Wild Cats Photosafari 2011
Good news! Since we confirmed one extra person for our trip we have an extra
vehicle and room for three more people on our Wild Cats Photosafari 2011 to
Masai Mara/Kenya. A final call, so if interested then please hurry and send a
Disney Nature African Cats (2011)
Something to look forward to. WCM witnessed some of the recordings live in the Masai Mara 2009/2010.
The new trailer for disney natures African Cats, this comes days after 2010's Oceans. Three cat families; Lion, Cheetah, Leopard; in East Africa survive on their power and their cunning, while they protect and teach their cubs the ways of the wild. View the Teaser Trailer on YouTube.
Campaign tigress Carla - Now you can help!
"Meet tigress Carla, the ambassador of foundation Wildcats World and the Bengal tigers"
Right here and now, this is the opportunity for anyone who wants to do more for the tigers and other endangered big cats, then talk without action, while waiting in vain for the tigers, and other wild animals, to disappear out of captivity and to be saved into the wild.
The situation in the wild looks very sad. Even though world leaders, guided by the Russian Vladimir Putin, had a meeting to discuss the future of the tiger and even though the 13 last tiger countries signed an agreement to protect the endangered big cat, it will be very difficult to achieve their goals, to see the number of tigers double within 12 years time. It is a big sorrow that China will decide the species' future, so we must be very concerned and we have to consider and get used to the sad idea that there might be a possibility we cannot see the tiger in the wild anymore over about 12 years.
The tiger range countries had so much time to act and save the tiger, but the situation was underestimated (and still is). Besides the many issues in the wild, there is simply not enough space for healthy populations of tigers to live an undisturbed life in the wild.
Naturally we will continue to fight this to the utmost, but we also continue taking care of the relatives living in captivity. Now the "year of the Tiger" almost comes to an end, we would like to invite you to read the following story and get in action to help the endangered cats and our foundation. In this way you not only give your support to individual animals but to whole populations of tigers, lions, leopards, cheetahs.... Anywhere, anytime. You can help now - please read on....
The Bengal tigress Carla (see pictures) is the ambassador of our project, foundation Wildcats World, and she also represents her relatives that are still living in Asia in the wild. Carla was born in captivity and the touching story of her tough start in life will no doubt do something to you, and hopefully it will make all of you contribute to the future happiness of Carla and the foundation that will create a Paradise and a great home for her and many other wild cats.
Carla was owned and mistreated by a photographer when she was a small cub. Photographs of her were taken on a daily basis with little Carla and the continuiing flashlights in her young eyes caused a partially blindness. When the photographer couldn't handle and use her anymore, he wanted to get rid of her. Luckily there was the world famous Norwegian illussioniste Eva Julia Christiie to save her from this terrible situation. She had already lots of experience raising and socializing big cats like pumas, cheetahs and tigers. Carla and Eva became very close and it took a lot of time and patience to change Carla from a stressed and frightened animal into a relaxed and happy tiger again. Putting her asleep never was an option. Part of the year Carla lived in a Spanish zoo in a big enclosure and the other part she performed in Eva's illusional shows.
When Wild Cats Magazine (Babette de Jonge) visited Eva and Carla (and also still the two other tigers, Ria and Billy) it became clear that Carla certainly wasn't a sad and disturbed tiger but she looked satisfied and seemed she survived going through the wars in her early life, and she found a new mate for life. Already during the first encounter of Babette and Eva they discussed a place to give alternative shelter to endangered cats such as the Bengal tigers like Carla. And also for the hybrid tigers Billy and Ria, who soon after moved to zoos in resp. Spain and Belgium, which could give the animals more space. The education and conservation projects by Wild Cats World will of course only include pure and healthy animals and no hybrids. The concern for welfare includes of course all animals.
Of course Carla still lives with Eva, but the future plan for Carla is to get her a life in a great, semi-wild enclosure in Wild Cats World, somewhere in the world. Carla is the right example of a tigress that despite all the misery in her young years and an unusual life as a "show tiger" can be a satisfied tiger, with an even better future in the new paradise of our foundation. Because of her friendly and social character she is also the right tiger to be the ambassador for the Bengal tigers in the wild.
Foundation Wild Cats World is pro socializing wild animals in captivity, which doesn't mean taking the cubs from the mothers and bottle feed them (unless really necessary) but to make the animal feel accustomed to different situations, animals and humans so that stress will be avoided and the welfare of the animals improve.
The decision is not yet been made where our foundation will be situated. Our heart goes out to Africa, where there are many options to buy a nice peace of land, but also the options in Southern France, India and even in the Netherlands are still open. The project has lots of support worldwide. The choice where to start is also depending on the sponsors and donations. With this first campaign we take the first step to reach as many people as possible in the hope to get many donations to realise the plans for the endangered wild cats involved in our project.
You can choose yourself which amount of money you donate. It is possible to give one gift but also to become a permanent supporter. All your support contributes to the welfare of tigress Carla and the other wild cats living in Wild Cats World. Also, your contribution will be used for the many educational and conservation projects of the foundation. Regular contributors and sponsors we will keep informed about the developments and they will receive a personal invitation to visit the foundation and the cats once it is established. In this way you can judge yourself how their welfare and living conditions are.
Foundation Wild Cats World, registered at the Chamber of Commerce number
50983962 Bank account 18.104.22.168 (ABN AMRO Bank, Bussum; IBAN NL22ABNA0517247135, BIC ABNANL2A)
monitored by a lawyer, Mr. C. v.d. Valk (Laren). Gifts and donations mentioning "Campaign Carla".
Mission Foundation Wild Cats World as defined by World Chamber of Commerce:
Looking after the well-being of endangered species in captivity and conservation of endangered wild felines in the wild, as a (temporary) center taking care of these wild cats who have e.g. become redundant or not properly treated in zoos, circuses and private homes, giving these animals a life as natural as possible and socialising them to avoid any stress. A large-scale education and conservation program and breeding with some species with only one goal: to obtain pure genetic material and to eventually release the animals into the wild. Furthermore, everything to do with this directly or indirectly, all in the broadest sense of the word.
Tigers' bodies plundered to make expensive wine
Exposed: Dark secret of the farm where tigers' bodies are plundered to make œ185 wine.
Russia and India agreed to take measures to save the tiger
Tiger range countries meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the International Tiger Conservation Forum hosted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. told the world they would act decisively now. If not we have to face a future in which the wild tiger is extinct within 12 years. Problem is now which steps they are going to take and why this would work now all of a sudden.
First news that reached us this week is that 4 tigers have been killed in Assam, only this week. Poaching is one thing but conflicts between humans and animals will be even harder to solve.
Lecture about well being of Wild Cats on symposium in Barneveld (NL.)
On saturday November 6th Babette de Jonge gave a lecture about the well being of
wild cats (comparing the situation in captivity and in the wild) on the
symposium organised by the PVH (organisation that sees to keeping pets/animals
in an animal-friendly way) about well being of animals (seen through the eyes of
the animals instead of humans). The day was very well visited and the lecture
was received in an enthusiastic way. Of course the project Wild Cats World is
mentioned as well: the Paradise for the wild cats, where the well being of wild
cats is the only thing that counts!
Update Wild Cats World
Wild Cats World is looking for a suitable place in South Africa now to start up the foundation. Offers in India, Holland and France are also still under consideration. We want to leave all options open.
Cheetahs in captivity kill wild kudu
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia is located in the wilderness, so there's plenty of wildlife, prey like many antelope species, and predators such as cheetahs. Through the Dutch foundation Spots we received the news that our adoption cheetah Blondi (now 10 years old) and her girlfriends have been visited by wild kudu (large antelope species of up to 1.5 m tall). The first kudu, probably chased by wild cheetahs, thought to be safe inside the enclosure of the ladies until he noticed the ladies. He could get away just in time. The attendants were visibly shocked by the large hole in the fence, but all cheetahs were still present.
