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ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - THE TIGER (Panthera tigris)

Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-15-2019, 09:44 AM by peter )

(07-14-2019, 02:05 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: I made this thread (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-tigers-...awan-japan) to talk about tigers in places where we wouldn't see them nowadays, such as Borneo and Palawan (Philippines), and partly considering that I didn't have all the information that was posted here about the mystery of whether or not tigers, which are known to have occurred in Borneo in prehistoric times, survived there up to recent or modern times, with @phatio having adding interesting images of fangs and skins here (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-on-the-edge-of-extinction-a-the-tiger-panthera-tigris?page=146).

Good initiative.

This thread, however, also has info about the Bornean tiger. I posted about Borneo tigers and so did Phatio. The problem is I don't quite know where. These long threads really need indexes.

When you found new info, you could post in this thread as well. The reason is this thread has info on tiger evolution. It also has many views, meaning readers can start from this thread. Prevents long searches. You can direct those interested in specifics to the new thread.

My guess is Tigerluver has a few things to say about tigers in Borneo. He's quite busy at the moment, but you never know.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-16-2019, 10:47 AM by peter )

ON JAGUARS, LEOPARDS, LIONS, TIGERS, SKULLS, AVERAGES AND EXCEPTIONS

I followed the debate about jaguars, leopards and skulls with some interest. The reason is I measured a number of skulls of both cats. Poster 'Luipaard' invited me to join the debate. He also asked me post a few skull photographs. Although a bit short of time, I decided to contribute.

a - The debate

What I read, suggests the controversy could, at least partly, be a result of mixing up perspectives (referring to averages and individual variation). As jaguars living in regions with decent conditions severely outaverage leopards living in similar conditions, those involved in the debate should perhaps focus on individual variation.

What I have (on skulls) and saw (referring to zoos, facilities, circuses and a few wildcaught jaguars in Surinam) strongly suggest that individual variation is more pronounced in leopards than in jaguars. Same for sexual dimorphism. I've seen male jaguars dwarfing females, but at the level of averages leopards top the table.

Individual variation often is more pronounced in large subspecies than in small subspecies. For this reason, I propose to focus on large subspecies of both big cats.

Luipaard said there is some overlap in the department of skulls. More accurately, he said exceptional skulls of male leopards living in regions where leopards grow to a large size could compare to skulls of average-sized male jaguars living in regions where jaguars grow to a large size.

The question is if he has a point. The answer is it depends on the perspective.

If we use elevation (height at the orbit), weight, zygomatic width, rostrum width and the length and diameter of the upper canines as indicators, the answer is no. If we use condylobasal and total length as indicators, the answer is yes. Exceptional leopard skulls can be as long as average-sized skulls of male jaguars living in regions with good conditions.

This regarding absolutes. Now for the relatives.

Reliable data say adult male jaguars of large subspecies are a bit longer than adult male leopards of large subspecies in head and body. Seen from the perspective of leopards, jaguars seem to be about 10% longer. In weight, however, the difference is outspoken. Male jaguars of large subspecies average 95-105 kg., whereas male leopards of large subspecies average 60-65 kg., maybe a bit more in some regions. Seen from the perspective of male leopards of large subspecies, male jaguars of large subspecies are at least 50% heavier.

In the skull department, the differences between adult male leopards of large subspecies (about 240-245 mm.) and adult male jaguars or large subspecies (about 290 mm.) also is significant (about 20%). Using the info we have (see above), one could say male jaguars of large subspecies, compared to male leopards of large subspecies, have relatively long skulls for their head and body length and be right.

However.

Individual variation in male leopards of large subspecies (referring to head and body length, weight and skull length) seems to be more outspoken than in jaguars. Some male leopards of large subspecies are about as long (referring to head and body length) and heavy as as an average-sized male jaguar of a large subspecies. Not seldom, exceptional male leopards seem to be somewhat 'overskulled'. Using exceptional male leopards as an indicator of relative size, one could say (some male) leopards have relatively longer skulls than an average-sized male jaguar of a large subspecies and be close. 

b - Skull photographs - a large male leopard and an average-sized male jaguar side by side 

In 2012, I visited the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart twice. On both occasions, I was there for a week to measure and photograph skulls of big cats. Poster 'Wanderfalke', living close to Stuttgart, assisted when he had time. He's the one who made the photographs.

