Thursday, August 6, 2009

Weekly Feline News

Whoa!! It's been a while.. Finally I'm back from Sydney and can now present the cat-related news of past couple of weeks. Thank you all for your kind wishes. The trip was a thoroughly enjoyable one and I've included a couple of pictures from Taronga Zoo in Sydney in the post below. For more images and videos, you may go here.

First lions, and as always it is a mixed bag of news for Asiatic lions of Gir forest in western India. The good news is that the state government there has embarked on a landmark move to relocate nearly one hundred families of local forest dwellers out of the sanctuary. They are providing a sum of one million Indian Rupees to each family as compensation, and it is expected that the process will be completed by the end of next year. However, there is a caveat - the last time a similar move was undertaken by the government - it didn't go entirely as planned. The land allocated to the locals as part of the relocation program was sold illegally by nearly half of the migrating families. It is hoped that a similar situation doesn't evolve this time around. More on the above here and here.

And in other good news, the Wildlife Institute of India has recommended the development of Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh as a second home for the endangered Asiatic lions. This will aid in diversification of gene pool of these lions and prevent them for being wiped out by a natural catastrophe or epidemic in Gir. There is even talk of moving some tigers to Gir forest as part of an overall conservation strategy for tigers. However, the authorities in the state of Gujarat, that houses the Gir sanctuary, have been reluctant to go along with either move and relieve their monopoly as the sole sanctuary for these rare lions on earth. This is despite the fact that the lion population in Gir has surpassed the carrying capacity of the park and lions are increasingly moving out of the forest to move close to villages and human habitations, thus coming into conflict with people. To read more about this you can go here, here and here.

And to make matters worse the state government of Gujarat has agreed to allocate protected forest land to eight firms for commercial development. Hundreds of hectares of wildlife territory from various sanctuaries is being offered to the companies. This is sure to disrupt the delicate ecosystem of these jungles and hamper the natural lifestyle and movement patterns of predator and prey species. As a result, the animals may move further out of the parks and come into conflict with people. As always, there are several reports this week too, of conflict between people and animals in and around Gir. To read these and more on the above development, you can go here, here, here, here, here and here.

To the African lion now and it seems that the king of beasts is facing quite a unique situation in certain parts of Cameroon. Apparently the big cat has of late had to deal with one more scavenger in the food chain, even smarter than its traditional adversary - the hyena. I'll say no more. You can just visit this BBC report and be astonished, here.

Male African lion
To tigers, and the news unfortunately is largely negative this week. First is the sobering new research evidence that suggests that Amur tigers, largest among all cats, face very little genetic diversity in their population. Decades of hunting and persecution in the past in Siberia has meant that the biodiversity in the tiger population has dwindled significantly. And even though recent good conservation strategies have resulted in the rise of tiger numbers to around five hundred individuals the effective population, scaled in terms of genetic diversity, remains at thirty five animals. And even as there is some evidence of genetic variation in the captive Amur tiger population, the long term survival of this majestic big cat in the wild appears somewhat imperiled by this new discovery. Full report here.

The news is not positive for other tiger subspecies too. The Bengal tigers in South Asia are suffering from rampant poaching and habitat loss. Starting in Nepal where border disputes with India in certain parts are posing a threat to the tiger through illegal activities caused a vacuum of law enforcement agencies from either country. In Valmiki Tiger Reserve two tigers have been killed recently by poachers operating in this expansive no man's land. The authorities in Nepal have also released the results of a recently concluded census that indicate a slight decrease in tiger numbers in the country over the past six years. More on the above here and here.

To Bangladesh now and here another horrible practice is emerging that foreshadows a dark future for the tigers - the beating of big cats to death by villagers. Owing to climate change, tigers are increasingly straying close to human settlements in Bangladesh. And here they are being attacked by angry mobs. Several reports have emerged that indicate a growing pattern of this practice across the country. Bangladesh has already lost its tigers from all but one reserve - the Sunderban. And here too, the tigers are having a difficult time, owing to conflict with locals. More here, here and here.

To India, and there is a combination of good and bad news here too. The good news is a proposed change in legislation that will introduce tougher sentences for poachers. There is also word of a special tiger protection force being set up to guard the big cats in thirteen tiger reserves across the country. Another significant move is the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the chief tiger conservation body, state governments and field directors of tiger reserves in India. The memorandum indicates penalties for the field directors in case a single tiger or its habitat is lost from the forests under their authority. More on the above here and here.

