Bigcats News - Printable Version

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RE: Bigcats News - Pckts - 09-27-2016

Posted by Allison Eck on Fri, 23 Sep 2016
Five Botswanan Lionesses Grow Manes, Start Acting Like Males

Though rumored for quite some time, scientists have officially reported the existence of maned female lions and have documented their more typically male behavior.
Geoffrey D. Gilfillan of the University of Sussex in Falmer, UK, and colleagues have observed maned five lionesses at the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana’s Okavango delta. He and his teammates reported their findings in the African Journal of Ecology.
In males, long manes help attract females (they’re thought to indicate sexual health). Males also tend to mark their territory and roar more frequently. But this small set of Botswanan female lions took on some of these characteristically male behaviors—they even mounted other females. Gilfillan focused on one lion in particular, SaF05, which he’s been observing since 2014.

*This image is copyright of its original author

This lion looks like a king, but is in fact a queen.
The team says that these lions’ manes are likely the result of high testosterone levels. Here’s Karl Gruber, reporting for New Scientist:
Quote:The idea that testosterone is implicated in the Botswana lionesses is also backed by observations of their reproductive success, says Kathleen Alexander at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
“While some of the maned lionesses were observed mating, none of them became pregnant, suggesting they are infertile, a known consequence of high levels of androgens such as testosterone in females,” she says. “The behavioural changes suggest this is likely the case.”
Hunter suspects this explanation applies to the animals studied by Gilfillan and his colleagues. “Given all five known maned females come from the Okavango region, there must be a genetic component in this population underlying the phenomenon,” he says.
Scientists have known for a few years that female lions in this region may carry a genetic disposition to this rare phenomenon, but this is the first time mane development in female lions has been formally documented.
Conservationists monitor such behavioral and biological changes to ensure that species will be able survive—but experts say that while none of these five females have become pregnant, they’re each fully capable of living healthy, long lives. The team doesn’t suspect the trend will become more common, but more research is needed to understand the exact hormonal and genetic factors that may cause these aberrations.
In male lions, mane growth is thought to be influenced by complex puzzle of genetics, temperature, nutritional status, hormones, and even vegetation thickness. As wildlife endocrinology becomes an increasingly important conservation tool, experts might look to cases like the Botswanan maned lioness to evaluate where species differ hormonally and how to minimize any negative effects of those variations on the general population’s well-being.


RE: Bigcats News - Apollo - 09-28-2016

Horrific moment young tigress is ripped to shreds by tigers in front of terrified tourists

*This image is copyright of its original author

Check for the video and story in the below link


RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 09-30-2016

China accused of defying its own ban on breeding tigers to profit from body parts
Beijing faces pressure at global summit to close 200 farms where tigers are bred for luxury goods and end its obstructive tactics
Nick Davies and Oliver Holmes
Tuesday 27 September 2016 12.00 BST

 A tiger farm in southern Binh Duong province, Vietnam. China is believed to have about 200 licensed tiger farms, in contravention of its own ban on the trade. Photograph: Mike Ives/AP

*This image is copyright of its original author

China has been accused of deceiving the international community by allowing a network of farms to breed thousands of captive tigers for the sale of their body parts, in breach of their own longstanding ban on the trade.

The Chinese government has allowed about 200 specialist farms to hold an estimated 6,000 tigers for slaughter, before their skins are sold as decoration and their bones are marinated to produce tonics and lotions. Campaigners say this has increased demand for the products and provoked the poaching of thousands of wild tigers, whose global population is now down to just 3,500.

China is expected to come under pressure at this week’s Johannesburg conference of nations who have signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites). The Guardian has found that Chinese delegates have tried to obstruct debate at the conference by rewriting a critical report and questioning the wording of a key decision.

The Chinese say their domestic market is nobody else’s business since Cites covers only international trade. They also point out that by breeding 6,000 tigers in captivity they have significantly increased the population of the species, and question why western countries should be allowed to breed cattle and pigs for their own markets if they are to be criticised for doing so with tigers.

Rows of tiger cages at the Xiongsen bear and tiger farm in Guilin, China. Photograph: Sinopix/Rex

*This image is copyright of its original author

The argument gets to the heart of the debate about whether endangered species have an inherent right to exist in their own habitat, or should be allowed to survive only if they have some commercial value – “if it pays, it stays”. Some poorer nations are pushing hard for a legal right to kill and trade the parts of elephants, rhinos and tigers.

