Monday, 31 August 2015

NEWSLINK: Rare snow leopard cubs born at Chicago zoo

Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois announced Friday the birth of two female snow leopard cubs.

The two cubs, each weighing about 10 pounds, were born on June 16 and have been growing steadily and bonding with their mom, zoo officials said in a news release. The cubs will make their public debut in mid-October.


NEWSLINK: Panic grips village as big cat kills cow

Fear has gripped Thammampathi village near Anamalai after a big cat killed a cow on Friday night.

Forest Department officials who visited the spot confirmed that the killer was big cat by examining the marks on the cow's body.


NEWSLINK: Lions Mysteriously Fall Ill in Northern Uganda

Wildlife officials in Uganda are stumped by a mysterious illness among the lions of Kidepo Valley National Park that has left the big cats emaciated and “docile.”

Kampala’s The Observer newspaper reports that within the past month, the sickness has affected almost all of the park’s lions, located in the north of the country near the borders of South Sudan and Kenya.


NEWSLINK: Zambia: U.S Envoy Wants Big Cats Ban Maintained

US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz has urged Government to keep the ban on hunting big casts and elephants in place until it is established that the numbers support a resumption of hunting.

Ambassador Schultz who earlier this month visited the South Luangwa National Park notes that the best way to establish how many big cats there are in Zambia is by statistical sampling and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles with heat imaging capability.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

NEWSLINK: The World’s Most Endangered Wild Cat Is Bouncing Back

For many years now conservationists have grown increasingly concerned that the world’s most endangered wild cat, the Amur leopard, was too far gone to save, but there’s good news this month as the latest figures show the population is bouncing back.

The leopard, sometimes referred to as the Far Eastern leopard, lives on the border areas between the Russian Far East and north-east China.


ARTICLE: Zambia’s big cats belong in the wild; not on a wall

Earlier this month my family and I travelled to one of the jewels of Zambia’s National Park system – South Luangwa. What an amazing park! In the span of a few short days we saw lions and leopards and elephants and really everything save rhinos and wild dogs – the last my younger son’s favourite, guaranteeing another trip to the park in the near future. 

In addition to seeing the park and its animals, we also met with the park officials, NGOs, community leaders and lodge owners committed to conserving the park and its precious wildlife. And in that regard, frankly speaking, the trip had its sobering moments.


NEWSLINK: Lion cub rescued from war zone, seeks a home

Ksenya Islamova and her partner Mykola Barvynsky from the Nursery of Exotic Animals (NEA) walk the street in an industrial area on the outskirts of Kyiv carrying plastic bags with the raw meat.

“We are going to feed our kitty. He must be missing us,” says Islamova.

The one she calls a “kitty” is actually an 11-month-old lion cub called Simba.


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

ARTICLE: After Cecil, Latest Battle Plan In The Fight To Save Lions

What will it take to save African lions? Protect them.

At least that’s part of a complex series of strategies being charted by Panthera, the global wild cat group that is already working in several African countries, and has just started a new initiative in Angola as part of its effort to increase lion numbers by 10,000—from 20,000 today to more than 30,000 by 2030.


ARTICLE: Baffling big cat which returned to haunt student

Mystery big cat was hitting the headlines back in July 2001, after it reportedly returned to haunt a student who spotted it roaming in Newchapel in 1997.

Mark Sherwood said he saw the ferocious beast, which looked like a "zoo animal", as he was driving home along Bones Lane at 11.30pm


NEWSLINK: Outdoor columnist warns of the potential for cougar sightings right here in the Ottawa Valley

The ever-elusive cougar is still being spotted across Ontario with regularity and the Upper Ottawa Valley is no exception.

As one of the few outdoor writers in Canada who monitors big cat sightings and reports regularly on the mystery of cougars in Ontario, I am privy to copious ‘Cougar Intel’ from across the province; including reports of big cats being spotted right here in the Valley. The often misunderstand mountain lion has evidently taken up residence in Ontario yet many folks still choose to turn a blind eye. The evidence is mounting as we get closer to determining the origin of these intriguing large felines.


