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  Giant Ground Sloth - Lestodon armatus (South America)
Posted by: epaiva - 12-14-2018, 05:07 AM - Forum: Prehistoric animals - Replies (1)

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Lestodon is a extint genus of megafaunal Ground sloth from South America during the Miocene to Pleistocene periods. Its fossil remains have been found in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil. Measuring approximately 4,6 meters (15 ft) from snout to tail tip, it is estimated to have weighed 2.590 Kilograms, it was a herbivore and primarily fed on grasses on the South American plains and is thought to perhaps have used its semi-bipedal stance to obtain foliage from trees.  Lestodon is placed as member of the Mylodontidae as indicated by the lobed form of the last tooth in the dentition.
Taken from the book End of the Megafauna, The fate of the Worlds Huges, Fiercest, and Strangest animals (ROSS D. E. MacPHEE with Ilustrations of Peter Schouten)
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  Conservation & Communities
Posted by: Rishi - 12-13-2018, 08:40 PM - Forum: Human & Nature - Replies (1)
In his book, Rise & Fall of the Emerald Tigers, WII scientist Raghunandan Singh Chundawat is of the view that we should protect tigers and not tigers inside the protected areas, as there’s a need for a more inclusive conservation model where local communities and the public at large become partners in the conservation effort.
He discusses the larger threats to Indian wildlife beyond Critical Habitats that are tiny core areas within protected reserves, only 3% of the countries land area—and the possible solutions.

In his portrait of the tendu leaf gatherers and herders, he shows an empathy for the tiger’s human neighbors. Drawing on his own experiences of running a specialist wildlife lodge, The Sarai At Toria, he argues private public partnerships can generate revenues which he is particular should be shared with local communities.

He discusses protected areas during the later part of the book where he states that ‘it is risky to entirely depend entirely on the protected area network for conservation’. Here one agrees with him but in a few pages he moves on to say ‘at present, all our conservation eggs are in one, old, basket; protected area network’. For a culture with conservation ethos (albeit with conservation values disappearing fast like he has pointed out) protected areas are fairly recent and surely not the only practice – we have a long-standing culture of community conservation areas, for example.

Also i should mention that the idea for this thread came from @Jimmy's Chitwan National Park Visit thread.
Quote:
(11-30-2018, 03:06 PM)Rishi Wrote: India should start this kind of trekking & foot safari along forest trail in the buffers of our tiger reserves. That'll be reasonably safe & would create livelihood for the local forest dwellers.
I know it's done only in few places, like Satpura & Periyar.
Brilliant!

It's most definitely on my to-do list now.

Yup for the livelihood of the locals, tourist activities in buffer zone is a must, many locals have also been employed as nature guides here apart from their cultural dance which was included in the package.

To reduce forest dependency of the forest dependent communities living in the buffers & fringes/multiple-use forests, it's not enough to simply compensate them for a cattle killed by predators, or crops destroyed by raiding deers, antelopes, pigs, elephants... We must strive to make them stakeholders in conservation. Because outside the protected areas only thing that is keeping an animal alive is the goodwill & tolerance of the locals.

Attempts are being made worldwide, this thread is for all such steps taken in the right direction!
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  Gorilla strength - myths and reality
Posted by: Shadow - 12-12-2018, 01:30 AM - Forum: Debate and Discussion about Wild Animals - Replies (96)
Well, I decided to make one topic too mostly from curiosity about this matter. Gorillas are often mentioned to be very strong animals. I think, that there is no doubt about it, that they are strong. But even though I like gorillas a lot myself, with time I have become more and more skeptical about certain things. Often is said, that gorilla is pound to pound in top ten what comes to strong animals if insects are counted out. But to what that claim is based really? To hypotheses, estimations etc.... but what is really proven and does it has that reputation mostly because it is so close to humans and people would like to see it as almost a "superanimal".

Personally I don´t believe, that gorilla earns to be lifted to some pedestal to be pound to pound stronger than for instance a bear if there is nothing else, than some hypotheses, estimations and hopes. On the other hand if that can be proven and there are some concrete examples of proven and truly impressive cases where gorilla has shown exceptional strength, it would be nice to know. And here when I say exceptional, I mean compared to other strong animals, not compared to some "average Joe" sitting on couch.

