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RE: Bigcats News - Pckts - 01-05-2017

I just purchased Volume 1 and will purchase V. 2 after I'm finished.


RE: Bigcats News - Apollo - 01-06-2017

For me man-eaters come in 3 different types

1) The young subadults male and female which were kicked out and injured by more powerful adults out of the core to the buffer, these individuals can be transferred to other parts and reserves where tiger population is low.

2 The old adults male and female which were too old, too weak and lost canines or claws to hunt wild preys effectively, these individuals can be transferred to captive enclosures where they can spend the rest of their life.

3) The mothers with cubs, IMO this is the most dangerous group. Coz mother is training the cubs to see humans as potential prey. In this case mother as to be kept in enclosure to avoid further training her future cubs to become maneaters. The cubs should be trained to hunt its natural prey and then released back into the wild.

This is just my thoughts on this issue.

Thanks


RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 01-10-2017

From "The Land of the Leopard":

Leopards and tigers freely crossing Russia–China border
Monday, December 5, 2016
 Russian and Chinese scientists have tracked cross-border movements of Amur leopards and Amur tigers. Data on the number of wild feline animals living in the territories of both countries were made public at NEASPEC meeting.
A report on the project “A Study of Cross-Border Movements of Siberian Tiger and Amur Leopard Using Camera Traps and Molecular Genetic Analysis” handled by FSBI “Land of the Leopard”, WWF Russia and Center for Feline Animal Studies (China) was presented on November 28–29 in Beijing at a meeting of NEASPEC (U.N. North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation).
The Russian side was represented in this project since 2014 by National Park “Land of the Leopard” and by the Biology & Soil Science Institute, FEB RAS and the Chinese participant was the Center for Feline Animal Studies of the State Forestry Administration of the PRC. The project was coordinated by Amur Branch of WWF Russia. The key achievement of joint studies is credible information about cross-border migrations of Amur leopards and Siberian tigers.
It became known that at least 15 leopards and 19 tigers were registered in both countries during the whole study period. Animals crossed the border in a different manner. Some crossed the border up to 10 times which is indicative of their “dual nationality”: such wild cats permanently reside in the territories of both countries and we cannot say whether they are Russian or Chinese residents.
Some animals cross the border one time and stay in a new location. Specialists registered migration from Russia to China of two leopards and two tigers born in Russia and now living in China.

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: Bigcats News - Pckts - 01-17-2017

Amur 's of the Russian Far East / Дикие Кошки Дальнего Востока


Son of a bitch shot the tiger kitten in the face/head, the bullet went straight through.
*This image is copyright of its original author
?
*This image is copyright of its original author
? It is a miracle he is even alive.
For the safety of the mother Tigress and remaining kitten (s) I have chosen not to attach link.
Center "Amur tiger" branch appointed a reward of 150 thousand rubles for accurate information about the circumstances of the crime and the perpetrators. "Confidentiality is guaranteed"-said in the department of hunting supervision.
Information about the incident can be reported by e-mail feb@amur-tiger.ru or by phone 8 (423) 222-14-48 or the hotline of the Department of Hunting Control 2390990.


*This image is copyright of its original author



Joseph Hoover


Two tiger deaths in a week in Karnataka. Worrisome.
In both instances there is lingering doubt over excessive dosage of tranquilizer being administered.
This tigress, assumed to be a ten year old which prowled the Kabini waters in its prime, had killed and devoured a cow last evening. It was tranquilized late last night near Antharsanthe range, Nagarhole tiger reserve. It escaped. It was found and tranquilized again. It was shifted to a cage around midnight. But it died around 00.30 am.
Intriguingly, the consent of the chief wildlife warden wasn't taken. Why?
Was it a case of excessive dosage of tranquilizer? It was tranqulized twice in three hours.
We need to get to the root of this issue. Vet Umashankar will have answers.
Are our wildlife vets equipped and experienced to handle such situations?
Is the department prepared for such eventualities? Tiger numbers have increased in Nagarhole and Bandipur. More tigers are bound to move into village environs. It could lead to man-animal conflicts.
Does the forest department have sufficient stock of tranquilizer medicine?
In the case of the other tiger, we were told it was robust and healthy. There were no external injury. But after it died en route to Bannerghatta, we were told it had injuries. Strange.
We need to see the footage of the post mortem.
Sorry. Have seen photographs of the injured tiger. It indeed has injuries on its forepaw.


