There is a world somewhere between reality and fiction. Although ignored by many, it is very real and so are those living in it. This forum is about the natural world. Here, wild animals will be heard and respected. The forum offers a glimpse into an unknown world as well as a room with a view on the present and the future. Anyone able to speak on behalf of those living in the emerald forest and the deep blue sea is invited to join.
--- Peter Broekhuijsen ---

  Conservation - Rhino Horn and Ivory: a sensitive issue
Posted by: Matias - 10-08-2018, 09:17 PM - Forum: News, Events & Updates - Replies (6)
I open this topic to focus news, articles and reports on the theme of the rhino horn and marfim. A space for discussion and dissemination of good information, promoting a qualified understanding on this global theme.

"There is a tendency for the two to mingle, giving the impression that the policy adopted for one species is also good for the other, signaling to address a unique conservation strategy for the two species. Elephants do not survive after ivory removal, so there is no means of a selective and sustainable retreat. For rhinos, livestock farming is a viable path, where sustainable and regulated use can provide a quantitative historical recovery. A species has no other means than its effective protection. The other can self-finance, use economic means to make it viable. And this mix can disrupt conservation policies for both species"

Illegal trade seizures: Rhino horn - Mapping the crimes


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  List of cats found in india
Posted by: bigcatlover - 09-30-2018, 12:53 AM - Forum: Wild Cats - Replies (2)
 India, the only country in the world to have all the three prime members of big cat family, The Lion, The Tiger and the Leopard makes India one of the major attraction for the wildlife lover across the globe. This blog article is concentrating to give more specific information about all the big cats’ species found in India.

 Cats Species in India

  1. Lion (Asiatic Lion)
  2. Tiger
  3. Leopard
  4. Snow Leopard
  5. Clouded Leopard
  6. The Jungle Cat
  7. The Golden Cat
  8. Leopard Cat
  9. Marbled Cat
  10. Desert Cat
  11. The Lynx
  12. The Caracal
  13. Pallas Cat
  14. Fishing cat
  15. Rusty spotted cat
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  Argentavis magnificens
Posted by: epaiva - 09-29-2018, 05:21 AM - Forum: Prehistoric animals - Replies (1)

*This image is copyright of its original author
The Giant Teratorn — Argentavis magnificens — was an absolutely enormous species of flying bird which lived in Argentina during the late Miocene, about six million years ago. As of now, it’s the largest species of flying bird ever discovered. It’s worth noting that the species could very well have had a much larger range than is currently known. It’s also worth mentioning that a very closely related species — also gigantic — lived until very recently along the west coast of North America, and no doubt had interactions with the people that lived there at the time
Argentavis magnificens possessed a wingspan probably somewhere between 23-30 feet, that’s about 2-3 times longer than that of the living bird with the largest wingspan –the Wandering Albatross. As far as morphology goes, it’s thought that its closest living relative is probably the Andean Condor — so just try to imagine an enormous condor and you wouldn’t be that far off.
It’s known that the Giant Teratorns possessed very stout, strong legs, with large feet — as a result they were likely good walkers. Their bill was also relatively large, with a hooked tip and a wide gape.

The current estimates on Argentavis magnificens size are:
Wingspan: approximately 23 feet
Wing area: 87.3 ft²
Wing loading: 84.6 N/m²
Body Length: 4.1 feet
Height: 5.6–6.6 feet
Mass: 154–171.6 lbs
As of now there isn’t really much known about the animal’s behavior, just speculation. Based on the size and structure of the wings it seems very likely that  A. magnificens flew primarily by soaring — only rarely relying on flapping flight, and only for short bursts. It seems likely as well that the species also used thermal currents for travel.
Credit to @simonstahli
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  Collection of Best Quotes Related to Wild Animals and Nature
Posted by: sanjay - 09-28-2018, 09:57 PM - Forum: Miscellaneous - No Replies
I think we all should share the quotes related to nature and wild animals, sometime it is very encouraging. This thread is made specifically for this purpose..

