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 ---

  Mammoth steppe and Pleystocene parks
Posted by: Wolverine - 02-16-2019, 12:08 PM - Forum: Extinct Animals - Replies (1)

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author


During the Last Glacial Maximum, the mammoth steppe was the Earth’s most extensive biome. It spanned from Spain eastwards across Eurasia to Canada and from the arctic islands southwards to China. It had a cold, dry climate; the vegetation was dominated by palatable high-productivity grasses, herbs and willow shrubs, and the animal biomass was dominated by the bison, horse, and the woolly mammoth. This ecosystem covered wide areas of the northern part of the globe, thrived for approximately 100,000 years without major changes, and then suddenly became all but extinct about 12,000 years ago.
During glacial periods, there is clear evidence for intense aridity due to water being held in glaciers and their associated effects on climate.The mammoth steppe was like a huge 'inner court' that was surrounded on all sides by moisture-blocking features: massive continental glaciers, high mountains, and frozen seas. These kept rainfall low and created more days with clear skies than are seen today, which increased evaporation in the summer leading to aridity, and radiation of warmth from the ground into the black night sky in the winter leading to cold. 
This is thought to have been caused by seven factors:
-The driving force for the core Asian steppe was an enormous and stable high-pressure system north of the Tibetan Plateau.
-Deflection of the larger portion of the Gulf Stream southward, past southern Spain onto the coast of Africa, reduced temperatures (hence moisture and cloud cover) that the North Atlantic Current brings to Western Europe.

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

-Growth of the Scandinavian ice sheet created a barrier to North Atlantic moisture.
-Icing over of the North Atlantic sea surface with reduced flow of moisture from the east.
-The winter (January) storm track seems to have swept across Eurasia on this axis.
-Lowered sea levels exposed a large continental shelf to the north and east producing a vast northern plain which increased the size of the continent to the north.
-North American glaciers shielded interior Alaska and the Yukon Territory from moisture flow. These physical barriers to moisture flow created a vast arid basin or protected 'inner court' spanning parts of three continents.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Animal biomass and plant productivity of the mammoth steppe were similar to today's African savannah. There is no comparison to it today.

The mammoth steppe was dominated in biomass by bison, horse, and the woolly mammoth, and was the center for the evolution of the Pleistocene woolly fauna. On Wrangel Island, the remains of woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, horse, bison and musk ox have been found. Reindeer and small animal remains do not preserve, but reindeer excrement has been found in sediment. In the most arid regions of the mammoth steppe that were to the south of Central Siberia and Mongolia, woolly rhinoceros were common but woolly mammoths were rare.Reindeer live in the far north of Mongolia today and historically their southern boundary passed through Germany and along the steppes of eastern Europe, indicating they once covered much of the mammoth steppe. Mammoths survived on the Taimyr Peninsula until the Holocene. A small population of mammoth survived on St. Paul Island, Alaska, up until 3750 BC, and the small mammoths of Wrangel Island survived until 1650 BC. Bison in Alaska and the Yukon, and horses and muskox in northern Siberia, have survived the loss of the mammoth steppe.One study has proposed that a change of suitable climate caused a significant drop in the mammoth population size, which made them vulnerable to hunting from expanding human populations. The coincidence of both of these impacts in the Holocene most likely set the place and time for the extinction of the woolly mammoth
The mammoth steppe had a cold, dry climate. During the past interglacial warmings, forests of trees and shrubs expanded northwards into the mammoth steppe, when northern Siberia, Alaska and the Yukon (Beringia) would have formed a mammoth steppe refugium. When the planet grew colder again, the mammoth steppe expanded. This ecosystem covered wide areas of the northern part of the globe, thrived for approximately 100,000 years without major changes, and then suddenly became extinct about 12,000 years ago.

*This image is copyright of its original author
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  Urban & Rural Wildlife
Posted by: Rishi - 02-16-2019, 10:36 AM - Forum: Human & Nature - Replies (4)
Meant to cover the species living in Human Altered Artificial Habitats over the world, their lives as well as their survival techniques & adaptations.