Analysis Animal trafficking: the $23bn criminal industry policed by a toothless regulator
The Cites convention finds itself confronting powerful networks, even though it has no detectives, no police powers and no firearms
 Read more
China’s State Council introduced its tiger breeding ban in May 1993 under intense pressure, with the Clinton administration in the US and Cites separately threatening trade sanctions. They closed down 200 factories that had been producing wine from marinated tiger bones. Chinese delegates told a subsequent Cites meeting that it had “banned all internal trade in tiger parts.”

Yet, four months later, China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA), which was responsible for enforcing the ban, approved the opening of the first tiger farm and even invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in its operation before going on to open up a network of similar farms, now estimated by NGOs to number 200.

John Sellar, then a law enforcement officer for Cites, later found that almost every part of the tiger’s body was being linked to some spurious medical benefit: the whiskers to deal with toothache; the eyeballs for malaria and epilepsy; the brain to cure laziness; the nose for childhood convulsions; the fat for haemorrhoids; the collar bone for good luck; the penis for sexual energy; the tail for skin cancer; the feet placed outside a house to frighten bad spirits. And, beyond traditional medicine, the skin had become a prestigious wall hanging for China’s new, wealthy elite.

 A picture made available by the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic shows a tiger skin openly on sale at a retail outlet in Mong La, Myanmar. Photograph: Adam Oswell/EPA/Traffic

*This image is copyright of its original author

In 2003, China marked the tenth anniversary of the ban by introducing a new sticker system for licensed animal products that were authorised for sale. A decade later, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) discovered that, having opened the farms, the SFA had been quietly issuing licences for the sale of skins from the tigers that were bred there. The SFA claimed that the skins were only sold to museums and universities for scientific purposes, but the EIA found at least half ended up in the plush apartments of China’s elite.

Facing exposure, the Chinese disclosed that the wording of the State Council’s 1993 ban had been much narrower than its public statements had suggested, and that it applied only to trade in products produced from tiger bones, primarily wine. But, as animal rights campaigners dug deeper, it soon became clear that the SFA were also licensing the sale of tiger bone products. And the profits were huge. The wildlife-tracking NGO Traffic found tiger bone wine selling at $257 for 500ml, while another group, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), found one farm alone had a cellar full of vats containing 1.2 million litres, worth an estimated $617m. Wine from marinated tiger penis was even more expensive, at $490 per 500ml. Meat was being sold at $100 a dish; teeth at $660 each; and whole skins for up to $22,000.

Inspired by China’s behaviour, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos also opened tiger farms, some of which were suspected to be not only breeding animals for body parts but also “laundering” wild tigers that had been captured. Wild tigers are close to extinction in Vietnam and possibly already extinct in Laos. China is believed to have only 50.

The issue came to a head in June 2007 at a conference at The Hague. Cites formally made a collective decision– numbered 14.69 – to go beyond its international remit, stating baldly that “tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts” and calling for all tiger farms to cut back their stock to the minimum needed for conservation of the species. Chinese delegates protested loudly that 14.69 was an intrusion in their domestic affairs, argued with the wording and formally noted their objection.

Meanwhile, staff at the Beijing office of IFAW, which had been particularly vocal, became aware of men ostentatiously following them in the street, and the director’s driver reported that some of the men had approached him and asked for detailed reports on the director’s activity.

 Activists march on the Cites conference in Sandton, Johannesburg, last Saturday. Photograph: Denis Farrell/AP

*This image is copyright of its original author

Minutes from Cites meetings show that since 14.69 was adopted, China has repeatedly quarrelled with its wording; claimed that the decision was not made by consensus; and consistently failed to produce information demanded by Cites about its tiger farms. When 13 heads of government met for the Global Tiger Initiative in St Petersburg in November 2010, the then Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, called for an end to the tiger trade, yet his delegates joined with those from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos to ensure that the meeting’s final declaration was worded to allow their farms to continue trading.

The effect has been devastating. An analysis by the EIA found that in the 12 years from 2000, law enforcement agencies seized 1,031 tiger carcasses or skins – 90% of which were en route to China. Working on the standard police estimate that just 10% of illicit trade is seized, then somewhere in the region of 10,000 tigers were killed primarily for China’s consumers in this period.

