Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekly Feline News

Here are the cat-related news for this past week..

First leopards... the rarest of all leopards - the Amur Leopards, are under imminent threat of extinction in the wild after one of the last seven remaining females of the subspecies was killed by natives in Barsovy Wildlife Refuge in Fareastern Russia. There are only twenty five of these majestic cats left in the world and the loss of every individual animal brings them closer to eradication in nature. The sad news came only recently after scientists had finished an eight year long study on the genetic profile of these cats, suggesting ideas for their conservation in the wild. More here and here.

However, there is good news for Amur Leopards too. Officials have come up with a plan to extend their reserve in the remote Siberian wilderness. The newly proposed specially preserved natural territory will extend across the border region of Primorsky and China, and be a major boost for the conservation of the leopards and prey in their natural habitat. Full account of the proposed reserve here.

Now to another endangered subclass of leopards - the Persian Leopards, the largest yet least known and understood of all leopards. These great cats were thought to have gone extinct in Iran, but have recently made a comeback. Still they remain critically endangered and face various threats to their survival in nature. Here is a report about them.

To India, and the Indian leopards - two of which have been somewhat rogue this past week - attacking people on separate occasions. Whilst one has managed to escape after injuring a woman in the Gir Forest, the other has been declared a maneater after it attacked two young boys in Garhwal, one of them fatally. More on them here and here.

Now to the bigger cousin of the leopard - the third largest wild cat, Jaguar. Controversy is surrounding the capture and euthanization of Macho B, the last known wild jaguar in United States. The fifteen year old big cat was the oldest jaguar to ever have been documented in the wild. According to reports he was first trapped and tranquilized in med February for placement of a radio collar on his neck. On March 2nd, he was again captured by wildlife officials and flown to Phoenix Zoo where he was euthanized on the same day, after it was presumed that he had irreversible renal failure. Now, however, doubts are being raised over the whole affair. The wisdom behind repeated anesthetization of such an old animal is being questioned. Also the diagnosis of kidney damage, and thus the need for euthanization is being disputed. A criminal investigation has been launched now into the affair. More on this here, here and here.

Jaguars are still prevalent in South American forests. Here is an interesting account of an encounter with one of them in a jungle in Brazil. To read more about the conservation efforts being made to protect them, go through the blog.

Now to tigers, and the news is mostly good here this week. The government of India is allocating close to sixty million rupees to move over nine hundred families from one of the forests there, the Manas Tiger Reserve. The move is set to reduce the incidence of conflict between people and tigers there, and also to allow the predators and prey animals there, freedom of movement. Quite a positive step! One that has been matched by the proposed allocation of new territory to the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in the country's north. The famed Pilibhit Reserve is the same forest from where a tigress moved out in late November owing to lack of prey and territory to undertake a four hundred mile trek across the country, before she was finally dubbed a maneater and shot. So, a positive move that will help prevent the tigers from straying out of the forests of Pilibhit, by increasing their habitat area. More here and here.

There's good news for lions too. And it comes from the least expected place - the war-torn border between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, in Africa. Despite the ongoing armed conflict in the area, a recent study has shown a very promising sign for the lion population there - a significant number of prey animals. This has been concluded after a study that suggests that the prey density in those parts could support the largest potential population of lions in Central Africa, as many as nine hundred animals! This is of course possible only if positive conservation steps are taken now in the right direction. Let's hope that the findings of this trial are given due consideration by the relevant authorities there. Full report here.

And to read another interesting report about African Lions, this time in Kenya, you can go here. And for an interesting article on Asiatic Lions, here.

Here's something else which is interesting, this time relating to Mountain Lions. According to new research it has now emerged that if you come across a cougar in the wild, it may be a better idea to run than to stay and hold your ground. Even as this goes across conventional wisdom, the advice might prove to be life-saving in certain circumstances, according to authors of this study! More here.

And finally, here is a thought provoking article on captivity of animals in zoos...

Until next week, all the best :)


Sandee said...

Cats are indeed so very majestic. I hope all of them survive and thrive.

Have a terrific day. :)

Black Cat said...

A terrific post as usual; how do you find time to do so much research?! I feel very sad about the last US jaguar. I don't think it was right to euthanise him, though I guess if he was really suffering maybe it was right. It's difficult... My heart cat Ollie had kidney failure and we had to make the decision because I think he was saying, "Mummy, enough". He had everything to eat and drink a cat could wish for, but he started eating earth. The vet came to the house and Ollie died in my arms...

Sorry, very leaky eyes now!

Love and blessings to you dear Omer! xxx

Dana Fredsti said...

I wish you could come visit EFBC/FCC - they have the largest genetically diverse colony of Amurs in the world. 'm going there this weekend to emcee for a fundraiser and can't wait!

Dana Fredsti said...

I wish you could come visit EFBC/FCC - they have the largest genetically diverse colony of Amurs in the world. 'm going there this weekend to emcee for a fundraiser and can't wait!

Ellen Whyte said...

I hate the fact that we've made such a mess of this place that we need zoos to make sure species survive (even in the limited sense that zoo animals live - I mean, their culture dies in one generation!)

Thomma Lyn said...

As always, fascinating news and lots of good links to explore. Thanks!

How heart-wrenching that there are only twenty-five Amur Leopards left in the world. But I am glad to read that there is a plan for a reserve in the works. And I am glad to read the good news about tigers in India.

An interesting tidbit about cougar encounters, too. I am an avid hiker, though, to my knowledge, there are no cougars in the woods in which I hike. There are, however, bobcats. :)

Take care, Omer! I always enjoy reading your blog and I admire your caring and your commitment to getting important news out about the magnificent big cats. The Ballicai send purrs and head bonks!

Anya said...

Very interesting article, Thanks :)
Nice to reed !!
And so many linkies its great ;)

Anonymous said...

We didn't realize that there are so many different types of Leopard. We really learned something today:)

Duni said...

Thank goodness for those tigers in India. Something's being done at last!
On the subject of Russia - they are horrendous where wildlife is concerned. I don't want to go into details here. A bit off-topic: the Russian state circus is coming over here to Germany. I can't believe it. The poor animals are treated so badly.

On a more cheery note: I have an award for you! Feel free to pick it up whenever you have time!

take care,


BeadedTail said...

It's always sad to hear of cats nearing extinction but at least there is some good news about tigers this week!

Dora said...

Ha ha! Another nice writeup about big cats. I still prefer very small cats. ;p

Anonymous said...

This blog has been eye opening to me and I hope the work you are doing here spreads for the sake of the animals you love!

The Cat Realm said...

Happy Earth Day to you!

Liz said...

I think Omer the euthanasia of Macho B. was a very sad mistake. Perhaps yes he was fifteen but why were they interfering with his natural life cycle to begin with. Tracking for research I can live with but doing this wasn't right. Also I commented on the issue of the clouded leopard in the zoo. I came from the view point that many zoos have gone away from simply just having a collection of animals and have contributed greatly to the preservation and return of endangered animals to the wild. She had noted that the primary focus of Zoos now was Conservation and Education - exactly.

Sad about the Boys being killed by the Lion. Another example of human/animal conflict very very sad.

I will be reading yet more of your great post. Thanks for the great links and news

Purrs and Hugs from me and the kitties here on the farm

MaoMao said...

You have such a great bloggie about our big cuzzins. We Ballicai always enjoy readin yur posties!

Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMao!

sammawow said...

I always enjoy reading your posts. A few weeks ago we went to the zoo and I was thrilled to see the five baby Amur Tigers with their mother playing in a pool of water!

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