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RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 11-02-2016

No tiger reserve status for 2 new wildlife sanctuaries in Maharashtra
DHAVAL KULKARNI | Mon, 17 Oct 2016-09:28am , DNA
Conservationists believe that converting Umred Karhandla into a tiger project would ensure better management and reduce man-animal conflict.

In a setback to plans for two new tiger projects in Maharashtra, the state forest department has ruled against the upgrade of the Umred Karhandla and Tipeshwar wildlife sanctuaries to the status of tiger reserves.

The state had earlier appointed a committee to examine the conversion of the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary (UKWLS) to a tiger reserve. After the disappearance of Maharashtra's iconic tiger 'Jai,' from the sanctuary, the demand had gained traction due to its rising population of big cats and the need for better protection.

Officials noted that the 189 square kilometres UKWLS could link tiger projects like Bor, Navegaon- Nagzira and Tadoba for better tiger movement and genetic dispersal.

Senior forest department officials confirmed that Shree Bhagwan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF-Wildlife), had submitted a report about the plan to convert UKWLS into a tiger project not being feasible.

“The PCCF has submitted a negative report to the state government. There is no need (for UKWLS to be upgraded to a tiger project). It will create other problems including opposition from people,” Girish Vashisht, divisional forest officer (DFO) and spokesperson of the forest department's wildlife wing, told DNA. He added that to link UKWLS with the Bor tiger project, the buffer that had been proposed for the reserve, would reach the outskirts of Nagpur city.

“The rules are same for sanctuaries and tiger projects. Its only that tiger projects get grants from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Centre,” said Vashisth, adding that the state was willing to allocate funds for wildlife management.

The proposal by a committee consisting of state and NTCA representatives had suggested that the UKWLS area be the core and an additional area be designated as the buffer.

Vashisht said similarly, the department was also negative on a proposal to convert the Tipeshwar wildlife sanctuary to a tiger project. It was proposed that the 148.63 square kilometres Tipeshwar sanctuary be clubbed with the Painganga sanctuary (400.28 square kilometres) and declared as a tiger reserve.

“If we try to link Tipeshwar and Painganga, parts of Telangana will come in between. It also covers a developed area and is impractical,” said Vashisht, adding it would lead to resistance from the 14 villages inside the Painganga sanctuary, which would be part of the proposed core area and require resettlement.

He pointed out that of the 54 protected areas in Maharashtra, barring the five conservation reserves, 19, including national parks and sanctuaries had been included in tiger projects. Sources said that while the Centre funded schemes in tiger reserves, the changed funding ratios, wherein the state had to contribute a part of the costs, would ensure only incremental benefits.

However, a senior forest official noted that converting UKWLS and Tipeshwar- Painganga into tiger projects would have introduced better landscape management, habitat development for the growing tiger population and enhanced connectivity to tiger habitats within and outside the state.

“There is a vast difference between management of protected areas and tiger projects,” he said, adding that the approach was more holistic in the second case due to a unified control over the core and buffer areas and the bordering parts under territorial forest divisions. The formation of a tiger project will ensure better protection due to the deployment of the special tiger protection force (STPF) and availability of Central funding.

Conservationists pointed to how converting UKWLS into a tiger project would ensure wildlife-oriented management and peoples' participation and reduce instances of man-animal conflicts due to speedy grant of compensation for crop and animal losses. The inclusion of the Bramhapuri territorial forest division, which has a healthy tiger population, in the buffer would have helped wildlife-oriented management. Moreover, UKWLS has a population of 19 big cats which were emerging as a source for other tiger bearing areas.

The last location of the seven-footer and 250 kg Jai, who is named after Amitabh Bacchan's character in the blockbuster 'Sholay' was at Paoni range on April 18. If UKWLS was a tiger project, Jai's movements could have been monitored over an extensive area, sources said.

Maharashtra has six tiger reserves. The tiger census, results for which were released in 2014, have said India has 2,226 tigers, up from 1,706 in 2010. Maharashtra has around 190 such big cats, more than the figure of 169 in 2010.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 11-02-2016

On the trail of Malaysia’s fast disappearing tigers
October 25, 2016 Animals, Environment, Living, TSOL - Environment
By jay nathan

A tiger image captured by a camera trap in the Belum-Temengor forests. Photo: WWF/Christopher Wong

*This image is copyright of its original author

We had finally arrived at a ridge after some hours of wading through streams, trekking through wet vegetation and trudging up slopes at the Royal Belum State Park in northern Perak.

After threatening to rain in the morning, the weather was clearing up as we were leaving our camp at a site called Kenarung.

