May 30, 2012, 11.23PM IST TNN[ Vijaysinh Parmar ]
RAJKOT: Gujarat‘s forest department is facing a strange dilemma. Officials would like to book people who harass the Asiatic Lion in Gir and surrounding areas so that they can teach the pranksters a lesson and set an example. But if they do take legal recourse, they fear losing the sympathy of locals, an important factor in the successful conservation of the wild cat in its last home in the world.
There have been a couple of instances in the recent past when lions have attacked their tormentors leading to tragic consequences. On April 17, a lion brutally attacked and killed a 35-year-old man in Dholadri village in Rajula taluka of Amreli district after his friends and he pelted stones at the wild cat feeding on a cow. They snatched away the prey which enraged the lion.
Sources say forest department officials knew exactly what had happened, but chose not to take action. They even paid Rs 1.5 lakh compensation to the relatives. The compensation is paid to only those who are killed by accident and have not harassed the lion.
In another incident, a lion attacked two people who were part of the group harassing it near Otha village, some 20 km from Mahuva in Bhavnagar district on May 29. The group had ventured too close to the animal and cornered it. Again, no complaint was filed under the Wildlife Protection Act.
“If we file a complaint against those who injured while watching the lions in the revenue area, we may lose the sympathy of local people, who might turn hostile towards the animals. We have to take care of all aspects,” said a senior forest official from Bhavnagar.
“Locals have been supportive of the conservation of lions on more occasions than one. So, during these kinds of incidents, we need to be tactful. People’s support is important in protection of wild animals, particularly when these incidents occur in revenue areas,” argued the forest officer.
Wildlife activists, however, believe strict action should be taken against those harassing lions. “There is an urgent need to increase patrolling in the areas were lions are found in good numbers outside the sanctuary. One can now find the big cats in coastal areas and often become a major attraction for locals,” said Vipul Laheri, honorary wildlife warden of Amreli. “Complaints should be filed against those who are found harassing lions to set an example.”
In Defense of Animals is calling for a new approach to cougar encounters
| Wednesday, May 30, 2012 | Updated 3:05 PM PDT
At an event criticizing the May 22 fatal shooting of a mountain lion by Santa Monica police, wildlife veterinarian Jennifer Conrad holds a special dart gun that she said could have been used to tranquilize the cougar.
Animal rights activists on Wednesday called for authorities to work with wildlife veterinarians when responding to confrontations with cougars, following the fatal shooting last week of a mountain lion in Santa Monica.
In Defense of Animals, an international animal protection organization based in Northern California, questioned why authorities killed the young animal rather than capturing it.
Alongside a wildlife vet and rehabilitator, representatives of the group said that public safety officials should call on civilian animal experts to respond to confrontations with mountain lions.
“Just as I would never be a police officer after a six-hour course on how to use a 9 mm (pistol), I don’t think that police officers are going to be veterinarians after a half-day course on how to subdue wildlife,” said Jennifer Conrad, a wildlife doctor and expert who lives in Santa Monica. “That’s why it has to be that we work together.”
On May 22, California Department of Fish and Game wardens responded to a report of a mountain lion in busy downtown Santa Monica – at 1227 Second St., between Wilshire Boulevard and Arizona Avenue (map).
They said they attempted to tranquilize the juvenile animal (pictured below at right) – also using pepper balls and fire hoses, in coordination with the Santa Monica police and fire departments.
But authorities said that when it tried to escape the courtyard where it was hiding, police shot the 80-pound male cougar dead.
“We deployed less-lethal pepper ball, we deployed fire hoses and the animal continued to charge in attempt to flee out of the courtyard,” Santa Monica police Lt. Robert Almada said at the time. “Regrettably, the animal was euthanized in order to protect public safety.”
In Defense of Animals criticized the response. Its event Wednesday in front of Santa Monica City Hall brought together about 20 activists, some of whom held signs that read “tranquilize don’t euthanize” and “stop the killing.”
The group wants a strategy for handling future mountain-lion encounters without lethal force. Other animal rights groups have called for an investigation into the shooting.
“This is not a demonstration or a protest. … It’s a call to action,” said In Defense of Animals Communications Director Jack Carone. “What we do want to happen is for this to never happen again. What we do want is for hindsight to truly be 20/20. We want to look at what happened and really learn from it.”
It’s still a mystery how and why the animal ventured from the Santa Monica Mountains into such a densely populated area about 2 miles away. Mountain lions are monitored by the National Park Service, but this young lion was not wearing a GPS radio collar.
Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 29, 2012
With increase in tiger deaths, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has asked forest departments to treat every death of big cat as case of poaching, unless proved otherwise. This has done to check the forest department officials from describing tigers deaths because of natural
There has been a tendency of the forest department officials to describe a death of a tiger probably from poisoning or through iron trap as natural death without examining the possibility of poaching.