Hopefully people who participate to this discussion (if any :) tolerate criticism and to be questioned too. For instance if someone writes, that gorillas are 20 times stronger than humans he/she can be sure to be questioned and asked to what such claim is based :)

And just in case, I do absolutely love gorillas and hope to them all good, but this issue just is interesting and seems to be a difficult one to find real information. I personally am not so interested about muscle fibres etc. but about real cases and information which aren´t just hypotheses or guesses.
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  Anteaters, Armadillos and Sloths
Posted by: brotherbear - 12-08-2018, 03:18 AM - Forum: Prehistoric animals - No Replies
Macroeuphractus outesi  
 
Macroeuphractus, the giant carnivorous armadillo
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  Predator Bite Force
Posted by: brotherbear - 12-06-2018, 05:29 AM - Forum: Research, Discoveries & Articles - Replies (4)
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  Siberian tigers & Amur leopards Photography tours! Come to discover wild Russia!
Posted by: Olga.bohai - 12-03-2018, 08:50 AM - Forum: Packages & Offers - Replies (46)
Come to discover wild Russia with us! Unique reserves & National parks of the Russian Far East.

Bohai Tour is the only tour operator in Russia which provides photography tours for Amur leopards & Siberian tigers in a wild! 

This is not a safari park, this is real Siberian taiga!

We have exclusive agreements with the parks and reserves of Primorsky krai and photography is done from different hides depending on tour type. 

Read more on our website http://www.bohaitour.com or write us to ask for more info bohaitour@gmail.com or DM.

We are in Instagram @wildrussiantour


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  Tiger population across Asia can triple: Study
Posted by: Rishi - 11-29-2018, 08:18 PM - Forum: Research, Discoveries & Articles - Replies (2)

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Tiger population in sites across Asia have potential to triple: WWF

Wild tiger populations in key tiger recovery sites across Asia, including in India, have the potential to triple, contributing up to 15 per cent increase in the global tiger population, a new study said Wednesday.
Some of the tiger recovery sites cited in the study could be on track to fulfil their highest estimated tiger population capacity within the next 20 years.

18 tiger recovery sites from 10 tiger-range countries were selected for the study, which currently support around 165 (118-277) wild tigers, it said.
These sites have the capacity to harbour up to 585 (454-739) tigers in the study's best case scenario, representing an estimated tripling of their current combined population, it pointed out.

The study, conducted by 49 conservation experts from 10 tiger-range countries, developed site-specific and ecologically realistic targets and timelines for the recovery of tiger populations in the tiger recovery sites, identified under WWF's global tiger conservation programme.
In 2010, the global tiger population reached an all-time low of around 3,200, prompting 13 tiger-range governments to convene and commit to TX2 - to double the world tiger population to beyond 6000 by the year 2022.

The India sites in the study include Rajaji National Park, Nandhaur Wildlife Sanctuary, Valmiki national park in northern India, Manas national park in the east, Balaghat, Achanakmar Wildlife in central India, and Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary and Tiger Reserve, Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Vazhachal forests in southern India.

The authors of the study, concluded that although the goal to double tiger numbers by 2022 may be ambitious given the limited time frame, it is still possible as long as significant and sustained conservation efforts are taken immediately.
This study has revealed tremendous potential among these sites – although some areas are still lagging behind, particularly in South East Asia, several others are already beginning to experience an increase in wild tigers.
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  Matimba Sons
Posted by: vinodkumarn - 11-27-2018, 03:38 AM - Forum: Lion - Replies (25)
As there are atleast 2 coalitions sired by Matimbas dominant, lets have a thread to learn about them and pictures/imgaes of Matimbas sons

Junior/Buddy - Orpen males
Mbiri  male lions
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  Avoca male lions
Posted by: vinodkumarn - 11-27-2018, 03:35 AM - Forum: Lion - Replies (28)
As we are seeing 2 sets of Dominant Avocas in sabisands and we can say they are here to stay and lets have a thread to know more about them (Pics and information)
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  Conservation Projects (presentation and disclosure)
Posted by: Matias - 11-26-2018, 02:46 AM - Forum: Projects, Protected areas & Issues - Replies (1)
The purpose of this topic is to present projects so that they become known and appreciated.

