conservation. More here and here.

Now moving to lions. Troubling statistics here too. According to the Environment Minister, seventy nine Asiatic Lions have died in the Gir Forest of India in the past two years. Whilst the majority of animals have died of natural causes, it seems that there are still some who continue to die at the hands of poachers, electrocution by illegally erected electric fences by farmers, and by falling into any of the thousands of open wells dug in and around Gir. More on this here.

But again there is some good news too for these lions. They are to get a new sanctuary as plans are being made to relocate villagers from a sanctuary known as Barda Dungar and move the lions to there. The process might still take one year before some of the lions may be moved to the new reserve - but still a glimmer of light for the overcrowded lions at Gir. The full story here.

And talking about lions and tigers - wonder who'd win in a confrontation? - this time it was the lion that fatally bit a tigress that accidentally came in contact with him at a Korean zoo. Quite a tragic incident that just goes to show the unpredictable behavior of animals. I've always felt that animals in captivity are more aggressive than their wild cousins. If this was a jungle the animals would have probably given each other a wide berth. Similarly big cats usually avoid humans in the wild and seldom attack them. However once you enter their enclosure in a zoo they usually go after you. Maybe it has to do with the invasion of space or territory but I personally feel that the stress associated with a lifetime of captivity is responsible for the animal's aggression. The full report of the incident is here, albeit with a somewhat graphic image.

Before I go here is something I got in the inbox. There is a pet photo contest going on at Anamigo and you can participate in it by going here. All the best!

I think this is about all for this week's main feline news. Have a safe and happy week and see you all next Sunday :)

18 comments:

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

One hundred and fifty miles. That cat is amazing. I hope it finds a forever home before someone finds him. Goes to show he's smarter than you think.

I don't know about captive versus wide, but I give any wild animal all the room it wants. There is a reason for 'wild'.

Have a terrific day. See you next Sunday. :)

Rascal said...

My heart goes out to my big brothers and sisters. It would be tough to survive the way they have to. I feel fortunate to be a small housecat with a big food bowl.

June said...

Interesting, but upsetting. I watched 60 Minutes last night and got all upset about the elephants too. Sigh...

Jan's Funny Farm said...

You're right, the tiger photo is graphic. That is sad. Animals just don't belong in captivity like that.

I hope Snow, Leo & Fairy are doing well.

Black Cat said...

That tiger is amazing. I hope he finds a good place where he can live out his life in peace and safety. And the lions... I have mixed feelings about wild animals being kept in captivity (too long to go into here!) but I think the important thing is that they should have loads and loads of space, so city zoos are probably a no-no.

You're right about the interest here in the UK. Good news for people with mortgages etc., bad news for savers. Even the Bank of England admitted today they didn't foresee the seriousness of the banks making so many indiscriminate loans. Duhr! Many of us "little people" here have been predicting it for years!

I hope you have some down time over the holiday dear Omer and can enjoy some peace and quiet with the kitties, but being a doctor, you'll probably be on call... ::Sigh:: Hope not though:) xxx

wildcatsthree said...

Just stopped by to wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas and happy and healthy New Year!
Chris

MaoMao said...

As always, furry innaresting news, and thankies for keepin us up on the developments with our big cuzzins!

Alla us Ballicai are sendin lots of love and hugs to you and yur kitties!

Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMao!

Mickey,Georgia , Tillie said...

I feel sad for the big cats in captivity. While they are nice to look at, it is no life for them. They should be free and left alone(by evil poachers)

Jade said...

It seems that poaching will only stop is something is done to help the people as well as the tigers and lions.

A poor person trying to support himself or a family most likely won't spot unless an alternative is offered. In many cases its either starve or poach.

I remember reading somewhere that in India there is one wild life park that is hiring ex-poachers as guides for tourists who wish to see the animals.

This program has so far been a success. It works well because the ex- poachers already know the area well and don't need much training.

A good number of ex-poachers feel that the guide jobs are desirable, for they are legal and less dangerous (ya don't have to be on watch for the park guards all the time).

More guides means increased park visitors and more revenue which can be put toward managing the park and preserving the tigers and lions within them.

(Of course there are those who would poach for greed are another matter and a problem of a different type.)

Educating the general public may also help.

Catzee said...

Sounds like them needs lotsa tortie-tude to survive.

Mad Bush Farm Crew said...

Seems the Tiger is very determined to find new habitat. I think with the pressure of human encroachment instinct seem to take over. That's an amazing distance. I hope they find him and soon.

Very saddened to here about the drop in Bengal Tigers and in the Gir Lion population. At least there are bright things in the future for them. Glad to hear the Government too are now increasing funding to save their incredible big cats.

Sad about the lion killing the tigeress. Accidental but it's a major loss to the genetic pool. I can never understand why some people who keep Lions and Tigers cross breed them and create the Ligers. Maybe it's just me but it isn't right somehow.

I read an interesting post in Photo-Africa about what really is wild. They reckon the game reserves are more artificial places that truly places where the animals are really genuinely wild. Few wilderness places are left now. We should value them greatly.

Merry Christmas to you and the Kitties

Purrs and Hugs
Liz

Black Cat said...

Hello again! I've given you an award which seems really suited to you!

Happy Holidays to you and the kitties:) xxx

Everycat said...

We dropped by to wish you Happy Holidays and also to thank you for making such an interesting blog. This is good work. Best of luck for the New Year to you all.

Whicky

Karen Jo said...

That tiger is really on the move. I hope he can find a safe place to stay. A very Merry Christmas to you, Leo, Fairy and Snow.

Maria said...

Fascinating post!

Laane said...

Hi!

I'm one of your entrecard-droppers and I want to wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Thanks for entrecarddropping!

THE ZOO said...

we hope yur Christmas wuz bery Merry.

PurrPrints said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed about the straying tiger...hopefully he finds a safe and people-free habitat soon...

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