Monday, 24 August 2015

ARTICLE: Big or small, cats find themselves in the line of fire

By the time you finish reading this column, one of our planet’s unique species will have become extinct. Yes, it has reached this stage.

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), this is at least 100 times the natural rate of extinction. One in four of the world’s mammals are threatened with extinction, and so are one in eight birds, one in five sharks, one in four coniferous trees and one in three amphibians.


NEWSLINK: Endangered Amur leopard numbers recovering in eastern Russia and Siberia

Verifying the number of Amur, or Siberian, leopards is difficult but it seems the threatened big cats are making a significant recovery from being on the brink of extinction.

This follows moves in Russia and China to protect the animals from poachers. Researchers of the Land of Leopard National Park and the Beijing Pedagogical University now say the number of leopards living in the wild is around 80. Experts from the two countries have been working together to save - and monitor - the rare leopard.


ARTICLE: How Cecil the Lion Inspired the World to Wake Up and Take Action for Big Cats

I have a theory. I can’t prove it, but it feels right to me. I believe that we all are part of one universal consciousness that is becoming enlightened through this dance of perceived time, space and sense of individuality. I think we sign up for our lot in life before we ever arrive on this stage, with the intent of playing our role toward the end goal of nirvana. Maybe it is just a coping mechanism, meant to protect me from utter despair, which fosters hope that Cecil signed up for his heroic role too.


NEWSLINK: Bengal tigers earn their keep at Skowhegan State Fair

A lot of fairgoers sought shade in the 85-degree heat Sunday at the Skowhegan State Fair, including Mohan, a 500-pound white Bengal tiger.

Mohan, a 12-year-old male, lounged in the shade of the trailers for Vicenta’s White Tigers, one of the shows on the midway this year at the nation’s longest continuous operating agricultural fair. When the big cat sensed it was show time Sunday, however, he sprang into action with three other tigers for one of three daily performances.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

NEWSLINK: Three cougar sightings in Oak Bay prompt public warning

Oak Bay residents are urged to stay alert after police received three reports of a cougar sighting early Monday morning.

The big cat was spotted around Musgrave at Dewdney streets at around 6:45 a.m., according to Oak Bay police.


ARTICLE: Are there wildcats roaming around Berkshire?

Living in and around the countryside of Berkshire has many perks and quirks.

Being able to go on a brilliant walk in the summer is definitely one of them, and the countryside looks equally cool when it snows.

The downside?


ARTICLE: Cecil Stirs the World But Africans See 2 Sides to Hunting Debate

When Zambia banned lion hunting in 2013, animal welfare groups roared in approval, but rural Zambians who face a threat from big cats and receive a slice of hunting-related revenues complained, causing the government to change its mind.

Leopard hunting will resume this season with "cautionary quotas", while lion hunting will be allowed to restart the year after that, according to the tourism minister, Jean Kapata.


NEWSLINK: India Loses 41 Big Cats in 7 Months, 33 Poached Illegally

Indian Wildlife Authority has a big reason to worry as the recent census reported that the country lost 41 tigers in 7 months. Despite immense conservation efforts and awareness campaigns, India is failing in its effort to save the national animal, reports TOI.

Six months back the nation was rejoicing in a false triumph that the number of tigers was growing rapidly. This study, however, has unveiled some conflicting stats altogether.


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

NEWSLINK: Endangered Amur leopard numbers recovering in eastern Russia and Siberia

Verifying the number of Amur, or Siberian, leopards is difficult but it seems the threatened big cats are making a significant recovery from being on the brink of extinction.

This follows moves in Russia and China to protect the animals from poachers. Researchers of the Land of Leopard National Park and the Beijing Pedagogical University now say the number of leopards living in the wild is around 80. Experts from the two countries have been working together to save - and monitor - the rare leopard.