 






Male tiger found dead in Bandipur Tiger Reserve
Tacpindianews
*This image is copyright of its original author
?? 14 Jan. 2017 07:55
The male tiger was rescued but it died soon after — Karnataka Forest Department
According to Karnataka forest officials, the tiger was seen sitting without any movement an inch in the backwaters of Negu Dam on Thursday morning
A male tiger from Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka on Friday morning succumbed to its injuries possibly due to starvation and injuries that left it immobile, after it was rescued on Thursday.
According to Karnataka forest officials, the tiger was seen sitting without any movement an inch in the backwaters of Negu Dam on Thursday morning. Realising it could be severely injured, the forest department sought permission to tranquilise the big cat for treatment.
Forest officials claimed that they initially suspected that the tiger could have been injured while trying to prey on a large animal like a guar, but close observation of injuries suggested it could be a territorial fight with another tiger.
Bengaluru-based Joseph Hoover who is member of State Wildlife Advisory Board said that it was a right decision of the forest department to sedate the animal. "It seems that since the Mysore zoo was shut due to the avian flu cases, the tiger had to be taken to Bannergatta. I called the officials to get information on the tiger on Friday morning and was shocked to know that it did not survive," he said. He will try and gather more details on the case on Monday to understand how quick the response was and whether anything could have been done to save the tiger.
Hoover added that on enquiry, he was told that the injuries were at least 15 days old and there were bite marks on its limbs. This suggests the tiger was involved in a fight with another male.
Dr Sujay Suresh, Veterinarian, Bannerghatta National Park, Bengaluru stated that the tiger was dead before being brought to Bannerghatta. "The tiger had multiple fractures on its right fore limb which did not allow it to move, and apart from that, its kidney and lungs too were found compromised upon inspection. The animal was also starving as its stomach had no food and septicemia had set in causing its death," he said. He added that possibly the animal did not have any food for at least two to three days.
Wildlife activists claimed that forest department should keep actively patrolling the forest, specially during the mating season when these territorial fights increase and injured tigers are pushed out of the forest. They also said there should be proper trained staff and vets to handle such situations.

*This image is copyright of its original author




and the real cause of death

Sarosh Lodhi

In another goof-up earlier this month, an injured male tiger was being shifted to Bangalore when there's a centre in Mysore. It's reliably learnt that this one died over tranq overdose too.

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: Bigcats News - Apollo - 01-18-2017

India can hold 10,000 wild tigers: Dr Ullas Karanth

Country's top wildlife scientist Dr K Ullas Karanth on Wednesday said India had potential to hold population of at least 10,000 tigers in the wild if tiger-prey relationship was properly understood. As per the tiger census 2014, there were 2,226 tigers in the country.


"Poaching is not the main reason for dwindling tiger population but declining prey base. You have vast stretches of forests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh with virtually no tigers, because there is no prey there," said Karanth.



Karanth, who is executive director of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Bengaluru, said over 100 tigers dying annually was not a big thing for me because there were at least 1,000 breeding females in the country that produce around 1,000 cubs annually. "Even if 40-50% of the cubs suffer mortality, 400 to 500 tigers are being added annually to the population," the scientist added.



Karanth's WCS has done pioneering research in knowing ecology and conservation status of tigers in India. Supporting the line transect methodology to know animal population, he said for exact results, robust designing and thinking were needed.



To a question on missing radio-collared tiger Jai, Karanth, who is also into radio collaring of tigers since 1990, supported collaring of tigers but refused a specific comment saying as he had not collared Jai he won't say anything on the case.



Last year the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) radio-collared two tigers, Jai and a problem tigress from Brahmapuri, but whereabouts of both are not known and there is no tracking too. Both the costly collars failed to function.



"Collaring doesn't mean protection but you need to track the animal professionally post-collaring. This is because you don't get animal behaviour data even if movement pattern is not established," said Karanth.


He said declaring new protected areas (PAs) though is one solution to tiger protection but PAs are not science-based. "Our approach while declaring PAs is irrational though it is an investment," said Karanth.



The topmost biologist was opposed to the idea of shifting surplus tiger population in Tadoba landscape in Brahmapuri in other landscapes. "This is not a solution. By doing this you are merely shifting conflict elsewhere. Such decisions should be based on prey populations," Karanth stressed. Central India does not have a single viable population of 100 tigers as per science, he added.