Members post any photos of animals that live around your locality.. & feel free to tag anyone else.
@Shadow, @Wolverine @qstxyz @epaiva @Amnon242 @Pantherinae @phatio @parvez @SuSpicious
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  Turtle, Terrapin and Tortoise
Posted by: Sanju - 02-15-2019, 01:01 PM - Forum: Reptiles and Birds - No Replies
Sea Turtle Populations Soared by 980% After Legal Protections: Report
"We should celebrate the act's track record of reducing harms."

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The Endangered Species Act has a strong track record of protecting endangered animals, a core tenet of both Global Goal 14 and 15. As marine habitats around the world deteriorate due to climate change and other factors, the ESA can help to reverse the decline of various species. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

When animal habitats are protected, animals tend to thrive.
That’s the simple yet groundbreaking conclusion of a new report analyzing the effect of the United States’ Endangered Species Act (ESA) on marine animals, published in the academic journal PLOS One.
A team of researchers looked at 31 marine populations and found that the populations of 78% of marine mammals and 75% of sea turtles rebounded after receiving protections under the law.
The median sea turtle population increased by 980% following the regulations established by the ESA, and the median increase for mammals was 115%.
Take Action: Protect our Oceans! Prevent Ocean Plastic Pollution Sign Now

The authors of the report think that this promising data could help to protect the ESA at a time when the Trump administration is looking to roll back animal protections.
"The Endangered Species Act not only saved whales, sea turtles, sea otters, and manatees from extinction, it dramatically increased their population numbers, putting them solidly on the road to full recovery," Shaye Wolf, a Center for Biological Diversity scientist and coauthor of the study, said in a press release. "We should celebrate the act's track record of reducing harms from water pollution, overfishing, beach habitat destruction, and killing.”

The ESA was passed in 1973 and created a mechanism for protecting animals that were in danger of going extinct. When an animal receives protection under this act, its habitat is shielded from most human activities and rehabilitation measures are often taken. For example, if a turtle receives protection, then fishing, tourism, waste disposal, and other activities could be prohibited from a certain area, and conservationists may work to restore the turtles’ sources of food.

Read More: 5 Marine Animals Will Go Extinct If We Don't Act Now

The report published in PLOS One shows how the act has played a role in saving numerous animals from the brink of extinction.
Hawaiian humpback whales, for example, went from a population of 800 in 1979 to 10,000 in 2015. The species recovered so substantially that it was removed from the ESA in 2016.

*This image is copyright of its original author

“The humpback whales migrating along the West Coast are a success story everyone can appreciate,” said Abel Valdivia, a coauthor of the study and scientist with the conservation group Rare, in the press release. “We can clearly save endangered species if we make the effort, provide the needed funds and have strong laws like the Endangered Species Act to guide the work.”
Reported nests of the North Atlantic green sea turtle along Florida’s coastline had plunged to 464 by 1989. After the animal received protection through the ESA, nests jumped to 39,000 in 2016.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Image: Mark Sullivan for NOAA

Read More: 5 Coral Reefs That Are Dying Around the World
The plight of marine creatures has come into alarming focus in recent years.
As climate change intensifies, the world’s oceans are absorbing the bulk of the excess heat produced by greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, causing water temperatures to rise to levels that cook species, including coral, alive.

Warming waters are also rearranging the distribution of sea animals in often disastrous ways. For example, a massive blob of warm water traveled to the coast of California, bringing sea urchins that ravaged ancient kelp forests that formed the backbone of local ecosystems.

Read More: Every Marine Animal Studied in This Report Contained Microplastics
The oceans are also absorbing excess carbon in the atmosphere, which alters the water’s pH level, making it more acidic. As a result, coral reefs are dying en masse around the world and cretaceous creatures are losing their shells.

Furthermore, the oceans have become filled with plastic particles that cause immense harm to the marine animals, and industrial waste that creates dead zones.
To make matters worse, overfishing threatens to destroy various fish species, and companies are shooting seismic guns that sound like bombs exploding into the oceans to search for oil fields, disrupting the web of sound that many marine animals rely upon to survive.