Here are mine, I will post other with time:

Quote:A man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there was an ancestor whom I should feel shame in recalling it would rather be a man. --Thomas Huxley

Quote:There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more --Lord Byron
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Posted by: brotherbear - 09-26-2018, 02:35 PM - Forum: Bears - Replies (3)
A kleptoparasite is an animal that routinely displaces accomplished predators from their kills. Some ( non-bear ) animals of the far distant past ( possibly ) includes Tyrannosaurus rex, Andrewsarchus, and Daeodon. The giant short-faced bears ( Arctodus and Arctotherium ) were probably kleptoparasites.

Feeding on Carrion and Prey of Other Predators
Brown bears are commonly consuming dead animals found by them (Zavatsky, 1979, Zyryanov, 1979, Kaletskaya, 1981, Zhiryakov, 1987 and Pazhetnov, 1990), including in Sikhote-Alin (Bromlei, 1965, Matyushkin, 1974, Darman, 1982, Yudin, 1993 and Zaitsev and Seryodkin, 2011). The results of the capture of bears conducted by us in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve have shown that they are attracted to carrion (Seryodkin et al., 2005b). In 1992–2001 six brown bears were caught with the use of bait: three animals using meat bait and three — using fish bait. The rate of successful capture was much higher using these baits (560 days/individual), rather than using trails and marked trees (1196 days/individual). Meat baits are consumed by the animals in any season.

Besides dead and wounded animals bears eat the prey of other predators and the remnants of their meals in Sikhote-Alin. Most often, the bears consume prey of tigers and lynxes (Matyushkin, 1974, Kostoglod, 1976 and Seryodkin et al., 2005a). A case of using the prey of yellow-throated marten is known (Zaitsev, 1991). Large bears cannot only eat up remains after tigers, but also chase them off their prey or join the fight (Sysoev, 1966, Kucherenko, 1971, Kostoglod, 1976 and Seryodkin et al., 2005a). In the snow period some bears purposely track tigers and lynxes to find the remains or take away their prey (Kostoglod, 1976 and Seryodkin et al., 2012). According to observations of Kostoglod, the trail of a bear not settled in its lair tracking other predators in order to capture their prey was 22% of the total length of the bear trail (44 km out of 200 km) (Kostoglod, 1976). In the spring before snow melting bears look for animals which died during winter and prey of tigers buried in snow (Seryodkin et al., 2005a). For this purpose bears go along the floodplain of a river or a creek, often leaving the path to examine interesting places, winding, sometimes stopping to sniff. A bear is able to smell the odor of the remains of an animal at a distance of 250 m at a temperature below 0 °C. Bears also go in the footsteps of their relatives, picking uneaten remains of carrion. Snowtracking of three brown bears in the basin of a creek in the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve in April revealed that along the 17 km trail the bears have four times found the remains of red deer crushed by tigers during the winter, and once — a whole red deer that died of a broken limb. In three cases other bears have been on these tiger prey before them.

Behavior Near Prey or Carrion
Covering the prey with soil, forest cover, branches and other forest products is typical, but not necessary for brown bears in Sikhote-Alin (Matyushkin, 1974). The burial of the prey may be complete when the whole animal is hidden, or partial. Apparently, the act of covering primarily provides saving the prey from spongers, as the bear's prey attracts corvid birds, and the predator guards it from them (Pazhetnov, 1990). On the Kola Peninsula, burying of the remnants allows to distinguish the bear's prey from accidental carrion (Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky, 1972). For the Sikhote-Alin this assumption is not true. Out of 28 known cases of brown bears feeding on dead bodies of animals in 8 cases (28.6%) the burial occurred. Four times out of five bears were burying their prey, twice — the prey of tigers (out of 20), in both cases the tigers were chased off by the bears, and twice the bears buried dead wounded animals found by them. It is clear from these data that the bears are more likely to bury whole carcasses of animals rather than their remains left after other predators.
A brown bear may cover its prey after he had already started to eat it (Matyushkin, 1974), or after burying the carcass, may wait for some time without eating it. In the latter case, covering the prey with the forest cover by maintaining the temperature contributes to faster fermentation processes that make fresh meat “ripe” that is more attractive for animals (Korytin, 1998). We know of two cases when brown bears buried dead animals, but did not eat them at once. In the first case, a bear buried a dead wounded boar and returned to the place of burial on the third day. In another case, a brown bear that killed another brown bear covered it with forest cover and left the place without touching the food. For covering a red dear one of predators had to dig up and bring to the center the soil and forest cover from an area of 60 m2. The author also observed Kamchatka brown bears waiting for “ripening” of dead prey. A large male bear began to eat a buried female bear three days after procuring it at Kronotskaya River (Kronotsky Reserve) in September 2003.
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  Conservation - Scientific Papers
Posted by: Matias - 09-25-2018, 10:21 PM - Forum: Research, Discoveries & Articles - Replies (7)
Gaia 2.0
Timothy M. Lenton, Bruno Latour
Science  14 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6407, pp. 1066-1068
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau0427