In the buildup to this month’s Cites conference in Johannesburg – and in spite of its track record – China took over the chairmanship of the working group on big cats, and used its position to water down the findings of a report that Cites had commissioned from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The report, seen by the Guardian, embarrassed China by finding that they had “systematically exercised internal trading privileges for companies dealing in big cat skins and derivatives, produced mainly from captive breeding”. But the Chinese draft stated: “It appears that significant progress has been made by some parties in implementing legislative and regulatory measures to restrict trade in Asian big cat specimens.”

 ‘Liger’ cubs - a cross between a lion and a tiger. Photograph: Gary Roberts/Rex

*This image is copyright of its original author

While the IUCN had called for urgent action to deal with “the growing use of tiger parts and derivatives as luxury items”, the Chinese draft reported that “the evidences and informations are not enough to demonstrate the growing use of parts and derivatives of Asian big cats as luxury items.”

The IUCN report noted that there was no evidence of China having restricted the sale of tiger products to scientific and educational outlets, as they had always claimed; that NGOs had found tiger wine on sale; and that there was some evidence that stockpiles of tiger bone were leaking on to the market. In spite of this and the work of other NGOs, the Chinese draft claimed there had been “no systematic and comprehensive investigation”.

Chinese delegates went on to claim that there had never been a consensus to pass 14.69 in 2007; that there was doubt about the definitions of “trade” and “internal trade”; and that Cites had merely “urged”, not “ordered”, Chinato destroy its stockpiles of tiger bone.

This was poorly received by other members of the big cats working group, and an alliance of the US, the UK and India succeeded in rewriting the draft. The argument is expected to continue in Johannesburg this week.

Meanwhile, in Harbin, north-east China, one of the biggest tiger farms has found a new loophole in the law by cross-breeding tigers with lions. The Chinese say that the sale of “liger” bones is not covered by the 1993 ban.

RE: Bigcats News - Bronco - 10-01-2016

Buffer zone for Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve declared

An area of 1241.27 sq km as a Buffer Zone of Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve for the purpose of ensuring that the Critical Tiger Habitat (CTH) or core has adequate area for dispersal of tigers. yay!  Lol 


RE: Bigcats News - Pckts - 10-04-2016

Have you guys been paying attention to the C.I.T.E.S. conference that has been going on?

Many new laws and controversial laws on all types of wildlife are beings passed or rejected as we speak. Far too many to list but here is their Facbook and up to date rulings.


Definitely check it out and take a look whats going on. It's a massive undertaking and none of us are talking about it but we need to be.

RE: Bigcats News - peter - 10-04-2016

I knew about it, but didn't keep up. Please inform us if you will and post a copy in the conservation department. Thanks on behalf of all.

RE: Bigcats News - Pckts - 10-04-2016

Like I said, the CITES conference is ongoing and many laws, ratings and rulings are taking place, here is a list of what has happened so far.
You'll read "appendices"  but may not know how to gauge them.
Here is how they work....

The CITES Appendices

Appendices I, II and III to the Convention are lists of species afforded different levels or types of protection from over-exploitation (see How CITES works
Appendix I lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants (see Article II, paragraph 1 of the Convention). They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial (see Article III), for instance for scientific research. In these exceptional cases, trade may take place provided it is authorized by the granting of both an import permit and an export permit (or re-export certificate). Article VII of the Convention provides for a number of exemptions to this general prohibition.
Appendix II lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled. It also includes so-called "look-alike species", i.e. species whose specimens in trade look like those of species listed for conservation reasons (see Article II, paragraph 2 of the Convention). International trade in specimens of Appendix-II species may be authorized by the granting of an export permit or re-export certificate. No import permit is necessary for these species under CITES (although a permit is needed in some countries that have taken stricter measures than CITES requires). Permits or certificates should only be granted if the relevant authorities are satisfied that certain conditions are met, above all that trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild. (See Article IV of the Convention)
Appendix III is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation (see Article II, paragraph 3, of the Convention). International trade in specimens of species listed in this Appendix is allowed only on presentation of the appropriate permits or certificates. (See Article V of the Convention)
Species may be added to or removed from Appendix I and II, or moved between them, only by the Conference of the Parties, either at its regular meetings or by postal procedures (see Article XV of the Convention). But species may be added to or removed from Appendix III at any time and by any Party unilaterally (although the Conference of the Parties has recommended that changes be timed to coincide with amendments to Appendices I and II).
The names of species in the Appendices may be annotated to qualify the listing. For example, separate populations of a species may have different conservation needs and be included in different Appendices (e.g. the wolf populations included in Appendix I are only those of Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, whereas all others are included in Appendix II). Such specifications can appear next to the species name or in the Interpretation section. For this reason, the Appendices should always be consulted alongside the Interpretation with which they are presented.
Parties may enter reservations with respect to any species listed in the Appendices in accordance with the provisions of Articles XV, XVI or XXIII of the Convention.