Recently there was another kudu who ended up in the enclosure. These animals can jump very high (sometimes 2.5 meters) and can therefore also easily get into the residences of the cheetahs. Normally this is no usual prey for cheetahs, unless they work together, like usually male cheetahs do. And these ladies. Their hunting skills and instinct is still intact as is proven now, as all these cheetahs were still cubs when they started their life in captivity and they never had the good example of their mother. So: this is a real boost! At CCF, everybody was very impressed and a pleased attendant shouted "we will not have to feed them for a week, Their bellies are huge!"
(source: foundation Spots; photo by courtesy of Rob Thomson, CCF)
An adventurous Ranthambore tiger takes a long walk to Bharatpur
T7, one of the tigers observed and photographed by us on our trip to Ranthambhore in June 2009 and 2010 (see photos) claims popular bird sanctuary as his own, being unable to find suitable territory in Ranthambhore National Park.
Cheetah mom with 6 cubs in Masai Mara
We were happily surprised with the news that a cheetah in "our" Masai Mara in
Kenya gave birth to 6 cubs and at this moment they are still doing fine (photo
courtesy of Paul Goldstein).
Bangladesh tigers are the smallest tigers
Bengal tigers, living in the mangrove forests of Bangladesh are much smaller than their relatives in other areas U.S. scientists have discovered. This probably has to do with the smaller prey animals (deer) they have for a kill. Bangladesh tigers weight about 76,5 kilo and in other parts of India the Bengal tigers can weight like 138,5 kilo or more.
Leopard cubs reunited with their mother
We are happy to share with you the latest work in the field by the NGO Vanamitra in Bangalore/India. Read here the latest report by the founder of this organisation, Sumanth Madhav.
Lost Land Of The Tiger: Filming in BhutanIs the High Himalaya top the future for our beloved tigers? Read about the BBC's search for the tiger in Bhutan. We could use some good news about the tigers!!
WCW is still searching for the best options as where to start the project. Montaud in the South of France has been put on hold for the coming time as a new great offer came Babette and Eva's way... nearer home, in the Netherlands. Cannot tell any details yet but we keep you informed on this website.
Wild Cats World - Paradise for the endangered wild cats
A new venture in progress by Babette de Jonge and Eva Julia Christiie.
A non-profit organisation for the endangered Wild Cats like tiger, cheetah and snowleopard, giving the best life to captive-bred furry felines in a semi-natural environment. Including a project preparing the strongest born cubs for a release into the wild.
A unique wild cat experience for Big cat lovers and photographers to try and spot the cats during guided tours or have a unique and personal experience with these amazing animals, like cheetah, in an education show or during a cheetah walk.
Awareness for the endangered Wild Cats by giving you a chance to join us on special organised Wild Cats (Photo) safaris to places like the Masai Mara in Kenya or Ranthambhore National Park in India.
Supporting conservation projects for tigers, cheetahs, snowleopards, etc. in the wild.
Visit to a possible location for Wild Cats World
Babette de Jonge and Eva Julia Christiie (of the new venture Wild Cats World) have paid a visit to the Provence, South of France, to check out some land and have some business meetings concerning Wild Cats World. Look at the first photos of the prospective location. Individuals and companies who like to sponsor WCW please contact Babette de Jonge, email@example.com.
Wild Cats World Films II
Some more great "Wild Cats World" footage.. just click on this YouTube link.
Wild Cats Films
Wild Cats Films is another division of Wild Cats... Magazine, World, Photography, Travels... In this short film you can see the best of wild cats in the wild in Kenya and India. This is at the same time what Wild Cats Travels can offer you!
View it on YouTube.
Travel report tigers of Ranthambhore 2010
Read HERE the latest travel report of our trip to the tigers of Ranthambhore, India.
Article Andean Cat
Especially for WCM Lilian Villalba of the Andean Cat Alliance (AGA) and her colleagues wrote an article about the most endangered cat of America: the Andean cat (also Wild Cat of this month). Read the whole article HERE.
Wild Cats World
There is a website about the new project of Babette de Jonge and Eva Julia Christiie: wildcatsworld.org. This month Eva and Babette will go to the South of France (near Nice) to check out a nice piece of land... we'll keep you informed.
Book Indian Caracal
The book about the Indian caracal by wildlife biologist Shekhar Kolipaka in cooperation with Wild Cats Magazine is almost finished and will find its way to the printstore in October this year. We keep you informed about the release. In this book unique photos of the rare sightings WCM had of the Indian caracal in India in 2009.
Cheetah will run again in India (BBC website)
The vast majority of the 10,000 cheetahs left in the world are in Africa The cheetah, eradicated in India by hunting nearly a century ago, will run again in the country, as three sites are earmarked for its reintroduction.
The government has approved wildlife groups' recommendations of two sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh and an area in Rajasthan as potential homes.
The government will spend 30m rupees ($0.6m; o0.4m) to restore these sites before the animals are imported.
The plan is to import the cats from Africa, Iran and the Middle East.
Kuno Palpur and Nauradehi wildlife sanctuaries in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and Shahgarh area in Jaisalmer, in the northern state of Rajasthan, have been selected as the sites to house the animals.
Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said the reintroduction of the world's fastest land animal would "restore the grasslands" of India.
Wildlife experts say the two sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh had the capacity to accommodate nearly 80 cheetahs, although 23 human settlements will have to be moved from the one in Nauradehi.
Scores of nomadic human settlements would also have to be cleared at the site in Rajasthan on the international border with Pakistan.
"The return of the cheetah would make India the only country in the world to host six of the world's eight large cats and the only one to have all the large cats of Asia," MK Ranjitsinh of Wildlife Trust of India told the Press Trust of India news agency.
Pursued by trophy hunters and herdsmen to the brink of extinction during the Raj, the Asiatic cheetah vanished from India many decades ago.
Conservationists say less than 100 of the critically endangered subspecies remain in Iran, roaming the central deserts.
The vast majority of the 10,000 cheetahs left in the world are in Africa.
Critics of the reintroduction scheme in India say that without restoring habitat and prey base, and reducing the scope for man-animal conflict, viable cheetah populations will not flourish
Finally our travel report of our trip to Ranthambhore in India is available. Of course with lots of photo's.
Wild Cats World
Read more about the new project of Babette de Jonge and Eva Julia Christiie. Wild Cats World: Breeding, education and conservation centre (foundation) that is going to be based in France, near Paris. The project is in progress, starting last month (June).
Mission: The alternative way of giving endangered predators (and primates) the best possible life in captivity and protection in the wild. Education and conservation in a different way by bringing the animals closer to the people.
Wild Cats Photosafari/Sunworld Mara Bushcamp
What you see on this promo you can see and feel for yourself by joining the Wild Cats Photosafari from 28 february until March 8th 2011 to the Masai Mara in Kenya. During this year's trip we took part in the recordings of this promo by BBC filmmaker Gavin Thurston. Just a few more places available so you have to hurry to be sure there are still place available on next year's trip.
Tiger Temple Court Case Update
Tiger Temple Truths has just received some important news via email from Edwin Wiek, the conservationist currently battling with the Tiger Temple in both legal and civil court cases concerning the animal abuse and illegal tiger trading taking place at the Tiger Temple.
Originally, founder of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) Edwin Wiek was due to appear in court for the legal case on June 28th - this is now won't be happening...
The prosecution lawyer has asked the police to extend the investigation further, due to evidence being uncovered that proves the tigers at the Tiger Temple are officially government property, after being confiscated by the Thai Department of National Parks several years ago.
Basically, the tigers at the Tiger Temple are not their property - they belong to the Thai government, who understandably are furious about the negative publicity the Tiger Temple is generating, and the fact that the Tiger Temple has been illegally using confiscated tigers to profit from.