NEWSLINK: Forest guard shortage makes it hard to check poaching

A shortage of staff poses challenge for the Uttarakhand forest department to keep tabs on rampant poaching of smaller wild species, officials said.

The government claims to have made several steps to conserve big cats and other big wild species, but the smaller animals are fast falling prey to poachers.

71% of the state is forest cover, which is about 38,000 sqkm.

But with only 2,500 permanent and about 1,100 contractual forest guards, safeguarding such a vast area has become a challenge for the department, officials said.


ARTICLE: Guides are the culpable ones in big cats’ killing

The death of an iconic Zimbabwean lion at the hands of American dentist James Palmer has instigated an international backlash and anti-hunting cries — as if we needed another reason to dislike the dentist.

However, Palmer might not be deserving of his horrendous media attack in the aftermath.


NEWSLINK: Rescued Tigers Roam in Luxury at Former U.S. Base in Germany

Deep in the forests of southwestern Germany, three tigers rescued from private homes have moved into their luxurious new residence — a former U.S. Army installation.

Animal welfare charity Tierart — "Animal Species" — recently opened a 34-acre state-of-the-art big-cat sanctuary, equipped with swimming pools, wooden "chill-out lounges" and rubber-ball entertainment for the stressed-out animals. The facility in Massweiler, near the French border, is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

NEWSLINK: Italian park held hostage by 'veggie' panther

Experts at the nature reserve of Torbiere del Sebino, Lombardy, are being led on a wild goose chase by a suspected escaped panther that they have been pursuing without success for two weeks.

The lengthy and expensive pursuit of the invisible panther has exasperated the president of the park, Edilberto Rinaldi.

“I would have liked to go on holiday this weekend but I'm being held hostage by the panther! I'm getting 100 calls a day about it, I'm fed up with it,” Rinaldi told Corriere Della Sera.


NEWSLINK: Two new rare liligers go on show for the first time in Siberia

The latest arrivals - born in June at Novosibirsk Zoo - have not been named yet and will be offered to other zoos around the world. They were born to Zita and were fathered by Samson, an African lion.

The pair first produced a liligress, a female cub, in 2012, and a year later Zita gave birth to three cubs - all female.

Such offspring are known as 'hybrids', and Zita could not have been born in the wild.

Deputy zoo director Olga Shilo denied the zoo is deliberately seeking to breed hybrids. She also said the cubs are healthy.


NEWSLINK: 3rd cougar sighting in northern Wisconsin

A third cougar sighting in recent weeks in northern Wisconsin has been confirmed by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The department says the latest sighting was confirmed in Marinette County after it received a July 19 trail camera photo of a big cat on Aug. 4. The photo was taken 10 days after two confirmed cougar sightings in Langlade County, and in a location roughly 60 miles east.


Monday, 17 August 2015

NEWSLINK: Cosmo the lion dies at BioPark zoo at age 18

Cosmo the African lion, confiscated from a meth lab where he was used as a guard animal, and a resident of the BioPark zoo since 2004, died early Monday on what was coincidentally World Lion Day – a global campaign to celebrate lions and lion conservation efforts.

Cosmo, who had kidney dysfunction and was diagnosed with lymphoma in June, was about 18½ years old, surpassing the median 16 years life expectancy for male lions in zoos, said mammal supervisor Shelly Dicks.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

NEWSLINK: Tiger-trade crackdown boosts lion-bone sales

A crackdown on illegal tiger products in China has created a soaring trade in lion bones from South Africa to Asia, ecologists say. 

Alleged “tiger”-infused wines and traditional medicines are popular in China. But when the country tightened its rules on selling parts from tigers and other Asian big cats in 2006 and 2007, it may have “inadvertently set off a chain reaction of interlinking and unexpected events” that led to the bones of African lions being exported to fill the gap in demand, according to a July 16 study


ARTICLE: World Lion Day activists remember Cecil as they highlight big cats' plight

Days after the death of Cecil the lion incited international outrage, organizers of World Lion Day are hoping to raise even more awareness of the complex nature of the relationship between lions and humans.