The ESA has been able to reverse the decline of many marine creatures and it could be used to slow down some of the hazards facing the world’s oceans.
“Humans often destroy marine ecosystems,” Wolf said, “but our study shows that with strong laws and careful stewardship, we can also restore them, causing wildlife numbers to surge.”
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  Ngandong Tiger (Panthera Tigris soloensis)
Posted by: smedz - 02-11-2019, 01:40 AM - Forum: Pleistocene Big Cats - Replies (24)
After hearing about the Ngandong tiger, I thought this animal deserved it's own thread. Many questions an average person would have are 

1. How big was it? 
2. What was on it's menu? 
3. Why was it so big? 
4. What predators would it have competed with? (No vs debates please) 
5. We're they the biggest pantherine cats yet discovered? 

What are all of your thoughts?
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  Felids vs canids bone density?
Posted by: Uncia - 02-10-2019, 06:12 AM - Forum: Questions - Replies (2)
Felids are far stronger than canids on p4p and far more muscular.

But what about bone density?

For me, felids have also denser bones and skull. Because of felids are most of lone animals and hunts very large preys. Not pack animals like canids.

For this reason, except muscle, also needed very dense bones.
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  Reintroduction & Rewilding
Posted by: Sanju - 02-09-2019, 06:48 PM - Forum: Projects, Protected areas & Issues - Replies (34)
Rewilding is an exciting, new narrative of recovery and hope
by Prerna Singh Bindra on 8 February 2019

*This image is copyright of its original author

  • Rewilding is the reintroduction of missing, locally extinct plants and animals to a landscape, which has the potential to restore ecosystems.
  • A recent conference in the U.K. discussed the various aspects of rewilding with an aim to set a visionary roadmap inspired by stories and messages of hope from diverse geographies and a spectrum of projects.
  • For rewilding to be successful on a large scale, there has to be consensus in its favour, and the process needs to be consultative, inclusive and transparent with government and policy support.
  • In her commentary on rewilding, Prerna Singh Bindra compares stories from different regions and India and opines that India must continue its protection of wildlife and indeed take the lead in conservation.
“But without bringing in predators how do you control the deer population – which at over 1.5 million is believed to the highest since the Ice Age in the United Kingdom?” The question was posed at the recent Rewilding Conference held in Cambridge, England in a talk by author Isabella Tree on the successful rewilding of the 3,500-acre family estate Knepp in West Sussex.
Paradoxically, in a conference to bring back nature, the answers to contain the deer, which is degrading landscapes by overgrazing meadows and consuming young trees, were anthropogenic — culling, hunting and consumption of venison.

Not predation by the carnivorous cat, lynx, that once lived wild in the U.K. about 1,300 years ago, or wolves, that were hunted out by around the 17th century. But without introducing predators, who naturally check overpopulation of herbivores and shape the landscape, is it rewilding in the truest sense of the term?
At the conference, author and environmentalist, George Monbiot addressed, literally, the elephant in the room, by announcing, “We, in Britain, live in an elephant adapted ecosystem,” and that “I want them back, even if the response (to this) is shall we say, muted.”

Astounding as it may seem, 40,000 years ago, not very long in geological terms, straight-tusked elephants — closely related to the Asian elephants in India — were part of the European ecosystem. In fact, if your London itinerary included the popular Trafalgar Square, it might interest you to know that you likely walked over the bones of now-extinct elephants, lions and hippos (the kind that still live in Africa), which were unearthed when Trafalgar Square was excavated in the 19th century.

Elephants need vast landscapes and as forests shrink, they increasingly cross paths with humans, which sometimes results in conflict. For instance, in India some 400 people are killed annually by elephants, which, in turn, are routinely chased, harried, injured and killed in retaliation for loss of crops, life – or for their presence in human habitation.

Elephants are not really part of the vibrant rewilding debate in Europe. On a viability scale of 10, Monbiot rates it a low ‘2’ for reintroduction in the U.K., but they raise vital questions: What are the animals we seek to rewild, and further, is our vision limited to only rewilding animals we want to? How far back in time do we go when we are considering rewilding locally extinct animals? Is rewilding feasible in degraded, destroyed ecosystems, and in a crowded, hungry planet? Does it conflict with interests of local communities and the current paradigm of development and growth? Indeed, what is rewilding?