According to Lovelock and Margulis's Gaia hypothesis, living things are part of a planetary-scale self-regulating system that has maintained habitable conditions for the past 3.5 billion years (1, 2). Gaia has operated without foresight or planning on the part of organisms, but the evolution of humans and their technology are changing that. Earth has now entered a new epoch called the Anthropocene (3), and humans are beginning to become aware of the global consequences of their actions. As a result, deliberate self-regulation—from personal action to global geoengineering schemes—is either happening or imminently possible. Making such conscious choices to operate within Gaia constitutes a fundamental new state of Gaia, which we call Gaia 2.0. By emphasizing the agency of life-forms and their ability to set goals, Gaia 2.0 may be an effective framework for fostering global sustainability...

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  Bear Intelligence
Posted by: brotherbear - 09-20-2018, 01:32 PM - Forum: Bears - Replies (3) 
The Average Bear is Smarter than We Thought 
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  Conservation (articles and reports)
Posted by: Matias - 09-18-2018, 11:53 PM - Forum: News, Events & Updates - Replies (25)
"Starting with Uganda is a way of seeing with new eyes, a country with many probblem, where conservation walks at a slow pace ... but it goes ahead, seeking improvements for its people, identifying that tourism is an important part of this process"

Saturday April 7 2018
Pian Upe Park will balance our tourism

*This image is copyright of its original author
                               Scenery. Tourists enjoy a game drive in Murchision Falls National Park. PHOTO by Dominic Bukenya. 

In Summary:
  • One sided. Uganda’s tourism is skewed and the result is that a visitor to Uganda will likely only get to experience one side of Uganda.
  • This means the opportunity to earn from tourism is also limited to one side of the country.
  • How do we make Uganda tourism truly national? Odoobo C. Bichachi explores

By Odoobo C. Bichachi

Recently I had occasion to pick someone arriving at Entebbe International Airport and since the flight was delayed by half an hour, I found myself at the information desk where I was given an array of literature on tourism.I soon settled for a booklet titled “Uganda Tourism Catalogue: Journey Through the Pearl”. In the pages were colourful photographs and bite-size information about places one could visit in different parts of the country. I decided to analyse our tourism sector basing on the contents of the booklet and the pages allocated to different tourism regions, juxtaposing this with other tourism and general economic statistics. The emerging picture was interesting In those pages, there was everything right and wrong about Uganda tourism that should trigger an urgent conversation among government, tourism agencies, and other stakeholders. The booklet showed that Uganda’s tourism is skewed and the result is that a visitor to Uganda will likely only get to experience one side of Uganda. This means the opportunity to earn from tourism is also limited to one side of the country. How do we make Uganda tourism truly national? How do we spread the tourism experience, opportunities and benefits?

First, to the booklet. Out of the 131 pages, attractive “sights and sounds” in Uganda’s central region cover 28 pages, eastern region covers 21 pages, northern region covers 14 pages and western Uganda covers 68 pages. In percentage terms, this represents 21 per cent for central, 16 per cent for eastern, 11 per cent for northern and 52 per cent for western. The book is of course a reflection of what is on the ground. Most of Uganda’s tourism activities revolve around the Albertine Rift. There are currently 10 national parks in the country. Of these, seven and a half are located in western part of the country in the greater Albertine Rift. These are Mgahinga NP and Bwindi Impenetrable NP at the southwest tip of the country, home to the world famous mountain gorillas; Queen Elizabeth NP; Rwenzori Mountains NP; Lake Mburo NP; Kibale Forest NP; Semliki NP and Murchison Falls NP – southern sector. Only Kidepo Valley NP, Mount Elgon NP and the northern sector of Murchison Falls NP fall outside the western geographic region. Thus the two other parks fall in eastern Uganda while the half falls in northern Uganda.Outside game tourism, the other big attraction to Uganda for tourists is adventure and sightseeing in Jinja based on the source of the River Nile and the rapids/waterfalls along its course to Lake Kyoga, and increasingly the Ssese Islands beach resorts. Jinja is centrally located in the country as it is at the borderline of central and eastern Uganda. The Ssese Islands are in central Uganda in Lake Victoria.