The bad news continue to come in too though. Reports of several incidents of poaching and recovery of tiger parts alongside the news of arrest and indictment of poachers continue to emerge from India and other parts of Asia including Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia where the Indochinese, Malayan and Sumatran tigers are facing an uphill battle for survival. Following are some of the links of these arrests and poaching incidents, and one insightful interview from a leading tiger authority, Valmik Thapar: available here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Sumatran tiger prowling
To leopards now and like the other big cats, there are also encouraging and adverse developments here. For the Indian leopard it has been a bad week, with news emerging of the recovery of several leopard skins during a raid in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand. For the Snow leopard too this was not such a good week, with a decline in its number reported by the recent Nepalese census. More on these here and here.

The only leopard species that had a good past couple of weeks, is the Clouded leopard. A clouded leopard cub was spotted in Bangladesh after four years, raising hope for the bright prospect of this beautiful cat's survival in the South Asian country. And the Smithsonian's National Zoo in the US reported its success in breeding a clouded leopard couple. Great news since clouded leopards are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity owing to the propensity of male leopards to kill females. To read more about these news you can go here and here.

Finally Cheetahs, and the most fragile yet athletic of the big cats is facing a bright future in Asia with reports emerging that India plans to reintroduce the spotted cats into its grasslands, decades after they were reported to have gone extinct in the country. The plan is still in its formative stages and is an ambitious one with several challenges. However, if it can be pulled off, it will be a major development for these majestic felines. There are also reports of scientific research of cheetahs that may assist in the understanding and study of these cats in the wild. More on these here, here and here.

That's all the news for the past few weeks. Before you go though, you may want to take a passing glance at how cats control our lives, here.

Hope you like the new blog template. Have a great week :)


Sandee said...

I like your new look. Very nicely done.

I also love all things cats. They scare me, but they are indeed beautiful. I hope that all your future posts are good news.

Have a terrific day. :)

Esz said...

Nice new look indeed :-D

Makes me pretty angry how many poachers there are still and people BEATING cats to death! That is so disgusting. Why is it that our most precious animals are living side by side with our poorest people?

Ailurophile said...

Thanks Sandee and Esz. I developed this layout from the basic Minima template.

Sandee, I very much hope for good news too in the future but I think it will take time before the proposed conservation changes take effect and good news begins to emerge.

Esz, you are right about many of the endangered animals currently living in some of the poorer nations. I think this may be owed to the fact that in most of the industrial world, wildlife has already been wiped out in the name of human development.

Anya said...

We are happy you are back :)
Wonderful post !!!
I love your new background
it looks so BEAUTIFUL :)

marina villatoro said...

Hi! Welcome back.

You know a long time ago I interviewed some oceanographers for a book I wrote about the leatherback turtle, and it was said that they have one of the top most depressing and hopeless jobs because of the constant challenges faced with endangered marine life! It doesn't sound far from the truth for the wildcat world as well.

♥Da fambly kitties♥ said...

Our momma smiles with the good news but cries when she reads the bad news. Some 'beans don't think that us critters feel pain like they do and they do the very meanest things to us. That makes our momma sad and mad. She is crying now so we gotta go...

Ellen Whyte said...

Nice to see you back. But so much bad news that it's really depressing. People are horrible.

Duni said...

Hi! Nice to have you back!
I also like the new look of your blog :)

I'm glad that generally things are looking up in India, and wish more governments would act accordingly.
People stealing meat from the lions really stumped me and the other story just disgusted me.
I guess it's back to what I mentioned's all down to education. I hope one day everyone will be able to benefit from education, even the poorest of villagers.



ps - many purrs from Sammy to your kitties :)

Ariel said...

Welcome back great post and photos.

Jans Funny Farm said...

New blog decor is nice. It's always amazing what humans do to animals. But then look what they do to each other.

Thanks for your kind words for our cousin Fraggle.

Black Cat said...

Welcome back dear Omer! Terrific post, as usual! I was appalled to read about people stealing the lions' kills. I suppose they don't know about conservation and endangered species, but still... On the other paw, I love the news about how cats manipulate their humans. It was on the radio a few times and your link makes very interesting reading! I'm surprised no scientifc study has come up with this before, as any human owned by a cat has always known that they are merely the object of fulfilling their cat's wishes, hah!

I'm glad you had a good time in Sydney and I thank you for your lovely comment. Love the new template too! :) xxx

Maria said...

I have always said that my cats aren't mine. I have always thought that I am simply their human!

Sydney looks wonderful and it's good to hear that you had a good trip. Thanks for all the information. Although some of it is quite upsetting and makes me sad, I know more people need to know this in order for change to happen. Thanks for helping spread the word.