*This image is copyright of its original author

A 2006 image of deer on the Knepp Estate in Sussex. Photo by Shazz/Wikimedia Commons.

Rewilding has been described as reintroducing the missing, locally extinct plants and animals to a landscape, restoring ecosystems. It is also about “abandoning the ethos of human dominion over nature,” as feminist icon, author and conservationist Germaine Greer noted in her keynote address at the conference.
It is about reversing damage to ecosystems, restoring nature. It is certainly not merely planting trees, or the futile notion of “compensating” the loss of old growth forests by planting new trees, which seems to be the way of the world, including in India where destroying forests for infrastructure and industry is legally permissible when ‘compensated’ with planting a new forest.

Rewilding is setting aside the clock and abiding by nature’s time. It demands patience. The Knepp farm in Sussex took seed 17 years ago, while on the other side of the world, at the edge of the Thar desert in Jodhpur, India, the ecological restoration of the Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park was initiated in 2006. Both projects are ongoing. Rewilding cannot heed government deadlines. The stupendous effort to restore the ecology of the denuded Aravalis, one of the world’s most ancient mountain ranges, in the Aravali Biodiversity Park in urban Gurgaon in northern India has had to battle with impatient bureaucrats who prefer “fast growing trees”— even if exotic — which would yield rapid results, in time to meet annual targets, and the next budget.

Rewilding projects may take decades, or even have a 250-year vision, like the project to restore keystone species in the Scottish Caledonian forest, that transcends generations. The seeds, though, must be sown now, to breathe life into damaged, dying ecosystems. In the era of the Sixth Extinction and the bleak landscape of conservation, rewilding is an exciting, new narrative of recovery and hope.

The two-day conference organised by Cambridge Conservation Forum discussed many such issues, sparked contentious debates, set a visionary roadmap and offered an interesting mix of remarkable stories and messages of hope from diverse geographies and a spectrum of projects. The pioneering Knepp project transformed an intensively aggressively farmed land to a hotspot for nightingales and rare turtle doves, nesting peregrine falcons, wild boar, deer; and has the U.K.’s biggest breeding population of purple emperor butterflies and all of its owl species.

The reintroduction of one of the largest birds of prey—the Golden Eagle in southern Scotland, where populations are precariously low at two to four breeding pairs.  Founder of ‘Trees for Life’, Alan Watson told his inspiring story of rewilding 10,000 acres of Dundreggan in Scotland, part of a landscape scale project to restore the beleaguered Caledonian Forest to its former glory. This is part of an ambitious network Rewilding Europe, which has projects across eight landscapes and 10 countries including those that transcend borders such as the effort to rewild the Oder Delta across Poland and Germany.

Not all projects need to be on a grand scale. Germaine Greer’s U.K. project—she has also restored 70 acres of Gondwana Rainforest in Australia—The Mills, is a small, a three-acre site in Great Chesterford, Essex. In India, conservationists Poonam and Harsh Dhanwatey invested in a degraded seven-acres land in the village Ghosri, that formed a vulnerable stretch connecting two parts of the Tadoba Tiger reserve, Maharashtra, and dedicatedly restored it, working with the locals to secure the area. That was in 2000, and today, it is a lush forest that provides safe passage to tigers, bears, leopards, sambar deer, wild dogs and other wild animals.

Not all projects were lavishly funded either. Projects like the one in Ghosri, or a restoration programme in the 100-acre Jabarkhet Nature Reserve, in the lower Himalayas, close to Mussoorie, where the hills have been ravaged by real estate and other development, are driven by the urge to conserve and heal the land. They were initially self-funded before business models like low-impact tourism were developed to sustain it. Many individual efforts are done without expectations, motivated, as Greer says, “to give what wildlife needs most — space.”