It seems that the prosecutor fighting on the side of the Tiger Temple is growing increasingly uneasy as the evidence against the Tiger Temple is shown to him. With official DNP (Department of National Parks) documentation being included as evidence, the Tiger Temple have the right to be very worried!
We have learnt that the Director General of the DNP has ordered a ban on the movement of tigers from the Tiger Temple, effectively ensuring the halt of illegal trading - whether the Tiger Temple will adhere to this or ignore the DG's order remains to be seen.
The Director General is also now considering whether to remove the tigers from the temple completely. There are facilities within Thailand that it would now be possible to move the tigers to, so this may be an option, although a decision on this matter is likely to take time.
With positive progress in the legal case between conservationists and the Tiger Temple, we now look at the civil case - a case brought against Edwin Wiek and a Thai newspaper who printed Mr Wiek's statements on the Tiger Temple.
Mr Wiek stated in the newspaper that the Tiger Temple was involved in animal abuse, the illegal trading of tigers and that they offered no benefit to conservation - all claims he can support with evidence.
The Tiger Temple was originally suing Mr Wiek and the newspaper in Thai court for very large sums of money - money that might have ended up funding the forthcoming Pattaya branch of the Tiger Temple. Perhaps realising they have opened a can of worms, however, the Tiger Temple have now dramatically backed down, instead requesting an official apology from the newspaper and some free advertising. From Mr Wiek, the Tiger Temple would like an apology.
This is quite a change in direction. We suspect that due to the evidence mounting up against them, the Tiger Temple are looking for a quick and quiet conclusion to this civil case, hoping to brush the issues under the table, but that will not be happening.
Mr Wiek has exclusively told Tiger Temple Truths that this requested apology will not be given. Having ample evidence to back up his claims, apologising for publicising the truth and for stating the facts is not a route that will be taken, and Mr Wiek is determined to push this case as far forward as possible.
Source: Tiger Temple Truths
Amazing tiger sightings in India
We just returned from an absolutely amazing trip to India where we had the best sightings of the wild tigers living in Ranthambhore National Park. We saw 11 different tigers and many of them several times, like the Grand lady of Ranthambhore: Machli (T16). The oldest and most famous tigress was a real poser and she even treated us with a kill. Right before our eyes she killed a male sambar deer. How rare is that? Also very special to follow the love couple T17 and T12, ready to mate. In the photogalery on this site you can already see a nice selection of all great photos taken during our meetings with the wild tigers of Ranthambhore.
Message from Laurie Marker, Cheetah Conservation Fund, Namibia
Recently I traveled to Angola to determine whether cheetahs had survived the country's three-decade civil war. Situated just north of Namibia, Angola is prime cheetah habitat, but the war had ravaged the country and the cheetah's status there was not known. Locals gave anecdotal evidence about cheetahs, but someone had to confirm this. I had no idea what to expect.
It wasn't until my last day, in Iona National Park in the southwestern corner of Angola, that I identified trees with low, thick limbs that run parallel to the ground. Cheetahs love to mark these low limbs with scat and urine to announce their presence, the cheetah version of social networking. Upon closer investigation of these "playtrees," I found what was without doubt cheetah scat. Cheetahs had indeed survived in Angola. For a species whose range is rapidly shrinking, this is significant-and positive-news.
I would have been happy with the cheetah scat, which I collected to learn what they had been hunting (prey identification through hair) and to study their DNA in our genetics lab. But as we continued searching for playtrees, suddenly two large, healthy-looking cheetahs darted from under one. To know cheetahs were around was one thing, to see them in broad daylight was thrilling beyond words.
Of course now we must ensure that the cheetah continues to survive in Angola. When I moved to Namibia, it had just emerged from a long war of independence. As the country rebuilt, I worked with the government and the people to teach them why they should protect their wildlife and how to live with predators. Now we must start that process with Angola.
The first step will be to conduct surveys in various parts of Angola to determine the extent of the cheetah's presence there. Then we must begin educating pastoral communities and livestock farmers about managing livestock so that they are protected from predators and working with conservation partners to protect the wildlife in the Iona National Park. We've been successful thus far in Namibia, and we have helped develop programs in many other cheetah range countries. There's no reason to think we can't do the same in Angola as well.
But working to save cheetahs and their ecosystem takes money, and once again I must ask you for your help, please become a supporter of CCF and the cheetah? Your tax-deductible gift will help us take our proven methods to other countries in the cheetah's range. Your continued support means the cheetah will have a fighting chance in Angola.
Cheetah purrs, Laurie Marker (Cheetah Conservation Fund)
Tiger temple to open new 'branch' in Pattaya
From a source inside the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi we discovered that a second Tiger Temple is to open in Pattaya, Thailand, in the first half of 2011.
Mr Gonzales working within the Tiger Temple informed one of Tiger Temple Truth's undercover volunteers who recently left the Tiger Temple, that the new branch was being opened due to falling visitor numbers at the currrent location.
By opening a branch in Pattaya - a town which attracts numerous tourists - the aim is to increase revenue, and eventually have 100 tiger cubs, ready and waiting to have their photos taken with exploitative tourists.
Mr Gonzales has previously threatened the life of conservationist Edwin Weik, founder of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, due to his ongoing work in bringing the Tiger Temple to justice and the current court case. Our volunteer inside the Tiger Temple was very relieved to be able to leave after Gonzales was growing increasingly aggressive and suspicious regarding the foreign volunteers at the Tiger Temple.
WCM goes to India
This month we will pay another visit to the tigers, and other wildlife, in the Ranthambhore National Park in India. Even though it is extremely hot and we will be suffering temperatures from 45-50 degrees it will be so cool to see these majestic animals in their own natural habitat again. A full report of this visit with many photos will of course soon be published on this website again.
Meeting Eva Julia Christiie and her animals - no illusion
The past two decades, Eva Julia Christiie performed worldwide in a lot of
countries such as Monte Carlo, Mexico, Hong Kong, China and Africa but also in
European countries like Norway, Sweden, Holland, Germany, France and Belgium.
This month (may 2010) she is touring with the "National Moscow Circus" in the
Netherlands, so we took the chance to meet the lady and her great animals. This
time not a world of fantasy but reality.
Truth about death of tigress in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (India)
Not naturalists and tourists run into this tigress but an official from the government accompanied by some park people entered the Tiger Reserve at night at full speed and killed the tigress!!
In Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, a tigress was hit by a speeding Gypsy, which has led to her untimely and unfortunate death. The Jhurjhura Tigress was the mother of three 5-month old cubs and one of the healthiest and best mothers in the National Park. She had successfully mothered 2 litters.
The death of this one beautiful tigress has rendered these 3 cubs as orphans and thus, we have lost 4 tigers in one reckless blow.
People from all around the world as well as the people of India demand that the person responsible is punished as per the laws of the land and not allowed to go scott free, just because it is an official. If this person is not punished adequately, it would mean "murdering" the pride of the nation and getting away with it. We fear it may happen that way and the whole incident would be hushed up, as it has been in the case of a number of prominent personalities who have, till date, not been punished for proven incidents of hunting. This incident has occurred in the core area of Bandhavgarh National Park despite it being one of the most well managed National Parks in the country.
We would like to draw your attention to the need for speed regulation of tourist traffic within all the National Parks in India, particularly in Bandhavgarh & the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, which is also in the news for the wrong reasons.
This is a request from millions of people around the world, who are already aware of the situation, are keeping their eyes and ears open in this case and will not rest until the culprit has been brought to book. This time the tigers of India are not alone. Now they have a voice and the roar will not be stilled until all wildlife in India's forests and National Parks is safe, especially the cats.
We Seek Justice.