“As tiger sources areas are targeted by poachers and tigers also become victims of non-targetted killings due to sensitive human-tiger interface conflicts, there is a need to ensure adequate caution while classifying tiger deaths as occurring due to natural causes,” said a letter written to project directors of tiger reserves in India by Rajesh Gopal, director NTCA.
Three tiger deaths have been reported from Dudwa tiger reserve in Uttar Pradesh in the last one week. But, the forest department believes the death to be natural on the ground of signs of struggle on the body of one of the dead tigers. However, tiger experts believe that the tigers died during a poaching attempt.
In other incidents, at least two tiger deaths have been reported from Maharashtra increasing the tally of total deaths in the state to 12 in 2012. It was only after recent deaths that the Maharashtra government allowed the forest department “shoot at sight” orders against poachers.
The sudden jump in tiger deaths around India has pushed the NTCA to ask the directors of tiger reserves to carrying out detailed investigation before declaring reason for death of tigers.
The protocol prescribed says that area where the tiger death has been reported should be thoroughly scanned to rule out metal snares/traps and evidences related to unauthorized vehicular movement.
The NTCA also wants the officials to look for signs of poisoning near water bodies and poisoning of livestock kills made by a tiger. “Besides, any history of recurring livestock depredation, human death or injury due to wild carnivores in the area should also be taken into account along with pendency, if any, related to payment of compensation or ex-gratia in this regard,” Gopal said in his letter.
The authority has also advised the forest officials of taking preventive actions rather than retroactive action. “This will facilitate retrieval of carcasses before their putrification, thereby facilitating forensic examination in a laboratory,” the letter read.
The tiger conservation body also told the forest officials to treat every tiger or leopard death as case of poaching unless there is convincing evidence to suggest natural death.
Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ♥*¨`*•❤(｡◕‿-｡)❤ GoOD NighT~Namasté~Blessings ॐ
30 May 2012, New Delhi, Team MP
Dead Tiger, Illustration
Recent surveys estimate the number of tigers left in the country to be as few as 1,411.
The death of three tigers in the last week in the jungles of Uttar Pradesh is a serious blow to tiger conservation efforts in the country. While one was found mauled to death in the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary, two others were found dead in the Haripur forest range, with the hand of poachers suspected in at least two of these cases. Even in the first case, the death is not entirely natural as there are steps that could have been taken that would have prevented it. These are not the first instances of tiger killings in the country this year. Several tigers have died in poaching related deaths since January in jungles and protected forests all over the country while the deaths of many others remains mysterious.
These Tiger killings make it clear that the scale of poaching of tigers remains high in India and has not been deterred by the preventive steps taken by the government. The deaths, therefore, show flaws in the tiger protection programmes of the government. The situation is serious. There are very few tigers left in India despite Project Tiger, which was launched in 1973 to ensure a viable population of tigers in their natural habitats. Recent surveys estimate the number of tigers left in the country to be as few as 1,411. There used to be at least 40,000 at the beginning of the 20th century and it is an onslaught on them that have so reduced their numbers. The declining numbers no longer make Project Tiger a success.The species is heading towards extinction and were this to happen, the vanishing of this splendid creature would be a huge loss to the country’s biodiversity.
It is only human agency that is responsible for the creatures’ present plight. The lordly animals have been hunted for pleasure or poached while forest lands have been cleared for agricultural purposes leading to a reduced tiger habitat. When forest land is thus cleared, it also leads to the depletion of their chief prey like deer, wild pigs and wild cattle by local people which cause a fall in the number of tigers. Tiger body parts are used in traditional Chinese medicine, for which there is increasingly a greater demand as people in China and Southeast Asia become more prosperous. Tigers are, thus, suffering because they have to co-exist with people in human dominated contexts, with increasing pressure on their habitats. Saving the tiger is, therefore, a multifaceted problem and not easy. The government must make an all out effort to revitalise Project Tiger. It must not trot out the usual excuses such as the lack of manpower or inadequate funds. Otherwise it will be too late and the tiger will be found only in history books.
In allowing forest staff to fire on poachers, Maharashtra’s stated objective was to protect its tigers. The challenge in meeting that, however, is to curb the means that poachers use on tigers, those working on the ground say.
Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam said last week he had issued orders to provide forest staff with firearms and decided to protect them from criminal proceedings should they use these against people caught poaching or smuggling forest wealth. “Poachers are out for supari killings of 25 tigers,” he told The Indian Express. “Now if we don’t prevent poachers from killing tigers, what are we expected to do? Officers raised the issue of problems faced by them in the field. By shooting freedom, I meant the officers have to take the call proportional to the situation and use guns if the situation warrants it. We will protect them if they have used guns as per prescriptions, and will not protect them if a magisterial inquiry reveals unwarranted firing.”