On tourism , Karanth said he was opposed to '1 tiger, 20 Gypsys' model. He was optimistic about the future of tigers citing example of Karnataka where there were no tigers 30 years ago but 20% of country's tiger population lived there. "NGOs, scientists and forest officials can make a good combination," he said.



http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/india-can-hold-10k-wild-tigers-dr-ullas-karanth/articleshow/56486181.cms


RE: Bigcats News - parvez - 01-18-2017

If this was already posted here i will delete this post,
Tiger spotted above 12,000 ft in Uttarakhand, experts say ‘ominous’
Forest officials have sighted a royal Bengal tiger at an unusually high altitude of above 12,000 feet in the Himalayas, prompting ecologists to sense another disturbing instance of climate change.

A senior bureaucrat said the tiger—the animal typically lives at a height of 3,000-4,000 feet—was spotted in the upper ranges of Uttarakhand, adding to the faunal diversity of the rugged state bordering China’s Tibet on the north.

The big cat was seen in a picture shot from a camera fixed in Askot Wildlife Sanctuary in March this year, Divisional Forest Officer (Pithoragarh) IP Singh informed.


*This image is copyright of its original author
One of the pictures showing the tiger that was spotted in March (Uttarakhand forest department)


“Usually, it is other varieties of big cats, like snow leopards, you find at altitudes above 12,000 feet,” he told Hindustan Times. “The image was captured on March 13.”

The sanctuary, 55 km from Pithoragh in the state’s Kumaon administrative division, lies at an altitude between 2,000 ft and 6,900 ft. Famous for its musk deer population and conservation, its 600-sq-km habitat is home to leopard, jungle cat, civet, barking deer and brown bear besides the antelope-like and serow and goral among other mammals.

A 2014 data put the country’s number of royal Bengal tiger--India’s national animal—at 2,226, registering a 30% jump in four years.

Scientists say tiger sighting at 12,000-ft height indicates an effect of global warming.



Read | Uttarakhand fire: Foresters worried over two missing tiger cubs

DP Dobhal of Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology said the tiger-spotting meant the animal found it warm at an elevation of 12,000 feet. “It’s not healthy news,” he told HT. “Now more animals may scale up. That will pose threat to other animals of the upper Himalayas.”

The numbers of tigers in Uttarakhand has grown, as per an all-India estimation last year. The state, formed in 2000, reported 340 tigers—the country’s second, after Karnataka (406).

Another wildlife expert pointed out that tiger-sighting in higher pose a challenge for the forest department in monitoring big cats. “Already, we are struggling to conserve tigers in their know territories,” he added.

Wildlife activist Abhishek Kumar said the Uttarakhand forest department has “repeatedly failed” to conserve tigers. “Seizure of tiger skins from the Corbett National Park this year is a classic example,” he noted.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/tiger-spotted-above-12-000-ft-in-uttarakhand-experts-say-ominous/story-C3opdIQuYIxxs60KFyxlPI.html


RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 01-18-2017

Desperate attempt to save Siberian tiger cub shot in head by poachers
By The Siberian Times reporter 17 January 2017
Pioneering life-saving operation to be carried out this week, as bid made to find and shame the gunman.

The cub is now in rehabilitation in Alekseevka village to save it's life. Picture: Yulia Fomenko/WWF

*This image is copyright of its original author

The male cub was shot in the head and wildlife experts say it is a 'miracle' the animal survived. 
The cat - an endangered Amur tiger, one of less than 600 or so alive in the wild  - was with its mother and a sibling when it was shot in the Pozharsky district of Primorsky region on 13 January.
The cub is now in rehabilitation in Alekseevka village to save it's life, and a pioneering operation to save its life is expected on Friday. The  mother has been seen returning to the place the cub was shot, clearly worried about her 7 month old cub.

The cat - an endangered Amur tiger, one of less than 600 or so alive in the wild  - was with its mother and a sibling when it was shot in the Pozharsky district of Primorsky region on 13 January. Pictures: Yulia Fomenko/WWF, PRNCO 'Tiger Center' 

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Veterinarian Irina Korotkova said: 'The wound was treated. We injected analgesic, antibiotics. According to the X-ray the animal has a complicated injury. Most likely several surgeries are needed.' 
The Far Eastern department of Centre 'Amur Tiger' announced that they will pay 150,000 roubles ($2,550) for reliable information about the poachers. 
Director Sergey Aramilev said: 'The most important thing now is to make every effort to save the life of tiger cub, although we are aware that the situation is severe and not everything, unfortunately, depends on the vets.

'The most important thing now is to make every effort to save the life of tiger cub, although we are aware that the situation is severe and not everything, unfortunately, depends on the vets. Pictures: PRNCO 'Tiger Center' 

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

'We hope that the police will make every effort to find the poachers. Our organisation is ready to pay compensation for accurate information about the circumstances of the crime and the perpetrators with a guarantee of confidentiality.