While the rest of us from the media took a much-deserved break at the ridge, several experts from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Malaysia immediately got to work.

Senior field biologist Christopher Wong, species coordinator Shariff Mohamad and senior anti-poaching officer Lau Ching Fong, began surveying the area for an ideal location to set up a camera to monitor tigers.

The effort to save the Malaysian tiger is urgent. In the 1950s, there were an estimated 3,000 of these magnificent animals in the country. However, recent estimates suggest only 250 to 340 tigers are left. With so few wild tigers left, bold and immediate action is needed.

In Malaysia, some of the key threats to tigers are poaching, habitat loss or fragmentation, and less animal prey for them to hunt. Eighty-five percent of tiger habitats in the country also fall outside protected areas.

Christopher Wong pretends to be a tiger to test the camera trap (fixed on the tree).

*This image is copyright of its original author

The WWF team looked for footprints of tigers and other animals such as wild boar and barking deer on the trail. In the process, they found fresh tapir dung at a location where two trails met.

This was a good indication of animal movement in the area, they agreed. On the way up to the ridge earlier, we had also seen elephant dung and sun bear claw marks on trees.

Once the team had established a suitable location, they cleared a spot near a tree up a slope and set up the camera.

Camera trapping, where a passing animal triggers off a photo snap, is a method used to monitor tigers and their prey to assess their population status.

“High traffic of animals is a good sign for a camera location. We also consider geographical features such as slopes and places with more than two trails,” explained Wong.

An Orang Asli village around the forests of Belum-Temengor.

*This image is copyright of its original author

“At downward slopes, animals tend to walk faster, so a camera will probably capture blurred or partial photographs of animals. As for two trails, it means more animals and better chances of getting photos.”

He and his colleagues were doing a pre-survey trip to see if tigers could be tracked in the area next year.

Wong said there were at least 105 active cameras at any one time in Belum, and this took into account the risks of damage from poachers and curious animals.

This work was part of research on tigers at the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC). This includes both the Royal Belum State Park, which is a fully protected area north of the East-West (Gerik-Jeli) Highway and the Temengor forest reserve, south of the highway, where logging is still allowed.

Precious forests
Both forests in the BTFC are deemed to be crucial “priority sites” under the National Tiger Conservation action plan.

Tigers are apex predators sitting on top of the food chain, hence they play an important part in regulating the entire ecosystem. Having large territories, they are also an ideal “umbrella species”, meaning that protecting tigers will also protect the entire ecosystem.

WWF’s first tiger density research was done at BTFC between August 2009 and December 2011.

The second survey, which kicked off this year with annual funding of RM1.2mil from the Maybank Foundation, is due to be completed by the end of 2017.

WWF has the only NGO-led tiger conservation programme at BTFC, which has the highest density of tigers in Malaysia. The organisation is calling for better protection of forests where the tigers (and their prey) make their home.

This includes controlled access into the forest, better logging practices and having “eco links” between different areas of forest. There is also a need for more anti-poaching patrols.

The WWF team try to get satellite signals on their devices before beginning the trek of the day.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Change can happen
Tiger conservation work faces many challenges. Shariff explained information on tigers was scarce because tiger research faced difficulties when it came to funding and manpower.

He added that the camera traps took photos of animals, and tiger counts are based on the individual animal’s unique stripe patterns.

“But it doesn’t mean that if they are not seen, there aren’t tigers. That’s why the statistical analysis is important,” explained Shariff. “To conserve tigers, we can’t work alone. We work with various government agencies.

“However, logging continues in the area and it increases access by poachers because there are many logging access roads. One of the good initiatives by Perak state is to block some of these roads, but it needs to be done in other areas as well,” said Shariff.

WWF also engages with local communities, specifically the orang asli, to increase awareness and encourage participation in anti-poaching activities and develop alternative jobs.

An example of a successful push for conservation is the gazetting of the Amanjaya Forest Reserve.

“We did a systematic survey of forests on both sides of the East-West highway and found that the animals tend to use certain areas more frequently than others,” recalled Shariff.

After WWF finished the report, it was brought up to the Government along with a proposal to build a viaduct in the area so that wildlife can cross the highway safely instead of ending up as roadkill.

“Eventually the viaduct was built and Amanjaya was gazetted as a forest reserve. This shows how research can help convince policy makers to support wildlife conservation,” said Shariff.

