Monday, December 7, 2009

Feline News for Aug to Nov '09

Hi everybody. I so regret that I've been unable to blog for the past four months. Various professional and personal engagements have kept me away from the blogosphere and the world of wild cats. Having passed the licensing exam that allows me to practice as a doctor in Australia, I've been looking for opportunities to further my career prospects in medicine. Time spent with family and friends, though precious, had also curtailed my aptitude towards blogging to an extent. Fortunately I do find some free time now and can present the news related to cats for the past few months. Most of it is quite distressing actually and this fact has spurred me into preparing this post and continuing with this blog to get the word out about the plight of the wild cats...

Starting with tigers - the news is negative for most of the individual subspecies. Siberian tigers, the largest of the wild cats, have suffered from a forty percent decrease in their numbers in the wild in the past twelve years according to a recent study in Far East Russia's Primorye region. This comes on the back of a report in July that indicated a severe shortage of diversity in the gene pool of these tigers, making them susceptible to diseases. Previously thought to be the only tiger subspecies on the rise, these great cats now face an uncertain future, threatened by rampant poaching and logging. More here, here, here and here.

The news related to Bengal tigers is equally distressing. They continue to face a threat from poaching, driven largely by a demand for their skin and body parts in China. This fact has become increasingly established recently with emergence of several reports pointing to a well organized criminal enterprise operating freely in parts of India, China and Southeast Asia. Exploiting porous borders, weak legislation and corruption the illegal wildlife trade amounts to billions of dollars annually. There is a constant demand (in China) and supply (from India) that is unfortunately not being checked at either end effectively by authorities. To make the matters worse, it has recently emerged that China has quietly changed rules that could allow the sale of products derived from body parts of endangered animals. The legislation, enacted in 2007 but kept secret to prevent uproar in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, could ring the death bell for the tiger. China is also lobbying in global wildlife forums for lifting the ban on trade of tiger parts and continues to refuse to shut down the tiger farms that keep this business alive while slaughtering the magnificent cats for their parts. To learn more about this illegal wildlife trade, view this must-watch video below. To read more the background of this video and related news, go here, here, here, here, here and here.



Moving to India now where more than sixty tigers have died in the forests this year, a third of them due to poaching, the recent news is not very promising either. Conservationists were shocked in September when the country's top court ordered the release of Sansar Chand from police custody. Indicted in numerous crimes and featured in several documentaries, Sansar Chand is the most notorious kingpin in the annals of wildlife crimes in India. He has singly been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of tigers and leopards in the country over the past few decades. What impact will this ruling have on India's last remaining big cats, only time will tell. A number of articles have appeared over the past few months detailing the current status of tigers in India and the dire circumstances that they face. You can read them as well as more about the above news here, here, here, here, here and here.

To Sumatran tigers now, the smallest of the tiger subspecies who are fighting for survival in the face of rapid habitat destruction and unchecked poaching alongside many other endangered species in the Southeast Asian islands. Recent reports have revealed an alarming surge in deforestation of their habitat. Forty percent of lowland forests in the region have been cleared in the past fifteen years. Illegal logging continues as well and lax legislation coupled with the vicious demand and supply cycle listed above continues to take its toll on the endangered tigers of Sumatra. Recently the island was shook with a crime as barbaric as it was daring. Sheila, a tigress that was part of a conservation program and had been living in a zoo in Jambi, Indonesia, for the last twenty years was brutally murdered inside her cage. Her body parts were mostly removed and thought to be sold later in black market. Even though the killer was later apprehended, the thought that tigers are unsafe even in zoos now must be chilling for the conservationists in Sumatra. To read more about the above you can go here, here, here and here.

Moving to Malayan tigers, the newest of the tiger subspecies that reside solely in Malaysia. The authorities here too are fighting an uphill battle against the many threats to their big cats. While the authorities plan to double the number of tigers in the wild to one thousand animals by the next decade, tigers keep getting snared and poached from the forests and the smuggled parts keep appearing in other parts of the world. Following is a heartbreaking video of such an incident, that might be a little graphic for some to view. To read more about all of this go here, here and here.



