Monthly Archives: April 2017
EXTRACT FROM THE FOLLOWING THIRD-PARTY SOURCE: News24
Paris – The leopard population in a region of South Africa once thick with the big cats is crashing, and could be wiped out within a few years, scientists warned on Wednesday.
Illegal killing of leopards in the Soutpansberg mountain range has reduced their numbers by two-thirds in the last decade, the researchers reported in the Royal Society Open Science journal.
“If things don’t change, we predict leopards will essentially disappear from the area by about 2020,” lead author Samual Williams, a conservation biologist at Durham University in England, told AFP.
“This is especially alarming given that, in 2008, this area had one of the highest leopard densities in Africa.”
What is certain, however, is that the regions these predators roam has shrunk drastically over the last two centuries.
The historic range of Panthera pardus, which includes more than half-a-dozen sub-species, covered large swathes of Africa and Asia, and extended well into the Arabian Peninsula.
Leopards once roamed the forests of Sri Lanka and Java unchallenged.
Today, they occupy barely a quarter of this territory, with some sub-species teetering on the brink of extinction, trapped in one or two percent of their original habitat.
Leopards were classified last year as “vulnerable” to extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of endangered species, which tracks the survival status of animals and plants.
South Africa recently suspended trophy hunting of leopards, though experts agree this is not a major cause of the population decline.
A 2008 census of leopards in the 6 800km² Soutpansberg found a robust population of nearly 11 adult cats for each 100km².
To find out how the carnivores had fared since then, Williams and his team set up four dozen motion-triggered camera traps across the area, and left them in place from 2012 to 2016.
The cameras captured a total of 65 individual leopards during the four-year period: 16 adult males, 28 adult females and 21 younger cats.
They also fitted eight adults with GPS collars to track their movements – or lack thereof.
Only two of the GPS-tagged leopards survived the monitoring period. Three were done in by snares, one was shot by a local resident whose cattle had been attacked, and two went missing, probably killed since they also disappeared from camera surveillance.
A statistical analysis of the results showed “a 66% decline over a period just over 7.5 years”, the study concluded.
Ironically, the bleak findings helped conservationists and local officials raise money to hire a “community engagement officer”.
“One of the things he does is help local people adopt non-lethal techniques” to prevent leopards from attacking cattle and other livestock, including the use of guard dogs, Williams added.
But the clash between humans and big carnivores, experts agree, is mostly due to humanity’s expanding footprint, especially in Africa, whose population is set to expand by more than a billion before mid-century.
As a result, the habitats of most wild megafauna are diminishing, and getting chopped up into smaller and smaller parcels.
“It is extremely alarming that the trends that we are reporting exemplify trends in large carnivores globally,” Williams said.
Studies in Africa of lions, black-backed jackals and bat-eared foxes have showed similar rates of decline.
One of the projects focused on (wild) leopards Wild Cats World is supporting; very essential for the very endangered Javan leopard. A smashing job done on ground level by Wanicare Foundation and Cikananga Widllife Center. We cannot thank them enough for all the work they do for our precious leopards and their endangered population. A project really worth supporting. If anyone considers a donation, please let us know!! Here’s the March up-date!
The Javan leopard (Panthera pardus melas) is an endemic species to Java and currently classified as critically endangered species on IUCN Red List, since there are certainly less than 250 mature individuals, possibly even less than 100 left in the wild (Ario et al., 2008). The Javan Leopard is critically endangered as a result of pet trade, poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation but also due to a decline of prey which forces leopards to enter villages to find food. In the last years the number of Javan leopard – human conflicts have significantly increased, and Cikananga Wildlife Center evacuated 9 conflict leopards over last 4 years.
In the night of the 1st/2nd of April 2017 our female serval Joy gave birth to 3 healthy kittens. The trio is drinking well and Joy is an excellent mom, grooming them and being very protective.
Fortunately daddy Norrick is feeling much better again; we are so glad and grateful we managed to pull him through the wars when he was suffering renal failure. We decided not to give up on him and so far, so good.
The little family is together and not long before the kittens will start wandering around, giving the parents a lot of work. The kittens will stay with us for as long as possible. We do have requests
from Private Game Reserves who want to release one or more of our servals. We will first give the family enough time to be together and to teach the kittens all that is essential, after that we
will consider looking into the requests we received, as of course the aim of our project is to support the species in the wild.
As announced on March 16, 2017 , the WCW Pallas Cat Conservation Project is become a reality since we signed the contract with the Zoo de Lyon.
I hear already people saying, but there are pallas cat at Zoo de Lyon. Wrong, they have 2 pallas cat but not visible from the pubic( infortunately) due to the fact that they are looking for fund to build a brand new enclosure.
The WCW Pallas cat Conservation Project could be split in 2 sub-projects:
- Help and support Zoo de Lyon to raise funds for work related to the Pallas cat . Conservation in-situ and ex-situ.
- The other one which is the most important one is to raise funds for the PICA project – Pallas’s cat International Conservation Alliance.
First of all , we would like to thank Zoo De lyon to enable us to use the picures of their pallas cat as our ambassador for our project.
Let’s talk about the PICA Project :
This project was launched in March 2016 by Nordens Ark Zoo, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Snow Leopard Triust and Fondation Segré.
- Map Pallas cat distribution more accurately using camera trapping technology
- Gain a better understanding of the veracity of the “recognised” Pallas’s cat sub-species
- Aid field researchers in the provision of educational material for local villages / schools within range countries
- Enhance the global Pallas cat network
- Aid future species assessments through the IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group
- Highlight the importance and value of collaboration between zoos and field projects
Currently our projects are focusing in Nepal, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Iran and are not only raising the profile of the species throughout these countries but giving us a clearer picture of the threats toward Pallas cat populations. As an elusive species that is rarely seen by man our researchers are using trail camera technology to shed new light on Pallas cat behaviour and in turn making future conservation efforts more achievable.
To enable this project to work , and due to the fact that Pallas cat is not iconic as other big cats, that we do not have a lot of information and research on him, we will focus to have camera trap in the area where we think there are some and also in captivity. But also which from my point of view to develop with PICA a standardised education materiel, to run awareness campaign for promoting Pallas cat on the web, social media and why not in school
What you can do to help us to achieve all this with PICA?
- “Adopt” one of our ambassadors ( pictures and stories will come soon)
- Be part of our project
- Help us and talk about Pallas cat around you
Bérengère Desmet (France) is in charge of the new Pallas Cat Conservation Project for Wild Cats World.
For more info, you can visit the web site of WCW and Zoo de Lyon and also the Facebook pages.
Zoo de Lyon : http://www.zoo.lyon.fr/zoo
Wild Cats World : http://www.wildcatsworld.org/
Zoo de Lyon : https://www.facebook.com/#!/ZOO-DE-LYON-page-officielle-117423834961596/?fref=ts
Wild Cats World: https://www.facebook.com/#!/Wild-Cats-World-122586544451718/?fref=ts