RE: Bigcats News - Bronco - 11-04-2016

Gir sanctuary's oldest lion in wild, Ram, dies

RE: Bigcats News - Spalea - 11-04-2016


About #1059: very interesting the link you indicate when it is said that, the two male lions "Ram" and "Shyam" patroled separately their territory in order to prevent that the other half (of the territory) doesn't be completely exposed to intruders if they were together. In a place where the lion population is now constantly increasing, to hold his territory so much time was quite a performance.

Ram was 16 years old. "The most photographed wild lion in India" had a full life !

RE: Bigcats News - Roflcopters - 11-04-2016

16 years old and an undisputed ruler of his territory! Rip

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 11-07-2016

#ShockWildlifeTruths: Mass poisoning in Limpopo National Park
2016-10-10 18:13 - Don Pinnock

Johannesburg -  The ongoing Asian demand for lion bones has led to an horrific wildlife poisoning in the Limpopo National Park, just over the Mozambican border from Kruger Park. 

A mere two kilometres from the Machampane tourist camp, a research team came across the carcases of two nyala, a warthog and an impala laced with what they describe as a black granular poison. Lying nearby were two lions, 51 vultures, three fish eagles, a yellow-billed kite and a giant eagle owl. There was evidence of a leopard but its body was not found. 

The lions had been dismembered, their bones removed, and 22 vultures had been decapitated, their heads presumably to be used for muti. Snares had also been set around the poisoned carcases. The team from the Limpopo Transfrontier Predator Project burned all the poisoned carcasses.  

At the recent Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), wild lions remained listed as Appendix 11 with a ‘zero annual export quota for bones, bone pieces, products, claws, skeletons, skulls and teeth removed from the wild and traded for commercial purposes.’ However, in a shock move, captive breeders escaped the ban, with South Africa only required to submit an annual quota for bone exports from captive breeding facilities.

EXCLUSIVE: WATCH: Joburg market sells illegal wildlife products just down the road from CITES CoP17

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: 6 Key CITES CoP17 decisions you need to know about

Will Travers, President of the Born Free Foundation, called it an appalling decision which would perpetuate captive breeding bone trade. He called a sad day for CITES. Conservationists have pointed out that it’s impossible to distinguish between the bones of captive or wild lions, leaving the door wide open for laundering of poached animal parts. 

Nine African nations – Niger, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Togo – sought to uplist lions to Appendix I, offering full trade protection However, in a compromise move, CITES allowed the marketing of captive lion bones. According to the filmmakers of Blood Lions, this was ‘an attempt to appease the fierce opposition from lion bone and body part traders and the hunting for entertainment enthusiasts’

The Limpopo research team found the two lions had been carried 200 metres away from the epicenter of the poisoning onto a nearby ridge and butchered. The skins, a portion of the abdomens with significant layer of fat and the intestines were left. 

The two male lions were both estimated to be about two years old. All their bones had been removed and meat had been cut into strips, dried and mostly removed.  

SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: Kruger poison poaching claims elephant, lions, vultures and more

This is the second poisoning event that has targeted the lion pride in this same area. The first one, in July 2014, killed three adult lions, seven white-backed vultures and a bateleur eagle. According to the team, “this poisoning is the first time that we have found evidence of lions being targeted for their bones in the park. Considering the prevalence of commercial rhino and elephant poaching in the region over the past five years we are concerned that this event could mark the beginning of large-scale poaching of lions for their bones in the Limpopo National Park”.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 11-08-2016

Poaching alert: 76 tigers dead this year
Neha Madaan | TNN | Updated: Nov 7, 2016, 09.54 AM IST

  • As many as 76 tiger deaths have been reported in the country from January to October this year
  • Madhya Pradesh tops the list, accounting for nearly a third of all mortalities
  • Karnataka, which boasts the highest tiger population among states, was in second spot with 13 deaths
PUNE: As many as 76 tiger deaths have been reported in the country from January to October this year, with Madhya Pradesh at the top of the list, accounting for nearly a third of all mortalities. Karnataka, which boasts the highest tiger population among states, was in second spot with 13 deaths.

The national mortality figure is the highest since 2010; 69 tiger deaths were reported in the whole of 2015. Conservationists have raised the alarm on poaching+ , given the rise in cases of seizure of tiger body parts across the country this year.

Twenty seizures were registered in the country till November, also the highest since 2010. One such seizure was made last month in Gondia district in Maharashtra.

The data has been released by 'tigernet', a collaborative effort of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and TRAFFIC-India. While 41 of the 76 deaths are still being investigated, the remaining have been attributed to direct or indirect human intervention — including poaching, poisoning, electrocution, road accidents and elimination by authorities — besides tigers attacking each other and natural causes.