BeadedTail said...

Love the new look! We're glad to hear the good news happening but the bad news was really bad. It is very upsetting and I just have no words.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there enough commercial development? Good grief!

rkdsign88 said...

Pretty sad, that powerful people and government always win offer these wonderful cats. Thank you for updating the news.

glee said...

Thanks for commenting on my post about fashion :)

Are the sleeping cats in the header photo yours? They're so lovely. I love cats a lot. Though I never planned taking a tiger as a pet in my home, lol, i still love them anyway. The news are sad but i hope people get to preserve them before it's too late.

have a great week!

NURA said...

salam friend thank for visit and comment in ALJUBAIL.S.A.
nice artikel..Im like cats,,,tiger ooo Im afraid.

Meghann said...

Wow, what great info! Go Cats of the world, Go!
Thanks for giving them a voice :)

La gata sobre el tejado said...

Muchas gracias por visitarme!!
Veo que te gustan los animales,felicidades,algunos son más fieles que las personas.
Hay que seguir luchando para que se respeten sus derechos.

Gattina said...

Sorry I couldn't read it all, not enough time, your two pictures are beautiful.
Room tigers and tigers are so similar ! Your header is cute !

Finding Pam said...

It would seem the conditions for Tigers are grim at the very least. The needless beatings of these beautiful creatures saddens me. Hunger will make humans do the most horrible things.

Thank you for being an advocate for all cats. Your new look is grand.

Confucius Cat said...

Thank you for bringing this important info to my attention. I would also like to thank you for supporting Purrs 4 Peace.

Unknown said...

oh wow!!! love the new blog layout and design...looks like this always makes me sad...we need to do more to raise awareness and your blog is wonderful!!!

Chris said...

love the layout!

~Lexibule~ said...

What beautiful animals, I love! If I may, would it be possible for you to have a language translator in your own blog? I would love to read you because you share that seems very interesting but I do not understand English very well. To write this post, I spent my google translation.

I also want to tell you a beautiful Thank you for your warm passage to my blog and fun to read and share with you!

Meryl (proud pinay) said...

Interesting information. Thanks for sharing . I love the pictures of the big cats! ^_^
I like your new template by the way...

gem said...

Nice article. You have a great pictures of big cats.

Ailurophile said...

Thank you all for your compliments on the layout.

Gleenn, the header picture keeps changing as per a script I installed in the html. None of the felines featured here are mine though. They are all images of wild cats taken from across the web. Hope you have a great week too :)

Lexibule, I'm looking for a translation widget myself that I can customize with this template. Hope to add it soon.

It's indeed sad that most of the news this week is not positive. Hope this changes the next time around!

Rajesh said...

Wonderful, I liked the new look of your blog.

Unknown said...

Oh I loved this post! Lions are so majestic. My favorite animal of all time!

Chris said...

I especially loved that last part about the purring. My cats have used it on me at 4:00 AM and it works every time. Who can resist!

PurrPrints said...

I love the new look--very beautiful and simple, visually appealing. And I'm glad to hear about the Kuno sanc. too

Catzee said...

I like yur new bloggie template! It's tortie colors!

I think kitties should always be put first an not be pushed out by commercial developments. The peoples have developed enuf commercials already. I feel bad fur the tigers too.

MaoMao said...

We Ballicai love your new bloggie template. And we appreciate, as always, you keeping us up to date on the news about our majestic big cousins. We are saddened by all the bad news, but we are glad to hear the good, and your bloggie is a treasure trove of information. We Ballicai are glad to have you as our friend, and we are glad that our big cousins have a wonderful friend in you.

Kittyhugs and purrs from MaoMao and alla the Ballicai -- and our Momma sends hugs.

Suzie said...

Beautiful pics

Dalezy said...

I like the new look much better and the homepage photography is beautiful. Yours are nice too.

RennyBA's Terella said...

Love your new template! and your pics and story is always great!

Btw: Post with pics is up from our blog gathering trip in France :-)

Dalezy said...

I love the changing pix of gorgeous felines you've got up on your site. Whenever I go to this page I am awestruck by the photography.
I wish you had pix of each breed of cat. After reading some of your weekly posts, which sometimes brought tears to my eyes, I'd do a google search and get a few images of the particular cat. Is it against copyright law to just use an image from Google. Would be nice to have a photo album associated with this website, sort of like an encylopedia of cats on line! Wish I could help but I know nothing of programing.

