Save leopards in Azerbaijan


This video says about itself:

Panthera‘s mission is to ensure the future of wild cats through scientific leadership and global conservation action. We have brought together the world’s leading wild cat experts to direct and implement effective conservation strategies for the world’s largest and most endangered cats: tigers, lions, jaguars and snow leopards. Our approach to wild cat conservation is rooted in science and based upon decades of first hand field experience. We seek a future in which the world’s 37 wild cat species have the necessary and ongoing protection from human and environmental threats to persist and thrive in the wild. Our vision sees endangered wild cat populations rebounded, critical habitats and core populations connected by genetic and biological corridors, and a global commitment to protect these iconic species through near and distant futures.

Learn more about specific Panthera programs designed to protect the world’s endangered wild cats @ http://bit.ly/q3oFsu.

From Wildlife Extra:

Action on Azerbaijan’s few remaining Caucasian leopards

The future of the Caucasian (or Persian) leopard took a step forward last week with the establishment of a conservation agreement between Panthera, the world’s leading wild cat conservation organisation, and the International Dialogue for Environmental Action (IDEA) of Azerbaijan.

Panthera joined international wild cat scientists, environmental NGOs, and stakeholders at IDEA’s Caucasus Cat Summit in Baku recently to help plan the long-term preservation of the Caucasian leopard and Azerbaijan’s other unique wildlife.

Through this agreement, Panthera and IDEA have committed to assess the state and range of Azerbaijan’s leopards and, most importantly, work to develop conservation plans for the critically endangered population and train Azerbaijan’s scientists in research and conservation methodologies focused on saving the Caucasian leopard.

IDEA aims to foster conservation action among the country’s citizens, with a particular focus on the youth and next generation of Azerbaijan’s conservationists.

“We welcome Azerbaijan’s initiative in seeking to protect and expand its leopard population,” said Dr Thomas Kaplan, Panthera’s Chairman. “Having just launched the conservation world’s first global programme for leopard conservation, Project Pardus, we look forward to working with IDEA to make our shared ambition of saving this iconic species become a reality.”

Scientists estimate that a small but vital population of 12 or fewer Caucasian leopards remains in Azerbaijan. As the first, urgent step under this new international collaboration, 20 PantheraCams – remote-triggered cameras developed by Panthera – will be deployed to delineate where leopards still occur in Azerbaijan and estimate their remaining numbers.

Sitting at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan is one of just a handful of countries that still supports a population of the Caucasian leopard and is therefore critical to the long-term survival of this wild cat. In conserving the Caucasian leopard, Azerbaijan is not only helping to preserve the species and the country’s diverse ecosystems, but is also conserving the ancient and historic cultural heritage of its country and people.

The leopard is heavily threatened by poachers who target this cat for its exotic skin and body parts, which are sold through the illegal wildlife market. Loss of habitat and fragmentation, particularly in the South Caucasus region, is another major threat along with conflict with local livestock herders and overhunting of the leopard’s prey by local villagers.

To read more about Panthera’s recently launched leopard programme, Project Pardus, please click here.

Photos: Black leopards spotted on camera traps: here.

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Country singer Shania Twain helping leopards


This video is called The Leopard Queen [Full Nature Wildlife Documentary].

From Wildlife Extra:

Shania Twain to help save leopards

Superstar country singer Shania Twain has joined cat conservation charity Panthera as a Global Ambassador for its newly launched leopard conservation initiative, Project Pardus. Twain intends to use her global platform to make the connection between the cat’s renowned beauty and its plight in the wild.

“The image and spirit of the leopard is an inspiration to millions around the world, including myself,” said Shania. “That it is also the most oppressed of the big cats is almost unknown. If we’re to save this animal in the wild, we have to get ahead of the curve before it suffers the same fate as so many other species that we once felt to be secure in their numbers. I feel privileged to give back to a creature that depends for its future on what we do now to save it…and I urge the wider world to join Panthera and me in this mission.”

Leopards are threatened by the relentless destruction of habitat, and are being killed in the thousands by livestock herders, unsustainable trophy-hunting and poaching for their skins and body parts.

Panthera’s work already encompasses the African leopard as well as the endangered Persian or Caucasian leopard of Central Asia and the highly persecuted Indian leopard. With Project Pardus, the organization will launch new conservation initiatives that target other highly endangered sub-species including the Arabian leopard and the Sri Lankan leopard.