Some of the supporters of the order have cited the need to contain timber smugglers, who are often armed. Tiger poachers, on the other hand, never use guns, said Nitin Desai, Central India director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India. This is because bullet holes would make the tiger skin unfit for the target market.
“The ground-level staff need basic training in understanding how poachers work,” said Desai. “Poachers have generations of knowledge of how to finish off a job without getting noticed. They are not only experts in locating tigers but also thorough in understanding tiger behaviour, with contacts for intelligence and active help from locals.”
Saving the tiger
“Training is key,” said principal secretary (forest) Pravin Pardeshi. “We have recruited nearly 1,200 new guards. All are being trained in foot patrolling with experienced guards and through training schools.” He stressed the need to involve local people in vigilance.
Of all animals poached, only two in every 10 are shot dead. According to the findings of the WPSI, which works with states across the country, four in 10 animals are killed by electrocution, two by trapping and the remaining two by poisoning.
Electrocution can be curbed only with joint monitoring by the forest and electricity departments. “[It] should lead to immediate tripping of electricity and the location should be easily found by electricity officials,” Desai said. “But in many cases tripping doesn’t happen, putting a question mark over how technically foolproof electrical installations are.” He cited the recent electrocution of leopards at Pench, over which the forest department has registered offences against Mahavitaran, the distribution agency.
Mechanical traps are not difficult to locate, said principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) S W H Naqvi. “Forest guards can use a stick they can go about tapping along the trail to detect traps.” But Kishore Rithe of Satpuda Foundation said, “The department has been donated metal detectors for iron traps but hardly uses them.” Poonam Dhanwatey of TRACT, or Tiger Research and Conservation Trust, suggested having many waterholes instead of a few, which would give tigers options and deny poachers an easy kill at a select spot.
Poisoning is done mostly by villagers to protect their cattle from carnivores, besides their crops from herbivores. The prescription is to make fodder available in villages, which would prevent cattle movement into forests and leave enough for the herbivores there.
B Majumdar, former principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), cited another problem. “Most tiger deaths have happened outside reserves, in buffer areas where wildlife management remains neglected,” he said. “A penchant for focusing on source areas has taken a heavy toll on tigers, which know no boundaries and have come to stay and grow as source populations in areas the National Tiger Conservation Authority loves to call ‘sink’, in a sense meaning doomed.”
Timber smugglers are among those who do carry arms. Said Pardeshi, “… Some staff pointed out [at a meeting with the minister] that in Gadchiroli, armed gangs are resorting to teak smuggling from across the border, and in Yawal (Jalgaon), land-grab mafia is systematically setting fire to and encroaching upon on forests.”
Divisional Forest Officer Shri Laxmi’s team has been battling armed smugglers in Sironcha, Gadchiroli. “We need the power to fire and immunity at least as a deterrent. Large gangs armed with axes, spears and boulders routinely challenge us to fire at them,” she told The Indian Express. “They throw boulders at us and our men routinely get injured… They have denuded vast patches of forest and the government is losing teak worth Rs 5 crore annually. How do I do enforcement without a gun and the power to use it?”
Arrests are not always a deterrent, with few cases going to court. Other concerns include a nexus between some forest staff and poachers, and a growth in the business of forest animals’ meat. A WPSI note to the forest department in January said meat is now supplied to towns using mobiles and a motorbike delivery system.
Those who welcomed the order included conservationist Bittu Sahgal and NTCA member-secretary Rajesh Gopal. On the other side of the debate, Valmik Thapar, a member of a Tiger Task Force set up for Sariska and Ranthambore, stressed training, while Majumdar, the former principal chief conservator, said, “There are thousands of people moving in the forests. How will you pinpoint who are the poachers? And most of the poachers have no guns. Controlling them without having to fire is possible.”
It’s a sight you wouldn’t expect to see in the Strait of Georgia – a cougar swimming alongside a boat.
A group of people was travelling back to Sechelt last Thursday afternoon when all of a sudden they noticed a cougar in the water beside them. They were at Nine Mile, where Sechelt Inlet and Salmon Inlet meet.
“It was the first cougar I ever saw so it was pretty exciting,” said Mark Wilson who had hopped a ride on his friend’s boat to go home at the end of the day. Wilson works on power plants in the area.
“It was an adrenaline rush,” said Wilson, who wasn’t scared by the big cat. “It got me fired up.”
As the group scrambled to take pictures and video, the cougar appears to be trying to get on the boat.
“I think he felt a bit threatened by us,” said Wilson, “but there wasn’t any danger or anything.”