Babette de Jonge (WCM) in India newspaper
On monday May 17th we received the news from India that Babette de Jonge (WCM) and her big love for the wild cats, also made it to the Indian press. As the article is in Hindi, we kindly had it translated by the author of the article.
Some ladies love keeping cats as pets. This lady also keeps cats, but these are the BIG ones. Babette de Jonge from Holland is a wildlife conservationist with special interest in tigers, cheetahs, leopards and lions. So comfortable are the tigers with De Jonge that they even allow her to scratch them behind their ears! Babette travels regularly to Africa and India on safaris. Her favourite pet is a very cute African cheetah baby she met at a wildlife refuge. Babette has supported conservation measures to save the Indian tiger from extinction. De Jonge's safari to the Ranthambore National Park in 2009 resulted in her managing to take photographs of the very rare Indian caracal, a species of the cat family that is on the verge of extinction in India. Wildlife needs more ladies like Babette to fight for its noble cause."
Visit to illusionist Eva Julia Christiie and her tigers
Together with friends and illusions from Las Vegas, amazing exotic animals and the lovable domestic animals, Eva Julia Christiie brings to life a new fascinating experience that will take you on a journey into the amazing world of fantasy, magic and illusion. Audiences of all ages and from every part of the world have experienced Julia's unique performances during the various live full scale productions in several countries around the world.
Julia Christiie delivers amazing, exciting, incredible performances that leave everlasting memories. Read about our visit to Eva Julia while she was in Holland. The article is in Dutch but it is easy to translate it by using Google translations.
Discover for yourself the real magic that has left millions spellbound during the past two decades.
Experience Eva's magic at JuliaChristiie.com.
Relocated tigress gives birth to cubs in Panna Tiger Reserve
Not long ago all tigers disappeared in Panna Tiger Reserve, due to poaching.
Even though the problem isn't solved there, it was decided to relocate some
tigers from Bandavgarh Tiger Reserve and Kanha National Park. Even though the
start was difficult we can now tell you the great news that a few weeks ago the
Bandavgarh tigress gave birth to three healthy cubs. Let's pray for a great
future for these tigers and all other tigers in India.
No proposal to ban tourism in Tiger Reserves of IndiaI am pleased to report the Ministry of Environment and Forest have issued a statement confirming that there will not be a ban on tourism in India's tiger reserves. This is most welcome statement in view of the recent uncertainty over tourists being permitted to enter the core area of the reserves. In my view RESPONSIBLE tourism can be of help in protecting the tiger and other wildlife from poaching and other illegal activities within the tigers habitat. See the following report from the Press Information Bureau/Government of India.
There is no proposal to ban tourism in Tiger Reserves of India. The Ministry of Environment and Forests is working on detailed guidelines for promoting eco tourism, i.e. tourism that is ecologically sustainable and is in line with the carrying capacity of the particular reserve. Denying certain news reports, Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment and Forests (I/c) said in statement that tourism in the 39 'Project Tiger' reserves will be strictly regulated. Following is the text of the statement:-
"My attention has been drawn to some news reports that the Ministry of Environment and Forests is planning a ban on tourism in tiger reserves. I would like to state categorically that there is no such proposal.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests believes that tourism is essential and that the revenues from tourism must flow back directly into the management of each of the tiger reserves so that local communities can benefit. The advantages of tourism should be felt by these local communities who should be encouraged to develop a stake in the protection of these tiger reserves. This policy of ploughing back is already in place in most reserves and it will be in place in all 'Project Tiger' reserves very soon.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has been concerned with the reports of mushrooming tourist lodges around tiger reserves such as in the case of Corbett National Park. That is why the Ministry of Environment and Forests is working on detailed guidelines for promoting eco tourism, i.e. tourism that is ecologically sustainable and is in line with the carrying capacity of the particular reserve. Tourism in the 39 'Project Tiger' reserves, particularly in the core areas, will be strictly regulated."
The Desert Lion Conservation Project
Namibia supports a unique population of desert-adapted lions that survive in the harsh Namib Desert.
The desert-adapted lions exhibit unique behaviour and habits, observed nowhere
else in Africa. The Desert Lion Conservation Project was started by P. Stander in 1998.
In the wild black servals have been spotted, but have you ever seen a
white serval? Look here...
WILD CATS PHOTOSAFARI 2011
For those of you who already got inspired by the recent travel report of the
Wild Cats Photosafari 2010 in the Masai Mara/Kenya (also on this website) I have
good news, as there will be another trip next year, starting February 28th until
March 8th 2011. More detailed info about this will follow soon though there
won't be changed much compared to this year's trip, only the price will be a bit
better. I managed to get a very good price to offer you, which you cannot get
anywhere for a similar experience in the Mara, and also I like to keep it a bit
small, with a max. of 12 persons. Already a few people booked so it's necessary
to be quick to let me know you are interested. If so, write to
Sad news: lioness speared to deathLion Guardians
My fear has been validated, and I have some very sad news to report. A
beautiful lioness called Narika, who has 3 cubs less than a month old has
been speared to death. We received this devastating news after our Lion
Guardians team, Maasailand Preservation Trust game scouts and KWS rangers
have succeeded in stopping a series of lion hunting parties, all of which
were in retaliation for livestock depredation. But this time we were
powerless to stop it.
Greetings from the Cheetah Capital of the World!
When I moved to Namibia 20 years ago, farmers were killing hundreds of cheetahs a year, driving the species toward extinction. I spent two years interviewing livestock farmers to find out how they felt about predators, what they did to protect their animals, and what they might be willing to do. Together with some of the most progressive farmers who were already concerned about conservation, I and our small group of volunteers and students developed simple and inexpensive ways for farmers to protect their livestock. Then we took those methods to the people. We're happy to report that, as a result, the cheetah population in Namibia has at least stabilized. Fewer farmers are shooting cheetahs, and many now call CCF for help with predation problems. This change occurred only because people were willing to put aside deep-seated beliefs about predators-people like Andronicus Tjituka.
Andronicus grew up on a farm in Namibia, where he developed a love for farming. His school holidays were spent on the farm; he preferred to be there than in town. After jobs in the city made buying their own land possible, Andronicus and his wife were so keen to get a farm that they went through the phone book, dialing every farm in the area where they wanted to live until they found a willing seller. Eventually they set up their farm, raising goats, sheep and cattle.
In 2007, after losing some stock to predators, Andronicus saw a cheetah on his land and shot it. The cheetah was wearing a radio collar. He reported the kill to Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism, who then contacted CCF. We had collared the cheetah and were able to determine from the data generated by the collar that the cheetah had only just arrived on Andronicus' farm and could not have been responsible for his livestock loss. We visited Andronicus, explained what we do, and showed him the map of this cheetah's movements. When Andronicus realized he hadn't targeted the correct animal, he deeply regretted killing the cat.
We told Andronicus about our courses that teach farmers nonlethal methods for livestock protection, and he immediately signed up. He sent his children to our youth courses, and his laborers attended CCF's farm worker courses. Andronicus recently added two livestock guarding dogs-bred by CCF-to his herd. Andronicus is very pleased with the dogs and the other changes he's made to protect his animals from predators.
When CCF staff visit a farmer who has killed a cheetah-or several cheetahs-we do not chastise them. To wag our fingers and tell them they're wrong is not taking into account the fact that the loss of even one goat can be financially devastating to many farmers. Instead, we look at how they manage their herds and make suggestions that will protect their animals from predation without costing much, if any, extra money.
Mahatma Ghandi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." That sentiment encapsulates CCF's approach to saving the cheetah: showing one individual at a time how he or she can make a positive difference. In CCF's 20 years of existence, we've had the great fortune to meet many people like Andronicus, who exemplify that change.
Many farmers still believe that killing cheetahs is the only way to protect their livestock. We must help them understand that they can live peacefully with predators. Help the cheetahs and help the CCF (Cheetah Conservation fund doing so).