Sharing tourism cake

What does this pattern of tourism mean in actual economic numbers? Well, tourism and travel has over the last few years grown to become Uganda’s number one foreign exchange earner. In 2016, the sector’s direct contribution to GDP was Shs2.4 trillion while visitor exports (money spent by tourists travelling into the country) was Shs2.6 trillion. The sector employed directly 191,000 people and indirectly through the support industry a total of 504,000 people. In terms of investment, Shs1.05 trillion was invested in the travel and tourism sector in 2016.

Broken down by the percentage of tourism activity per region as extrapolated from the booklet, the direct contribution of travel and tourism of western region to GDP stands at Shs1.3 trillion compared to central region’s Shs509 billion, eastern region’s Shs388 billion and northern region’s Shs266 billion.

In terms of employment, of the 191,000 direct jobs in the travel and tourism sector, about 99,320 jobs would be in western region, central region would have 40,110, eastern region would have 30,560 while northern would have only 21,010.
As for the 504,000 indirect jobs, 262,080 would be in western region, central region would have 105,840, eastern would have 80,640 and northern region would have only 55,440 jobs.

It is clear tourism creates a ripple effect and stimulates production of goods and services in different sectors along the value chain thus creating employment and economic opportunities for many in regional towns and remote communities. The value chain around tourism includes food production and supplies, construction, crafts, carpentry, transport, etc.

Just to get a graphic sense of it; the Tourism Sector Development Plan 2015/2016 noted the following: In 2011 there were 64,602 establishments providing accommodation and food in the country to tourists/travellers and these were employing 154,000 people. At least 29,635 of these were in hotels and campsites, 79,572 were in restaurants and mobile food outlets and 44,960 were engaged in events and other food services. There were 445 registered tour operators all employing at least 975 people. There were 325 tour guides and 2,901 members of community-based enterprises involved in making handcrafts and other tourism related activities. Tourism therefore impacts directly and indirectly on livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people in Uganda.

Indeed when tourism map is juxtaposed with the national poverty map, the impact of tourism – or lack of it – is clearly visible. According the Uganda National Household Survey 2016/2017, poverty is most prevalent in northern and eastern Uganda where it stands at 42.1 per cent in Busoga, 47.5 per cent in Bukedi, 40.9 per cent in Elgon, 40.5 per cent in Teso, 60.8 per cent in Karamoja, 34.7 in Acholi, 27.2 per cent in West Nile and 17.6 per cent in Lango. All these are areas with the least tourism activities. By contrast, the poverty prevalence is low in Kigezi at 19.5 percent, 11.5 per cent in Ankole, 20.5 per cent in Tooro, 27.5 per cent in Bunyoro, 24.3 per cent in Central 1, 21.8 per cent in Central 2, 7.5 per cent in Wakiso and 5.9 per cent in Kampala. Yes there are many factors that account for the poverty prevalence but certainly tourism has played a significant role in reducing poverty in the Albertine region. Queen Elizabeth NP and Murchison Falls NP are the most visited parks in Uganda while Kidepo Valley NP in Karamoja and Mt Elgon NP are the least visited parks in the country.

Omission or commission?

The current tourism infrastructure map is both an accident of nature and history. The Albertine Rift “is the western branch of the East African Rift Valley, covering parts of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. It extends from the northern end of Lake Albert to the southern end of Lake Tanganyika.