CITES CoP17 agreed today in Committee to include all devil rays (Mobula spp.) under the CITES control regime via Appendix II listing.

CITES CoP17 agreed this afternoon in Committee I to put silky shark under its protection by including it in Appendix II.

CITES CoP17 voted in Committee today against the proposals submitted by Namibia and Zimbabwe to allow international commercial trade in their elephant populations.

Governments at CITES CoP17 agreed in Committee II today to close domestic markets of #elephant #ivory that contribute to poaching or illegal trade. See the amended Resolution Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP16): https://goo.gl/NysrcC

CITES CoP17 voted in Committee I this morning to give African grey parrot, one of most trafficked birds in the world, the highest level of protection by uplisting the species into Appendix I which prohibits commercial international trade. See the proposal: https://goo.gl/Pvq74o

The first ever CITES Resolution and a full set of Decisions aimed at concrete and targeted actions on demand reduction to tackle #WildlifeTrafficking agreed in Committee I of CITES CoP17. Demand reduction now forms one of the three pronged approach in CITES to combat illegal trade in wildlife.

World's governments agreed this afternoon in Committee I of #CITES #CoP17 to move all 8 species of pangolins, the most trafficked mammal in the world, to Appendix I of CITES for stronger protection. See the proposals https://goo.gl/GGb6gY

Parties to CITES at CoP17 accepted the offer of Government of Sri Lanka to host CITES CoP18 in 2019.

"The EU, which with 28 votes is a powerful force at CITES, also opposed the upgrade to appendix 1. It said that CITES rules meant the highest level protection is reserved for populations that are in steep decline, and that this did not apply to the elephants in Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Some scientific and conservation groups agreed with this, including WWF, Traffic and the Zoological Society of London, arguing the integrity of the CITES was at risk. The EU delegate to CITES said: “The proposal does not meet the biological criteria. [But] this does not mean in any way we are not concerned about the decline of elephants across the continent.” Several nations said cutting the demand for ivory, through education, and better enforcement against poachers were key." You betcha EU.


A bid by the southern African Kingdom of Swaziland to sell rhino horn to raise money for conservation was defeated. The global ban on the sale of rhino horn, prized in Asia for use in traditional medicine, has been in place since 1977.

- CITES rejected proposals by Namibia and Zimbabwe to sell ivory to raise funds for conservation.
The proposal was staunchly opposed by east African countries such as Kenya, which has sent a message by burning its stockpiles of ivory in April.
A global ban on ivory sales was imposed in 1989 though CITES allowed one-off auctions from southern Africa in 1999 and 2008.
Those opposed to any loosening of the ban say "dirty ivory" can be laundered by poachers and crime syndicates with licit supplies and that it makes ivory socially acceptable.
A proposal to move southern African elephant populations to Appendix I to provide them with extra protection failed.
CITES also recommended that countries with legal domestic ivory markets - which are not regulated by the convention as its remit is cross-border trade - start closing them down because they are seen as contributing to poaching.