Moving to leopards now. While the spotted cats often fare better than their larger feline cousins in the wild owing to their well developed stealth and survival skills, not all leopards are safe from man. Amongst them are the Snow leopards that continue to suffer from the same threats as the tigers. Their skins are in high demand in Tibet and China where they are often worn or adorned as symbols of beauty and prestige. To read a report exposing the trade of tiger and snow leopard skin, go here.

To Cheetahs, and they are facing a unique threat as well. This is in the form of a species of thorn bush that is ravaging through the habitat of the big cats in Namibia, Southern Africa, causing great damage to the ecosystem and loss of millions of dollars of annual revenue. To learn more about this danger to the sleek felines and the efforts underway to control it, go here.

And finally lions. Unfortunately they too are facing a grave danger in Africa. Kenya, home to tens of thousands of lions in the past, is now down to its last two thousand. And even these might be lost in the next couple of decades. The danger here is chiefly conflict with humans. As population grows and people and their cattle compete directly with lions and their prey for resources, the predators increasingly come into conflict with people. In the end the lions lose out, getting speared, shot and of late.. poisoned. Furadan, or Carbofuran, is an extremely toxic pesticide that has been sold over the years to farmers in Kenya for usage in their fields. However, people have found this tasteless and odourless chemical to be extremely effective in killing lions. Carcasses of their prey are sprinkled with this poison and the lions returning to feed are subsequently killed, alongside other scavengers. Entire prides of lions have been killed this way and the whole population of the big cats in the country is under direct threat from this substance. Even as the sale of Furadan to Kenya was stopped recently by the manufacturing company, the product continues to be available for sale in stores throughout the country. Below is a video detailing the crisis. To read more you can go here, here and here.



In spite of all this gloomy news, there are some positive developments too. In September a fourteen month old cub was successfully released into the wild in the Russian Fareast. It had accidentally wandered into a village in March and was found to be in a state of starvation upon its capture. After months of being nursed back into health it was eventually released to the wilderness. A police boss was sacked in Siberia over accusations of complicity in poaching, in a sign of stricter enforcement of wildlife laws. Several of the tigers are to be relocated to Northeastern China to aid in the recovery of tiger population that used to survive there in the past. And prime minister Vladimir Putin is set to chair a summit in Vladivostok to launch a global campaign to save the tigers from their current state of decline and double their numbers in the wild over the next thirteen years. More on the above here, here, here and here.

Authorities in India are planning to set up a tiger protection force in several of the reserves. Some of the reserves have been provided with significant amount of funds to assist them in supporting and relocating people that dwell inside and around the periphery of forests. There have been several recent high profile arrests including that of the brother of Sansar Chand. There is talk of introducing tigers and lions to new sanctuaries and also to set up a new tiger sanctuary in India. A proposed mining as well as scientific venture in proximity of tiger habitat has been overruled. Plans are also underway to improve the legislation in favor of protection of tigers. Nepal is planning to sign agreements with China and Thailand to control smuggling of endangered animals across its borders. Bangladesh has come up with its first formal plan to protect the wild tigers. To read more about all of the good news vis-à-vis bengal tigers, you can go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

For the Sumatran tigers too there is hope. Authorities have successfully raided and arrested people involved in killing and trading tigers and their parts. Despite the multitude of challenges facing them dedicated conservationists persevere in their efforts to protect their fauna and flora. To read more about their brave and tireless efforts, as well as the news above, go here, here, here, here and here.

And there are efforts underway to protect the Malayan tiger too. Scientists believe there is still hope for the big cat and the proposed plans to double its number might well bear fruit provided the undertaking of committed endeavors occurs over the coming months and years. For more go here, here and here.

For the leopards too there comes some good news with the recent seizure of several of their skins alongside nearly two tons of ivory in Kenya. Sixty five people were also arrested in the three month long operation that will hopefully serve to deter future poachers and smugglers. And the snow leopards get some help too. This time from one of my favorite brands: Apple. With the release of its new operating system 'Snow Leopard', Apple is not only serving to raise awareness about the beautiful cat, it is also promoting the sale of adoption kits to raise funds for conservation. Full reports about the above here and here.

The cheetahs also have their share of good fortune. India is planning to reintroduce them into its grasslands decades after their extinction in that country. The world's fastest man, sprinter Usain Bolt is aiding the launch of a program to conserve the world's fastest land animal. A game reserve in South Africa recently welcomed two male cheetahs after they were recovered from a cattle ranch. And in Namibia a farmer called the conservation fund set up for cheetahs to rescue the animals after they wandered on to his farm, instead of shooting the animals as has been the practice in the past. More on these here, here, here and here.