“The leopard is an amazingly versatile cat, able to live in habitats ranging from tropical rainforests to the Kalahari Desert,’’ said Dr. Luke Hunter, Panthera’s President and one of the world’s authorities on leopards. “However, that adaptability has meant the species has been largely ignored by conservationists. We are delighted and honoured that Shania will help put the leopard onto the conservation radar. With her help, the leopard will receive the urgent attention it needs.”

This music video from the USA is called Shania Twain Up! Live In Chicago 2003.

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Armenian leopards win vote


This video from Armenia says about itself:

Caucasian Leopard in the Caucaus Wildlife Refuge – Daytime

29 August 2013

Camera-trap footage of a Caucasian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), from WLT’s Armenian partner FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets).

Further proof of the leopard‘s presence in the CWR and FPWC’s successful conservation work.

From Wildlife Extra:

Saving Armenia’s leopard wins £25,000 grant

The World Land Trust’s project, Saving Armenia’s Leopard – has won a grant of £25,000 from National Geographic Germany. In an online poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) during the second half of March 2014, more than 52,000 votes were cast for 17 conservation projects all vying for funding.

WLT’s conservation partner in Armenia, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) will use the grant (approximately £25,000) to preserve habitat for the endangered caucasian leopard.

This sub species of leopard is registered as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and has a total population of no more than 1,300. The caucasian leopard’s stronghold is in Iran, where it is known as the Persian Leopard, but in Armenia there may be as few as 15 individuals remaining.

FPWC will use the grant to strengthen existing research and monitoring of this little studied and endangered predator. Funds will also be used to restore degraded mountainsides with a programme to plant 4,000 trees and to develop sustainable tourism initiatives with local communities.

Thanking all supporters, Ruben Khachatryan, FPWC’s founding Director, said: “Community development is a crucial cornerstone in our effort to protect the Caucasian Leopard. In Armenia most villages located in remote mountainous areas suffer from extreme poverty, triggering illegal logging for firewood on steep mountain slopes, over collection of wild edible crops, unsustainable livestock grazing and, of course, poaching. These human activities destroy the habitat of the Caucasian Leopard and many other rare species.

“FPWC’s Rural Eco-tourism programme – as well as the reforestation measures – addresses these problems and we are more than happy that the grant will help us not only to intensify our research and monitoring of the leopard but also to develop new income opportunities for the local population.”

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Leopard discovery in Java, Indonesia


This video is about leopards.

From Antara news agency in Indonesia:

Leopard detected in conservation forests in East Java

Tue, February 4 2014 23:33

Tulungagung, E Java – The East Java chapter of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) has detected Javanese leopards (Panthera pardus melas) in four conservation forests in the region, stated its head, Hartoyo.

He released the statement here on Tuesday, in response to a declaration on saving the endangered Javanese leopard issued at a Javanese leopard conservation conference in Bogor, West Java, on January 29-30, 2014.

“So far, we have come to know about it, based on the reports indicating the existence of the wild animal and also from some eye witnesses,” he remarked during a telephonic conversation, when asked to give confirmation about the existence of the Javanese leopard.

He admitted that the existence of the Javanese leopard was not properly documented as it is not included as species whose protection must be prioritized based on the ministerial regulation.

The Javanese bull (Bos javanicus), Javanese eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi), and cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) have been identified by the ministry as three rare species and their monitoring has been prioritized.

The Javanese leopard is not included in the BKSDAs monitoring priority list as it is not included in the list of protected animals, although its existence in the forests is almost extinct.

“We are awaiting a legal decision to declare the Javanese leopard as a protected animal before we can make any protection plans,” he emphasized.

He explained that the existence of the big cat has been threatened by the loss of habitat due to deforestation as well as conflict with humans and diseases.

In the past five years, the Javanese leopard has been spotted in the Ijen (Bondowoso), Sempu (Malang), Sigoho, and Picis (Ponorogo) forests, he claimed.

However, their existence had yet to be confirmed based on the research and scientific monitoring data, he added.

“Now, confirmation of its existence is based on an ocular analysis and general information obtained from the witnesses. There has been no direct contact between the BKSDA officials and the animal, except in Ijen, some time ago,” he stated.

Leopard observer Hendra Gunawan pointed out that the Javanese leopard is the only big cat that still exists in Java after the Javanese tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) was declared extinct in the 1980s.