Because they are the least aggressive of the big cats, cheetahs are often pushed out of protected areas by larger predators. For this reason, approximately 90% of all remaining cheetahs live on unprotected lands. Conflict with humans is the number one cause of death of cheetahs. To stop the killing of cheetahs, CCF works directly with people to solve their livestock predation problems and open up their minds about co-existing with predators for the good of the ecosystem. Help the cheetahs and support the CCF (Cheetah Conservation fund).
With much gratitude,
Dr. Laurie Marker
Return to the Big Cats of the Masai Mara/Kenya 2010
Read the Travel Report of the Photosafari 2010 to the Masai Mara/Kenya.
Cheetahs in Angola!After 30-Year Civil War, Cheetah Presence in Angola Confirmed by Cheetah Conservation Specialist
(Otjiwarongo, Namibia, 16 March 2010) - Dr. Laurie Marker, Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, an international research based organisation based in Namibia, confirmed the existence of cheetah in Angola last week during a three-day survey conducted in Iona National Park, located in the Namibe province. This arid area in the extreme southwest of the country was one of the former ranges of the cheetah, however, due to Angola's three-decade civil war, the cheetah's status in the country has been unknown.
The 1.6 million hectare lona National Park, proclaimed a reserve on 2 October 1937, is located in southwest Angola, bordering Namibia. Although it is very dry, the area is perfect cheetah habitat with thousands of hectares of open savannah and a growing prey base such as springbok and oryx, two species that adapt to an arid environment and are the cheetah's primary prey. During the rapid survey, Marker used Global Positioning Systems (GPS) through the area, marking where game was found and recording the variety of habitats. "I probably saw a thousand springbok." Marker stated. "Then, on the last day in the park, we were down by dry river beds where there are big trees that look like what we know in Namibia as "playtrees" *or* territorial marking areas usually used by male cheetahs. We found nine different marking trees, very similar to what we find in Namibia and in remote places like Algeria. I found cheetah scat in the tree. By one of the trees, two big male cheetahs ran out. It was very exciting - there are cheetahs in Angola."
The rapid ecological survey, designed to assess the habitat and prey in the area as potential cheetah habitat, was carried out at the urging of Alvaro Baptista, owner of the Omauaha Lodge near Iona National Park in Namibe, who visited Marker in Namibia in 2006. Baptista informed Marker of cheetah sightings in the area and encouraged the undertaking of an extensive survey to confirm their presence and to help develop a conservation plan for their long-term protection and survival. According to Baptista, "This Park is not really functioning as a national park, as personnel and infrastructure are nonexistent at this point. However, visits to the area have recently been conducted by people from both the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme." Baptista has been active in the Namibe area his entire life and is considered one of the guardians of the Park. His Omauaha Lodge is one of the only tourism camps near the Iona Park.
Marker's visit to Angola was endorsed by the Kissama Foundation (http://www.facebook.com/l/315d1;www.kissama.org), which has the mandate to support the development of the National Parks of Angola since peace came to the country in 2002. As a result of meetings in Angola's capital, Luanda, Marker hopes to develop collaborations with Kissama, as well as universities and relevant government officials. The goal is to develop a program using CCF's proven methods for censusing cheetah populations and assisting with community, government and non-government organizations in education awareness of cheetahs and bio-diversity to show the benefits of a predator's role in a healthy ecosystem and ecotourism.
Wild Cats Photosafari a Big Success!
We just returned from another great trip to the Masai Mara in Kenya, which turned out to be very succesful again. We saw all big cats and while seeing the Black Rhino on our final day it also made The Big Five (again) complete for us. This years' experience was so much different than previous years, mainly due to the wet weather in the Mara before we arrived. We managed to take great stills and footage of action moments like hunting moments of cheetahs, like Honey's Boys, but also the moments when elephants were chasing off lions and even Olive's cubs. It was amazing to see the big herds with over a hundred elephants and big groups of giraffes. Very welcome to see all the baby animals, like all the lion cubs, cheetah cub and leopard cubs, but also "babies" of elephants, hyenas, hippo etc. Soon you will be able to read the full report of this great trip on this website. In the photogallery I will add photos of this trip every now and then too, so watch this space too!!
Next year there will be another Wild Cats Photosafari. Soon we will announce the new date, but if you want to book a place in advance you can do this by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wildlife Trade Tiger Temple/Behind the Cloak of BuddhaThe true story behind the Tiger Temple: Wildlife Trade and Abuse!
Please read the truth about the Tiger Temple revealed by someone who
worked here for a long time to study the tigers. And also please take your
time to add your signature and voice. This petition will continue to run
and the signatures along with other evidence and material will be
presented to CITES, UNEP, my Government, Thai Government bodies.
The Wildlife Trade is a killing game for money, for greed. It is a sinister business responsible for the desecration of numerous species. As the Tiger species spirals towards extinction, the time to act is now more than ever.
In 2007, I worked within the Tiger Temple, Thailand. I became a witness to
the systematic genocide of the tigers within temple by way of wildlife
trade and many varying abuses. Here are the facts:
The tigers are abused in every possible way from the collection of their own urine to be squirted in their faces, to beatings so violent, and then the ultimate abuse - sold into the wildlife trade doomed to death.
In Laos the tigers are transferred either to illegal tiger farms or killed instantly for body parts or fur. However, all tigers in these farms will eventually be murdered for money, for greed.
This is the foundation of the Tiger Temple.
There are approximately 2500 adult breeding pairs of tiger left in the wild on our earth. The captive wildlife trade is directly linked to this as the adult tigers are killed in the wild, the cubs taken to tiger farms to be grown for the illegal and violent traditional medicine industry, and for the vanity for those who think it is a status symbol to own a tiger fur mat, or tiger fur item.
While working inside the Temple to study the Indochinese tiger, I witnessed the vicious cruelty and abuse inflicted on these creatures, and then the wildlife trade. This is a place that was promoted as 'Monks and Tigers living in harmony'. This is a lie. During clandestine night trades I watched these majestic tigers be subjected to wildlife trade, and disappear into the night, doomed to death. I attempted educating the temple staff and management in the correct care and handling, enrichment, veterinary care, diet etc, provide education on the critical status of tigers in the wild and the direct link to the wildlife trade. However I came to find out numerous people (conservation agencies, professionals, animal lovers, and people) have tried this for nearly 10 years, to no avail.
There has been a huge outcry to close the Tiger Temple down, this is completely understandable. Who wouldnt want a horror place like this closed down. However the very high powered people that support the Temple, (a financial bomshell for them due to the tourism industry) would never allow the money to disappear. This is one of the only high tourism money spinners in this poverty ridden area.
So what do you do when you know that these things are happening, even though the evidence is overwhelming and the authorities know, yet it still continues.
To these people this is soley about money, not the tigers or other creatures.
As long as the temple remains supported by these powers, it will remain open. So how do you address this.
The need to think outside the box, sensibly is vital. Using the brains that we were born with, and being the united humans that I know we can be.
So until these tigers, lions, bears, leopards - all purchased or bred illegally, are safe then I for one will never stop.
Action is now occurring, see below:
Short of going in at midnight and rescuing all of these creatures, do you have any idea's on what else can be done in the legal framework? Contact me if you do.
There are times when after witnessing their clandestine cold sinsiter wildlife trades at night, I have been so very temped to give them a taste of their own medicine. But of course that would end up in tragedy.... I am human, and I saw some of my wonderful animal friends leave doomed to death. Grief and sorrow are natural.
When this began in 1999, there were no other people that made the decision to purchase the tigers through the wildlife trade other than the Abbot. A couple of years later, even when the Temple linked up with the powerful supporting bodies, the Laos tiger trader that sold the Abbot the original tigers, had enough command in him to send fear into the Abbot by demanding that a beautiful Bengal tiger called Mek, a so-called 'beloved son', be returned to the tiger farm in Laos, and he was.