*This image is copyright of its original author
                                                                              Map showing key national parks in Uganda

The Albertine Rift is one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world. Its landscape is also one of the most beautiful with spectacular land formations that created mountains, valleys, lakes and dramatic escarpments. It was therefore only natural that the colonial governments would gazette at least two national parks and several games reserves in the region.
Thus between 1926 and 1932, the colonial government established several game reserves across the Uganda Protectorate/Colony. In 1952, two of the big games reserves were elevated to national park status – namely Queen Elizabeth NP and Murchison Falls NP. In 1962, the Obote I government elevated Kidepo Game Reserve to a national park and later in 1983 the Obote II government elevated Lake Mburo game reserve to a national park, bringing the total national parks to four. It would remain so until 1991.

Between May 1991 and September 1993, six forest reserves were upgraded to national parks by the NRM government. They are: Rwenzori Mountains NP, Bwindi Impenetrable NP and Mgahinga NP (all in1991), Mt Elgon NP, Kibale Forest NP and Semliki NP (all in 1993). The primary driver in the upgrading of these game reserves to national parks was conservation. Mgahinga and Bwindi are home to the last surviving mountain gorillas while Kibale Forest is home to the biggest population of chimpanzees in Uganda. Mt Elgon and Rwenzori Mountains were elevated largely to preserve the forest cover whose decrease was having a huge impact on the country’s climate.

Several 1920s conservation areas however remained game reserves. These are: Katonga in western region), Ajai in West Nile region, Pian Upe, Matheniko and Bokora in eastern region. A few like Karuma, Bugungu, Kyambura, Kigezi and Semliki wildlife reserves became part of the wider conservation area around the nearby national parks – Murchison Falls NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Semliki NP.

Nonetheless, it was always known that money follows conservation through tourism. The number of visitors to our national parks and the investments there in for accommodation and experiential tours attests to this. However for one reason or the other, I was unable to get the latest statistics from UWA on number of visitors, total revenue by park and revenue shared with communities as stipulated in the Uganda Wildlife Act. The information is not available on UWA website. UWA is by law supposed to share 20 per cent of gate collections with the districts in which the national parks are located.

More shall be given

In the evening of his reign, then UWA executive director Andrew Seguya – who handed over office two weeks or so ago – rolled out a mission to upgrade Katonga Wildlife Reserve to national park status. In furtherance of this, several animals were translocated from Murchison Falls and Lake Mburo national parks to boost the wildlife numbers in Katonga game reserve.
The necessary paperwork to have the area become a national park seems already complete pending presentation to cabinet and Parliament for endorsement. If all goes as planned, Katonga will be the eleventh national park in the country soon. Three things to note here: one, it will be the ninth national park in western Uganda. Two, the nine national parks in this region will be within 100km driving distance from each other (about one a half hours drive). Three, all the colonial gazetted wildlife reserves in western Uganda will now be at the level of national park, or part of a national park.

This is good news to the communities in these areas who will be able to pick more dollars from the growing number of tourists – selling goods or getting jobs. It is good news for investors (especially local ones) who are increasingly finding their feet in tourism through construction of accommodation and stop-over places. It is good news for tourists and tour companies who now have another easy picking added to their itinerary. It is also good for conservation in that more resources will be available to Katonga reserve – man power, money for infrastructure development, promotion/marketing, etc.

Critical questions

But it is bad for variety and it does not address the imbalance in tourism opportunities in the country. This is the reason there has been both excitement and disquiet in this move by UWA to single out Katonga for upgrade. What were the reasons for picking it out over and above the other game reserves at the same status? When will northern and eastern Uganda have any or all the game reserves set up in 1922 upgraded to national park status?
UWA’s unofficial explanation has been that the communities/districts in other regions have not asked for the game reserves to be upgraded to national parks; only the community around Katonga has asked! The question then is were they prompted or not? Were other areas prompted and were they are negative or not?

The benefits of a national park in a given area are immense. In terms of direct monetary contribution to communities around the national parks, UWA in the financial year 2015/2015 gave Shs900 million to the districts of Kasese, Kamwenge, Rubirizi, Mitooma, Rukungiri, Kanungu and Ibanda as part of the 20 per cent gate collections given back to the communities for conservation.