'Tiger deaths in isolated pockets, not everywhere'

Shekhar Kumar Niraj, head of TRAFFIC India, a wildlife trade monitoring networ, said, "We usually witness a high incidence of poaching+ from August to November every year, though the reasons for this trend are unknown."

"The situation this year seems far more grim as there has been an almost 10% increase in tiger mortalities and an over 150% increase in seizures since last year."

"The Tadoba and Melghat regions of Maharashtra have always been more prone to tiger poaching. Maharashtra shares its border with Madhya Pradesh, where tiger mortalities and cases of poaching are the highest. The Nagpur region is known for cases of illegal trade of wildlife body parts," he said.

Experts say the growing number of seizures could also mean that the government's intelligence gathering is becoming more sophisticated, which has helped trap more poachers. Debi Goenka, founder of NGO Conservation Action Trust, said tiger habitats in the country were under tremendous pressure. "There have been some success stories where tigers are breeding well which has helped increase their count+ , but this has happened in isolated pockets and not in all sanctuaries. In the case of saturated reserves, cubs move out to look for their own territory and become vulnerable to poaching and road accidents," he said.

Goenka said the forest department's practice of upgrading posts has led to a decline in the number of forest guards manning reserves for tiger protection. "Upgrading certain posts means that the job once handled by somebody much younger now has to be done by an older official of a higher rank. Such officials cannot really exert much energy.

Department headquarters are closer to cities, where other officials often have to attend meetings.

Fewer officials are thus left for protection work in reserves far away from the city," he said.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 11-08-2016

Surat: Villagers burn trapped leopard alive
The incident took place a day after a seven-year-old girl was mauled to death by a big cat in the area. It is yet to be ascertained whether the leopard killed by villagers was the same that attacked the girl.

By: Express News Service | Surat | Updated: November 5, 2016 3:07 am

Residents of Wadi village in Gujarat’s Surat district burnt alive a leopard trapped in a cage set up by the forest department on Thursday night.

The incident took place a day after a seven-year-old girl was mauled to death by a big cat in the area. It is yet to be ascertained whether the leopard killed by villagers was the same that attacked the girl. The forest department has lodged a case against the villagers for violating animal protection laws.

Forest officials had installed five cages at different locations after a leopard killed the girl. According to them, a leopard was trapped in one of the cages Thursday. As the news spread, people rushed to the spot to kill the animal.

Eyewitnesses said the villagers overpowered the forest officials near the cage, poured kerosene on the leopard and burnt it alive.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 11-15-2016

Was Borneo once a land of tigers?
7 November 2016 / Taufik Wijaya
Translated by Philip Jacobson

Local indigenous peoples insist that it was. Should scientists pay them more attention?
  • The scientific consensus is that while tigers did inhabit the Indonesian islands of Java and Bali, and still live in Sumatra, they never lived in Borneo.
  • Indigenous peoples in Borneo say otherwise. So-called 'tiger fangs,' for example, often feature in traditional Dayak ceremonies.
  • Some researchers wonder if the question of whether tigers lived in Borneo has gotten short shrift from experts who should be paying more attention to local communities.
PALANGKARAYA, Indonesia — One recent morning I paid a visit to Iber Djamal, a leader of the Dayak Ngaju indigenous people. He had invited us to see his mandau, a traditional Dayak weapon.

When I saw the mandau, which is a kind of machete, my attention focused not on the blade but on the fangs adorning it.

What surprised me was that they were said to be tiger fangs.

“These are tiger fangs, not leopard fangs,” Iber said. “The fangs that decorate this mandau are from the animals that have been killed by the weapons inherited from my ancestors. Besides tigers, there are crocodiles, bears, leopards and boars.”

What kind of tiger was killed with this mandau?

“A tiger in Kalimantan. It was killed by my ancestor. There used to be tigers in Kalimantan.”

Iber Djamal shows off the tiger fangs on his mandau. Photo by Jemmie Delvian

*This image is copyright of its original author

Iber’s explanation certainly differs from the general understanding about tigers in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo island.

The present scientific consensus is that no one in Kalimantan has ever found a tiger. Researchers think the only tigers in Indonesia are in Bali (now extinct), Java (thought to be extinct) and Sumatra (only a few hundred left).

Iber said that the tiger — called harimau in Indonesian and haramaung in Dayak Ngaju — was one of the animals most commonly hunted by his ancestors.

“We believe that if a man can hunt and kill a tiger when his wife is pregnant, the child will grow up to be a king or a leader,” he said.

If a mandau is adorned with tiger fangs, it will endow whomever wields it with courage.

“Maybe because they’re worth so much to some people, tigers in Kalimantan have been hunted to extinction,” he said.