While this is the first cougar Wilson has seen swimming in the inlet, he said he’s also seen a bear and a deer going for a swim.
Chad Cocking is a passionate wildlife photographer and field guide. He has been charged by big cats, learned to deal with demanding guests and mastered early mornings wake-ups, but this is no ordinary jeep jockey…
Read Africa Geographic intern, Rachel Lang‘s interview with Chad, and check out some of his awesome pics here: http://blog.africageographic.com/africa-geographic-blog/wildlife/chad-cocking-my-life-in-the-bush/
Published on May 13, 2012 by Tosco trust
Namibia supports a unique population of desert-adapted lions that survive in the harsh Namib Desert. The “Desert” lion is a prominent feature in Namibia and is highly valued, both aesthetically and financially, by the growing tourism industry. Namibia has received international recognition (e.g. CITES) for successful conservation efforts, such as the communal conservancy program, that led to significant increases in wildlife numbers, especially in the arid areas. With the growing wildlife populations the conflict between lions and the local people has intensified as lions are killing livestock more regularity. In protection of their livestock, farmers often shoot, trap, or poison lions. These local communities bear the costs of living with lions, but do not share equally in the benefits from tourism, and they receive little assistance in managing conflicts.
You probably wouldn’t look too happy either if you’d fallen into that stuff!
Clinging on to the ladder the leopard made a sharp exit, no doubt making a vow to watch its step in future.
An official from the Sukna Forest rescue team at the Mahananda Wildlife sanctuary assesses the situation.
The leopard escapes by climbing up a ladder put in place by the wildlife sanctuary team.
Probably poached in Malaysia – Heading for China
The animals, found chopped up and stuffed into a freezer in the house, were believed to have been sourced from Malaysia and moved through Sadao, a district in the southern Thai province of Songkla, which shares a border with Malaysia.
Initial investigations have shown the animals were bound for China via Nong Khai, a town near the border between Thailand and Lao PDR. From Nong Khai, the animals were to be transported across the Mekong River to Lao PDR before being moved to China.
Police said the suspects were paid 8,000 Baht (USD250) to transport the animals from the south of Thailand to Bangkok.
“Any DNA analysis should be undertaken with an eye toward establishing the origins of these animals. Going forward, it will be important to know exactly where they came from.” noted TRAFFIC Southeast Asia Regional Director, Dr. William Schaedla.
“We also hope the Thai authorities will undertake a thorough investigation of the transport routes being utilized by the smugglers and co-ordinate with their counterparts in neighbouring countries. Simply seizing dead animals will not be enough to prevent future losses of tigers and other endangered animals to wildlife trafficking.”
The heavy tourist inflow is also paving way for largescale infrastructure growth. In the past one year, the number of hotel rooms has doubled in the area from 200-odd to over 450.
Leading national hotel chains like Fern Gir Forest, The Gateway Hotel-Taj group and Club Mahindra have already made their entry into the sanctuary. More players are in the process of setting up resorts here.
“About 20 hotels were granted permission before the two km norm was implemented. Most of them have commenced operations this year,” said deputy conservator of forests, Sandeep Kumar. The sanctuary earned over Rs 4 crore from entry ticket sales. Until two years ago, the collection used to be around Rs 2 crore.
They are mostly forgotten today, but Asiatic lions (Panthera leo persica) once roamed in vast numbers across the Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean and Middle East until overhunting brought them to within a hair’s breadth of extinction. By 1907, when an Indian prince finally banned hunting and protected the last lions, only 13 members of the subspecies remained. Today, after more than a century of conservation, the population of Asiatic lions stands at a high of around 400 animals, all of which live in and around the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in the Indian state of Gujarat, just a few kilometers from the Arabian Sea. The animals are now so identified with their sole remaining habitat that they are usually referred to as Gir or Gujarat lions.
But the success in restoring the Gir lion population has brought new challenges to conservation efforts. The lions have outgrown their protected sanctuary and share their habitat with more than 100,000 people who live in the villages surrounding the forest. The lions occasionally kill livestock, enter people’s homes and, very rarely, attack or kill humans. More often, the lions themselves are killed or injured when they come into contact with crude, deadly electric fences built around farms or fall into any of the tens of thousands of roughly hewn open wells in the region. Earlier this month a female lion fell into a well and suffered broken teeth and other injuries. (For more on these wells, see my article in the November 2011 issue of Lion magazine.)
Because there is very little space for the lions to grow into, many conservationists and the Indian government think the smart thing to do is to transfer some of them elsewhere. Such habitat diversification would serve to protect the Gir lions from a catastrophic disease outbreak, fire or other natural event that could wipe the subspecies out—a threat for any species that only exists at a single location. The most frequently discussed destination for translocated lions is the Indian state of Madya Pradesh (MP), where the recently restored Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary contains ample habitat and prey for any relocated predators.
