Sunday, December 28, 2008

Weekly Feline News

Here are the cat-related news for this week. Hope you all are enjoying your holidays and had a great time these past few days.

The stray bengal tiger in India that has been roaming the countryside in the north for the past month, dodging authorities and making occasional kills to sustain itself, now seems to be in real trouble after news emerged recently that he had finally claimed his first human victim. The body of a boy was recovered on Tuesday, thought to have been killed by the tiger. The tragedy was just waiting to happen as the animal was passing right through human settlements for weeks now, playing hide and seek with wildlife officials. Within hours of the discovery of the boy's remains, state officials proclaimed the tiger to be a man-eater and issued a cash award and shooting orders for the animal. This however has been met with criticism by conservationists and officials from the National Tiger Conservation Authority of India who seek to differentiate a man-eater from a man-killer. It is generally thought that any one of a number of factors could lead to a tiger accidentally killing a human being. However, unless the animal makes deliberate, repetitive kills it is often not classified as a man-eater, rather a man-killer, and thus not destroyed. The decision, therefore, to declare this particular tiger as a man-eater after just one kill maybe a little abrupt and premature according to conservationists. And it seems that the state authorities have realized their error and retracted somewhat from their initial stance. It is now being said that all efforts are being made to trap and capture the animal alive, including adaptation of new strategies and involvement of a new team from the Wildlife Institute of India. However, the shooting orders are still in place and the onus really is on the conservationists and wildlife staff to locate and ensure the safe capture of the animal as soon as possible, before any further tragedy ensues. More on this story here, here and here.

Man-animal conflict is in more news this week. A woman was reportedly killed by a tiger in an eastern town of the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The region is the site of a coal mining project and has witnessed several recent incidents of attacks on humans by big cats, including leopards and tigers. A little to the west, in the district of Jalna - again in Maharashtra, two people were attacked and seriously injured by a tiger when it strayed into a village. The wounded were moved to a health facility where they are reported to be in stable condition now. The two stories are here and here.

Disturbing news obviously. The situation is made more grim by the recent revelation, from a study of government records, that forty eight tigers were lost as a result of poaching in the past six years. Even as this is a relative decline from the critical situation nearly a decade ago - still this is a significant number when the total tiger population in the country is hovering at a little over a thousand individuals. More here. And to obtain further perspective on the overall situation of tiger conservation in the region, here is an interesting article about a recent documentary that takes a comprehensive look at the current situation and suggests measures to save the tigers from extinction.

Good news for tigers in the Southeast though - the Malaysian government has announced that it plans to double the number of its wild tigers. The ambitious project aims to increase the current five hundred Malaysian tigers to one thousand by the year 2020. New security measures and corridors between forests for animal migration will be put in place over the next twelve years. This is the first significant initiative by authorities in Malaysia to preserve their endangered big cats after decades of illegal hunting and logging in the country's jungles. Full report here.

Now to something that's clearly NOT helping the preservation of tigers. Officials in Palm Beach Country, Florida, have arrested a woman over charges of running a fake big cat sanctuary. The charity that goes by the name of 'Rescue: Big Cat Org' is a non-existent entity that claims to house a number of exotic felines. There are even fake stories of the rescue and rehabilitation of several animals on its website. The woman has reportedly admitted to accepting an unspecified amount of money in donations as well through this online scam. The fake charity has nothing to do with the legitimate big cat sanctuary in Tampa, Florida - Big Cat Rescue - that does indeed house rescued wild cats and from whose wonderful blog I obtain many of these cat-related news items. The fake charity has its own website too, by the way, and is still online at! Full story on the Planetsave blog.

Now compare that to this site. It is of course legitimate and I don't ask for donations either ;) ...but if you do want to spend some money for a real good cause, you can do that by helping Menelik, the Cheetah cub rescued by Born Free in Ethiopia. You can read the full story of this beautiful little cub here.

And if you want to read another good story - here is one of a brave lioness defending her cubs at Samburu in Kenya, documented by the staff at the Ewaso Lions project in the country's north.

I'll leave you with that for this week - wishing everybody in advance a very Happy New Year - may the new year bring much happiness for people and animals all across the globe :)


Sandee said...

How awful on the boy that was killed by the illusive tiger. I hope things work out okay here.

Good news on the two that were just injured and are recovering though.

You just can't mess with mama's babies and get away with it. Plain and simple.

Have a great week. :)

Lux said...

I hope everything works out for all these tigers and that they can be taken to a place where they can't hurt beans.

Happy New Year to you, too!

BeadedTail said...

I hope things work out in India. As for the lady running the fake sanctuary, that's just awful. It hurts the legitimate charities because people become leary.

Mickey's Musings said...

Thanks for the weekly update :) It is sad,but animals tend to lose when there are man/animal conflicts :(
It is happening more often as we take away more and more of their habitat!!
I am happy that the fake was exposed!!!! I hope she has to spend her days scooping poop!!!!

Karen Jo said...

I really hope that the conservationsist find the elusive tiger first. I am very sorry that the boy was killed, but the tiger needn't have done it on purpose. I am glad that the fake charity was exposed. I am with Mickey. The woman should have to scoop the big cat poop at the legitimate sanctuary.

PurrPrints said...

Since there isn't a new post for me to comment on I'll break my general commenting rule and just respond to the comment you left for me on my blog: thanks for the support about the CPSIA--I really hope it gets amended! (and thanks, as always, for coming by, reading and leaving a comment too)

PurrPrints said...

Oh you're right it was a new post--I skimmed over the first lines and thought it was the same one about the hiding cat from last week--I think maybe I didn't want to see that it had now killed someone :(

Liz said...

Sad to hear the tiger has killed. Humans though are easy prey. I hope they find the tiger soon before the authorities do. At least there weren't fatalities in the other cases.

I came across that fake site when I was doing some research. It looked suspect right from the start. Something about it didn't sit right. Seems that hunch was right after all thanks for pointing it out. Big Cat Rescue though (the real guys) do fantastic work. Awesome

Heartbreaking about the little cheetah cub at least the little guys has a chance now. I hate seeing animals suffer. It makes me angry.

Lionesses and cubs....not to be messed with.

Great post. I'll have to reread everything again

Happy New Year to you and the kitties

Purrs and Hugs Liz

Jade said...

Seems like the tigers are in the big cat spotlight this week. Its sad to hear the India part of it, but at least there are positives to this week's tiger related news as well.

This reminds me of an instance around where I live in mountain lion country. Cougars are beautiful animals like tigers in away, but when they come down from the high peaks and start wondering the human inhabited foothills, everyone gets tense. There was one particular cougar decided to try human prey. He was shot on the spot.

I'll never forget the time we had one in our back yard.

Despite the mountain lion's reputation I consider them beautiful animals and it bothers me to see them approach the grave area of concern.

I hope that the cougar situation here won't turn into the bleak situation of the tiger.

Sandee said...

Have a very Happy New Year. :)

Black Cat said...

I'm sad the boy was killed but the tiger is just trying to survive. Prey is prey, he doesn't think, "Oh, this prey is taboo!". I do hope he gets captured alive and isn't killed. I think his recent history shows how resourceful and special he is.

I'm with Mickey too. Scoop the poop, bad fake sanctuary lady!

I'm so glad the little cheetah was rescued and good on the lioness for defending her cubs so well!

HAPPY NEW YEAR dear Omer and the kitties!

Luvzya :) xxx

MaoMao said...

As always, such an informative and interesting post. We Ballicai always learn so much about what's going on with our big cousins all over the world, by reading your bloggie!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMao!

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