“Obviously, Cecil put the lions in the spotlight,” said Wim Dekok, executive director of Four Paws, an international organization that runs sanctuaries to protect wild animals. “Unfortunately, what happened to Cecil happened to many lions before.”


NEWSLINK: Bangladesh shoots dead six alleged tiger poachers

Bangladesh police Sunday shot dead six alleged tiger poachers in the world's largest mangrove forest as it launched a crackdown following a drastic fall in the number of big cats.

Police said the six died after a gunfight with a gang at a canal in the Sundarbans forest, home to critically endangered Bengal tigers whose number there has nosedived to 106 from an estimated 440 a decade ago.


NEWSLINK: Big cat specialist at Paradise Wildlife Park saddened by death of Cecil the Lion

Cecil, the most famous lion in Zimbabwe, was shot in an allegedly illegal hunt last month after being lured from a reservation by an American dentist.

But Ian Jones, the section leader of large carnivores at Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne, said it was good to see the issue in the public eye.

He said: "It's one of those hard things. Canned hunting throughout Africa is incredibly rife, especially in South Africa."


NEWSLINK: One of Cecil's cubs killed by rival

One of Cecil the lion’s young cubs has been killed by a predatory big cat who was trying to mate with his mother.

His attack has sparked fears the remaining seven cubs have only days to live after their father was illegally slain on a ­trophy hunt.

Wildlife guides warn the tiny pride – originally made up of three lionesses and eight cubs – have only a five per cent chance of ­survival after several solitary male lions were spotted prowling near their abandoned den in Hwange National Park.


ARTICLE: Man-eating lions and media crybabies

There is a full blown witch hunt in progress for Dr. Walter Palmer, of Minneapolis, due to the taking of a lion, Cecil, in Zimbabwe. 

Palmer’s Professional Hunter (PH) has been charged with luring the animal from the Hwange National Park to an area where Palmer shot the cat. 

I’m not sure which is more disgusting, the bald-face lies from Zimbabwe, or the blubbering of news anchors over something they obviously know nothing about.


NEWSLINK: Father and son left shaken by 'big cat' encounter

A fresh account of a mysterious black cat in Worcestershire has raised the possibility that big feline predators may indeed be prowling the county.

The witness this time was Andy Richards, of Cheshire, who was camping at the time outside The Marlbank Inn at Welland, which overlooks the Malverns.

Mr Richards who plans to move to Worcestershire in the near future, was left shaken, puzzled but adamant after his big cat encounter.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

NEWSLINK: 'Black panther' prowls close to Essex farm

A petrified mum ran for her life after seeing a black panther prowling close to her farm.

Jennie Moon was tending to her horses at Elms Farm in Finchingfield, Essex, when she noticed the animals appeared to be apprehensive.


NEWSLINK: Former Police Officer Left Shaken After 'Big Cat' Encounter

A former police officer fled in panic when she encountered what she is adamant was a big cat in the north-west Essex countryside.

This latest sighting – one of many in the Essex and Hertfordshire border area over the past 15 years – centred on a field at the Finchingfield Equestrian Centre at around 9.30pm on Saturday (August 1).


NEWSLINK: Big cat spotted in Derbyshire

A social media user has claimed a sighting of a big cat roaming through the countryside in the Derbyshire Dales.

The animal, said to be panther-sized, was seen in a corn field at Osmaston crossroads yesterday morning and Twitter user @bambicurls said it was visible from the A52.

The cat was described as being dark grey or black in colour with a smooth coat and it had a long tail.


ARTICLE: Hunting trophies being imported to UK

A hippo’s head, two leopard skulls and a pair of elephant ears were among more than a dozen hunting trophies imported to the UK within the past 12 months, The Telegraph can disclose.