Unfortunately, the idea of moving lions to Kuno doesn’t sit well in Gujarat. Despite the occasional conflicts between humans and animals, the people of Gujarat are fiercely proud and protective of their lions. Many fear that MP will not adequately protect the cats. They may have reason to worry: MP has an extremely poor record of protecting its tigers, with 453 deaths in the past decade. (India’s Bengal tiger population dropped from 3,700 animals in 2002 to around 1,500 in 2011, mostly due to poaching.) The two state governments have been arguing for a few years and relations hit a low point last week when Madya Pradesh’s tourism department started using images of Gir lions on its Web site, even though there are no lions in the state yet and may not be for years to come.
Some lion advocates worry that MP is not serious about conservation. Kishore Kotecha, founder of the Wildlife Conservation Trust of India, which is dedicated to preserving Asiatic lions, says he used to think that some lions should be moved to MP but now he isn’t sure. “Do they really want it for conservation purposes or do they want it for tourism?” he asks. MP, for its part, has invested millions of dollars restoring the habitat of Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary for the flora and fauna already there and says the lions, too, would be fully protected.
Luke Hunter, president of the wild cat conservation organization Panthera, thinks some of the objections to moving lions from Gir may come more from pride rather than science. “Gujarat has done an extraordinary job of saving the Asiatic lion,” he says. “They think no one else can do the job they’ve done, and moving them would just increase the risk to the lions.” But he says the lions have reached the threshold of what they can do naturally at that location and have very little habitat in Gir that they can recolonize.
Hunter, who has two decades of experience moving African lions to new habitats, says selectively removing some Asiatic lions from Gir would not affect the population size in the forest. “We know enough from 20 years of African translocations to selectively remove individuals from Gujarat that would otherwise represent losses or mortalities,” he says. “Whatever lions you remove just creates more space for the remaining animals.” Panthera is not involved in Gir, but Indian experts consulted with Hunter 16 years ago when they first started thinking about translocation.
Hunter says the experience gained in southern Africa, where more than 500 lions in more than 40 different populations have been successfully relocated, shows that any translocation in India has a decent chance of success, especially when combined with the knowledge gained in Gujarat over the past century. “Gujarat needs to be congratulated, but now let’s transfer their expertise and make sure that lions persist in India regardless of how they do in Gujarat. There’s no good argument for not looking at that second or third population site.”
But even as the two states debate the issue, Gujarat is making its own efforts to create a second Asiatic lion population to avoid the risk of any potential catastrophic events. “Gujarat already has started development of another home for lions at Barda Wildlife Sanctuary, which is about 200 kilometers away from Gir,” Kotecha says. As many as eight lions are due at Barda as early as August of this year, after the annual monsoon season.
Will that be enough? “This is very good, but what’s next,” Divyabhanusinh Chavada, a member of the National Board for Wildlife in India, told Daily News & Analysis last month. “The lions are happily multiplying. Today, they are 411, tomorrow they’ll be 500. Where will they go next?”
That’s a good question. India’s human population hit 1.2 billion last year, which doesn’t leave much room for big cats. But no matter what, India remains passionate about its lions—and for now, they aren’t going anywhere.
Photos © and courtesy of Kishore Kotecha. Used with permission
The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
Reported by Anant Zanane | Updated: May 27, 2012 18:43 IST
Wildlife and forest officials are alarmed at the sudden and inexplicable rise in such incidents.
Today, the body of a tiger was recovered from the Kishanganj Sanctuary of the Dudhwa National Park in the Lakhimpur Kheri district.
Officials suspect that the tiger could have been poisoned by a gang of poachers.
In the past three days, two more tigers have been found dead in the forests of the neighbouring district of Pilibhit.
The first tiger was found dead on the May 24 in the Haripur range of the district. The body of the second tiger was spotted barely 24 hours later, just 300 meters from the stream where the body of the first tiger was recovered.
Since the bodies were found more than 18 hours after the death of the tigers, the vets say that autopsies have not been able to confirm whether the cats were poisoned to death.
The District Forest Officer of Pilibhit P K Singh has raised concerns about how a gang of poachers could be behind these killings.
So far, four dairy owners have been detained in Pilibhit. Officials suspect that they could have planted poisoned baits in the forests to eliminate the tigers, who they see as a threat to their cattle that graze around the periphery of the forest.
Like a little child and seemingly unaware of the beast towering over it, the mischievous rodent grabbed at scraps of meat thrown into the African Leopard’s enclosure.
But instead of pouncing on the tiny intruder, the 12-year-old leopard, called Sheena, appeared to be afraid of the daring mouse and kept her distance. At one stage she tried to nudge the mouse away with her nose, but the determined little guy carried on chewing away until he was full.