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Gracias por pasar por mi blog incluso cuando estamos de vacaciones, ya estamos aki, pasa por mi blog hay un mimo con mucho cariño para ti.
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caspersmom said...

I really like your new look Omer. Hope things went very well for you in Sydney. It hurts my heart to hear the bad news for the big cats. I do hope the move goes well for the government in Giv. I think it's disgusting about Gujarat allocating forest land to development. It's just like the Kirschner foundation being moved out from where they were because of the people that moved in by them. Last I heard they do have a new piece of property but the lady is concerned moving the big cats. Hope you are doing well Omer.

Meryl (proud pinay) said...

hi, I'm here again. dropping by.have a great day...nice layout

Sasha said...

Thanks for all the Big Cat news.

Liz said...

Hi Omer

Wonderful new look for your blog. I'm glad you had such a great time in Sydney Taronga Park Zoo is a fantastic place. Sorry I haven't been over until now. Just getting back to normal after several months of illness and life getting in the way.

I visited Zion Wildlife Gardens as you know on the 27th of July. Great news there. Tim Husband has introduced some fantastic new enrichment techniques for the cats at the park. So far the results have been very positive. I have some photos I have to post up on the blog. Great to see you with loads of fantastic Cat news

Love purrs and hugs from me and the crew at the farm.


Anita said...


Thank you so much for your comment on my birthday post. We continue without internet connection in home… grrrr…


Lady P said...

what a good new look you have going for your here - and glad that you had a good trip. ahh, traveling is good...

j said...

Your blog is so informative. You always give so much information.

I am going to click some of your links now and read further.

Ellen Whyte said...

Where are you? We're missing our updates!

Karen Jo said...

I like your new look. I am glad there is some good news, but the bad news is so depressing. I really hope that we can keep ourselves from exterminating all the big cats we share this planet with.

Black Cat said...

Omer dear, hope you're okay, just busy? We love you! BC and the Caramel Cats. :)XXX

P.S. We've got fleas. We can get rid of them (I hope!) but I don't know if big cats get them. If so, how do they cope? These little blighters have struck out of the blue very suddenly. Duhr, they seem to "like" me more than the cats... Scratch, scratch, whap!!! Scratch...

caspersmom said...

Just checking in. Guess you are mighty busy. Love the different pictures that show up on your site. Take care Omer. Hope things are going O.K.

Christine and FAZ said...

Great to read all your latest news and views. Did you hear about the cat that traveled 3000 miles across Australia whilst you were in Sydney? FAZ

Radka said...

Beautiful pictures of cats. You have a wonderful site, i shall return to your site again. Have a good Radka.

diel said...

Beautiful pictures of cats

Brad said...

I am glad there is some good news

Anya said...

I hope all is well
we are missing you ;(

funny cat videos said...

Nice new looking...
even if i scare of lions, but i don't want them to be extinct because i want my kid and grand-kids still can see lions in real not just pics and become like dinosaurs.

cluber said...

scare of lions, but i don't want them to be extinct because i want my kid and grand-kids sti

ryu said...

i don't want them to be extinct because i want

mail programı said...

ı very like big cat of lion

marka tescili said...

ı can see lions in real not just pics

caspersmom said...

Hey Omer, where are you??? Been missing you.

vize said...

nice posted thanks this shared

bilisim haberleri said...

I am glad there is some good news

Pretty Zesty said...

those poor Amur. I "adopted" one through WWF over Christmas for my mom.

marka tescili said...

ı very like shared

hotel guide said...

thanks for greate post

yogourmet said...

i hope they never go extinct. The cubs are just too darn cute and when they grow up, they just seem so majestic.

j said...

Checking in! I hope that you are well.

andrew said...

I like cats they are so graceful and independent and always behave themselves like kings or queens.

Fani said...

Hello there !!! I have found your site at last ..Great work many info ...I will keep reading and learning ..

of Africam Treasures and Wildlife Webcams ..

Sarah said...

I love the new look! Great post.

Apartemen diSewakan said...

Awesome picture and cats.
too cruel if that animals should be extinct because of human!

Mr. Hendrix said...

Hi! It has been a while since I've been able to visit around since the baby came. I love the new look, but worry you haven't posted for so long!

I hope everythign is OK with you.

Güncel Blog said...

ı can see lions in real not just pics

Dizi izle said...

I am glad there is some good news

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Roger Waters said...

I am glad there is a lot of info available for such things. Its quite unusual, but excellent.

CatLover said...

great post!!

PS: have a cute cat? Enter her into our "500 Cutest cats in the World" book:​ook-publications/

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