'Special thanks to the people that reported about the injured tiger cub.'


RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 01-19-2017

Cheetahs heading towards extinction as population crashes
By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent
26 December 2016 From the section Science & Environment

Protected parks and reserves for cheetahs are not sufficient as the animal ranges far beyond these areas

*This image is copyright of its original author

The sleek, speedy cheetah is rapidly heading towards extinction according to a new study into declining numbers.
The report estimates that there are just 7,100 of the world's fastest mammals now left in the wild.
Cheetahs are in trouble because they range far beyond protected areas and are coming increasingly into conflict with humans.
The authors are calling for an urgent re-categorisation of the species from vulnerable to endangered.
Wiped out
According to the study, more than half the world's surviving cheetahs live in one population that ranges across six countries in southern Africa.
Cheetahs in Asia have been essentially wiped out. A group estimated to number fewer than 50 individuals clings on in Iran.
Because the cheetah is one of the widest-ranging carnivores, it roams across lands far outside protected areas. Some 77% of their habitat falls outside these parks and reserves.
As a result, the animal struggles because these lands are increasingly being developed by farmers and the cheetah's prey is declining because of bushmeat hunting.
In Zimbabwe, the cheetah population has fallen from around 1,200 to just 170 animals in 16 years, with the main cause being major changes in land tenure.

The illegal trade in cheetah cubs has been driven by their status as a fashion icon in the Gulf states

*This image is copyright of its original author

Researchers involved with the study say that the threats facing the fabled predator have gone unnoticed for far too long.
"Given the secretive nature of this elusive cat, it has been difficult to gather hard information on the species, leading to its plight being overlooked," said Dr Sarah Durant, from the Zoological Society of London, UK, and the report's lead author.
"Our findings show that the large space requirements for the cheetah, coupled with the complex range of threats faced by the species in the wild, mean that it is likely to be much more vulnerable to extinction than was previously thought."
Another of the big concerns about cheetahs has been the illegal trafficking of cubs, fuelled by demand from the Gulf states, as reported by the BBC earlier this year.
The young cats can fetch up to $10,000 on the black market. According to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, some 1,200 cheetah cubs are known to have been trafficked out of Africa over the past 10 years but around 85% of them died during the journey.
At the recent CITES conference in South Africa, governments agreed to put new measures in place to tackle this issue, clamping down on the use of social media to advertise cheetahs for sale.

The cheetah has lost 91% of its traditional ranges as it comes increasingly into conflict with humans

*This image is copyright of its original author

However if the species is to survive long term then urgent efforts must be made to tackle the wider question of protected areas and ranges.
The new study argues for a "paradigm shift in conservation", moving away from the idea of just declaring an area to be protected and towards incorporating "incentive-based approaches". This, in essence, means paying local communities to protect a species that many see as a dangerous predator.
"The take-away from this pinnacle study is that securing protected areas alone is not enough," said Dr Kim Young-Overton from Panthera, another author on the report.
"We must think bigger, conserving across the mosaic of protected and unprotected landscapes that these far-reaching cats inhabit, if we are to avert the otherwise certain loss of the cheetah forever."
To fully recognise the scale of the threat that the cheetah now faces, the report is calling on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to change the categorisation of the fastest animal on its Red List from vulnerable to endangered.
This would help focus international conservation support on a species that the authors fear is heading for extinction at an increasing pace.
The report has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


RE: Bigcats News - Apollo - 01-20-2017

Lost lion cub reunited with family near Gir forest

On Tuesday, after nearly 15 hours of efforts by the team, a lioness came near the cage, sniffed the cub and took him along while disappearing in the adjoining forest, said the officer.



Lost lion cub reunited with family near Gir forest Vadodara, Jan 5 A nearly two-month-old male Asiatic lion cub who got separated from his family at a village in Gir Somnath district was rescued and reunited with his mother, a forest official said on Thursday. A pride of two lioness and 2-3 cubs ventured into a forest revenue area adjoining the Gir sanctuary, the only abode of these big cats.
 
One of the male cubs got separated from the other felines and was found roaming at a field in Juna Ugla village under Una tehsil of Gir Somnath district on Monday night, Range Forest Officer J G Pandya said.


“Since an abandoned cub might not survive, our team, without any delay, decided to locate his mother and visited around five nearby villages after learning about a pride of lions seen roaming in the area,” he said.