With the issue of trophy hunting under unprecedented scrutiny following the killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, official records reveal the bizarre array of animal items that have been brought into the country.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: 15 Intimate Portraits of Lions

The recent killing of Cecil the Lion, just one of one of many illegally hunted big cats, has put new emphasis on the destructive force of wildlife crime. It has also inspired an increase in donations to wildlife conservation.

Monday is World Lion Day. To celebrate, we’ve compiled some of our favorite photos of lions.

View the gallery...

NEWSLINK: 2 Cougar Sightings Confirmed in Wisconsin

With big cat sightings swirling through the Wisconsin summer like the tempting, taunting smell of steak and sweet corn on a neighbor's grill, finally something of substance: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday confirmed two cougar sightings in Langlade County.

The animal or animals were captured on trail cameras July 9 about six miles and 20 hours apart in the northern Wisconsin county. Landowners separately turned in the images to the DNR on July 27 and Aug. 3.


NEWSLINK: Why big cats don't have slit pupils

If you've ever gazed into a house cat's eyes and wondered why they don't look like yours or even like those of big cats like tigers, you were onto something.

The shape of an animal's pupils is linked to its lifestyle, a new study published in the journal Science Advances suggests. Scientists analyzed the pupil shapes and ecological roles of 214 species of land animals, including a variety of cats. Their results show that species with vertical slit-shaped pupils tend to be ambush predators, whereas those with circular pupils tend to be "active foragers," which chase down prey.


Monday, 10 August 2015

ARTICLE: South Africa's 'canned' lions.. the blood of the big cats.

For most people the African lion is the king of the wild whose spirit symbolises strength and courage. But for thousands of big cats bred in captivity in South Africa, the reality is a far cry from that noble image.

Coinciding with the international outrage that followed the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, a new documentary offers a disturbing look into the inhumane practices used by many farmers involved in captive predator breeding, a multimillion euro industry that has developed primarily in South Africa over the last 15 years.


NEWSLINK: Another big cat found dead in Junnar

The corpse of a male leopard was found at Sakori village in Junnar taluka on Thursday morning by villagers who had gone to the fields for work.

Junnar forest officials suspect the leopard might have died of starvation for a long duration. However, it has not being confirmed officially as they are yet to receive a post-mortem report from the doctors.


ARTICLE: Lion death camps

Brits have been duped into working at wildlife breeding camps which supply lions for rich Westerners to hunt.

Tourists volunteer at the centres in South Africa believing they are helping return orphaned cubs to the wild – but the animals end up as big game trophies.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

NEWSLINK: Last one of five cubs at Etawah lion safari survives on cow milk

In an example of what can only be called nature's incredible irony, the last one of the five cubs recently born at the lion safari and breeding centre in Etawah is surviving on the milk from a cow, who would be the big cat's prey in normal circumstances.

Veterinary experts, top UP Forest Department (UPFD) officials and the UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav himself is crestfallen after the death of four cubs in quick succession over the past week. The one surviving cub, which is yet to open its eyes, is literally the last hope for doctors keeping an eye on him 24x7. After all, it's the future of the chief minister's dream project which is at stake


NEWSLINK: Florida drivers chief danger to wild panthers

A Florida panther this week was struck and killed by a car in Collier County. Florida motorists have killed 17 of the big cats so far this year. Given that the best estimates put the remaining wild panther population somewhere between 100 and 180 animals, Florida drivers have wiped out roughly 10 percent of total panther population in just seven months.

Last year, Florida drivers killed an unprecedented 24 panthers, according to statistics maintained by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Collisions with automobiles are the No. 1 cause of panther mortality, responsible for roughly two-thirds of all panther deaths each year. And those numbers are rising.


NEWSLINK: As reports of big cats are registered, could Lynx return to the wilds of East Devon?