The temple was getting well known then. The Abbots words were 'Laos needs a breeding male and they want Mek, and I dont want trouble from Laos'. Mek was traded and swapped for a few buffalo. Mek is dead, if anyone on the face of this earth can prove otherwise, step forward now.
No matter who is running the Temple now, there is one person responsible for starting this debacle. Sadly and tragically it is a Monk.
The Buddhist faith is a wonderful and utterly respected and revered faith, true Buddhists are inspiring and hold morals that all human beings should aspire to hold.
But we are not dealing with true Buddhists inside the Temple. We are dealing with corruption at a most vicious level.
I often wonder how many trainee Monks the Abbot infected.
The money men, are money men, and they will try very hard to stop the temple from closing, or in other words prevent the loss of their money.
So that is why I offered that other solution. The money in the Sai Yok region stays, but with the implementation of all things mentioned above.
To implement that solution would be wonderful, however is it possible.
The last thing I ever wanted to see was tiger abuse and trading inside the place I thought was beautiful. But they do it, that is fact.
My goal has only ever been, to get these tigers safe forever. If standing up and giving them the voice they so long have deserved, and asking people all over the world to also give them that voice, if it takes a million people to make this happen, then that is what is going to happen.
Understand that when you are dealing with people who commit such extraordinary abuses, that these people must be handled in extraordinary ways. This is one of them.
I wish with all my heart that things were different, but how many opportunities must the temple get? Each day that goes by another tiger is closer to unnatural death, and each tiger is suffering, and each day the tiger species is going extinct because of places like this.
But one way or another this will not be tolerated anymore.
There are two ways:
An example of the mentality we are dealiing with - A female tiger, Chomnapa (2) was deliberately poisoned out of spite. She died a horrendous death. This was done due to an staff member being upset...
Imagine what would happen if the money went, hence an around the clock surveyance.
Personally I hold out some hope that with communication and education, this place could become a miracle in the making. However to get rid of the illegal elements involved in this place is a mighty task.
I will continue to pursue the education and communication channels, because I still have hope that if the abusive and trade elements are removed, and if the temple can be turned into a place of Thai pride, this would no doubt set a precedent, and send a blazing message out to other places that Thailand will no longer tolerate wildlife trade of their beautiful creatures in their beautiful country. If that can happen, that would be miraculous. And I do hold that hope I always have.
At this point, due to the fact that there is continuing trades, continuing abuse, lack of nutritional diet for a captive carnavore, lack of adequate veterinary care, enrichment etc, it seems this idea is a losing battle, at the moment. However, the closure of the Temple seems highly unlikely due to the money aspect.
So what do you do when you know that these tigers are dying in vain, for no reason, except greed.
Do you sit and say nothing? Do you smash down people who are trying to help? Do you sit back and say "It's not my country so I shouldnt interfere"?
A couple of years later, even when the Temple linked up with the powerful supporting bodies, the Laos tiger trader that sold the Abbot the original tigers, had enough command in him to send fear into the Abbot by demanding that a beautiful Bengal tiger called Mek, a so-called 'beloved son', be returned to the tiger farm in Laos, and he was.
The temple was getting well known then. The Abbots words were 'Laos needs a breeding male and they want Mek, and I dont want trouble from Laos'. Mek To do this we need to work together. Humans are capable of such wonderful things, and I know that together we can save these tigers and other creatures, and maybe along the way educate enough people so we protect the tiger species from extinction.
If we stop and do nothing, then it is over. So DON'T go and support this Tiger ABUSE temple anymore!!!
New Rescue Arrives at Drakenstein Lion ParkAres Arrives Safely
Ares was found starving and close to death in a French circus. After being confiscated, he was placed in a temporary refuge where he underwent veterinary treatment for almost 10 months to ensure that he was fit enough to travel. Ares arrived at the sanctuary on 10th February 2010.
Despite the 10 months of treatment, Ares still has a very serious condition that threatens his vision and he will have to undergo extensive eye surgery to ensure that he does not lose his sight.
Please help us meet the costs of this specialized eye surgery.
How you can help:
Saving one animal may not change the world, but surely for that one animal the world will change forever!
© 2010 Drakenstein Lion Park. All Rights Reserved.
Rocky Mountains and a Hard PlaceSebugwaawo Ismail
20 February 2010, RAS AL KHAIMAH - The wild caracal, a predatory cat found in the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah, has become a problem for residents in the higher reaches of the emirate.
It has prompted the local environment protection authority to announce compensation for those whose livestock has been attacked or killed.
The Environment Protection and Development Authority (EPDA) of Ras Al Khaimah is also chalking out a plan to protect residents and their livestock, EDPA Executive Director Seif Al Ghais says.
Known locally as Al Hambra or Al Washaq, the eight to 12kg wildcat has inhabited the rocky mountains here for 17 years and is not known to attack humans.
Al Ghais says wild caracals live in mountain caves and only come down when snakes, lizards, rats and other typical prey became scarce in their habitat.
The thought does not help the residents in vulnerable areas, including Wadi Qada'a and Sha'am, who complain of huge losses because of Al Hambra attacks.
The situation is tricky for EPDA because wild caracals are part of the country's wildlife heritage and residents are being urged not to kill them.
Officials from EPDA will soon coordinate with people living near mountains to trace the wildcats and capture them to be kept in wildlife centres, according to Al Ghais.
His message is easy: Treat it with kindness. But it is not proving easy. Just last week, a caracal was shot dead after it attacked and injured an Emirati, having shaken itself free of a trap.
Ghais said the Al Hambra does not often attack people or larger animals. It does so only when it senses danger, purely as a mechanism of defence.
Ahmed Rashid, a resident of Sham, said they have on many occasions found their livestock, especially cattle and goats, dead as a result of the attacks from the wild caracals.
Not many have seen how these wildcats kill. But their predatory style has begun to leave telltale signs. Walid Shaban says he cannot risk grazing his animals near the mountains anymore.
Speak of being caught between a rock and a hard place! ?
Tiger temple admits abuse tigers
"Some physical pain is needed to discipline them for pictures." - A message for the tourists that continue to go there!
They say they abused the tigers due to the fact that they 'were poor in 2007' - this is a lie, they were not poor. However, Buddhist Monks in a Buddhist Temple admitting to abusing the tigers just made the job easier to proof them guilty - now they just have to admit the wildlife trade....
Article in The Nation (09/02/2010) - Tiger Temple Sues Top Wildlife Activists Over Cruelty Claims
The "Tiger Temple" in Kanchanaburi has sued 2 top wildlife activists and a reporter for defamation over claims of animal torture, illegal possession of wildlife and alleged trade in tigers to other countries without a permit. Staff at the "Tiger Temple", formally known as Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery, say that charges are groundless.
Local conservationists Edwin Wiek and Dr Surapon Duangkhae were handed by police
to Kanchanaburi court last week, but the journalist refused to turn up.
The "Tiger Temple", located north of Kanchanaburi town, is a well-known
attraction that welcomes hundreds of foreign tourists a day to see and be
photographed with tigers. The fee to enter is Bt500 per person, and taking
"special photos" with the tigers costs Bt1000 extra. People can also pay Bt4500
for a morning in which they feed tiger cubs and watch an exercise session.
Wiek, a Dutchman who runs a highly regarded animal rescue centre in Phetchaburi,
is no fan. "At least a dozen tigers are being dragged from their small
enclosures every afternoon down to a sunbaked hot valley to pose with tourists.
These tigers are extremely lethargic and allegations have been made that they
are drugged," he said.