The worry before the forest officials was how to reunite the cub with his family.


“Usually in such situations, the cub is left to die and is not accepted back by the pride. The female carnivores often kill the cubs if they come in close contact with humans,” he said.


Later, the forest team reached a site near Kedarnath dam close to Fadsar village and kept the cub there in an open cage, Pandya said.
On Tuesday, after nearly 15 hours of efforts by the team, a lioness came near the cage, sniffed the cub and took him along while disappearing in the adjoining forest, he said.


The Gir national park and wildlife sanctuary in Western Gujarat is the only habitat for Asiatic lions.


http://indianexpress.com/article/india/lost-lion-cub-reunited-with-family-near-gir-forest-4460247/


RE: Bigcats News - Shardul - 01-20-2017

(01-18-2017, 11:17 AM)Apollo Wrote: India can hold 10,000 wild tigers: Dr Ullas Karanth

Country's top wildlife scientist Dr K Ullas Karanth on Wednesday said India had potential to hold population of at least 10,000 tigers in the wild if tiger-prey relationship was properly understood. As per the tiger census 2014, there were 2,226 tigers in the country.


"Poaching is not the main reason for dwindling tiger population but declining prey base. You have vast stretches of forests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Arunachal Pradesh with virtually no tigers, because there is no prey there," said Karanth.



Karanth, who is executive director of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Bengaluru, said over 100 tigers dying annually was not a big thing for me because there were at least 1,000 breeding females in the country that produce around 1,000 cubs annually. "Even if 40-50% of the cubs suffer mortality, 400 to 500 tigers are being added annually to the population," the scientist added.



Karanth's WCS has done pioneering research in knowing ecology and conservation status of tigers in India. Supporting the line transect methodology to know animal population, he said for exact results, robust designing and thinking were needed.



To a question on missing radio-collared tiger Jai, Karanth, who is also into radio collaring of tigers since 1990, supported collaring of tigers but refused a specific comment saying as he had not collared Jai he won't say anything on the case.



Last year the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) radio-collared two tigers, Jai and a problem tigress from Brahmapuri, but whereabouts of both are not known and there is no tracking too. Both the costly collars failed to function.



"Collaring doesn't mean protection but you need to track the animal professionally post-collaring. This is because you don't get animal behaviour data even if movement pattern is not established," said Karanth.


He said declaring new protected areas (PAs) though is one solution to tiger protection but PAs are not science-based. "Our approach while declaring PAs is irrational though it is an investment," said Karanth.



The topmost biologist was opposed to the idea of shifting surplus tiger population in Tadoba landscape in Brahmapuri in other landscapes. "This is not a solution. By doing this you are merely shifting conflict elsewhere. Such decisions should be based on prey populations," Karanth stressed. Central India does not have a single viable population of 100 tigers as per science, he added.

On tourism , Karanth said he was opposed to '1 tiger, 20 Gypsys' model. He was optimistic about the future of tigers citing example of Karnataka where there were no tigers 30 years ago but 20% of country's tiger population lived there. "NGOs, scientists and forest officials can make a good combination," he said.



http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/india-can-hold-10k-wild-tigers-dr-ullas-karanth/articleshow/56486181.cms
Thanks for posting this @Apollo 

I remember having a debate with @Dr.Panthera regarding his claim of <1000 breeding adults in India. Karanth's remark of at least 1000 breeding tigresses supports my theory that there are about1300-1400 breeding adults (300-400 breeding males for 1000 females) in Indian forests.


RE: Bigcats News - Polar - 01-20-2017

That is a great female-to-male ratio for Bengal Tigers. That means that tigers don't have to fight for females as much.


RE: Bigcats News - Shardul - 01-20-2017

(01-20-2017, 10:45 PM)Polar Wrote: That is a great female-to-male ratio for Bengal Tigers. That means that tigers don't have to fight for females as much.

Well those males earn their breeding rights by beating other males, right? The number could very well be higher seeing as some transient males often intrude into dominant males' territory and mate with their females behind their back.


RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 01-21-2017

Halting Global Cheetah Decline
Posted by Wildlife Conservation Society in Cat Watch on December 28, 2016
By Sarah Durant @SarahMDurant

By Sarah Durant

*This image is copyright of its original author

Our recent report on global cheetah decline provides alarming reading. Using the best available information, we estimate that there are only about 7,100 wild cheetah left in the world. The species is now restricted to less than 10% of its historical distribution, and survives in just 33 populations, most of which number fewer than 100 individuals. Added to this perilous predicament is the fact that most cheetah live outside protected areas. There they face multiple threats including loss of habitat and prey; conflict with livestock and game keepers; and illegal wildlife trade in live cheetah for pets and dead cheetah for skins. Recent extinctions have been documented in western and central Africa, and there has been an estimated decline of 85% in Zimbabwe over the last 16 years. For those cheetah populations where there is sufficient information, most are declining. This evidence, together with ongoing pressures outside protected areas, led us to recommend that the IUCN Red List threat status of cheetah is up-listed from Vulnerable to Endangered.