Last month the Western Morning News ran a story of big cat seen near Plymouth while last year the Plymouth Herald reported that: “police have received 20 reports of ‘big cats’ being spotted across Devon, Cornwall and Plymouth over the last three years.”

If these reports seem incredible then think again. Beavers have returned to East Devon after an absence of centuries and there is a move to restore the lynx population. The big cat that is found across Europe was common in England until Saxon times.


NEWSLINK: Zimbabwe restricts hunting of big cats following Cecil the lion's killing

Zimbabwe is suspending the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants outside Hwange National Park in response to the killing of Cecil, the African country's most famous lion, in July, officials said.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, or ZPWMA, is also investigating the possible illegal hunting of another lion a day after Cecil was killed, government officials and conservationists said.


NEWSLINK: Cecil’s brother has stepped into role as cubs’ protector

The cubs of slain Zimbabwe lion Cecil are being protected by their uncle from the big cats lining up to take control of the pride.

Researchers at Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Unit, who were studying the beloved Cecil before Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer killed him with a bow, say the majestic lion’s brother is now in charge.


ARTICLE: Cecil the Lion’s Death Spurred Donations to Wildlife Groups … Now What?

Cecil the lion’s illegal killing inspired people around the world to do more than voice outrage. Several organizations that work to protect big cats have seen an increase in interest and donations. 

Three weeks ago, Oxford University’s Wildlife Research Conservation Unit, which had been tracking Cecil, considered scaling back its anti-poaching efforts because it was running out of money. Now, after Cecil’s death and an emotional mention from late night host Jimmy Kimmel, WildCRU has received over 300,000 British Pounds ($468,660 U.S. dollars) in donations. 


Monday, 3 August 2015

NEWSLINK/VIDEO: Milwaukee 'giant cat' caught on camera

This is the video that appears to show there is a lion prowling the streets of a US city

There have now been five sighting and cops have been given mobile phone footage showing the giant cat padding its way through a residential neighbourhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


NEWSLINK: Tigers stray near Bhopal as Ratapani reserve notification delayed

Tiger conservationists believe that had Ratapani been notified as a tiger reserve by now, frequent tiger sightings at Bhadbhada which has become a cause of concern would not have happened.

Although the forest department has installed electronic surveillance (e-eye) to protect the big cat from poaching in the area, their constant sighting has been making locals jittery.


Sunday, 2 August 2015

ARTICLE: Up close and personal with really big cats

The last time I visited Mystic Monkeys and Feathers Wildlife Park a couple of years ago I had a rather close encounter with a lion cub – and we are not talking a cute cuddly cub who is just a few weeks old. He was huge.

I had tagged along with a colleague on a story about the park’s famed lions and, on the spur of the moment, decided to take up an invitation to enter the enclosure.


ARTICLE: Tiger conservation: a game of inconsistent numbers

It’s World Tiger day today, but is it time to celebrate? Well, it depends what reports you read.

Bhutan has 100 tigers, 30pc up on a previous estimate, according to a new survey. Good news.

Bangladesh has 106, less than a quarter of the 440 estimated a decade ago. Bad news.

India’s Bengal tiger population is up 30pc to 2,226, but they are only now including all tigers in the country in the census. 

Confusing news.


NEWSLINK: Rare good news for endangered big cats

The population of endangered tigers in Bhutan is over a third larger than previous estimates suggested, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) revealed today. The country is home to 103 tigers, where experts had thought there were only 75.

The new figures are the result of Bhutan's first national tiger survey, which WWF Bhutan Country 

Representative Dechen Dorji described as a "roaring success." National tiger surveys, the WWF said, are "a crucial step in the Tx2 goal" to double wild tiger numbers.


NEWSLINK/VIDEO: Lazy big cat rides on black rhino's back in South African nature reserve

This amazing footage shows a big cat hitching a lift with a black rhino by climbing onto it's back.

The genet has been pictured several times over the past year perched on the back of larger animals, including the rhino, but this is the first time it has been captured on video.

Read more and watch the video...