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Pallas’s Cat Found in Nepal

pallas's cat image

While studying snow leopards, researchers from the Annapurna Area Conservation Project have photographed a Pallas’s cat. According to a report by the Himalayan News Service, fourteen pictures of the cat were taken by 11 cameras that had been set up above the village of Manang.

Manang, Nepal

Manang, Nepal – the area where the photos of the Pallas’s cat were taken.

The first 8 photos were taken in December 2012. An additional 6 images were recorded in December 2013. The images were discovered by Bikram Shrestha, program coordinator for the Snow Leopard Conservancy. The research project was conducted by the Snow Leopard Conservancy and the National Trust for Nature Conservation/Annapurna Conservation Area Project. Local students in grades 6 -8 who had received training in snow leopard monitoring, including how to install and maintain the cameras, also helped on the project.

From Shrestha’s journal:

“I received the camera trap data in November 2013 to analyze and send to Snow Leopard Conservancy-USA. The camera trap from Aangumie Lapche captured the strange species. I was surprised because it was the small size of a snow leopard cub. But no adult snow leopard was captured with it. It was also not similar to other small mammals like the leopard cat and lynx which were recorded in ACAP, so these images continued to confuse me. I sent the report to Dr. Som Ale on 26 November 2013 and our team continued studying all images in attempts to identify the species.”

You can read the report by the Snow Leopard Conservancy and see some of the images here.

The Pallas’s cat is a small wild cat that inhabits Central Asia. Although there has been some speculation that the species could be found in Nepal, this is the first time the cat has been seen in this area. In 2012, camera traps captured images of the Pallas’s cat in Bhutan’s Wangchuck Centennial Park – the first time the cat had been seen in the Eastern Himalayas. The Pallas’s cat is listed as near threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

nepal bhutan

The distance between Nepal and Bhutan.

The Annapurna Conservation Area was established in 1985, and the Annapurna Conservation Area Project was launched in 1986.

annapurna area conservation project map

The Annapurna Conservation Area in Nepal

Annapurna, a Sanskrit word usually translated as “Goddess of the Harvests,” is an area of the Himalayas in north-central Nepal. The region, which is the largest protected area in Nepal, is home to more than 102 mammals, as well as 474 birds, 39 reptiles, 22 amphibians and 1,226 species of flowing plants.

 

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Silver Lining for Lions of West Africa (Panthera)

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It was recently reported that there are less than 400 wild lions in West Africa. In this story, Panthera talks about a possible “silver lining” for this critically endangered species. The Silver Lining for the Lions of West Africa was originally published at Panthera.org on February 13, 2014.

PANTHERA: In a press release published last month, Panthera outlined the results of a new report confirming that lions are now Critically Endangered and face extinction across the entire region of West Africa.

Led by Panthera’s Lion Program Survey Coordinator, Dr. Philipp Henschel, the study required a massive survey effort extending across 21 parks and 11 countries over a six year period. The results, unfortunately, are somber: today fewer than 400 lions remain in four isolated populations in West Africa, with only 250 of these being breeding adult lions.

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Canned tigers? (LionAid)

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Tiger “farms” in South Africa – where tigers are bred for trophy hunting. In this article, Pieter Kat from LionAid talks about captive-bred tigers. Canned tigers? was originally posted on January 27, 2014 at LionAid.org.

LIONAID: Many of you will probably know about the “tiger farms” in China that breed tigers to supply skins and potions like tiger bone wine. There is considerable outrage about these farms internationally, not only because of the conditions under which the tigers are kept, but also because of the ethics of breeding animals for their body parts.

I wrote a short blog on the issue in September 2012.

Earlier that year I also wrote a blog about the tiger breeding that goes on in South Africa.

Despite these blogs, and raising the issue at various meetings with UK Members of Parliament and Defra, there continues to be silence and complacency about the SA tiger farms. There, tigers are raised for live export to a number of countries including the United Arab Emirates, Myanmar and Vietnam. During the ten years 2002-2011, a total of 170 live tigers were exported to such dubious destinations. But perhaps more strangely, tigers in SA are also available to be trophy hunted.

It is the only place left in the world where you can go and trophy hunt a tiger. I have not been able to determine how much a tiger hunt costs, but it would appear to be substantial. Over the ten years 2002 – 2011, CITES records indicate that 17 tiger trophies were exported (not re-exported) and that the source was captive-bred tigers.

Who would want to hunt a captive bred tiger? The trophies went to the United Arab Emirates (6), Norway (3), Poland (2) and one each to Spain, Germany, France, Lebanon, Pakistan, and an unnamed country.

Apart from needing a CITES export permit, these trophies do not need the usually necessary import permits required for a species listed on CITES Appendix I as they are hunting trophies and therefore “personal and household effects”.  Also, since these are privately owned exotic animals in South Africa, they further escape much regulatory notice.

Meanwhile, tiger breeders must be enjoying their “niche market” in South Africa out of the public eye?

Picture credit: http://bit.ly/19XfsF2

If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations. Thank you.

 

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New Study – West African Lion Population Under 400

West African Lion Facing Extinction

According to a new study funded by Panthera and National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, there are less than 400 lions in West Africa. Of the remaining lions, an estimated 250 are of breeding age.

“The situation is most critical for the geographically isolated populations in West Africa, where the species is considered regionally endangered.”

Field studies were conducted in 13 large areas where the lions are protected to establish the presence and size of any populations. Another eight areas were evaluated based on interviews and existing data.

Most of the data that was compiled came from track surveys, in which lions were tracked by following their footprints.

The report states that lions in West Africa have undergone a “catastrophic collapse.”  They have lost more that 99% of their historic range, with 88% of the current population (approximately 350 lions) living in one single population.

You can read the study here.

Photo Credit: Cubinnigeria Philipphenschel Panthera

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Asiatic Cheetah Family Spotted in Iran

asiatic cheetahs in iran

A family of Asiatic cheetahs has been spotted in Iran’s Turan national park.  The mother and four cubs were discovered by conservationists at the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation.

The Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) also called the Iranian cheetah, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The cat could once be found in regions throughout Southwest Asia, including India, Pakisan, Arabia and Afghanistan. Now, only a small population remains in Iran.

“Something that people rarely knew about a decade ago has now become a national cause for concern,” said Morteza Eslami, head of the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS). “When we spoke about Asiatic cheetahs in the beginning, people used to ask if we in Iran had any cheetahs. Now they are asking how many are left.”

The Asiatic cheetah population in Iran is currently estimated at 100. The Khar Turan National Park is located in Iran’s Semnan province. It is the second largest reserve in the country.

The cat’s prey consists mainly of wild sheep, goats and gazelle. Loss of prey is a key conservation concern for the cheetah, along with human conflict and hunting.

The Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) has been mapping the location of the species, collecting data on the cheetah’s habits, and assessing threats to the cheetah’s survival.

The ICS is a non-government organization working to save the “big five” carnivores in Iran, with a focus on the Asiatic cheetah.
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