Cheetah will only be able to survive alongside pastoralists, such as the Maasai here in northern Tanzania, if we can find innovative new ways to incentivize their protection across large multiple-use landscapes – By Sarah Durant

*This image is copyright of its original author

The worsening of the threat status of cheetah should act as a wakeup call. Urgent action is needed if the survival of cheetah is to be secured. Undoubtedly, cheetah are a particularly challenging species to conserve. Although they are not the largest cat, less than a third the weight of a lion, they are one of the widest ranging, and may travel across areas in excess of 1,000km2 every year. They move this widely to find their prey, and because they need to avoid other large predators, including lion and spotted hyena, which may kill their cubs and steal their kills. But this also means that cheetah occur at much lower densities than other big cats, with densities seldom exceeding 2/100km2. In the Sahara, where a critically endangered population of cheetah still survives, we have documented densities as low as only one cheetah per 4,000km2. Thus cheetah need conservation over a much larger scale than is usually seen in terrestrial conservation.

The future of cheetah depends on their survival alongside people across large multiple-use landscapes – By Sarah Durant

*This image is copyright of its original author

To halt cheetah decline, we will have to surmount the difficulties of conserving a rare, wide-ranging and elusive big cat. But we also have to confront the realities of conservation in the developing countries where cheetah still survive. Communities who share their land with cheetah may face a daily challenge just to feed themselves and their families. They cannot afford to pay the costs of losing their precious livestock to cheetah, even if this is a relatively rare event.

That there is international public support for cheetah and other iconic megafauna is beyond doubt. This is evidenced by millions of international visitors who may travel thousands of miles to see such wildlife, and by the further millions who avidly watch wildlife programs streaming into their homes. We only lack effective means to channel the value that this wildlife generates into local communities that bear the real costs of living with cheetah and other problematic species.

Yet much has already been achieved. ZSL’s and WCS’s joint Range Wide Conservation Program for Cheetah and African Wild Dog has been working with range state governments for nearly 10 years, and have helped to put in place Regional Strategies and National Action Plans that provide a roadmap for the conservation of cheetah together with African wild dogs (the latter a species with similar ecology and facing similar threats to cheetah). These strategies and plans have the strong support of range state governments and conservation NGOs and lay out a list of all the actions that need to be undertaken to secure the survival of both species. More resources are needed to implement these roadmaps, and we also need innovative new ways for communities to benefit from the presence of wildlife.

Sarah Durant at work

*This image is copyright of its original author

Over coming decades Africa faces a critical period for its biodiversity. The continent’s human population is predicted to double by 2050, and the need to support and feed more people will exert unprecedented pressures on its wildlife and environment. However, lessons from Europe show that we should not give up hope. Here large carnivores faced imminent extinction towards the end of the 20th century. Yet today, due to protection and restoration programs, combined with policies that help foster coexistence between people and wildlife, there has been a resurgence of bears, wolves and lynx.  People and large carnivores can live together, even when human densities are relatively high.

For cheetah, we urgently need to find the political will and the financial means to enable people and wildlife to coexist, and for both to prosper. Only then can we be sure that future generations will be able to continue to marvel at the sight of a cheetah at full speed, which approach those seen on our fastest motorways. If we fail, the fate of the cheetah will be in doubt.

_________________________________

Sarah Durant is a Senior Research Fellow at the Zoological Society of London and an affiliated scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society


RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 01-21-2017

Once a trophy hunting concession, now a snow leopard sanctuary
Snow leopards are showing up on camera traps in places they’d never been seen before – thanks to an innovative programme in Kyrgyzstan. 
Jeremy Hance
Tuesday 10 January 2017 09.07 GMT

 The first photographic evidence of a snow leopard in Shashmy Wildlife Sanctuary. Photograph: SLF Kyrgyzstan / Snow Leopard Trust / SAEPF

*This image is copyright of its original author

Sometimes wildlife champions come as high as heads of state. Since taking office in 2011 the current president of Kyrgyzstan, Almazbek Atambayev, has turned the former Soviet Republic into a centre point for snow leopard conservation and research. Perhaps the best symbol of Atambayev’s commitment to snow leopards are recent camera trap photos showing the elusive, high-altitude predator roaming Shamshy Wildlife Reserve. Just two years ago, Shamshy was a concession for high-paying trophy hunters looking to bag an ibex. Today, it’s protecting those prey animals that snow leopards depend on. 