“Thus, unless serious efforts are made to protect the leopard, the fate of this big cat will also follow suit,” he remarked at the conference in Bogor.

The Javanese leopard has been categorized as critically endangered species and put in the list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature under the category Appendix I in CITES.

No exact data is available on the exact numbers of the Javanese leopard existing in the forests of Java.

“Since mapping was conducted four years ago, the animal was mostly found in Halimun-Salak or Pangrango Mountain (West Java),” Hendra reported.

Reporting by Slamet Agus Sudarmojo

February 2014: Two men have been arrested in Malaysia by wildlife authorities following the discovery of a leopard carcass and a mouse deer at a bus stop near the town of Karak, in the state of Pahang, on the east coast of the country. Markings on the leopard’s foreleg indicate that a snare was used, a practice which is widespread among poachers in South-East Asia: here.

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Amur leopards, new video


This video says about itself:

Spotted Family. Russian Reality Show. All Parts

28 Jan 2014

We will show you something no one has seen before on Earth!!!

This is a real life of a real large Amur leopard family in its true colors and with no visual effects!

From WWF today:

New footage reveals family life of elusive Amur leopard

14 minutes ago

Video footage released today of one of the most endangered species on the planet, the Amur leopard, provides vital information to help conservation efforts.

Camera trap footage from eastern Russia filmed in November and December of 2013 and made available this month, reveals how the highly endangered Amur leopard raises kittens in the wild as well as giving an insight into family behavior.

In November 2013, Land of the Leopard National Park and WWF started a joint project, “Leopard’s Reality Show”, installing 10 hidden camera traps near the remains of a sika deer.

The 78 hours of unique video material shows how the female Amur leopard, named Kedrovka, feeds her kittens with the sika deer, trains them, and resolves their disputes. She has three kittens, a rare occurrence for leopards. We see how kittens play and fight for meat, discover the world by studying birds, weasels, and mice, and experience first fears and pain.

“In the video we can see how the mother urges the weakest kitten to eat after the other two have abandoned the prey. But it is not as fussy as most human mothers, when the weakest kitten starts to limp on one paw and whines about it, the mother just ignores it”, said Vasily Solkin from WWF-Russia Amur branch, who compiled the footage.

Previously scientists believed that similar to a lion pride, leopards from one “family” ate prey together. However this footage shows that leopard kittens approach the deer in turns, with the strongest eating first and the weakest last.

This means that any leopard “meal” takes a long time, and the last kitten always has the smallest chance of being fed because a strange noise or other threat may force the leopards to move on and leave the kill.

This fact explains why female leopards sometimes choose to give attention only to two kittens, even if they give birth to three. Very often, the third or even the second kitten does not survive in the long term.

All information gathered about leopard upbringing is crucial for WWF conservation efforts. With few leopards left, they may be genetically too close and inbreeding may weaken their chances of survival.

There are plans in the science community to introduce new leopards into the wild by breeding leopards from zoos but to ensure that the program is successful, it is important to know how leopards are raised and taught hunting skills in the wild.

Amur leopards live in the northernmost part of the species range in far-eastern Russia. A Census in 2013 showed that there are 48 to 50 Amur leopards remaining in the wild, about 80 per cent of the species’ former range disappeared between 1970 and 1983.

Habitat destruction by unsustainable logging, forest fires and land conversion for farming infrastructure development are the main causes, while the species has also been hit hard by ungulate poaching. Ungulates are large, hoofed mammals and the main prey for Amur leopards.

Numbers are increasing from a few years ago when just 30 remained and WWF plans to keep this upward trend with extensive conservation measures. Every leopard has a unique pattern of spots, so experts can recognize almost every one of the remaining leopard by photo or video images.

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Saving South African leopards with fake fur


This video is called Leopard [HD Documentary].

From SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg):

South Africa: Imitation Fur Project to Save Leopards

14 November 2013

High-quality imitation leopard skins will be given to members of the Shembe community in South Africa to use in their traditional ceremonies in an innovative project to protect the endangered big cat.

Panthera, a US-based conservation organisation, has partnered with logistics company DHL to ship the faux furs to Africa, DHL said in a statement on Wednesday. DHL will ship the imitation skins from manufacturers in China to South Africa on a pro bono basis.