The extraordinary scene was captured by photography student Casey Gutteridge at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire.
The 19-year-old, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, who was photographing the leopard for a course project, was astounded by the mouse’s behavior.
He said: ‘I have no idea where the mouse came from – he just appeared in the enclosure after the keeper had dropped in the meat for the leopard.
‘He didn’t take any notice of the leopard, just went straight over to the meat and started feeding himself.
‘But the leopard was pretty surprised – she bent down and sniffed the mouse and flinched a bit like she was scared.
‘In the meantime the mouse just carried on eating like nothing had happened.
‘It was amazing; even the keeper who had thrown the meat into the enclosure was shocked and said he’d never seen anything like it before.’
Project owner Jackie James added: ‘It was so funny to see – Sheena batted the mouse a couple of times to try to get it away from her food.
‘But the determined little thing took no notice and just carried on.’
Sheena was brought in to the Santago Rare Leopard Project from a UK zoo when she was just four months old.
She is one of 14 big cats in the private collection started by Jackie’s late husband Peter in 1989.
Over the last few months, close to 150 deer from the city have been dumped in the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad in the name of enhancing the big cat population there.
The result, as findings suggest, has been far from impressive. Despite an increase in the deer count, Kawal continues to have just six (approx) tigers, a figure that has not changed in many years now. Ditto, the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) that has roughly 60 big cats at present.
While this tiger belt, largest in Andhra Pradesh, has seen a marginal increase in numbers, activists argue that the reason is rooted in better breeding of the animal as against a rise in deer population. For about 10 years now, thousands of deer have been shifted from the city to NSTR.
Santa Monica police officers and state Department of Fish and Game wardens were notified and cordoned off the area before they attempted to subdue him by taking repeated shots with a tranquilizer gun, which only hit him once, in addition to using nonlethal bullets and a fire hose, all while a news chopper circled overhead.
“Basically, they agitated and frightened a cornered cat before they killed her,” Bernstein said. “Hosing a mountain lion down and then shooting (it) with pepper balls only served to make her more frenzied. Deadly force should be used only as a last resort. The citizens and wildlife of California deserve better,” said Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles.
Some residents are defending the decision to kill the mountain lion, with the stance that authorities had the best interest of public safety in mind, while others are saddened and angered by the incident and are calling for an investigation into the decision and want to see wildlife policies changed.
No one knows exactly what the mountain lion was doing in the area in the first place, but authorities suspect the three-year-old was roaming to find his own territory, before accidentally finding himself in a city. The National Park Service believes there are 10 mountain lions in the Santa Monica area, who they’ve been monitoring, but the one who killed wasn’t among those who were known.
“These young guys are looking for a home of their own,” said Jeff Sikich, a biologist with the National Park Service. “At this age, they are testing their boundaries and establishing their home range away from other males.”
As other reports are noting, from 1890 and 2007 there have only been 16 mountain lion attacks involving people in the state, according to the Department of Fish and Game. Only six of the attacks were fatal and two of those fatalities were due to rabies.
Were authorities too hasty to kill the mountain lion? Should they have angered him less and given the tranquilizer more time to kick in? Should law enforcement agencies provide more training for dealing with situations involving domestic animals and wildlife?
Photo credit: Thinkstock
Our pic of the day shows the distinct rosette pattern of a leopard in South Africa. These rosettes are typically a cluster of small black spots around an unspotted center darker than the leopard’s body color. Learn more about the leopard @ http://bit.ly/exp0Oj. Learn how Panthera is working to protect this iconic species thru our Munyawana Leopard Project @ http://bit.ly/flEZT1
Representatives of official and non governmental entities, as well as managers and wildlife experts in international organizations, made a balance for the first time, of the situation on the particular and set themselves the goal of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022.
Delegates confirmed that furtive hunt is the main obstacle to achieving that goal, because each day raised the number of unscrupulous individuals in the lucrative business of selling skins and bodies of those cats that are attributed to the medicinal or aphrodisiac properties.
The Secretary General of the Global Tiger Forum, the Indian Rajesh Gopal, called the international community to support the countries of the area with fewer resources for the radicalization for census, improvement of habitat conditions and other stocking and study of these beautiful striped beasts. In India, where it is considered the national animal, the number of these cats has dwindled frighteningly, if a century ago were estimated at 100,000, the last census estimated at 1,706.
According to experts, in the world are only about 4,000 tigers in 14 countries. The largest reservoir is precisely India.
secure.peta.orgPlease write to PROFEPA and ask that Diego be released to the designated U.S. sanctuary that is ready to give him the space, environmental enrichment, care, and respect that he deserves.