“We are certain about the presence of at least one, perhaps two snow leopards,” Koustubh Sharma, the Senior Regional Ecologist at the Snow Leopard Trust, said. “The second snow leopard we are not sure about given a slightly blurry image.”

A couple snow leopards may not sound like much. But with a global population only in thousands and in decline, every individual counts. Indeed, the images from Shamshy are also the first confirmation of snow leopards in the 454-kilometre long Kyrgyz Ala-Too mountain range that runs north-south through almost the entirety of Kyrgyzstan. 

 Adorable ibex kids recently born in Shamshy are caught on camera trap. Without healthy populations of prey animals, like these, snow leopards can’t survive. Overhunting has depleted many prey animals across snow leopard range. Photograph: SLF Kyrgyzstan / Snow Leopard Trust / SAEPF

*This image is copyright of its original author

Shamshy Wildlife Range spreads across nearly 200 square kilometres in the Kyrgyz Ala-Too, but even this is barely enough to protect a single roaming snow leopard. Recent research has shown that male snow leopards range over 200 square kilometres and females 130 square kilometres.

“Shamshy itself is too small to be a full home range for a snow leopard, but it can certainly be a part of one, or even several,” said Sharma.

The new protected area is co-managed by the Kyrgyz government, local communities and various conservation NGOS, including the Snow Leopard Trust. The stakeholders share responsibilities, including training and paying wildlife rangers, research efforts, education programmes for locals and eco-tourism.

“Shamshy has a bit of everything – the terrain gradually changes from lush meadows and thick forests along a crystal clear stream to grassland, and finally to steep, rocky peaks covered in glaciers,” Kuban Jumabai uulu, the Director of the Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan, said in 2015. Shamshy is also home to wild pigs, badgers, marmots, red fox, lynx and wolves. 

As a part of the agreement, local people are allowed to graze livestock in Shamshy but in a regulated and monitored fashion.

Sharma noted that this innovative model could easily be replicated elsewhere. After the early successes at Shamshy, the Kyrgyz government has reached out to the Snow Leopard Trust with interest in expanding the idea to other hunting concessions.

“We need to think [outside the box],” Sharma said. “We must look at more partnerships between Government and [NGOs], where two or more partners bring together their different sets of expertise to make a stronger team.”

He added that even hunting companies might want to consider such models to help recover wildlife populations by closing concessions – and working with partners – for a limited time.

Snow leopards are currently categorised as Endangered by the IUCN Red List and are threatened by a widespread decline in their prey, killings by locals who often view them as pests, and, probably most grievously, poaching. A recent report by TRAFFIC found that hundreds of snow leopards are killed to feed the illegal wildlife trade every year. It’s an open question how long the big cats could survive under such an onslaught. 

The only way to adequately protect snow leopards in these remote mountains is to directly involve local communities.
Peter Zahler

At the same time, debate continues over how many snow leopards there actually are on planet Earth. The mainstream estimate by the IUCN is just 4,080 to 6,590 animals. However, recent research based on surveys by 31 snow leopard researchers suggest that number may be a major underestimate. Recently compiled by Peter Zahler with the Wildlife Conservation Society and colleagues, the new estimate is 4,700 to 8,700 individuals across just 44 percent of snow leopard range. This means the total global population could be much larger than previously estimated.

“Previous estimates of snow leopard populations were really just guesstimates based on early assumptions about overall range and a general sense of density,” said Zahler. “As research continues to provide better information…we are slowly getting a better sense of numbers.”

Most importantly, camera traps are giving researchers a better sense of where snow leopards actually are – and giving the world the incredible images seen on Planet Earth II. All this was an impossible even 20 years ago for a species notorious for its ability to avoid the human gaze. In 1973, nature writer, Peter Matthiessen, spent two months searching for snow leopards with famed conservationist, George Schaller. He never saw one (though Schaller did), but he entitled his award-winning book about the journey, The Snow Leopard, all the same.

The new estimate remains controversial, but Zahler insists that a higher number of animals doesn’t mean the snow leopard is any less threatened or that its population is not declining – only that there may have always been more cats than humans suspected. He pointed to the TRAFFIC report as proof enough for ongoing vigilance.