According to a report by Care for the Wild International (CWI), a non- governmental group based in the UK: "CWI investigators uncovered disturbing evidence of serious conservation and animal welfare concerns, including illegal tiger trafficking, systematic physical abuse of the tigers held at the temple, and high risk interactions between tigers and tourists".
The manager at the Tiger Temple, Athithat Seemanee, has a different view: "Brutality to the tigers here is not true. A lot of the pictures that show torture of the animals are old, when the Tiger Temple did not have any income. Now they are fed well with boiled chicken and canned dog food.
"As for pulling the tail and punching tigers on the head, these are ways to make a tiger obey. It is similar to training dogs or elephants. Some physical pain is needed to discipline them for pictures."
Athithat said there were 50 tigers at the temple and many were born there. DNA tests have reportedly proven that the tigers are hybrids and of little conservation value.
"We plan to release these tigers into a tiger island we are building. It should be ready soon. There they will have more space and less interaction with people. We have 70 people taking care of the tigers at the temple and proper medical care is given to them", Athithat said.
The tiger island was to have been completed in 2008 and Athithat was unwilling to give a specific date for it's opening, which has been postponed many times."
Up-date leopards Masai Mara by guide Paul Kirui
The Mara is now very green and still wet in most places. Driving around requires
one to be cautious enough. The grass has now grown tall very fast due to the
rains. After a short break and being away from the Mara, I just came back a
couple of days ago and was really longing to catch up with my cats again. I was
fortunate on arrival to find male leopard Kali who had been away from his birth
area for long. He has grown big and I am worried he will soon leave this area
and not come back again. This is because of his step dad, the Rhino ridge male
has now taken over big boy's territory completely. For the first weeks after he
came into the area, we thought big boy will see him off, but now it is many
months after and this confirms to us that Big boy has finally let go his grip on
This morning, I went out on a game drive looking for Olive with the cubs. After about an hour with no success, I stopped the vehicle just to listen to the sounds of the bush and that is when I picked up an alarm call from some guinea fowls. I went to check and found Binti. Another guide from Rekero had been trailing her since early morning. She is obviously looking for the male as she could not stop calling and she went around sniffing on the trail of the male who was in the area yesterday. This has now confirmed to us that she has not been pregnant as thought by some guides. If she mates with the male now, we should be expecting the cubs by mid May.
After spending sometimes with Binti, I headed back to camp and was just called by a fellow guide that he has found Olive and she was hunting. I dashed there just when she got a young warthog. She had a rough time with the mother but managed to ward her off. In no time, a hyaena appeared on the scene, forcing her to hastily take the kill up a nearby tree, which was really a comfortable one, but at least kept its prey safe from the hyaena. I am still combing the area to see the cubs.
From the 3rd of March WCM will be in the Masai Mara so hopefully we will see all
these lovely leopards again. Photos and full report will be published on this
website again of course.
Three cheetahs spare tiny antelope's life...and play with him instead
Hello little antelope, would you like to play with us? Coming from three deadly cheetahs, it's the kind of invitation that's best refused - but amazingly, this impala escaped unscathed from its encounter. Luckily for the youngster, it seems these three male cheetahs simply weren't hungry.
Source: Daily Mail
Something Special, the tiger!!
A breathtaking video, watch this.
WFFT - PRESS RELEASE - 2/2/2010
Tiger temple sues conservationists and newspaper reporter over complaints of illegal wildlife possession, animal torture and alleged illegal trade in tigers with foreign countries without permit.
Three local conservationists are being handed over by police to court on Wednesday the 3rd of February at 10:00AM at the provincial court of Kanchanaburi Province. The three are being accused of defamation by the infamous Tiger Temple after a news article in the Thai Post newspaper in April 2009 where accusation were made about animal torture, illegal wildlife trade and possession taking place at the tiger temple. All three conservationists and animal welfare experts were quoted in this article as having a derogatory opinion of the tiger temple.
At the Tiger temple (Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yannasampanno, Kanchanaburi) hundreds of foreign tourists daily vist the zoo to see and make pictures with the tigers. Entrance fee is 500 baht per person while making "special photos" costs 1,000 baht extra. For a morning experience people pay 4,500 baht per person to feed the cubs and watch the cub-exercise session.
At least a dozen tigers are being dragged from their small enclosures every afternoon down to a sun-backed hot valley to pose with tourists. These tigers are extremely lethargic and allegations have been made that they are being been drugged. When tigers are not obedient before, during or after the photo-session they are sprayed by the keepers with urine from bottles in their eyes and faces and/or hit with wooden sticks on their backs and heads. All tigers at the Tiger Temple are hybrid tigers that originated from a commercial tiger farm in Ratchburi province. The value to conservation of hybrid wildlife is zero. The release of hybrid wildlife back to the wild is considered a biological crime by conservation experts worldwide. In the past years several tigers from the tiger temple have mysteriously disappeared once mature, and some when there were excess cubs. The copy of a contract was found in 2008 where the tiger temple agreed to send tigers to an illegal tiger farm in Laos, signed by the tiger farmer, the abbot of the temple and a member of the temple board. The export or exchange of protected wildlife such as tigers is illegal by Thai law and the international treaty CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species). The Department of National Parks, Plants and Wildlife has never issued a permit to the tiger temple to exchange or export tigers. As a matter of fact the tigers at the temple have been confiscated in 2002 as they were illegally obtained, but were allowed to stay at the temple as the authorities had no shelter available to care for the tigers while the authorities were looking in to the legal case. A zoo permit was issued on a plot of land next to the temple on the name of a commercial enterprise in July 2009, however nothing has been built there to this date and the tigers are currently still being exploited on temple grounds.
Comments and complaints made by many conservationists and animal welfare activists were made to make people aware about the torture, illegal trade and the real value to conservation and to make a stop to the suffering of animals.
People being charged:
Dr. Surapon Duangkae
Mr. Sawan Sangbunlang
Leopard Cubs (almost) free again!
A little while ago we received an e-mail from a Wildlife Rescue and
Rehabilitation Centre called Vanamitra in Bangalore/India. They rescued 5
leopard cubs after their mother was killed by the locals. Their wish is to
rehabilitate these cubs and release them back into the wild instead of sending
them into life time captivity. They wanted to know more info to set up a rehab
plan after that. The cubs are now about 2 months old. They have been kept in a
temporary enclosure which is surrounded by wallpapers of forests on all sides
and all they here in the noise of the forest that we play for them through a
sound box. Human interaction is minimized as much as possible. Only during the
time of feeding and a few vaccinations they are being handled otherwise they are
all by themselves.
Release caracal Book bit delayed
The release of our book about the caracal is a delayed because of a sudden extended trip to India of our co-writer Shekhar Kolipaka. In March, after our trip to the Masai Mara in Kenya, we will finish off this project and have it printed. Watch this space.....
Tiger killed, eaten by villagers in Arunachal Pradesh
NDTV Correspondent, Monday January 25, 2010, Itanagar
A full grown Royal Bengal Tiger was hunted down by villagers of Numuk in Arunachal Pradesh's West Siang district.
Villagers gathered around the tiger after the kill. The meat was then consumed by the people but even more disturbing is the information of a possible wild life trade racket flourishing in that area.
The skin of the tiger was allegedly sold to a certain businessman from Assam for 1.5 lakh rupees.
"They must have gone for some small animal hunt and came across this tiger and killed it. It is about 30 km from Along. It was a heavy animal, even four persons could not carry it properly, you may have seen the picture. Gun ammunition was used to shoot. The skin was sold to some trader from Guwahati at Silapathar. Wildlife authorities talk about penalties but wildlife crime is going on. This is the season of deer hunting and deer is being hunted regularly," said Tapak Kato, an eyewitness from Namuk.
In the last one year this is the third incident of tiger hunting in the area but
the first time that there was photographic evidence.