For the lions too there are some positive news. After years of delay the rare Asiatic lions are set to be moved to a new home in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The king of beasts have also found good friends in the Jouberts, National Geographic's explorers and photographers who aim to promote conservation while raising awareness through their work. And Kenya's parliament is moving forward to ban Furadan as the prime minister is being pressed to act urgently in this regard. Hopefully there will be news to celebrate soon for the majestic cats. To read more you can click here, here, here and here.

Finally there are some very exciting news for two of the smaller wild cat species. First ever video footage of the Bornean Bay Cat has emerged. Residing solely in the island of Borneo the reclusive feline is amongst the least studied of the feline species. However, recently it was captured on film by scientists working in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. This has come on the heels of another exciting discovery for researchers. The rare African Golden Cat has been photographed by a camera trap in the forests of Uganda in East Africa. To date only a single known photograph of the secretive cat exists. This is therefore quite a significant discovery that will not only help in the understanding of this feline but also encourage others in their efforts to study and better understand these and other rare cats. To read more about these and see the captured images go here and here.

That is all for the cat-related news of the past four months. I hope this was not all sobering. To cheer up, watch this video of the mean kitty . Have a great week!


83 comments:

Duni said...

Oh my goodness, you're back!!! I was kind of wondering where you had disappeared to :)
I have heard about the terrible crimes commited on animals in India. It's outrageous!
And it is sad to think that some horrendous stuff goes on in Indonesia too (I lived there once).
As I mentioned before - people need to be educated - including the governments concerned!
And thanks for sharing that video - that is so cool! Personally I think the kitty is adorable :)

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Glad you're back posting. But there sure is a lot of bad news for the cats.

BeadedTail said...

Glad you're back! Congratulations on passing the licensing exam!

Such bad news about cats - it actually made me sick to my stomach. I'll never, ever understand how people continue to harm these precious animals. Never.

katztales said...

Congrats on the license! And good to see you back. But it's such bad news. I hear and read that rich people in China like to buy wild cats for traditional medicines and also as "rare art". Bastards. Keep writing and raising awareness!

Dana Fredsti said...

Glad you're back and yes, congrats! China needs to get a large supply of Viagra and get over the whole 'tiger parts equal erections' mentality...

Finding Pam said...

While it looks grim for the cat population,I am thankful that you continue to advocate for the large cats. It is disheartening to see these beautuful creatures destroyed by senseless greed. I can't imagine how much the whole ecosystem is out of kilter with the poisoning of the cats, the fowl and the helpless children.

Excellent that you passed your licensing exams.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting. It is much appreciated.

Thank you again for all you do in the name of the big cats.

Scout and Freyja said...

My heart is breaking for the big cats. I will never understand how man can justify what is going on. The rotten means of rationalization is disgusitng. And, don't even get me going on China - don't even let me start or I'll rant and rave and start to foam at the mouth. That country has no respect for life in any form.

Happy to see you back and congrats on your accomplishments. Good to spend time with family, too☺

RJ Flamingo said...

Much of the news is indeed disheartening - and knowing what I do of the Chinese, I'm sure they have absolutely no idea what the fuss is all about.:-(

I, too, am glad you're back and congratulate you on your accomplishments. And thank you for stopping by to let me know (although I have stopped by periodically, just in case!).

Rajesh said...

Congrats, on getting the license that allows you to practice as a doctor in Australia.

The poaching of these cats is a menace. This can only stop if people feel for these cats.

Bhojeshwar Temple, Bhojpur

umi_e said...

Wellcome back!

Yee Ern said...

Welcome back.
Congrats!

Jared said...

Looks like you made up for some lost time with this post- very informative. Thanksgiving was really nice btw. Congrats on passing your exam! I look forward to more blog posts.

Julia Smith said...

Congratulations on passing your exams! Your big cats blog is a beautiful one, and the awareness you raise is priceless. Thank you for being such an impassioned advocate.

RennyBA's Terella said...

Congrats with your PhD - must feel great!