The Staatliches Museum had 7 jaguar skulls. All skulls belonged to wild jaguars. The 3 male skulls were from Surinam, Argentina and Bolivia. The skull from Surinam, although short and not as heavy as the others, had the most massive upper canines. In this respect, it compared to many lion and tiger skulls. I selected the Bolivian skull for the photograph, because it is the longest (279,27 mm.). 

As a result of a lack of time, I wasn't able to measure all leopard skulls. Of the 34 skulls I measured, 24 were male skulls. Of these, 12 belonged to leopards shot in what was then German East Africa (Tanzania today). The longest is 221,47 mm. in greatest total length. Of the 12 others, the skull of a leopard from the western part of Central Africa is the largest. That skull, collected a long time ago, has a greatest total length of 243,94 mm.

Here's a photograph showing the longest male jaguar skull (right) and the longest male leopard skull next to each other:


*This image is copyright of its original author
   

Different angle:


*This image is copyright of its original author


The skull of the male jaguar, missing a part of the right arch, is wider (188,34 mm. versus 149,51 mm.) and more elevated at the orbit (147,20 mm. versus 110,02 mm.). The rostrum is significantly wider as well (81,24 mm. versus 59,81 mm.). As a result, the skull of the male jaguar is almost twice as heavy (0,970 kg. versus 0,585 kg.). The skull of the male jaguar was cleaned (cooked), whereas the skull of the leopard was not. The real difference in weight, therefore, is even more outspoken. Most of the canines of the leopard, on the other hand, are missing.

I have to add that the skull of the male leopard was heavier than all other leopard skulls, whereas the skull of the male jaguar wasn't the heaviest I saw. The skull from Argentina, although a bit shorter, was 0,997 kg.

Based on what I have, I'd say that skulls of leopards from the western part of Central Africa are more robust than skulls of leopards from other parts of Africa. They're a bit lower at the orbit, but often have relatively large mandibulas and heavy teeth.

Most unfortunately, I never saw leopard skulls exceeding 250 mm. in greatest total length in European natural history museums. They seem to be few and far between.

c - The jaguar skull compared to similar-sized skulls of tigresses and lionesses

Compared to skulls of 9 wild lionesses from Tanzania (greatest total length 274,66-299,91 mm. and 130,60-147,70 mm. at the orbit), the jaguar skull is a bit shorter and more elevated at the orbit. The lionesses, however, have wider (range 179,99-201,20 mm.) and heavier (range 0,799-1,134 kg.) skulls. In rostral width, there is not much difference between the lionesses (75,75-82,13 mm.) and the male jaguar (81,24 mm.). The upper canines of the lionesses (38,33-47,98 mm.) are shorter, but about as robust (range 19,98-24,70 mm.). Most of the lionesses, however, were quite old when they were shot, which would have resulted in a lot of wear. Skulls of captive lionesses (n=3) are longer, much wider and heavier.

Compared to skulls of 6 tigresses from southeast Asia (n=2, wild), Sumatra (n=3, captive) and Java (n=1, wild), the skull of the male jaguar is a bit shorter, not as wide and narrower at the rostrum. The upper canines just about compare for length and width at the insertion, but the skull of the male jaguar is a bit heavier.

Skulls of 4 'Indian' (one was from Gwelia, but there are no details about the others) tigresses (2 wild and 2 captive adults) were longer (285,03-308,54 mm., n=3), wider (190,67-214,46 mm., n=4), about as elevated at the orbit (139,50-151,80 mm.) and a tad heavier (0,912-1,194 kg.). The upper canines of the tigresses were a bit longer (49,55-58,65 mm., n=3) and, apart from 1 exception (25,14 mm.), not quite as thick at the insertion (21,25-21,85 mm.). The tigresses had a wider rostrum (range 81,37-91,43 mm.).

Skulls of male Sumatran tigers (1 young adult and 1 adult, both captive) are longer (294,80-312,28 mm.) and wider (207,34-217,55 mm.). In elevation (143,10-148,70 mm.), the difference is limited. The upper canines of the young adult male tiger are longer (61,04 mm.) and more robust (25,75 mm.). The Sumatrans also have wider rostrums. In weight, however, the difference is limited (skulls of captive big cats usually are not a robust as skulls of their wild relatives).  

Skulls of male tigers from Java (I saw the skull of 1 wild adult and 1 old male captured as an adult) are larger in all respects. Skulls of male Sumatran tigers are about 1 inch longer than skulls of male jaguar of large subspecies (averages), but there is some overlap.   