Villagers beat tiger to death in Sunderbans/India
A Royal Bengal Tiger was beaten to death by villagers at Abadchandipur adjacent to the Sundarbans in Shyamnagar upazila on saturday evening, January 23rd.
Local sources said villagers trapped the tiger in a kitchen at about 8:00 am on this evening but forest department officials failed to bring tranquilliser gun till 6:00pm when the tiger was killed.
Meanwhile, at least 15 people were injured as Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) personnel charged baton on a gathering of villagers who attempted to kill the tiger at about 5:00pm.
Villagers also threw brickbats at law enforcers and forest officials while incidents of chase and counter-chase took place throughout the day between local people and members of law enforcement agencies.
Locals and forest officials said the tiger entered the village in search of food after crossing river Chunna Thursday night.
In the morning, villagers found the tiger sitting near the house of Khorshed Ali of Abadchandipur village and chased it. At one stage, the tiger entered the kitchen of Khorshed Ali and villagers locked its door from outside.
They later started guarding the kitchen so that the tiger could not come out and attack them. Meantime, police, BDR and forest guards rushed to the spot.
Jatiya Party (Ershad) lawmaker HM Golam Reza, commanding officer of 7 Rifles Battalion Lt Col Badrul Alam, officials of local administration and forest department also rushed to the spot and asked the villagers not to kill the tiger.
They told villagers that they were bringing tranquilliser gun to catch the tiger alive.
At one stage, villagers killed the tiger at about 6:00pm as forest department officials failed to bring tranquilliser gun by the time, local sources said.
Sources in the forest department said they could not bring tranquilliser gun by the evening, as there is no such gun kept at its Khulna office.
China wakes up, calls for protection of tigers
Source: The Economic Times
NEW DELHI: India's newfound partnership with China on environment issues has yielded results in the area of tiger protection as well. In what could be seen as a new year's gift for the Indian tiger, China's State Forestry Administration has issued a directive calling for the protection of tigers, especially the need to step up action against illegal trade in tiger parts and products.
Poaching and smuggling of tigers fuelled by China's incessant demand for tiger parts has been a thorny issue between India and China. This vital conservation issue dominated Jairam Ramesh's first visit to Beijing as minister of state for environment in August last year. At that time, however, the talks between India and China to save the endangered animal failed to make much progress. Now, it would seem that the Indian government's efforts have made some impact.
The Chinese order is aimed at protecting tigers in the wild, enforcing laws against illegal trading of tiger parts & products and better management and monitoring of tiger farms. Though silence on the issue of closing down the tiger farms could continue to be a cause of concern for India's effort at conserving tigers.
The order has called for improved protection of tigers and their prey in the wild. This will have to be done through efforts in "research, monitoring, anti- poaching and alleviating human-tiger conflict". China has some 20-odd tigers in the wild.
It has also mandated a crackdown on illegal smuggling and trade of tiger parts and products. The order has specifically asked local forestry bureaus to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies to increase monitoring and undertake enforcement measures against tiger trade.
Officially, domestic trade in tiger parts is illegal in China. However, the ever-growing demand for tiger parts, which are used as aphrodisiacal drugs and to make Chinese traditional medicine, has contributed to a flourishing black market, which fuels increased poaching and smuggling of tigers out of India through the Nepal and Myanmar borders. The latest directive from the Chinese authorities seeks to address the issue by trying to curb this demand.
It calls for promoting public awareness to reduce consumption of tiger parts and a public rejection of illegal trade. It suggests encouraging and motivating the public to report wildlife crime to authorities. At the same time, those officials who repeatedly ignore public complaints about illegal trade will be held responsible.
The Chinese order has also called for increased monitoring and management of tiger captive breeding facilities. This will require creating a database that would track all tigers bred on these facilities, with special attention to tiger deaths in these farms. To prevent trade, stockpile of tiger bodies and parts should be sealed to prevent use.
Those facilities that do not have storage capabilities would be required to destroy stockpile, under the supervision of local authorities. Each tiger farm will be required to have permits and meet conditions before opening up for public viewing.
Nearly 4,000 tigers are bred in scores of these controversial tiger farms in China. While the government maintains that these farms have been developed to attract tourists, experts maintain that these farms are used to harvest tiger body parts, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Mr Ramesh has pushed for phasing out of tiger farms and destruction of stockpiles of tiger parts. The minister had sought an assurance from China's minister for environment protection Zhou Shengian that China would sensitise people to the problem and take steps to discourage trade in tiger parts.
Gir National Park
Towards the end of 2009, Gir National Park, the last abode of the extremely endangered Asiatic lion has been in the news for most of the wrong reasons.
On October 7th a group of 11 people were caught watching a "show" when a pride of lions killed and preyed on a buffalo. The forest department recorded their statements and after it was ascertained that it was not a "planned show" they were let off with after being fined of Rs. 500/- for intrusion.
In what seems to be a gross violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, a 2.5km 10 foot wide cement concrete road has been constructed in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary near Junagadh city. The road starts from Wellingdon dam and goes to Hatipaga on Datar Hills. When questioned about it, the deputy conservator of forests (DCF), Anita Karne said, "We are not aware of this but we will inquire into the matter and do the needful."
A report came in on October 17th 2009 about the death of a ten year old Asiatic lion whose body was found after 2 days near the Pipalva village in the Khamba taluka. Though it was sent for a post mortem to the Khamba Veterinary hospital, initial reports claimed the lion died of old age or a disease.
Within a week of the first death came the news of an eight year old lion who was found dead in the Khamba taluka by some villagers. Initial reports again claimed that the death could be because of a disease.
Asiatic Lion at Gir NP
A few days before this, an injured lioness was found and rescued in the Mandvi area of Jasadhar range close to the Babariya range known for poaching cases. The lioness, old and blind, was found in a trap where it lay for 3 weeks before being rescued. Earlier a cub was also found in a trap in the Veraval range and another lion was shifted to the Sakkarbaug zoo from the Ranishav area after it's condition deteriorated.
Then towards the end of November 2009, there were reports of big cats straying away from the protected Gir forest. The Asiatic lion which was earlier found only around Sasan and Dhari in Junagadh was now being spotted in Bhavnagar and Amreli districts. 14 lions were found in Ranigala village in Bhavnagar district, which is probably one of the biggest prides spotted in recent times. Forest officials said that from scattered reports of lions in these areas, finding prides of 10 had become regular. A senior forest official said that the Gir forest could carry 250 lions at most and there are around 370 lions living there, so over a 100 lions have moved out of the sanctuary in search of food and due to territorial fights.
Next, in the first week of December, another lion, possibly aged 7 years was found dead after falling 25m from a bridge near the Bhelchhar village. It was later confirmed by an eyewitness (identity withheld), that the animal was startled by the headlights of a speeding car as it was crossing the 20m long bridge going towards Junagadh. Feeling threatened, the lion jumped atop a narrow meter-high parapet on the left side of the bridge but lost it's balance and plunged down hitting it's head on a rock near the river bed, it walked another 4m before collapsing under the right hand side of the bridge. The cause of death as per the postmortem report was stated as hemorrhage to the head and chest.
Then on 20th December 2009, the state forest department found the carcass of a 7 year old lioness in the Tulsishyam range of the Gir forest in the Amreli district. She had been brutally killed using a sharp weapon. As per the postmortem report, she had received several wounds to the left of her chest, Some were deep enough to break two of her ribs.
All these incidents and only in the last quarter of 2009. It's about time someone is held responsible for this. The forest department need to be congratulated for their efforts but at the same time such carelessness shouldn't be tolerated. With only 350 odd Asiatic lions in the wild today, no chances can be taken with their survival. About the lion sightings, it has become synonymous with Gir National Park now. From what I hear, they have moved a number of lions into a part of the national park where the tourists are allowed to go. Otherwise also, with more than 350 lions in that small area, the chances of a good sighting are very high.