Welcome back in blogsphere too - we've missed you and your cats you know :-)

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

always informative and educational to visit, the mean kitty video was very catchy and cute!
Happy December!

drollgirl said...

you have been a busy bee! and glad good things are happening in your life!

SLColman said...

Welcome back!

The Things We Carried said...

Thanks for dropping by! Congrats on your accomplishment!!

This last video was hilarious!

kitikata-san said...

Happy Holidays!!

Capela® said...

Helloooooooooo!!! I guess we both were busy these days. I have to say that I am shocked with those videos! How bad can people be! Sometimes I just get tired of hearing and seeing such evil things. But, people like you make us believe there's a chance to make a better world. So, you make me go on and not give up. Tks a lot and keep up the beatiful work! =)

Louie said...

you are so clever congrats and good luck to your career :) thnx for dropping by, btw :)

Luísa N. said...

Olá!
Felizmente para os tigres e demais gatos selvagens há pessoas como você que tentam ajudá-los. Belas fotos! Ótimos vídeos e informações!
Luísa

Anya said...

Heyyyyyy......
We are so happy you are back :-)
It was a long time ago !!
Very interesting post (as always .... LOL)
The last video is AMAZING
meow..meow..
hugs from Kareltje =^.^=
greetings Anya :-)

Mad Bush Farm said...

Omer I am so glad you are back. I have realy missed your wonderful updates on what has been happening in the world of cats. The killing of the African Lions reminds me of one of George Adamson's letters when he was writing about the use of Coopertox-D a cattle drench that was being used to poison carcasses to wipe out the predator population at Kampi ya Simba. I'm readint Daktari-Two Vets in East Africa by Dr Susanne Hart. She and her Husband Toni worked with George and Joy Adamson during the 1960's it's a fascinating insight into their world of Wildlife Veterinary Medicine.

Sasquatch wants to tell you that he is now a year old and making certain the hooman is well and truly reminded that arm is there to bitezez.

Hope you're enjoying Australia now you're only across the Tasman Sea from me.LOL

Lots of hugs, purrs and love
Liz

Tristan and Crikey said...

We've missed you, furriend! We always appreciate your informative posts, sad as they may be.

Sandee said...

I'm glad you are back. I thought you just quit blogging. I've put you back in my reader. Thanks for stopping by my place.

Have a terrific day. :)

Black Cat said...

Welcome back dear Omer and conCATulations on getting your Licence!

What an informative catch up post you have given us. Lots of bad news, but some hope too, and a cute finish with Sparta, who seems (quite rightly) to have become an international celebrity!

Thanks so much for visiting. Hugs and purrs from me, Alfie and Simba, we luvsya! :)xxx

Anita said...

Hi!

I like your new template ;-)

Thanks for your comment. My vet repeated my bloodwork and my creatinine is more down.

Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs.

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caspersmom said...

Boy, you sure needed that video about the tiger Sparta after all the bad news about the BIG tigers. Kind of made me a little nauseaous reading about what is happening to them. Just can't understand the greed taking an animal's life just to sell parts and wear their skins. Sad to think that it might end up the only place you will see tigers are stuffed in a museum.

Was so glad to see that you were back when I read your comment on our site. I do check every now and then to see if you have posted.

Congratulations Omer on passing your licensing exam. Best of luck going as far as you want being a doctor.

katztales said...

Hi, can you read this and pass the message?

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/01/asian-wildlife/christy-text/13

Thanks.

And Merry Christmas, although with this sort of stuff going on, I'm not really in the mood for any sort of celebration.

Rascal said...

Congratulations on passing your test.

Very sad things are happening to Cats in so many places in the world. Thank you for helping keep humans aware of these problems.

P.S. I really like the Mean Kitty Song.

PurrPrints said...

i'd seen the mean kitty song before but i'd forgotten about it - thanks for including it to balance out the unfortunate, but important ot be aware of, news about wild cats.

webdesigner said...

Hi, nice post. I like it as its added to my knowledge.

Thanks for it

The Cat Realm said...

good to hear from you! all these bad news - humans can be so ignorant, cruel and awful... mostly it's greed and ignorance, we wish things would change in the future...
we wish you very happy holidays and a wonderful new year!
the cat realm

Nick Perry said...