Landscapes
Far from what we are lead to believe, the Sahara is not just miles and miles of endless sand but a complex mosaic of landscapes, including some of the biggest grasslands and highest mountain ranges in Africa. Like elsewhere on earth, the sustainable use and conservation of landscapes and critical wildlife habitats calls for a mix of tools and, above all, dialog and partnership with the people that use the land and its resources.

Peoples
Barren wasteland? Or home to some of the most resourceful people on earth? In spite of tremendous environmental challenges, the peoples of the Sahara are not only diverse but maintain vibrant cultures, in many places based on the natural resources the Sahara has to offer. It is inconceivable for conservation to succeed without the support of those people living closest to and in many cases dependent on the natural resources we all hope to see saved and managed sustainably.

Wildlife
The desert is not only beautiful but also home to thousands of plants and animals uniquely adapted to life in a very, very special part of our planet. 

Protected Areas in Northern & Western Africa
The Sahara desert and its Sahelian fringes cover over 10 million km² (ca. 4 million sq ml), about the same size as the USA or roughly a third of the land mass of Africa. This vast region is shared by at least 14 countries and is home to many millions of people.


*This image is copyright of its original author


Some news:

GIRAFFE FIELD MONITORING IN NIGER

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 19:29 / 0 Comments
A giraffe monitoring mission was carried out by the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) from 6 to 17 April, in Niger, to survey the wild population of West African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta), subspecies of the newly classified northern giraffe species, currently listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red list. The aim was to monitor giraffes during the dry season and to obtain information in addition to the data collected in the rainy season - and especially to go to areas which were usually not explored (giraffes being more dispersed at this time of the year). Each giraffe observed had to be identified.
 
So that all the areas where the giraffes were supposed to be found would be covered, the mission lasted 11 days. The first week was spent in the south east of Niamey, especially in the region of Kouré and Falmey- an area where the giraffes were for sure known to stay. During the second part of the mission, the team went to explore the north of Niamey, around Simiri, Dingazi and Fandou.


*This image is copyright of its original author
 
Every member of the team had a different role; taking pictures, identifying giraffes, taking notes, recording data in the smartphone via a specific giraffe tracking application, guidance, etc.

 This field mission consisted in counting the giraffes and go to any other area where they were expected to be present, using a vehicle to drive across the Dallol valley. 
This mission also had the following objectives: 
- Determine the distribution pattern of the giraffes during the dry season. 
- Count, photograph and identify the giraffes with a focus on newborns.  
- Raise awareness among local communities about giraffe conservation as well as its habitats.

 
The mission itinerary and the entire journey were coordinated in regard with the information we could obtain concerning the giraffe occurrence; this kind of information could be provided by official sources such as the staff of the "Direction des Eaux et Forêts", by the guide, or by locals.


*This image is copyright of its original author
  
Giraffes can usually be found very close to villages. The cohabitation with people is generally possible since it is not an aggressive species, but there can be issues with crops getting eaten by giraffes. In this season, they eat mangoes. Some people have protected their fields or gardens by enclosing them, or by digging holes around their lands, which giraffes cannot cross.

For every giraffe encountered, pictures of both sides were needed to identify it and complete the database as well.


*This image is copyright of its original author
  
With a large group, the difficulty is to identify each individual, and when the giraffes begin to move, not to confuse them.


*This image is copyright of its original author
  It can be a bit tricky sometimes to take a good photo of both profiles, especially with the calves, because they get more easily scared and prefer to remain in the far distance as much as possible. 
 
While taking the photos of the giraffe, the following information (age, sex, coat characteristics, etc.) would be written down on a paper as well as digitally. 


*This image is copyright of its original author
  During this monitoring mission, SCF-GCF team saw a dozen giraffe calves born in 2018 (a very encouraging number!). They are most of the time isolated from the rest of the group with their mother, since they usually move away to give birth.
The identification is made possible by the analysis and comparison of the giraffe pelage (or any other kind of distinctive sign) with photos taken in the previous years.

*This image is copyright of its original author
 In this photo, showing the left-side of an adult female, all of the spots can be clearly distinguished, which allows the identification of the giraffe. 


*This image is copyright of its original author
 Giraffes allowed the team to get relatively close, making it easier to take photos for the identification, like with this portrait of two males. We can notice the third ossicone on the front of the two giraffes, which helps confirm their gender, since females do not have it. 