He added that if anyone in his tribe ever found a tiger, it wouldn’t be hunted, “because these animals need to be protected.”

The critically endangered Sumatran tiger. The peat forests of the Kampar Peninsula is one of its last strongholds. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

*This image is copyright of its original author

Fangs from a tiger or a clouded leopard?
After encountering this phenomenon, I contacted Yoan Dinata, chairperson of Forum HarimauKita, an NGO, about the possibility of a long-lost species of Bornean tiger.

“There is no record or scholarship of tigers ever living in Kalimantan,” Dinata said.

“But there is a possibility that in the past they did live there, because the islands of Java, Sumatra and Borneo were once fused with mainland Southeast Asia.”

According to Dinata, in Kalimantan today there is only the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi).

“I don’t know if the fangs adorning all of those mandau blades are the fangs of tigers or clouded leopards,” he said.

A clouded leopard in Kalimantan. Photo by Spencer Wright/Wikimedia Commons

*This image is copyright of its original author

Dinata suggested that there should be more research as to the origin of the fangs. “If they really are tiger fangs, we should study how old they are.”

Scientifically, the nonexistence of tigers in Kalimantan raises many questions among researchers. The merging in ancient times of Borneo with mainland Southeast Asia certainly brought to it a variety of Asiatic wildlife.

Historical range of tiger is shown in pale yellow and current range (2006) in green. Map source: Fate of Wild Tigers: Sanderson, E., Forrest, J., Loucks, C., Ginsberg, J., Dinerstein, E., Seidensticker, J., Leimgruber, P., Songer, M., Heydlauff, A., O’Brien, T., Bryja, G., Klenzendorf, S., Wikramanayake, E. (2006). The Technical Assessment: Setting Priorities for the Conservation and Recovery of Wild Tigers: 2005–2015. License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic

*This image is copyright of its original author

As a predator, the path of the tiger in the past was certainly influenced by the distribution of its prey. From a habitat perspective the characterstics of Sumatra today are similar with those of Kalimantan.

“Almost all of the animals in Kalimantan are also in Sumatra, including the orangutan and elephant. But surprisingly in Kalimantan today there aren’t any tigers,” Dinata said.

“Dayak people’s recognition of the existence of tigers in the past would be an interesting thing to study.”

On the other hand, many of the sources of scientific findings in the past century are by Western researchers — it’s very rare to get information from local communities to be summarized in the scientific record.

For example, findings that the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) might exist in Kalimantan were questioned by some researchers. Only after evidence such as horns and tracks were found did experts begin to seriously explore the existence of this species. As a result, experts finally met the Sumatran rhino in Borneo.

Maybe at a historical moment the tracks of a Bornean tiger will be revealed based on information from local communities. Who knows?

This story was reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and was first published on our Indonesian site on November 6, 2016.

RE: Bigcats News - Pckts - 11-15-2016

Is it really that hard to tell the difference between clouded leopard and tiger canines?
I'd think it'd be fairly easy.

RE: Bigcats News - Apollo - 11-15-2016

(11-15-2016, 09:14 PM)Pckts Wrote: Is it really that hard to tell the difference between clouded leopard and tiger canines?
I'd think it'd be fairly easy.

IMHO Ive seen them both and its very easy to tell the difference.
Clouded leopards unlike bigcats have a very slender long canines, some what like a smaller version of sabertooths.
Tiger canines are the most robust, bigger and heavier of all cats.

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 11-19-2016

Average of 110 Tigers a year entering the illegal trade chain in Asia over 16 years
Tiger skins illegally for sale © Akira / TRAFFIC

*This image is copyright of its original author

Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 16th November 2016 – A comprehensive analysis of 16 years of Tiger seizures shows that Asia’s failure to ramp up enforcement, close Tiger farms, strengthen laws and reduce demand are to blame for the persistent illegal trade in Tiger parts. 

Reduced To Skin And Bones Re-Examined: Full Analysis (PDF, 4 MB), released on the eve of the international conference on illegal wildlife trade taking place this week in Ha Noi, said these issues existed to varying degrees across all the 13 Tiger range countries scrutinized, evidenced by the minimum of 1755 Tigers seized from 2000-2015, an average of more than two animals per week. 

With at least 758 whole skins seized, they represent the most common commodity type in trade. Other items seized included bones and Tiger bone wine, claws, canines, paws, gall bladders as well as dead and live Tigers.