Therein lies the crux of the rewilding debate: Is there room to rewild? Does it have wide support? In the case of predators the answer, most times, is “no”, more so in the U.K., which Monbiot points out has been “particularly anomalous, even as we have lost more of our large mammals than most countries.”  In fact, the U.K. ranks an abysmal 189th out of 218 countries assessed for “biodiversity intactness.”

In Ireland, rewilding backfired badly. Tragically. The first white-tailed eagle fledgling to be released – as part of a reintroduction effort – was shot dead. A survey, explained David Bavin of the Vincent Wildlife Trust, to asses people’s attitudes to the introduction of pine martens, who may predate on poultry and game birds, revealed a clear, univocal voice of opposition. The good news is such attitudes can change and vital to any reintroduction effort is engagement with local stakeholders. The pine marten project saw eventual success, with evidence of breeding in the population in Wales.

In any reintroduction effort, the anticipated human-predator conflict is the most difficult challenge. For instance, in Scotland the efforts to introduce the Eurasian lynx have been long-resisted due to fears of it preying on livestock, though these situations are rare.
Quote: The 200-odd lynx in Switzerland, for instance, may cause the loss of 20-50 livestock animals, but by preying on over 12,000 deer annually, it allows the regeneration of meadows and woodlands.

As apex predators, wolves have enormous benefits, their presence triggers ‘trophic cascades’— stimulating the growth of several other animal species, enriching biodiversity and ecosystems, as the famous Yellowstone National Park project showed.

There is no ecological reason why wolves can’t live in the U.K. – there is enough habitat and wild prey.  Yet, the idea of bringing back wolves is bad PR for rewilding. So, the much-maligned, misunderstood canid has taken matters in its own hands and has begun to rewild itself! With the protective cover of the European Union’s legislation, the gray wolves are returning to their ancient haunts: Portugal, Sweden, Italy, France and Germany.

Interestingly, the opposition is not only the genuine concerns of farmers for livestock-even stronger is the hunting lobby which fears the off-take of game by predators. The U.K., and much of Europe’s reluctance to welcome predators in their landscape puts into perspective the situation of countries like India (and others in Asia and Africa) where the poorest of populations bear the brunt of escalating human-wildlife conflict—depredation of crops, loss to livelihood and life.

Quote:India has 52 of the 226 carnivores on earth plus mega-herbivores like rhinos and elephants.
There is an uncomfortable whiff of the “NIMBY” (Not In My Backyard) syndrome: we want to conserve predators, but not in our backyard. India must continue its protection of wildlife, indeed take the lead in conservation, but the developed world must follow suit.

Evidently, for rewilding to be successful, to move beyond individual action, there has to be a consensus in its favour, and the process needs to be consultative, inclusive and transparent. It needs government support and needs to be part of local, national and international policy.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Native plants nursery in Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, Jodhpur. Photo by T.R. Shankar Raman/Wikimedia Commons.

An Oxford University professor, E. J. Milner-Gulland outlined such a strategy calling for “Biodiversity loss to be treated with the same seriousness as climate change, and the need for a new global deal for nature; that is equitable and adaptive to different countries.”

Policy support at the local level is important.  For instance, points out Greer, “If a six-lane superhighway were to skirt The Mills, its wilderness will be destroyed. Rewilding cannot be in isolation.”  It reminds one of Panna Tiger Reserve in central India, where tigers went extinct in 2009. In a remarkable effort by the government, tigers were translocated here, strictly protected and monitored and today it has over 40 tigers that are now populating the "Panna" landscape. Similar is the Sariska Tiger Reserve Story.

The tragic irony is, the same government is now planning to construct a dam inside the reserve as part of the national river-linking project, which will destroy a third of the area— drowning its own efforts and possibly wiping out the tigers.