Wow, back and with a bang! This post was incredibly interesting and informative - thank you for sharing. Now, I trust that this whole doctoring business won't interfere with the updates, right? Right??

THE ZOO said...

We hope yall hafe a Happy New Year.

THE ZOO said...

We hope yall hafe a Happy New Year.

Adrianne I said...

Katztales, I agree about the China tradition. It is very disturbing to see the Chinese people use cats for food or other uses. It's almost like eating your own pet. I would never be the same if I saw a plate on cat food on the dinner platter.

caspersmom said...

Hi Omer, just checking in to wish you a great 2010 and hope things are going well with you. Also hope you had a great Christmas.

Anonymous said...

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Don Garlick said...

yay! You are finally back! I really enjoyed your articles and once again thanks for sharing! :D

Black Cat said...

Omer...? Where are you...? Are you okay? We miss you and we love you, so we hope you're just (happily) busy. :)xxx

Anonymous said...

Hay it has been a wail sence an update what's up, just give us an update so we know that you are still ok, and with us.

All-About-Flowers said...

How nice it really well this shield

Christine and FAZ said...

Are you doing any more posts? FAZ

rhea said...

Great website I’ve found and very inspiring! Great job!!

snowforest said...

Hi all,

Thanks for your kind wishes. Just wanted to say that I've been sooooooooo busy of late with work and travel etc. Hope to be able to post soon again.

Thanks again for all your concern and well wishes :) I am very well and miss greatly the blogosphere!

C u all soon!!

Michelle said...

First of all I want to say that I'm sorry disappeared from the blogosphere and never replied to the comment you left me last fall. I stopped blogging for a while due to a lot of the same reasons you mentioned. Your comment was very nice and played a part in my return to my writing.
Congratulations on your professional accomplishments and thank you for continuing to spread the word and news that people need to know in order to help these beautiful creatures. I hope to see you post again in the future when you have time and good luck to you :)

caspersmom said...

Omer, one of these days you just might have a little more time to spare. Hope you are enjoying Australia. Hope things are going great for you.

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couponboa said...

Hi!

I do not see any update from you recently and I hope everything is going great with you.

Thanks.

Basheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer said...

Me-------aaaaaa------ow :p ;)

caspersmom said...

Been missing you Omer. Hope things are still going well for you.

Phantom Of Opera Los Angeles Tickets said...

Hey, Nice and lovely share. I am really interested in wild life.

Cat Illness said...

Thanks for the epic long post. Those videos were quite fascinating. I hope you'll post again soon!

Acoustic Guitar Strap said...

Haha I really enjoyed the mean kitty song. That was great. You should post on this blog more often.

The Painted Veil said...

Congratulations on completing your PHD. I am so glad you joined in our celebration.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Jackie and family!!:-)

caspersmom said...

Here it is December once again Omer. Time sure does fly by. I sure hope you had a Very Merry Christmas and I also hope that your New Year will be full of your expectations. Sounds like Congratulations are in order from the post above. So Glad that you are coming along so great on your medical project quests. God bless.

Lady Gaga said...

Interesting Videos=)
Well I'd say campaigns must be run responsibly to save all the endangered species..

Roger Waters said...

I had a great time reading the articles and the posted comments.

snowforest said...

Hope to post again very soon. Thanks all for stopping by, and for your kind comments :)

kinds of cats said...

hay i really been happy to be here and I sure hope you had a Very Merry Christmas and I also hope that your New Year will be full of your expectations. Sounds like Congratulations are in order from the post above.

kinds of cats said...

well I sure hope you had a Very Merry Christmas and I also hope that your New Year will be full of your expectations. Sounds like Congratulations are in order from the post above.

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The last video is AMAZING and I enjoy reading your article ;)

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This is important to know. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I have been coming back to see if there is anything new, but it doesn't look like the person running the site is still doing anything with it. i love all the work that has gone into it, but I am sad to see that the site has been forgotten. Maybe I am looking in the wrong place.

eunisse08 said...

the part I hated the most was the poisoning of the lions. it really hurts to know that this lovely animals are now endangered. Should I just view only the pictures of them http://www.krickle.com/909803402 ? and not see one of them in the real life for they are all gone?

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This is so funny! Your website is amazing and has so much information! I also love the design you chose as well. Your blog is fantastic!

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