- Global trade in the bones, claws and teeth of wild lions has also been imposed with exemptions for those harvested from captive-bred lions in South Africa.
The decision on lions was a compromise which fell short of the Appendix I listing that some African countries and conservationists were pushing for.
Conservationists fear the legal market from South African captive-raised lions could provide incentives for poachers to "launder" bones taken from wild lions.
Lion bone is highly sought after in Asia for use in traditional medicines and is used as a substitute for the bones of tigers, which are much rarer.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 10-12-2016

Cheetah trade: Nations to suppress social media enticement
By Matt McGrath. Environment correspondent, Johannesburg
1 October 2016. From the section Science & Environment

Cheetah cubs can fetch up to $10,000 in illegal live trade

*This image is copyright of its original author

Arab nations have joined forces with the African countries to suppress the illegal live trade in cheetahs.
A recent BBC report highlighted the desperate plight of young cheetahs trafficked from Africa to the Middle East.
One key element of the new plan is to tackle the use of social media to flaunt, pose or advertise these endangered big cats.
Experts welcomed the new approach as a big step for a diminishing species.
Fashion victim
The world's fastest land mammal has had a difficult time in recent years.
As well as the fragmentation of habitats in many of its natural ranges in Africa, it has also become a fashion accessory, especially in the Middle East.
Social media has become an important aspect of the cheetah trade, allowing new owners to show off expensive purchases, as well as connecting buyers and sellers.
With less than 7,000 animals remaining, spread across 29 different countries, cheetahs are described as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List. They have suffered over 90% population loss since 1900.
Cheetahs are on Appendix I of Cites, meaning that all trade is banned.

"You have a role, you should be aware of the legislation, you should be aware of those animals, that they have rights also"
Ahmed Al Hashmi, Director of Biodiersity, UAE

However the combination of fashion, technology and greed have contributed to a rise in the trade of cheetah cubs.
Dozens are seized in the wild, packed into crates and shipped off to Middle Eastern destinations.
"It can be young men buying them as a status symbol or the machismo of having a big cat as a pet," said Sarah Durant from the Zoological Society of London.
"There are also young women buying a cub thinking they can rescue it, but even that is adding fire to the trade, they are creating demand inadvertently.
"Cheetahs are wild animals which don't do well in captive situations, most of them will die young."
Over the past decade, according to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, some 1,200 cubs are known to have been trafficked out of Africa, with some 85% of them dying during the journey.

The fastest land mammal is declining across almost all populations

*This image is copyright of its original author

Nations meeting here at the Cites conference that regulates international trade in endangered plants and animals, have agreed new measures to limit the cheetah market
  • greater co-operation between states with cheetahs in the wild and consumer states
  • raising awareness
  • crucially, a unified approach to tackling social media.
"Social media platforms perpetuate and exacerbates the trade in many ways," said Nick Mitchell from the Wildlife Conservation Society.
"It has been brought up before and they may not have reacted the way we would have wished them to."
"What's different now is that we have the secretariat of Cites examining this, and it has the approval of 180 countries - this is all parties and it carries a lot of weight."
What's also different about the approach agreed here in South Africa is the support from Arab states, which are recognising the problem and attempting to deal with it.

The habitat of cheetahs is becoming increasingly fragmented

*This image is copyright of its original author

The United Arab Emirates, for one, is about to enact new legislation that it is hoped will have a significant impact on demand.
"We have noticed that there are a few interests from people to own some animals that are exotic or endangered, we think we need to regulate all of those activities and reduce the demand," said Ahmed al-Hashmi, director of biodiversity at the UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
"This new legislation will regulate the owning of endangered animals, so it says who is able to own them, like zoos or breeding centres, but also regulates the registering of them by individuals. It will reduce demand."
The UAE is also backing efforts to crack down on social media platforms, saying they had already targeted some of the biggest websites and had removed many advertisements.
But they also believe that individuals need to take responsibility for their action on the Internet.
"We are sending a message to the individuals: You have a role, you should be aware of the legislation, you should be aware of those animals, that they have rights also."

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 10-18-2016

Clouded leopard traders to be prosecuted in court
October 17, 2016, Monday Jude Toyat, seeds@theborneopost.com

The clouded leopard from Brunei on sale for RM20, 000 on a social media platform.

*This image is copyright of its original author

MIRI: Two Bruneians have been remanded here since Friday to assist investigations into the illegal trade of a clouded leopard.

The case of the totally protected animal, known scientifically as Neofelis nebulosa, was handed over to the Forest Department Sarawak (FDS) for further action.

The selling of the clouded leopard was discovered on social media.

“Subsequently, enforcement officers went undercover to further investigate the case. This was the first time such a case has been received by the FDS.