“Really the only way to adequately protect snow leopards in these remote mountains is to directly involve local communities in those protection efforts.”

Still, Zahler describes himself as “very hopeful” for the long-term survival of the snow leopard.

“Unlike the tiger, which has lost something like 97 percent of its range in the last century, the snow leopard’s high-mountain environment is still relatively intact and connected across this vast range,” he said. “Unlike the African lion, which has seen a 40% population decline in the past 20 years, the snow leopard, if declining, does not seem to be doing so at anywhere near the same rate.”

Zahler also noted that real-world practice has proven that snow leopard prey populations can bounce back quickly if given the chance and that initiatives to save the snow leopard, such as Shamshy, are growing rapidly.

Still, climate change remains a wild card here, according to Zahler. Global warming is expected to hit the high Himalayan region hard, especially in terms of glacier melt. But how that impacts snow leopards and their prey is difficult to say.

“There are so many variables…that predictions are hard.” 

Other concerns remain, including the fact that 40% of protected areas in snow leopard territory are too small to house a mating pair of leopards – including Shamshy, though such reserves remain important for the species if they connect to other suitable and protected habitat. 

Still, unlike many of the world’s species, snow leopards have entire NGOS devoted to their long-term survival and champions in high places. In 2013, President Atambayev convened the world’s first ever Snow Leopard Conservation Forum, which brought together all 12 countries with snow leopards in their boundaries to discuss conservation and research efforts. A follow up conference is scheduled for this year.

“President Atambayev deserves accolades for not only mainstreaming snow leopard conservation in Kyrgyzstan, but also across the range,” Koustubh Sharma said.

If more heads of state acted like Atambayev, the outlook for the world’s wildlife might be that much brighter. 

A look at Shamshy Wildlife Reserve by the Snow Leopard Trust.



A wildlife ranger scans fro wildlife in the mountains of Shamshy Wildlife Sanctuary. Photograph: Photograph: SLF Kyrgyzstan / Snow Leopard Trust / SAEPF

*This image is copyright of its original author

 Snow leopard caught in a field of wild flowers on camera trap. Photograph: SLF Kyrgyzstan / Snow Leopard Trust / SAEPF

*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: Bigcats News - Ngala - 01-21-2017

After tigers, global illegal trade syndicate eyes leopard in Uttarakhand
Seema Sharma | TNN | Updated: Jan 11, 2017, 11.20 AM IST

DEHRADUN: After pushing the tigers into the endangered list, the global tiger trade syndicate has its eyes fixed on its "substitute" leopard, leading to their rampant slaying in the wilds of Uttarakhand, which has almost porous borders with Nepal.

On Tuesday, the Uttarakhand forest department seized two more skins of leopards, taking the total tally of the feline's skins caught in the state in the past four days to eight.

Highlighting the alarming scenario, Neeraj Shekhar, national head of TRAFFIC and World Wildlife Fund, told TOI: "The tiger trade syndicate, which is quite strong globally, is now indulging into leopard trade.

"Leopards have now almost replaced the tigers, which are being protected world over after their rampant poaching. This is the reason that the illegal trade of leopards continue in Uttarakhand."

Shekhar stressed on the need to develop a very "well-coordinated" strategic approach with lot of resources and a "foresight" for the leopard protection mission. By resources, he meant adequate manpower to guard remote areas with intensive patrolling.

The WWF chief, who was in Dehradun, also called for proper training of the forest staff with an emphasis on "strong" intelligence network to protect the leopards.

The latest seizure of the two leopard skins were made in Rudraprayag district of Garhwal region. Earlier, four leopard skins were recovered in Pithoragarh while two skins from Devprayag on Saturday.

Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Rudraprayag, Rajiv Dhiman, said: "After a tip-off, our team trapped the accused on the pretext of buying their consignment of leopard skins in Rudraprayag market."

Four persons were held with the consignment of the two leopard skins. The seizures were made with the help of NGO TRAFFIC India.

Dhiman said that the forest officials were keenly observing the movement of poachers in Kedarnath and Rudraprayag forest divisions.

While DVS Khati, chief wildlife warden, said that he would seek the help of senior officials in the state government to crack the poaching network in Uttarakhand.

Head of Anti-Poaching Cell, Dhananjay Mohan, said: "Since it is the forest department which has caught the accused, we will be able to conduct our own investigation and reach to the root of the matter. If required, we would take help from other departments and Wildlife Crime Control Bureu."