 
Two questionnaires were prepared for the local communities so that we could have a better idea of their perceptions and interactions with giraffes. It was the first time they were circulated in the field, so they were conceived as experiments. The first questionnaire focused on the conflicts between locals and wildlife, while the second one was more specifically about the perception and interaction of people with giraffes. 
 
All the data collected were sent to the persons in charge of their processing. Also, the feedback on the questionnaires gave a good idea of how to improve them and adapt them better to the real conditions on the ground.
 
This mission has allowed us to highly improve our knowledge of the giraffe population in this area. Indeed, new born giraffes were observed but we also noticed the presence of some individuals that had remained unseen for many years. It also enabled us to have a better understanding of their distribution; going to new sites greatly helped realize that some of the giraffes had also settled down in a number
 remote places. 

ANTELOPE CONSERVATION: EXPORTING EXPERIENCE FROM TUNISIA ACROSS THE SAHARA

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 00:53 / 0 Comments


Many thanks to Marie Petretto, Tania Gilbert, and Philip Riordan for this article giving a useful overview on the experience of Marwell Wildlife, SCF long-time partner, with antelope conservation in Tunisia and in the Sahara.

 Once abundant and widespread Saharan antelopes, such as scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah) and addax (Addax nasomaculatus) have dwindled towards extinction during the twentieth century. Tunisia recognised the dramatic loss of its natural heritage early, and was amongst the first range countries to implement a national strategy to return these emblematic ungulates to their natural habitats.

 More recently, a joint project between the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the Chad government, with the Sahara Conservation Fund as the implementing agency, led to the release of captive-bred scimitar-horned oryx (SH oryx) from Abu-Dhabi, into the extensive unfenced Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim (OROA) Reserve in Chad, several decades after they were extirpated by over-hunting and habitat degradation.

Since the first release of SH oryx in Tunisia’s Bou Hedma National Park in 1985, and the subsequent Djerba Declaration in 1998, Marwell Wildlife has collaborated in a long-term partnership with the Tunisian Direction Générale des Forêts (DGF) to restore antelopes and their arid ecosystems in Tunisia. Our work has focused on monitoring these animals and their role in the aridland ecosystems. Our surveys address key questions on population viability, habitat use and animal health using a range of techniques including population genetics, biodiversity assessments, and population modelling.


*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author


 In 2012, the EAD convened a team including the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, RZSS and Marwell, to model scenarios of reintroduction success. The baseline model was adapted from one that Marwell developed for the reintroduction of SH oryx to Tunisia’s Dghoumes National Park in 2007.
 
Genetic evaluation by EAD and RZSS of the captive population for reintroduction to Chad indicated they would benefit from additional lineages, and in 2015 Marwell transferred 14 SH oryx donated by several European zoos (EAZA) to Abu-Dhabi. Together with SH oryx transferred from North America, they increased the population’s genetic diversity at the EAD. A similar approach to creating genetically diverse founders for reintroduction was employed in Tunisia in 2007, when animals from EAZA and North American zoos (AZA) were released into Dghoumes National Park.

*This image is copyright of its original author


There are substantial differences between the reintroduction of SH oryx to the large unfenced OROA Reserve in Chad and the smaller fenced protected areas in Tunisia. Unlike the OROA population, those in Tunisia require ongoing management to ensure long-term sustainability. Marwell works closely with the DGF and reserve managers to implement strategies that address issues of limited carrying capacity and small population size. These management strategies are informed by modelling, logistics, and genetics, thanks to generous support from SCF, RZSS, Le Cornelle (Italy), Monde Sauvage (Belgium), and Dublin Zoo (Ireland). 

 Our team’s success with SH oryx has stimulated similar Marwell & DGF projects for reintroduced addax (in partnership with RZSS, Al Ain Zoo-UAE and San Diego Zoo Global-USA), and the North African ostrich in Tunisia (for more details visit www.marwell.org.uk/conservation ).

*This image is copyright of its original author

Sadly, many countries do not have protected areas of sufficient size and with enough suitable habitat to support self-sustainable populations of large-bodied animals. Our fragmented population model may be the only pragmatic option that many countries can adopt if they want to see the return of these species. Marwell and the DGF are working to recreate natural species assemblages through management interventions across the network of protected areas in Tunisia, and the results will inform similar projects in other areas. An already tangible output is the Tunisian strategy for “re-wilding” areas that have been intensively overgrazed by domestic livestock.
 
