Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Of Cats, Weekly Feline News.

Been busy this past week but fortunately found time enough to post the feline news today. So, here they go...

Bengal TigerFirst tigers and there's report of a very disturbing incident here. Naval officers in Thailand were shocked when they found grisly animal remains after making a recent smuggling bust. According to details a gang of eight was trying to illegally transport animals across the border into neighboring Laos when it was apprehended by the Thai Navy. The authorities found carcasses of two dead tigers and pangolins as well as forty three live pangolins - who were undoubtedly destined for a terrible fate had they not been rescued. So a very sad incident which highlights the continuing menace of poaching and illegal animal trade in Southeast Asia that is threatening the endangered species of cats and other mammals. You can find more about this and other similar incidents in the past by going to the website of TRAFFIC, the organization that monitors wildlife trade, but be warned of the graphic nature of images there.

Staying with tigers - there is good news too. Two of the states in India have reported a rise in the number of their bengal tigers. In Jaipur, there has been an overall increase in the number of wild animals including tigers, leopards and sloth bears. And in Kerala, ten new tigers have been sighted in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Positive signs amid desperate times for the tiger. More on the above here and here. And for an interesting and realistic look at the state of tiger conservation in India, go here.

To the mangrove forest in Sunderban, Bangladesh. Two separate attacks on people by tigers. Whilst in one account the tiger was able to make away with a fisherman who was collecting firewood deep in the forest, in the other case a father and son bravely fought off a maneating tiger - a very rare and fortunate occurrence indeed. More on the two attacks here and here. And to learn more about the tigers of Sunderban and an analysis of the ongoing conflict between them and people, go here.

In Kaziranga National Park a boat has been donated by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation to combat wildlife poaching and smuggling. Kaziranga has been recently hit by a spate of tiger and rhino poaching incidents. The provision of this new boat, which will patrol the adjoining river in search of poachers, is set to aid the authorities there in helping wildlife. The full report here.

Asiatic LionLions. And the news is good here. The Asiatic Lions in Gir, India, are set to benefit from over a hundred water holes that have been dug there by the local authorities. It's summer there and the lions are increasingly venturing outside the park to establish new territories. The water holes will help the big cats in sustaining themselves. More on this here.

And the Asiatic Lions will now be tracked through modern GPS collars in India. This has been recommended by a task force there. The tracking system is to receive a general overhaul that will help in the study of lions as well as minimize conflict with people. The full recommendations of the task force here.

JaguarFor Jaguars - there is both good and bad news, relating to their habitat. While the US government has approved the funding of over one hundred million dollars for the rain forests that make up the home of these great cats in South America, the government in Brazil is taking steps that do not bode well for the Amazon, and the environment in general. Whereas the US law aims to check deforestation and climate change by providing debt relief to tropical nations in exchange for their commitment to conserve forests and coral reefs, the law proposed by Brazil will grant land rights for illegally occupied property in the Amazon. This will pave way for further clearing of the forests and irreparable damage to the ecosystem there. More on the two laws here and here.

LeopardTo the leopards. The Snow Leopard Trust is set to benefit from the sale of alcohol! This has come about after Whyte & Mackay, the Glasgow based makers of world's first 'ethically distilled' vodka decided to donate fifteen percent of their profits to the trust. More on the above here. And you can reach the website of the Trust here.

And a woman has been arrested and sentenced in Oregon over charges of violating the Endangered Species Act. The woman, a Ukrainian National, had imported three leopard skins from the Democratic Republic of Congo but unfortunately for her, an error by the shipping department resulted in her undoing! To read the interesting story behind her capture go here.

CheetahTo Cheetahs and there is good news here too. A Cheetah birth has been recorded in The Nairobi National Park in Kenya after many years. This after years of adverse climate and prey conditions in the park. The birth is a positive sign for the population of the beautiful felines there. More here.

And for the first time - the critically endangered Saharan Cheetah has been recently photographed by a camera trap. A remarkable event that will buoy the hopes of the scientists and conservationists working to protect these endangered cats. The full account here.


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