Graphic of Tiger seizures per country © TRAFFIC Click to enlarge

*This image is copyright of its original author

Among the findings was the growing proportion of Tiger parts seized suspected to be from captive breeding facilities – from just 2% in the 2000-2003 period to at least 30% in 2012-2015.  Such seizures were most pronounced in Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam, where captive breeding facilities were found to be poorly regulated by existing laws.

“The rising number of Tigers suspected to be from captive breeding operations is a sure indication that leakage from Tiger farms is occurring and there is no denying the role these facilities play in worsening illegal trade: these countries have clearly made little meaningful progress in controlling this source of supply,” said Kanitha Krishnasamy, Senior Programme Manager for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia and a co-author of the latest TRAFFIC report. 

“The Ha Noi Conference presents an opportunity for governments to take serious action: captive breeding facilities should be phased out and there is an urgent need to overhaul the laws in some countries to prevent commercially bred Tigers from slipping into the illegal trade.  Any further stimulation of demand could have a more disastrous impact on wild Tigers.”

The report also found that countries with the best chance of saving wild Tigers continued to grapple with the persistent problem of Tigers being removed from the wild and how to break the chains of supply and demand. 

India, the country with the highest population of wild Tigers globally, also recorded the highest number of seizures – a minimum of 540 Tigers seized over 16 years.  Indonesia stands out as having made the highest number of seizures in 2015 compared to others – 17 in total.  Other Tiger range countries each made between one and eight seizures that year.

“This comprehensive analysis provides important insights for targeting interventions at critical points in the trafficking chain,” said James Compton, TRAFFIC Senior Director for Asia. “Specific recommendations to Tiger Range Countries at national level are complementary to the need for international law enforcement co-operation to disrupt and dismantle criminal activity involving Tigers and tiger parts.”

The authors said the persistently high number of seizures was rooted in the lack of intelligence-led law enforcement efforts that could lead to successful convictions, a problem made worse by weak penalties and lack of successful prosecution of offenders, lack of information sharing and bilateral co-operation. 

Efforts to strengthen Tiger conservation efforts and cripple the syndicates bent on emptying the forests of Tigers, especially in their strongholds in India, Russia Nepal, Malaysia and Indonesia, could only be achieved if these problems were addressed. 

Demand, too, has not been quelled according to the report, which cites the clamour for taxidermy specimens of Tigers as a luxury item from the Indonesian elite as an example of additional pressure on the declining Sumatran Tiger population.

“Laws in most countries are weak and without fundamental structures in place, the success of any enforcement action is greatly undermined,” said Krishnasamy. 

“Wild Tiger range countries must step up their game to beat the odds of extinction.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 at 7:05

RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 11-21-2016

Zambian poaching crisis fuelled by Chinese military
Posted on 3 November, 2016 by News Desk in News, Poaching, Wildlife and the News Desk post series. — 0 Comments
Posted: November 3, 2016


Zambia’s elephant population has declined by about 90% due to poaching. Its black rhino population, estimated at 13,000 in 1981, is now extinct. Oscar Nkala visited the border town of Livingstone to find out what’s driving the poaching crisis.

An estimated 14 elephant tusks worth US$140,000 were found in two suitcases belonging to Colonel Oscar Chapula, then military adviser to the commander of the Zambian army, as the commander’s entourage prepared to fly out on a seven-day working visit to China on 29th May 2013.

Zambian game rangers and vets remove a wire snare that had entangled Inonge, a matriarch rhino in the Mosia-Tunya National Park near Livingstone on 8 February this year. The rhino survived another snaring incident early in 2014 ©Oscar Nkala

*This image is copyright of its original author

Chapula was arrested, along with two unnamed Chinese embassy officials who reportedly claimed diplomatic immunity. They were released following interventions by authorities, including then defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba, army commander Brigadier General Paul Mihova, and the then Chinese ambassador to Zambia, Zhou Yuxiao, who deployed his military attaché to win back custody of the tusks, according to a report in the Zambian Watchdog.

“The latest [ivory] seizure and arrests at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport involved some diplomats. We needed to get some clearance from the ministry of Home Affairs for police to conduct interviews so that they can establish who the owner of the tusks was and where those tusks were going,” the then Zambian minister of tourism and arts, Sylvia Masebo, said on 12 June 2013 as she explained why the government had not opened an investigation into the incident.

That was the last official pronouncement on the case, and none of the Chinese embassy or Zambian army officials involved were ever prosecuted.

Army role in poaching

According to a Transparency International Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index report of February 2015, there is a “very high risk” of defence force corruption in Zambia.

The report probed for evidence of defence institutions having control or financial interests in businesses associated with natural resource exploitation, what the interests were, and whether they were publicly stated or subjected to scrutiny.