Tunisia has demonstrated a strong commitment to the conservation and restoration of Sahelo-Saharan wildlife, and Marwell is honoured to partner with the DGF and will continue to collaborate on Tunisian conservation initiatives for the foreseeable future. 
 
M. Petretto, T. Gilbert, P. Riordan - Marwell Wildlife

CHALLENGES OF SAHELO-SAHARAN ANTELOPE REINTRODUCTIONS:
 DEPLETION IN THE WILD VS ABUNDANCE IN CAPTIVITY
Fri, 11/23/2018 - 14:40 / 0 Comments


The conservation community is facing a paradox related to the difficulties of reintroducing and/or reinforcing some species which are declining and disappearing in the wild while the number of individuals keeps increasing in captivity and overpopulation is becoming an issue, e.g.: Scimitar-horned Oryx and addax in zoos and private collections.

Based on the IUCN guidelines for reintroduction of antelope species, it is recommended to build up the most viable world herd by selecting individuals from captivity according to the studbooks and avoid genetic bottle neck. However, many challenges will come out while creating a world herd. Indeed, the lack of collaborative platform amongst zoos over the world is one big challenge and between zoos and private owners is another one.

The C2S2 (Conservation Centers for Species Survival ) initiative in United States appears to be an effective solution but it could be even more effective if it was extended to the rest of the world. The increasing restrictions about wildlife transportation from a continent to another one is also a major impediment to create suitable world herd. At last, the difference of objectives between zoos and conservation organizations is another constraint. Everybody agrees on the fact that species are declining in the wild and conservation in situ and ex-situ are both necessary. Nevertheless, the devil is in the details and while the zoo community will favor subspecies conservation for exhibition purpose, conservation organizations will favor genetic diversity to maximize resilience in a reintroduction context.

We hope the upcoming workshop dealing with Dama gazelle conservation which will take place in Al Ain Zoo by the end of this year, will bring solutions and will enable immediate actions to save this species in the wild. While experts keep arguing about the right thing to do, species are going extinct. Unfortunately, time is not on the side of conservation and swift action is needed to save what remains from extinction.


*This image is copyright of its original author
 Thomas Rabeil, SCF Regional Program Officer
THREATS TO EGYPTIAN VULTURES
Fri, 11/23/2018 - 15:29 / 0 Comments


The Egyptian Vulture is facing an important decline worldwide, and the Balkans have not been spared: from the hundreds of pairs historically present in the peninsula, about 70 pairs only are remaining, the population being victim of a 7% decline yearly for the past 30 years.

This rapid decline is hard to prevent as it is due to a complex combination of factors. Threats are multiple and differ from one region to another, putting pressure on the vultures on their breeding ground as well as along their migration routes. 
 
Within the framework of the Egyptian Vulture NEW LIFE project, SCF is investigating the main threats vultures are facing on their wintering grounds, mainly in Niger, and particularly mortality from electrocution, accidental poisoning through the use of veterinary medicine for cattle or agricultural products (mainly Diclofenac)  known to be fatal for vultures when feeding on contaminated carcasses, the  or along the same line, the use of poisons, mainly strychnine, known for its high toxicity and used to control wild carnivores,  or direct killing by poachers aiming at selling vulture parts for magical (or belief based) uses. 

*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author

For all these issues the team is investigating in the field as well as among administrations so that information can be gathered that should enable identification of the priority level of  each threat   and so prioritize our actions. 
As first results, even though the severity degree for every threat cannot be estimated with exactitude, poaching was found to be  acute in the region, possibly the most important threat. Indeed, cases had already been registered (cf. Paschalis case ) and the practice of this illegal activity has been confirmed by locals during interviews. 

As for the other threats listed above, they seem unlikely to be responsible for decimating large numbers of birds. Indeed, the country has only few electric infrastructures, mainly concentrated around cities, minimizing, or even excluding EV electrocution possibilities. As for poisoning, more investigation is still needed but as far as we know no EV cadavers, evidence of an accidental death, have been found, relegating such threats to a second level. 
 
Also, based on the previous results and simultaneously with  further investigation and follow-up activities,  preventive work will  be conducted with the view to raise awareness among local communities. Their understanding and support is crucial to the long-term success of such conservation endeavour. 
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