“The clouded leopard is still alive. It is believed that the animal originated from Brunei and was brought to Sarawak for sale at a price of RM20,000,” said an enforcement officer.

He added that the duo will be brought to court for the illegal trade of the totally protected animal.

If found guilty, they will be fined RM25,000 and be sentenced to a jail term of up to two years under Section 29 © of the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998.

Meanwhile, he revealed that two men were suspected of killing a clouded leopard in Bakun.

“The case was also found on social media and we are currently in the midst of investigating and locating the whereabouts of the men,” he added.

“Jinak merpati.. (Tame as a pigeon),” reads the description on this post of a local man on a Facebook page after killing a clouded leopard in Bakun.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Another case of an illegal killing of clouded leopard in Bakun was found on Facebook page recently.

*This image is copyright of its original author

In a separate case, four Indonesians were convicted on Friday in Marudi for having 10 birds of the White-rumped Shama species or ‘burung murai batu’ and two birds of the Hill Mynahs (Gracula religiosa) in the possession.

According to the FDS enforcement officer, both species are protected under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998.

“The Indonesians were found guilty and were sentenced to serve eight years in prison for the offence committed,” he said.

RE: Bigcats News - sanjay - 10-21-2016

Finally, man-eater tigress from Uttarakhand (India) shot dead after 44 day hunt, according to sources total of 75 lakh Indian rupees (Approximately 1.12 million usd dollar ) is spent .

A man-eater tigress that had terrorised people across a vast swathe of land in Uttarakhand’s Nainital district was shot dead on Thursday after a 44-day hunt involving several hunters and hundreds of forest department workers besides a helicopter and drones.
Forest department officials said the tigress, blamed for two human deaths, was shot dead at a village around 250 km from Dehradun, where it was hiding in a sugarcane field and nursing bullet wounds she suffered on Wednesday during a failed bid to kill it.
Man eater Tigress shot dead in India after 44 days hunt
*This image is copyright of its original author

Read it full - http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/uttarakhand-man-eater-tigress-shot-dead-after-44-day-hunt-rs-75-lakh-spent/story-IeF9cajdSdXDR7XsI53n4O.html

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 10-21-2016

Zimbabwe Park to Cull 200 Lions, Cites Lack of Hunters
A wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe says it may have to cull 200 lions in the absence of hunters.

*This image is copyright of its original author

One of Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife reserves, the Bubye Valley Conservancy, recently announced that it was considering culling up to 200 lions as the cats have become increasingly overpopulated. The wildlife reserve said its current population of around 500 lions is unsustainable due to the dramatic decline in hunters, possibly caused by the controversy over Cecil, a lion killed near Hwange National Park last year. Bubye officials say that without hunters to help manage the lion population, they are considering either hiring marksmen to shoot some of the animals, or capturing them and donating the cats to other reserves. Bubye has historically held one of the largest lion populations in Zimbabwe.

“I wish we could give about 200 of our lions away to ease the overpopulation,” Blondie Leathem, the conservancy’s general manager, told the National Post. “If anyone knows of a suitable habitat for them where they will not land up in human conflict, or in wildlife areas where they will not be beaten up because of existing prides, please let us know and help us raise the money to move them.”

Leathem explained that the lions are a big threat to the park’s other denizens, which included antelope, giraffes, leopards, and a number of other native species. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the conservancy is trying to recover from one of the driest summers on record.

Mickey and his brothers

*This image is copyright of its original author

Hunters traditionally helped to keep lion numbers in check, as well as bringing a much needed financial boost to the park. However, officials are now blaming something they call the “Cecil effect” for the lack of hunters. In 2015, the hunting of a black-maned lion named Cecil by an American dentist, Walter Palmer, drew international outrage after the Zimbabwe government accused Palmer of poaching. The charges were later dropped, but activist groups continued to target big game hunters in Africa and urged many governments, including Zimbabwe, to close their borders to hunters. This is despite the fact that many conservationists have long agreed that hunters are needed to not only manage wildlife populations, but also provide the funds to protect the same species they hunt.

Game species are not the only wildlife that hunters benefit. According to the Bubye Valley Conservancy, it is funds from sportsmen and women that allowed it to create its rhino conservation project, which manages the third largest population of black rhinos in Africa.