“Members of the Zambian army and police units, all suffering from income declines, possess the weapons and authority to support a great deal of illegal hunting activity,” it said.

“A report by the Zambia Wildlife Conservation Society found well-documented incidents of army personnel setting up roadblocks at game park entrances. Army vehicles, laden with meat and tusks, would be seen driving away later.

“Even if not directly poaching, soldiers and police have regularly allowed other Zambians to rent, purchase, or borrow official weapons and ammunition.

Slaughter scene: piles of game meat recovered from poachers in March 2016 ©Zambian Parks and Wildlife Authority

*This image is copyright of its original author

“There are also allegations of Chinese diplomats involved in cartels with rogue military officials in Zambia in exporting ivory to China. There is no evidence to suggest that the interests of defence and security institutions involved in illegal hunting are publicly declared and subject to public and parliamentary scrutiny,” the anti-graft watchdog concluded.

On 16 May this year, the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife announced that Zambian Air Force captain Mwiya Masheke and flight sergeant Mutemwa Chripine had been detained, together with Namibian national Nefuma Taleni Stefanus and Zambian businessman Martin Maimba, in connection with the illegal possession of rhino horns weighing 3.9kg.

The four were arrested by police acting on a tip-off while they were allegedly selling the ivory to the businessman at a shopping mall in Chawama township, Lusaka. They were remanded in custody after appearing in court on charges of violating the Zambia Wildlife Act.

Poaching – an organised crime

Earlier this year, Deputy Tourism Minister Patrick Ngoma told a regional wildlife conference in Victoria Falls that Chinese ivory trafficking syndicates were responsible for hiring Zambians to poach elephants and rhinos in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola and Namibia.

Ngoma pointed out that, despite some improvements in counter-poaching initiatives, Zambia is struggling to contain the internal poaching crisis, which has led to the extinction of the country’s black rhinos over the past decades.

Asked to comment on whether the government had found evidence of Zambian army involvement in poaching, Ngoma said it would be unfair to label the army as an institutional driver of the poaching crisis, although some soldiers had been found to be involved in ivory poaching and trafficking.

“In Zambia we have poaching syndicates made up of locals, some of them in the army, and yes, some Chinese as well as Zimbabwean, Malawian, Tanzanian, Namibian and Congolese [Democratic Republic of Congo] nationals,” he said.

“In cases where soldiers are arrested, they face the same criminal justice system as everybody else. We are not looking at apportioning blame, but rather we want to stop poaching regardless of whether the perpetrators are soldiers, civilians or foreigners.”

The army’s public relations officer, Lieutenant Colonel Luwespo Sinyinza, told Oxpeckers that, like in every other army in the world, there are rogue soldiers who commit crimes while serving. However, he said the activities of a few “rogues” should not be used to create the impression that the army as an institution is involved in poaching.

“The Zambian army, like all other professional institutions, has to deal with rogue soldiers who commit crimes from time to time. We always let the law deal with the criminals as individuals. We, therefore, do not understand why the media and other organisations should use isolated incidents to paint the army as a poaching institution,” Sinyinza said.

He declined to comment on whether there had been any follow-ups to the 2013 ivory seizure at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport involving Chapula and two Chinese embassy officers. Efforts to contact former defence minister Mwamba were unsuccessful.

Multiple drivers

Conservation bodies estimate Zambia has lost more than 144,000 elephants to poaching in the past 30 years. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the country’s elephant population has declined by 90%, from an estimated 160,000 in 1981 to just over 16,000 in 2015.

The black rhino population, estimated at 13,000 in 1981, has been depleted to extinction by poachers. Only a small population of white rhinos remains in national parks.

Zambian army commander, Brigadier General Paul Mihova ©Oscar Nkala

*This image is copyright of its original author

The Zambian government’s attempts to contain the multiple drivers of the poaching crisis have failed since the extinction of the black rhino in 1984, said a report published by the American University (Washington DC) in February 2015.

“Faced with the extinction of the black rhino and the decimation of the elephant, the Zambian government initiated several wildlife conservation policies, including cross-border agreements with Zimbabwe and other countries where rhino and elephant poaching is common, aimed at reducing the amount of rhino and elephant poaching,” it said. “But these conservation efforts have had little long-term impacts as many Zambian poachers have crossed the border to neighbouring Zimbabwe to continue poaching.

“Other problems – such as a weak economy, limited resources for wildlife preservation, competition with local farmers for land, the politics of wildlife legislation and a very lucrative global market in ivory – have made it very difficult for the Zambian government to protect its rhino and elephant populations.”