Leopard skins have become customary ceremonial attire worn by the more than 5-million members of the Shembe church, DHL’s Anita Gupta said.

The skins – or amambatha as they are known locally – were used as ceremonial and religious dress by Zulu royalty and chiefs, symbolising beauty, power and prestige. They have become popular among male Shembe members, with more than 1 000 skins being worn at a single gathering.

“Although many skins are old and are passed down from generation to generation, many new ones are a result of poaching, leading to shrinking leopard numbers,” Gupta said.

‘Amambatha’

About 2 000 imitation leopard traditional shoulder capes have already been shipped by DHL for the project.

Panthera is working with Shembe leadership to educate its members about the leopard crisis across southern Africa. It says it has partnered with digital designers and clothing companies to create a “high-quality, affordable faux leopard skin” for use in ceremonies.

“The Shembe have shown they are willing to embrace the use of our high-quality alternatives to real leopard skin – that translates to 1 000 leopards saved from poachers,” said Luke Hunter, the president of Panthera.

Lizwi Ncwane, a Shembe elder and legal advisor, is quoted as saying: “As a leader of the Shembe community, I have seen firsthand how receptive my community is to using these fake skins. We’re grateful that Panthera has worked with us in finding a solution that interweaves the conservation of leopards with the customs of the Shembe.”

See also here.

Leopards in Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan


This video is called In the Balance: The Caucasus Leopard.

From Wildlife Extra:

Assessing suitable leopard habitat in Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan

Mapping the Persian leopard habitat connectivity in the Iranian sector of the Caucasus ecoregion

September 2013. Drastic declines in the Persian leopard population in the Middle East and particularly in Caucasus, has attracted attention of researchers and conservationists to the status of this subspecies in the region.

Consequently various countries in the Persian leopard range in the Caucasus have launched an attempt to address the status of leopards in the area. However, the major population of the Persian leopards are known to inhabit in Iran. As a result, leopard status in Iran and particularly in North-west of the country plays an important role in survival of the Persian leopards in the region.

Iran’s Persian leopard project

The three bordering provinces of West Azerbaijan, Ardebil and East Azerbaijan that provide common habitats and corridors between Iran and the neighbouring countries in Caucasus; of these East Azerbaijan province has the longest border line and the most common leopard potential habitats with the two neighbouring countries of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Since April 2012, Department of Environment of Iran together with the East Azarbaijan provincial DoE office and Asian Leopard Specialist Society, embarked on a project to measure the Persian leopard population, potential habitats and corridors in the region, prey status and active threats affecting leopard survival and habitats’ connectivity in the region.

The first phase of the project has been completed recently and resulted in first-hand information on potential leopard habitats and corridors among them as well as active threats in and around critical habitats.

Last chances to keep leopard areas in North-western Iran connected:

East Azarbaijan province, covering an area of 45663 Km² in North-western Iran, was divided to four study zones for field data collection and further analysis.

This study estimates that 27% of the studied region in North-western Iran covering 37 main and distinct habitats could be considered as potential leopard areas. The largest potential habitats with high degree of suitability are mainly located in north of the province bordering with neighbouring countries of Azerbaijan and Armenia.

At the next level, habitats in south east of the province bordering with Ardebil and Zanjan provinces of Iran are the largest leopard potential habitats with most corridors and connections available among them. However, habitats in southern and south western parts of the province are more scattered and isolated. Areas among these habitats are disturbed by various human activities such as the cultivation lands and agriculture, road networks and populated areas.

It is worth mentioning that collaborative research and conservation efforts in countries of the region together with financial and technical contribution of international organizations are essential to ensure the Persian leopard habitat connectivity in transboundary areas.

Next step of the project:

We are in the early stage of the second phase of the Persian leopard project in the borderline habitats in Caucasus ecoregion. In this phase we plan to conduct more detail studies including systematic camera trappings to address population estimates and occupancy status assessments of the leopards and their prey in each identified habitat. We have already purchased equipment required to conduct telemetry studies during the current phase of the project.

The study was conducted by Arezoo Sanei, Executive Director at Asian Leopard Specialist Society, Tehran, Iran; Mohamad Reza Masoud, Senior Wildlife Expert at Department of Environment, East-Azarbaijan Provincial Office; and Hossein Mohammadi General Director, Biodiversity and Wildlife Bureau, Department of the Environment, Tehran, Iran.