Cheetah Photo of the Day
Photo by Steve Tracy
The Jaguar is the third largest feline, the tiger and lion being the only ones larger. Typically females are 20% smaller than males and they generally vary in size according to their distribution, they tend to increase in size from North to South. The Jaguar is compact and well muscled. It has short stocky limbs which enables it to be adept at climbing, swimming and crouching. It has a strong head and an extremely powerful jaw.
Predators and Threats:
Due to the large size and dominant nature of the Jaguar, there are no other wild animals that are known to actually consider it as prey. Once found throughout the South American continent, they have been hunted by Humans mainly for their fur which has led to drastic declines in Jaguar population numbers everywhere. Despite now having legal protection and a reduction in the hunting of them for their fur, the Jaguar is at increasing risk from loss of habitat mainly in the form of deforestation to make way for agriculture or growing Human settlements, which means these large and majestic animals are being pushed into more remote regions of their native range.
Pic: Young Jaguar in Woodland | From (http://www.wallpowper.com/)
New Delhi: India saw a sharp increase in tiger deaths, which reached an all-time high of 88 tigers dead in 2012, according to data released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). This is the highest number of fatalities in one year, overtaking the 71 tiger deaths in 2011.
Mortality rates have been unusually high in Corbett National Park and Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. Overall, a large number of tiger deaths have been reported from the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka and can be attributed to increased poaching.
Both Maharashtra and Karnataka recorded 14 tiger deaths each while Uttarakhand reported 12 deaths followed by Madhya Pradesh with eight deaths while 28 tigers died due to natural causes. The last all-India tiger population estimation in 2010 had placed the number of tigers at 1,636. Wildlife conservationist Belinda Wright blames government apathy.
“The NTCA has put a Phase 4 monitoring protocol in place. While some states are following it, others are lagging. Tiger densities in Karnataka and TN are high but the situation in Kerala is very bad with the state coming up with exaggerated numbers, especially for Wayanad Reserve,” said tiger biologist Ullas Karanth.
President, Population Institute
Nothing is for certain, but in an 80-100 year timeframe, the prognosis is not good for large mammals, large fish and even large trees. Many young people will likely witness in their lifetime the virtual extinction of elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers and many other large mammals. With their numbers steadily shrinking and many of their species already extinct, there is little reason to believe that conservation’s effort will stave off their ultimate demise. As human numbers and habitats expand and as poaching becomes ever more lucrative, it is hard to see how their species could survive in the wild. The news in 2012, almost without exception, was grim.
Jane Goodall, the world-renowned conservationist, warned earlier this month that the world’s ivory trade is wiping out elephants in Africa, where an estimated 30,000 were killed this year. Goodall told the Guardian, that “We believe that Tanzania has lost half its elephants in the last three years. Ugandan military planes have been seen over the Democratic Republic of the Congo shooting elephants from the air. Armed militia are now shooting the elephants.” The World Conservation Society estimates that the elephant population in southern Sudan has crashed from 130,000 in 1986 to a mere 5,000 today. Unless a global ban on ivory sales is implemented soon, the African elephant will be virtually extinct before we know it.
The ivory trade is also threatening rhinos. The World Wildlife Fund just reported that 2011 was another record year for poaching, with an estimated 448 rhinos in southern Africa killed for their tusks. Last year the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared that the Western Black Rhino is now extinct in the wild. Now, a year later, still more species are edging ever closer to extinction.
The lion kingdom is in steep decline. In 1960, there were 400,000 lions living in the wild. Today, there are, by some estimates, only 20,000. Experts predict that lions could be extinct in the wild within 10 to 15 years. Tanzania has a viable lion conservation program, but continent-wide the lion population has fallen by two-thirds in the past 40 years because of shrinking African savannahs. In many African countries the lion population is now gone.
Tigers, too, are in mortal danger. Despite efforts to curb poaching and preserve remaining habitats, the odds of extinction are growing. Wildlife conservationists estimate that there are only 2,500 breeding adult tigers left in the wild. The population of the Sumatran tiger, the only remaining tiger species in Indonesia, has shrunk to 500, just half of what it was 40 years ago.
But it’s not just large mammals that are vanishing; the populations of large fish, including tuna, marlins, cod and sharks are in rapid decline. As recently as a decade ago, research indicated that large fish populations had declined by 90 percent since 1950. Today, as the world’s appetite for shark fin soup soars, the populations of many shark species are in free fall. An estimated 25 million sharks were killed this year for their fins.
And it’s not just the large animals that are under assault. A study released earlier this month indicates that big trees are in peril. Around the world, climate change and deforestation are accelerating the loss of pines, evergreens, cedars, eucalyptus and other large trees. Droughts and rising temperatures are fueling fires and infestations that are destroying whole forests and the habitats the provide. Many of the dying trees are 100-300 years old.
When large animals, big fish and old trees die off, their rapid demise affects entire eco-systems, imperiling creatures both great and small. Some species may benefit, as the lobster population did after the Atlantic cod fishery collapsed, but the overall effect is highly disruptive. When large animals or fish die off, the population of their natural prey may soar, but unsustainably so, leading to overgrazing or the extinction of other species in the food chain. In the case of large trees, the canopies they provide are essential habitats for birds and small animals.
In the end, of course, the disruption of entire eco-systems is harmful to the people who depend upon them for their economic survival. Poaching in developing countries may temporarily enrich the poachers, but posterity is inevitably impoverished.
For better or worse, we are now stewards of the Earth and all the life that it sustains. If the elephants, rhinos, lions and tigers vanish from the Earth, if large fish populations are extinguished, if all the great trees are felled, and if the seas are overtaken by algae and jellyfish and the land by rodents and cockroaches, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
The Caracal Project of Spotted Cats Conservation, S.A. is dedicated to late Wild Cats World ambassador Nina. This young caracal was intentionally injured at sanctuary St. LeeuwLandgoed Hoenderdaell in Holland. The injuries caused the death of the 8 months old caracal. Her ashes spread at the project in S.A., she will live on as the ambassador of her species. Caracals are being chased and killed daily, often for the wrong reasons. In India the species is already highly endangered, in Namibia the situation is getting critical already and we don’t want South Africa to be the next.
Please also sign this petition to get Justice for Nina.
Please sign and share, thank you : http://www.thepetitionsite.com/875/579/690/support-the-caracal-stop-the-killing-and-safe-them/
“When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep on walking.”…I took this shot of Cheetah crossing the road as he glanced at me. They usually walk for miles searching for prey and patrolling their territory.