This is not true for wild male jaguars of large subspecies and wild male lions from Tanzania. Skulls of male Tanzanian lions are significantly longer (range 350,86-372,26 mm.), wider (range 230,61-248,0 mm.) and more elevated at the orbit (range 171,20-174,40 mm., n=3). The skull of the youngest of these 3 is the heaviest. Unfortunately, the mandibula is missing. The Tanzanian male lions I saw were shot before 1914. 

Skulls of captive Tanzanian lions (n=4) are as long or longer (the longest is 382,98 mm.) and quite a bit wider at the arches (238,39-269,76 mm.), but less robust and not as heavy (1,416-1,800 kg., as opposed to 1,915 and 2,080 kg.). Same for the upper canines (long, but less robust). All skulls I saw strongly suggest that captivity has a profound effect on lions.

d - Measurements

All measurements in this post were taken from skulls in the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart. They were measured in the room of Dr. D. Mörike, a very-well informed and friendly host. She answered all questions I had, and I had many. Immediately after my second visit in July 2012, she retired. A great pity, as Dr. D. Mörike is loaded with knowledge.  

Here's a few photographs taken by 'Wanderfalke': 

d1 - Some of the skulls I measured:


*This image is copyright of its original author


d2 - In the exhibition room:


*This image is copyright of its original author
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( This post was last modified: 07-19-2019, 01:12 PM by peter )

WILD ANIMALS TRAFFICKING - THE DETAILS 

A few days ago, Kingtheropod posted a newspaper article in the modern tiger weights thread. The article is about a Hanoi woman arrested for cooking tiger bones at home. She had 2 tigers in her fridge.

When I tried to find a bit more, I stumbled upon an interesting article in The Guardian about an organisation involved in wild animals trafficking. 

The article, which has specific information, isn't about one species in particular: all wild animals are fair game.

Remember the photograph of a poacher sitting next to a rhino shot in South Africa posted some years ago? The organisation discussed in the article was involved in that one as well.

The article is concluded with an overview of the most important players. If you want know why trafficking still is continuing, read that part in particular.  

The Guardian is a reliable source. The article was published on September 26, 2016:    

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/26/bach-brothers-elephant-ivory-asias-animal-trafficking-network
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-19-2019, 01:13 PM by BorneanTiger )

This may sound self-contradictory, but I nevertheless found something interesting, as I mentioned here (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-bigcats...9#pid84849). Despite the fact that urbanisation would pose a threat to the natural environment, converting the habitats of tigers into towns or cities for instance (https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/susta...n/1046971/), considering the fact that rural people are at the forefront in the conflict of wildlife and mankind, it seems that a shift from rural to urban living may reduce the likelihood of conflict between rural people and wildlife, according to Sanderson et al. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar...via%3Dihub, who in turn were quoted by a number of newspapers such as Asian Scientist (https://www.asianscientist.com/2019/01/i...-survival/) and Mongabay (https://news.mongabay.com/2019/02/urbani...udy-finds/)), except that the threat to tigers and wildlife would then shift to the urban people, so like I would say, ultimately people should have less children so that the global birth rate becomes less than the death rate, so that our large, expanding population stops increasing and decreases, and hopefully, that is on the way, since the global growth of the human population is generally cooling, with the exception of Africa and Oceania (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/).
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-19-2019, 01:17 PM by peter )

(07-19-2019, 01:11 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: This may sound self-contradictory, but I nevertheless found something interesting, as I mentioned here (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-bigcats...9#pid84849). Despite the fact that urbanisation would pose a threat to the natural environment, converting the habitats of tigers into towns or cities for instance (https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/susta...n/1046971/), considering the fact that rural people are at the forefront in the conflict of wildlife and mankind, it seems that a shift from rural to urban living may reduce the likelihood of conflict between rural people and wildlife, according to Sanderson et al. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar...via%3Dihub, who in turn were quoted by a number of newspapers such as Asian Scientist (https://www.asianscientist.com/2019/01/i...-survival/) and Mongabay (https://news.mongabay.com/2019/02/urbani...udy-finds/)), except that the threat to tigers and wildlife would then shift to the urban people, so like I would say, ultimately people should have less children so that the global birth rate becomes less than the death rate, so that our large, expanding population stops increasing and decreases, and hopefully, that is on the way, since the global growth of the human population is generally cooling, with the exception of Africa and Oceania (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/).

Yes, I saw an optimistic and interesting speech of Ullas Karanth (in NY?) saying the same.

Let's hope he's right, as we don't want to see more photographs like the one below (Nilgiris). This tiger was poisoned:


*This image is copyright of its original author
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