“Today, the hunters’ legends live again in the Bubye Valley, where populations of animals have had the time and the space to grow to maturity,” Bubye stated on its website. “Thriving herds live in balance on the open savannah, the mopani woodlands and in the dense riverine forests. The diverse habitats found in the Bubye Valley Conservancy now support an astonishing 35 species of wild, free-ranging game animals including the classic Big Five.”

The conservancy spans roughly 850,000 acres.

RE: Bigcats News - Polar - 10-21-2016

 "Bubye officials say that without hunters to help manage the lion population, they are considering either hiring marksmen to shoot some of the animals..."

"Hunters traditionally helped to keep lion numbers in check, as well as bringing a much needed financial boost to the park."

And without hunters, there is no mainstream monetary profit provided to the park. That's the main reason, not the supposed "overpopulation" of lions. Dumb park officials...

RE: Bigcats News - sanjay - 10-21-2016

This is disgusting.
There is always better solution if you care for your animals

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 10-23-2016

U.S. Hunters Banned from Importing Trophies from Captive Lions
South Africa’s captive lions are raised to be hunted within confined spaces, a practice experts consider cruel and unrelated to conservation.

By Rachael Bale, Jani Actman

The vast majority of lion trophies imported to the U.S. from South Africa are from canned hunts. PHOTOGRAPH BY IAN MICHLER 

*This image is copyright of its original author

Some 8,000 lions bred for the sole purpose of being hunted are kept on game ranches in South Africa. Every year thousands of hunters—mostly Americans—pay handsomely to kill these lions within the confines of walls and fences, a practice known as canned lion hunting.

But starting today they’ll no longer be allowed to bring back the heads, skins, claws, teeth, and other lion parts from those kills. On Thursday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a ban on the import of trophies taken from captive-bred lions in South Africa.

Conservationists, animal welfare advocates, and even many hunters are cheering the decision.

“This is huge,” says Ian Michler, a conservationist and the narrator of Blood Lions, a documentary released last year that exposed the canned lion industry. “If we can start seriously clamping down on the demand side, then it will impact things here in south Africa.”

Captive-bred lions serve no conservation purpose because hand-reared lions cannot be released into the wild, according to wildlife experts. They also often suffer in captivity. Many hunters say canned hunting violates the principle of “fair chase,” in which every animal has a reasonable chance to get away. It’s what separates hunting from killing, says the Boone and Crockett Club, a U.S.-based hunting organization.

Lions have declined precipitously in the wild, down from an estimated 200,000 continent-wide a century ago to about 20,000 today. Habitat loss, prey depletion, and greater conflict with humans account for most of this loss, but conservationists argue that trophy hunting of wild lions contributes to the decline.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision was based on last year’s decision to add lions to the the Endangered Species Act list. That meant that as of January 22, 2016, hunters could only import trophies from captive and wild lions if the country where the hunt takes place can prove hunting revenue goes toward conservation.

“Our decision to prohibit such imports is based solely on our evaluation of the conservation benefits of captive lion hunts,” wrote Dan Ashe, the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, in a Huffington Post blog. “In the case of lions taken from captive populations in South Africa, that burden of proof has not been met.”

The new import rules come on the heels of a vote at the conference for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the treaty that governs wildlife trade, that gave wild lions new protections from international trade but failed to extend them to captive-bred lions. The new protections mean wild lions can still be hunted, but it is illegal to buy and sell their bones, teeth, and claws.

After Blood Lions premiered, Australia and France banned the import of captive and wild lion trophies, and South Africa’s hunting association, which long had sided with the canned hunting industry, voted to disassociate itself from the industry. (See: The End of ‘Canned’ Lion Hunting May Be In Sight.) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to allow the import of some trophies from wild lions because it says well-managed trophy hunting supports conservation efforts.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that import permits must reflect whether a trophy is from a wild or captive-bred lion, and that if their inspectors have any doubts about the origin, they’ll reach out to their counterparts in South Africa to confirm.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 10-23-2016

One Snow Leopard’s Journey
Posted by Tatjana Rosen of Panthera in Cat Watch on October 21, 2016

Shirin, the first snow leopard collared in Tajikistan (Photograph by Jura Bahriev/Panthera)

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In honor of International Snow Leopard Day, I wanted to share the story of one snow leopard in particular, Shirin, and her incredible journey.