Posted: 05/23/2012 2:54 pm
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In recent years, dead animals have been everywhere in art: David Shrigley’s taxidermy cat, Adel Abdessemed’s various grotesqueries, Damien Hirst’s butchered menagerie. Lately, though, live beasts have been mounting a comeback, thanks in large part to artist Darren Bader. He deposited a goat at Andrew Kreps last year, cats and an iguana at his MoMA PS1 show that opened in January: good, adorable sculptures.
Now the Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard has raised the bar. On Friday, there were two young white tigers lounging in a metal pen at Ramiken Crucible gallery on the Lower East Side, where Mr. Melgaard has organized a group show with the curious title “Ideal Pole.” The animals are there to serve as model for collars and capes by the Brooklyn–based designer Ms. Fitz.
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police shot and killed a mountain lion that somehow made its way through an urban landscape before it was found early Tuesday in a downtown Santa Monica office building courtyard near an outdoor mall and a bluff-top park that offers tourists views of the ocean and the city’s famed pier.
Authorities made multiple attempts to try and subdue the young male cat, including use of a tranquilizer and a pepper ball, before killing it, said Capt. Daniel Sforza of the state Fish and Game Department.
The mountain lion was found about 6 a.m. by a janitor in the courtyard near a popular open-air mall, the Third Street Promenade, and just a couple of blocks from the beach. The street that has a preschool, a church and other businesses was cordoned off as a precaution.
“It’s not a risk we can take with public safety,” said police Lt. Robert Almada.
It wasn’t immediately known how the cat ended up in the middle of the city. The National Park Service has been monitoring mountain lions with GPS radio-collars and cameras more than two miles away in the Santa Monica Mountains.
A typical home range for mountain lions is around 200 square miles for adult males, said the agency that has been conducting a study since 2002 in the Santa Monica Mountains to determine how urbanization is affecting the large cats.
Jeff Sikich, a biologist working on the long-term study for the National Park Service, said a mountain lion had never been seen in the area where the cougar was found.
There are currently about 10 mountain lions in the Santa Monica range but the lion killed in the city was not among those previously known, he said.
Sikich said that by age 1 1-2 lions disperse from their mothers and try to establish their own territories, which are so large that one adult male could claim the entire Santa Monica range.
Young lions, however, are trapped within the range because it is bordered by freeways to the north and east, the ocean to the south and an agricultural plain to the west. Dispersing young males that encounter urban areas usually turn around, and those found dead have either been hit by cars or killed by an adult male defending its territory, Sikich said
“Large carnivores need a lot of space,” he said.
Sforza said a necropsy will be performed to see if the mountain lion had rabies or any other diseases.
“It’s very unusual,” Sforza said of finding the mountain lion. “It’s just really hard to speculate.”
Lorraine Miller, 89, said she was driving to her novels class, part of a college emeritus program for seniors, when she learned the mountain lion was in the building’s courtyard where she was supposed to go.
“It seemed at first it was some kind of tall tale,” said Miller, who has lived in Santa Monica for more than 40 years. “Then after a while you see all of this action. It was overwhelming.”
Mountain lions are one of the most widespread carnivores in the world with a historical range from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Chile. Hundreds of mountain lion sightings are reported every year in California, but attacks on humans are rare. Between 1890 and 2007, there have only been 16 attacks in the state, according to Fish and Game statistics.
Miller said she believes killing the mountain lion was the right, but unfortunate, option.
“In my opinion they were taking care of the public,” Miller said. “Frankly you can’t object to being taken care of.”
Sikich, the biologist, said mountain lions are elusive and generally avoid people, but they are wild, unpredictable animals and this one was in an unnatural situation.
“It was a tough situation, especially for the lion, but also for everyone involved,” he said.
Sikich, who arrived after the killing, took some of its hair for testing to determine if it is related to the other lions of the Santa Monica range, which lack genetic diversity because of their entrapment.
AP writer John Antczak contributed to this report.
Talking to reporters here, forest minister Patangrao Kadam said if the forest officials fire upon the poachers injuring or killing them, the action will not be considered a crime.
The minister said his ministry has sanctioned 70 additional forest guards for Tadoba tiger reserve and 90 guards for Pench. He said the forest guards will be fully armed.
“There have been instances when the guards have been booked for human rights violations when they have taken action against the poachers. The government did not want this to happen,” he said.
The minister said recently two tigers were caught in a steel trap and died. “A CID inquiry has been instituted to find out whether they died because of poaching or were electrocuted,” he added.
Besides this, a four-member committee of experts, who have served as chief conservator of forest, has been appointed to advise the government on steps to be taken for precautions against poaching of tigers.