Quote:Papikonda National Park (Papi Hills) which is a Tiger reserve is located in East Godavari and West Godavari districts of my Andhra Pradesh state, covering an area of 1,012.86 km2 (391.07 sq mi). The Polavaram irrigation project once completed will submerge the national park.  Angry It is an Important Bird and Biodiversity area and Tiger Reserve home to endangered species of flora and fauna. No part of Papikonda remains outside East and West Godavari districts after 2014 and after the construction of Polavaram Dam. Papikonda national park was initially notified as a wildlife sanctuary in 1978. It was upgraded to a national park in 2008. []

The vital ingredient for rewilding is not just the physical space that the animals need for their survival, it is room in the human heart.
Before we rewild the country and the continent, we need to rewild our hearts.

It needs commitment, and there is no better story to illustrate this than that of Jadav Molai Payeng, an unschooled Mishing tribal. Distressed by the severe denudation of the riverine island – Aruna Sapori – where he lived, adjacent to Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, Payeng at 16 started to plant grasses, shrubs and trees, native to this region, favoured by wildlife.

Three decades later, the island is a dense 500 hectares forest and a refuge to rhinos when the lowlands flood, elephants stranded in human habitation, and the occasional tiger, among other animals. Payeng stated that protecting and planting forests is the key to prevent damage and erosion from the increasingly frequent floods. “If we all do it, no more global warming”, he said.

Quote:Read the Mongabay piece on Jadav Payeng’s incredible Mulati Kathoni “people’s forest”.

His words are echoed in the Babbage Theatre in Cambridge by Monbiot, presenting the most pressing case for rewilding: an effective solution for climate change, “It is imperative to revive thriving ecosystems—it offers hope where hope is missing in the face of catastrophic ‘Climate Breakdown’,” a term he prefers to use as against the “feeble” ‘Climate Change’.

‘”Wildlife biodiversity is the key to a healthy, thriving forest. For example, elephants shape ecosystems, they are crucial distributors of seeds, regenerating forests, which sequester carbon; other large herbivores do similar services. Natural climate solutions — conserving existing ecosystems, improving the ecological quality of existing forests, grasslands, wetlands, mangroves, can deliver up to 37 percent of the emission reduction targets by 2030.”

Wildlife conservation, rewilding, restoring wild habitats should be at the centre of the climate talks, not at the margins. Rewilding, is not about us saving wild species, restoring wild lands, it is about the wilds saving us.

Quote:Read more in Mongabay-India about efforts in India to bring back populations of animals like the pygmy hog, sangai deer and gharials from the brink of extinction.

Banner image: The last wild population of sangai deer in Manipur. Photo by M. Ningombi.
Article published by Aditi  
Biodiversity, Conservation, Wildlife

Likewise, Cheetah and Lion Reintroduction "must" be done in India.
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  Post of the Month - Februry 2019
Posted by: sanjay - 02-02-2019, 09:38 AM - Forum: Top posts of the month - Replies (9)
Black leopard in Africa after 100 years!

*This image is copyright of its original author

To read full post with link to video footage by @Pckts on Bigcats News:

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  Huge Amur Siberian Tiger
Posted by: genao87 - 02-01-2019, 06:27 AM - Forum: Wildlife Pictures and Videos Gallery - Replies (32)
Any info on this guy...more so than what the video tells us???  you can hit the CC for the close captioning....has it in english

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  Bovidae family Information, Pics and Videos
Posted by: Sanju - 01-30-2019, 11:01 AM - Forum: Herbivores Animals - Replies (6)
Bovids include Bovines, Antelopes, other genera etc..,

The view!

Photo by @ragulankathirnathan
I went to india without any expectation except capturing a nilgiri tahr standing on the cliff, got it and this nilgiritahr tahr just had the deep valley in front stil he was courageous to stand on the cliff.
Ps. White spots on the pics are rain drops.

The Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) known locally as the Nilgiri ibex or simply ibex, is an ungulate that is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu. Despite its local name, it is more closely related to the sheep of the genus Ovis than the ibex and wild goats of the genus Capra.

Post stuff, pics and vids about Bovids......
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  What has happened to this site???
Posted by: NCAT33 - 01-30-2019, 03:20 AM - Forum: Lion - Replies (9)
There used to be regular updates on lion activity at the different parks and surrounding areas, and the prides/coalitions and their stories. Now there's only discussions about the size of lions in certain areas, which is not that interesting quite frankly.
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