Last winter, I received one of those phone calls that never fail to make me tear up: a snow leopard had been illegally captured and sold in the eastern Pamirs of Tajikistan. The snow leopard, an adult female, had killed a Kyrgyz herder’s sheep, so he trapped it and decided to sell it to a dubious hunting outfitter. Hunting outfitters like these will let foreign hunters pay to trophy hunt snow leopards. The snow leopards are usually drugged in order to make them easier to shoot (see here to learn more about the illegal practice of trophy hunting on snow leopards).

Thanks to the intervention of Zafar and Atobek Bekmurodi, who run a conservation-minded hunting conservancy in the eastern Pamirs (see here), where argali sheep and ibex are sustainably harvested, the snow leopard was freed and the herder arrested. Before being rescued, the snow leopard had spent several days locked in a wooden box.

Because of the long trial, the snow leopard—the “evidence” of the crime—could not be released and was kept captive for over a year. Throughout her captivity, she remained very aggressive and wary of humans. She was fed a diet of wild game: marmots, ibex and argali sheep. Every time I checked on her, her eyes were lit up with a fire and a fierce willingness to live. Finally, in June of this year, thanks to the intervention of the President of Tajikistan, and the support of the Tajik Committee on Environmental Protection and the Hunting Association of Tajikistan, she was released and we were able to equip her with a GPS satellite collar so we could track her return to her wild life. We called her “Shirin,” which means “sweet” in Kyrgyz; while her personality could not exactly be considered “sweet,” her rediscovered freedom was absolutely so.

Marmots, one of Shirin’s meals (Photograph by Tatjana Rosen/Panthera)

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For the first few weeks, we followed Shirin’s movements with much apprehension. As an adult female, it seemed likely she would remember how to hunt, but we were concerned nevertheless. Would she find a home for herself in the prey-abundant areas of Zafar and Atobek’s hunting conservancy? The data from her collar and the visits we made to her kill sites confirmed that she was hunting successfully.  Hunting conservancies like these are actually safe havens for snow leopards, even though that may sound counter-intuitive: thanks to the income from the hunts, the Bekmurodi, as well as other nearby conservation-minded conservancies like the Burgut Conservancy in Alichur (see here), are able to invest in anti-poaching activities and meet some of the needs of local communities. The result is that wild prey for the snow leopard is plentiful.

Jura Bahriev, Panthera, and Atobek Bekmurodi, Murghab hunting conservancy, place a camera trap (Photograph by Tatjana Rosen/Panthera)

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Like all snow leopards, Shirin was full of surprises. She went right on through the strictly protected Zorkul area and crossed into Afghanistan through the Big Pamir. After venturing back to Tajikistan briefly, Shirin returned to Afghanistan, crossing the Wakhan corridor and ending up in a side valley teeming with ibex. Though borders, time and space matter to us humans, they mean nothing to snow leopards.

Predator-proof corrals like this one built by WCS in the Wakhan corridor are essential to the survival of snow leopards (Photograph by Tatjana Rosen/Panthera)

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We don’t know where Shirin will go next. Her survival depends on her ability to stay clear of livestock and herders on both sides of the border. Shirin’s story is one of hope and resilience, but it also reminds us of the many threats facing snow leopards. The days of commercial-level poaching may be  gone for now, but as Nowell et al write in the TRAFFIC report released today, human-wildlife conflict is the primary reason for snow leopard poaching and strategies to improve livestock management, such as building predator-proof corrals and deterring retaliation, must be scaled up. Shirin and her kind need help in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and across their range to avoid situations where the dietary needs of snow leopards clash with the livelihoods of remote communities.

Zorkul lake, where Shirin crossed from Tajikistan into Afghanistan (photograph by Tatjana Rosen)

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Shirin also reminds us that wildlife conservation can truly be a catalyst for collaboration across the borders. On October 23, 2013, the 12 snow leopard range states made a commitment in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic by adopting the Bishkek Declaration; and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) provides a complementary framework for such collaboration.  Just as Shirin ignores those political borders between Tajikistan and Afghanistan drawn on the map, so can we: by finding unity over what fills us with awe and inspiration.

Shirin, where next? (Photograph by Jura Bahriev/Panthera)

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