Kadam said he had asked the power department officials to check electricity lines in the tiger reserves and also told the irrigation department to ensure maximum water holes.
He said a secret fund of Rs 50 lakh has been sanctioned to give incentives to informers providing tips about smugglers and poachers to the forest officials.
By Lucy Laing
PUBLISHED: 15:56 GMT, 21 May 2012 | UPDATED: 06:49 GMT, 22 May 2012
It is a heartrending sight.
Wire snare caught so tightly around his neck he cannot eat, this young male lion is doomed to die a slow and agonising death.
Within a matter of days he will be lying in the African bush gasping his last breath.
Nor is he alone in his grim fate. The sight is increasingly common in parts of the continent when a growing number of lions have fallen victim to poaching.
Some wander by mistake into snares that are meant for other animals such as antelope which are hunted by poachers for bushmeat.
Others, whoever, are being deliberately poached for their body parts.
There is now a growing demand for lion claws and bones in parts of the Far East for use in traditional medicines.
The huge animals are hunted more and more as a substitute for tigers, whose body parts have traditionally been used for the Chinese medicine market.
Tigers are now so scarce in the wild that poachers have turned to a another target.
A sharp increase in the lion bone trade suggests that these are being swapped for tiger bones. Pelts and claws are also being used.
Dr Pieter Kat, from LionAid, said: ‘There has been a huge jump recently in the value of lion bones driven by the traditional medicine market, seeing as we have so few tigers.
‘Since tiger bones are now so difficult to obtain there has been a switch to lion bones.’
In the 1990s, 1kg of lion bones were worth just $10, but now that has massively increased to $300 in 2010.
And its reflected in the figures that show the populations of lions are on a serious decline. There were an estimated 200,000 lions in Africa in the sixties. This has dropped massively now to just 23,000- 25,000.
A source said: ‘Only a few weeks ago we saw this lion with a snare around its neck in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania.
‘The park rangers tried to track it with the intention of trying to remove the snare from around its neck, but by the time they arrived at the location, the lion had disappeared into the bush.
‘It wouldn’t have survived for many more days. Already the wound was gaping, open to infection and covered in flies.
‘And it was so tight around its neck that it would have found it impossible to eat. It would have either died from infection or starvation.’
Just several days before that, two lions were found dead in Mikumi National Park, in Northern Tanzania, with their claws removed.
Tanzanian National Park Authorities have anti-poaching patrols, but with 25 per cent of Tanzania’s land set aside for conservation purposes, the area is a large area to police.
There are projects such as the SANA Project in Tanzania, set up by the Saadani Safari Lodge, to allow poorer communities to develop whilst protecting the national park areas.
It is hoped that projects such as these will help protect and preserve the wildlife for the future.
India | Updated May 21, 2012 at 01:44pm IST
New Delhi: A spate of tiger poaching incidents have come to light from Maharashtra. The body of a tiger chopped into 11 pieces with its head and paws missing was recovered on Friday. It appears the tiger parts have been taken by the poachers.
The incident happened at the Tadoba Tiger Reserve, which has seen a spate of poaching incidents. Just two weeks ago, the forest department found leghold traps in which two tigers had been caught. One of the tigers died and the other was injured.
The park is considered to be a fine habitat for tigers in Central India with over 40 tigers on the last count. A red alert has been issued, but no one has been caught so far.
In another shocking incident, a leopard along with her two cubs got electrocuted in the Saleghat forest near the Pench Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra.
The officers have ruled out poaching and called it an accident. The animals were reportedly electrocuted when a high tension cable fell on them.
Anshuman Sharma, deputy conservator of forests, Gir east division (Dhari), said 29 windmills have been installed in Dhari division. “All 29 water pumping windmills are operational. We will install a few more in the next few days.”
He said, “Earlier, water was being supplied in the forest area in tankers. Employees of forest department used to fill the water points. It was difficult for them if the water points happened to be deep inside the forest. They could not go there regularly. Water pumping windmills have been installed at water points which were located in the interior parts of the forest. They are running well without anyone’s help and are being constantly monitored.”
Sharma informed there were 144 artificial water points for lions and animals in Dhari division. Windmills have been installed at 29 water points. They have created micro-ecosystems around them. Wild animals like to rest there.
Forest officials said a windmill consists of an 18 blade rotor. It has a diameter of 3 metres and is installed on a 10 metre high tower. The rotor drives the connecting rod and the pump. The windmill can pump water from a maximum depth of 30 metre, at an average wind speed of 8-10 km per hour. The approximate rate of pumping under ideal condition ranges from 1000 to 1200 litres per hour. A windmill could be installed on an open well, bore well, pond etc. at a site which is free of any obstacle. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Windmills-help-quench-lions-thirst-in-Gir/articleshow/13320739.cms#write