The current Tourism and Arts Minister, Jean Kapata, said the government was concerned about the emergence of poaching syndicates, which have resorted to the use of poisons to kill elephants in large numbers.

“Of late, we are more concerned about the use of poisons to kill animals, especially elephants and hyenas, vultures and other collateral poaching targets. These poaching syndicates remain a threat to all the gains we have achieved working together over the last 30 years,” Kapata said at an event held on 22 March 2016 to commemorate 30 years of working with the Frankfurt Zoological Society on elephant conservation initiatives through the North Luangwa (National Park) Conservation Programme.

Chinese-Zambian army relationship

Military relations between China and Zambia have blossomed, with the sale of aircraft, small arms and, more recently, patrol boats to equip the new Zambia Army Marine Commando force, which was set up to patrol the country’s lakes and rivers last August.

Three months after the May 2013 arrest of the Chinese diplomats and the seizure of the elephant tusks, Chinese ambassador Zhou Yuxiao announced the signing of a US$8-million agreement on the sale of military equipment to Zambia.

The deal also covered the secondment of 11 Chinese doctors to Zambian army hospitals, as well as the rehabilitation of military hospitals in the towns of Ndola and Maina Soko.

In April 2014, the two countries capped their relationship with a Zambian air force order of six Chinese jets worth US$100-million. The first aircraft was due to be delivered to Zambia within the first half of 2016.

Ambassador Zhou Yuxiao left Zambia in July 2014, and was replaced by the current ambassador, Yang Youming.

He did not respond to questions emailed to him by Oxpeckers, as advised by an embassy official. Oxpeckers was also unable to get a response from the Chinese chancellory, an annex of the embassy in Lusaka.

RE: Bigcats News - Vinay - 11-21-2016

Leopards, sloth bears feel at home near humans: Census

*This image is copyright of its original author

AHMEDABAD: The census of leopards and sloth bears conducted in May this year has revealed that there are more leopards which have made revenue areas - the areas away from jungles close to human habitations - as their homes rather than safe and protected environment of forests.

According to the senior officials in the state forest department, which had taken the count in May this year, there were around 35-40% of the leopards and sloth bears in the areas close to human habitations than in the forests.

Quest for food is bringing leopards dangerously close to humans. Census estimation by the forest department pegs a 70% rise in leopards' count in human settlements near cities and big towns of Gujarat. The leopard census 2011 revealed 1,160 big cats in the state, out of which 290 or a quarter were spotted in human settlements. Census estimates taken up between May 20-22, peg a 70% rise in this number. The number of leopards, according to the May census, was over 1,400, but the officials said that around 500-odd leopards were in the human settlements.

A similar trend was noticed in sloth bears where there was more sighting outside the protected areas than the sanctuaries. The sudden spurt in the number of leopards and sloth bears outside the sanctuaries spells possibility of more incidents of man-animal conflicts in the future. Currently, on an average one leopard attack takes place once in three days in the state. In 2015-16, 12 persons had been killed and 107 attacked by the leopards.

The officials said that number of animals in the state is likely to increase by around 20%, taking the bear population to approximately 350. The 2011 census had shown that 297 sloth bears lived in the state. Of these, over 100 are estimated to be living close to human habitats.

The officials said that while it was the search of small animals like dogs which was leading leopards out, in the case of sloth bears it was the illegal honey combing by humans and increasing human pressure which were driving them out of the sanctuaries.


Old news.IF posted already delete it. Interesting part here is..... 

Only Gujarat (Asiatic lions state)leopards and bears census.So, expect more Leopards and Bears videos in the future as same conditions exist in the rest of India too. Yes, it is better to be attacked by leopards or bears than Pigs Joking (Many Western and even Islamic Pakistan is suffering due to feral boars-attacks). 

RE: Bigcats News - Roflcopters - 11-24-2016

Madhya Pradesh : The carcass of a seven year old male tiger with paws missing has been found in the Katangi area of Balaghat district. A part of its skin has also been taken away by the poachers. This is the 26th tiger death in the state this year.

Chief conservator of forests (CCF) Dhirendra Bhargava said that carcass was decomposed and seemed around ten days old. “Its four paws and some skin was missing. We have started investigation into case. After post mortem , the last rites of the tiger were performed. The exact cause of its death will be known after the post mortem results come”, he said.

On whether the tiger had come from Kanha or Pench tiger reserve, he said Kanha was far from the area and Panch is over 20 kms far. “At present I cant say from where the tiger had come . It could have been roaming in this area or may be it had come from Pench tiger reserve”, he said.
He further added that a dog squad had been brought into the Katangi area to investigate the matter.