In the same year and for the same purpose, UWA gave Shs143 million to the communities adjacent to Kidepo Valley N P to implement livelihood projects. In 2014/2015, UWA had given Shs175 million to the communities adjacent to Lake Mburo NP as revenue-sharing funds. In 2006, UWA gave back Shs400 million to 15 sub counties surrounding Murchison Falls National Park in the districts of Buliisa, Masindi, Apac, Gulu, Amoro and Nebbi.

The latest figures were not available despite several attempts to get them from UWA.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Poverty estimates

Pian Upe and Ajai game parks

Several conservationists and tourism experts have spoken about the need to upgrade Pian Upe and Ajai game reserves into national parks but so far only Katonga is on UWA’s cards.
It certainly should not be a case of either or! The issue for UWA and government is to look at what investments can be made in other game reserves to make them more viable as conservation and tourism areas. Ajai Wildlife Reserve that was home to the rhinocerous can be stimulated by re-introduction of rhinos and other game. Instead rhinos are only at the privately owned Ziwa Ranch in Nakasongola.

More tourists visiting Ajai would not only boost the economy of West Nile region, it would also add a new activity to tourists visiting Murchison Falls NP given that the two conservation areas are about 100km apart.

Pian Upe is located in eastern Uganda and lies in the lower Karamoja area is very compelling proposition. It is the second largest conservation area in the country after Murchison Falls NP. But it has suffered years of neglect and abuse that in 2003 a plan to de-gazette it into farmland was mooted but thankfully defeated.

The potential for Pian Upe for conservation and tourism is immense. In the past, the area once supported big populations of elephants, lions, black rhinos and giraffes which are now extinct. Today there are small populations of zebra, eland, Grants gazelle and smaller mammals and the smaller cats and jackals. Translocations of a few hundred animals from the other national parks can therefore quickly get Pian Upe on its feet. Of course this would come with careful study and strengthening of manpower to protect the animals from poachers as well as development of requisite infrastructure to support national park activities. All these are not impossibilities and lie squarely in UWA’s mandate, Uganda Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism.

Balancing the regions

The elevation of Pian Upe to a national park would not only bring about some balance in the spread of national parks and tourism infrastructure, it would also make the other two national parks in the region – Mt Elgon and Kidepo Valley – more viable as a complete circuit. A tourist could therefore plan to visit Mt Elgon, Pian Upe and end up at Kidepo in one swoop.

The other impact of Pian Upe NP is that it could boost visits to existing places that attract minimal tourist traffic like Nyero Rock Paintings and Sipi Falls and perhaps stimulate the development of other sites like the enchanting Mt Kadam that is barely 100km away, Lake Bisina and Lake Opeta.

As earlier noted, tourism has a ripple effect near and far. The immediate beneficiaries would be the community surrounding the park who would not only get jobs, supply tourist lodges that will crop up, and sell artifacts to tourists, they would also share 20 per cent revenues from UWA’s gate collections.

Hotels in the nearby towns of Mbale, Moroto and Soroti whose room accupancy is currently very low as they mostly host training workshops and a handful of itinerants would greatly benefit from increased tourist visits. A few other hotels and stop-overs shall also be viable along the Tirinyi highway and the Mbale-Nakapiripirit-Moroto highway. Tour operators would also benefit from a new tourism circuit and the opportunity it brings to host tourists for more days, therefore more earnings.Finally the country would gain most – better conservation in an area that has suffered neglect, more diversified tourism experience, more revenues and better livelihood.

Domain: Daily Monitor


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  Arabian leopard
Posted by: bigcatlover - 09-18-2018, 01:47 AM - Forum: Leopard - Replies (6)
Hey guys noticed there was no thread for the Arabian leopard the smallest leopard subspecies and a cat thats really close to extinction The Arabian leopard has pelage hues that vary from pale yellow to deep golden or tawny and are patterned with rosettes. At a weight of about 30 kg (66 lb) for the male and around 20 kg (44 lb) for the female,
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  Crocodile and Big cats Interaction
Posted by: sanjay - 09-17-2018, 08:35 AM - Forum: Reptiles and Birds - Replies (54)
I think this is much needed separate thread where we can share information, images and video related to crocodile, alligators and caiman interacting with big cats or any other predator species.
I request to post all your finding in this thread which is related to These reptiles and other carnivora, specially big cats.
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