Amur tiger swims from Russia to China


This video is about Amur tigers.

From Wildlife Extra:

Film shows Amur tiger swimming across Russia’s border to China

An Amur tiger has been filmed swimming across the Ussuri River from Russia to China.

The rare episode took place close to Russia’s Bolshekhekhtsirsky Nature Reserve and China’s wetlands of the Sanjiang Nature Reserve.

Its swim was filmed by two Chinese fishermen on their mobile phones.

“In general, it is a usual thing for a tiger to swim across rivers, but in this case I am amazed at the river width – 300-350 metres – that the tiger covered successfully,” said Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity conservation program coordinator at WWF Russia Amur branch.

“The tiger’s swim across the Ussuri can be regarded as a search for prey, or a mate, or new habitats. It is very important for the Chinese colleagues to monitor the tiger translocation. I hope the rare predator will be safe in China”.

This area is a transboundary corridor used by tigers when crossing the Sino- Russian border.

“It is significant to monitor the Amur tiger and its prey base progress jointly by Russia and China,” saif Shi Quanhua, senior programme manager of the Asian big cats program of WWF China.

“Our task today is to keep track of this tiger movements, to work with local people and governmental agencies in order to safeguard the animal regardless of the place where it stays – in China or back in Russia”.

Watch the film HERE.

Sumatran tiger Internet game


This video is called On the Trail of the Tiger. It says about itself:

Award-winning photographer Steve Winter documents the disappearance of Asian Tigers in India, Sumatra, and Thailand.

From Wildlife Extra:

Zoological Society of London creates fun online game to highlight Sumatran tigers

The Zoological Society of London is inviting animal lovers to embrace their inner-beast and take on the persona of a fearsome predator in a brand new online challenge called Tiger Territory: The Game.

To celebrate the huge success of ZSL London Zoo’s flagship Sumatran tiger exhibit, Tiger Territory: The Game was launched to give budding conservationists and game-addicts alike the chance to experience life as a wild tiger deep in the forests of Indonesia.

With two modes to keep gamers on their toes, players get to grips with their surroundings in the Adventure stage, where they have to unlock 12 achievements. Highlighting the tigers’ behaviours and ZSL conservation techniques, including sniffing out prey and being ‘papped’ by a camera-trap, players have to be careful to evade poachers’ snares and palm oil plantations guarded by electric fences.

Once gamers have earned their stripes, they can embrace the Sumatran tigers’ remarkable hunting abilities in Arcade mode. In just 60 seconds their tigers have to hunt and eat as much as they can, from the common wild boar to the incredibly elusive tapir, in an attempt to boost their energy points.

Game-maker Filip Hnizdo said: “Tiger Territory: The Game is a chance for people to take on some of the challenges that wild Sumatran tigers face every day, from avoiding palm oil plantations to hunting for their speedy prey.

“We’ve worked with the conservation teams at ZSL London Zoo to replicate the tigers’ Indonesian home and behaviours as closely as possible – including the prey they hunt, rivers for them to swim in, and trees for them to hide under.

“We hope people will have great fun playing, and that they’ll also take away some awareness of the wild lives of Sumatran tigers and the very real threats that they’re facing – unfortunately for them, it’s not a game.”

With just 300 Sumatran tigers remaining in the wild, ZSL London Zoo coordinates the worldwide conservation breeding programme for the species, and is working in Indonesia to create wildlife corridors between fragmented forests, patrol tiger habitats, and carry out vital monitoring of the wild populations.

PLAY TIGER TERRITORY: THE GAME: here.

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Good tiger, rhino, elephant news from Nepal


This video says about itself:

Wildlife encounters on safari in Nepal at the … Bardia National Park. Wild elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, and amazing encounters and charges by the Royal Bengal Tiger.

From Wildlife Extra:

Nepal celebrates zero poaching year

March 2014: Celebrations are running high in Nepal because for the second time in recent years it has achieved a major milestone in conservation, a zero poaching of tigers, rhinos and elephants for the period February 2013-February 2014. (The last time was in 2011).

At a time when tigers and rhinos are being rampantly poached around the world, this success it is a great reward for the country’s work and commitment to combating wildlife crime, and resounds hope for wildlife.

“The success of achieving zero poaching throughout the year is a huge achievement and a result of prioritising a national need to curb wildlife crimes in the country,” says Megh Bahadur Pandey, Director General of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. “A national level commitment is key to encouraging complementing efforts, right down to the grassroots level, in order to address this biggest threat to wildlife not just in Nepal but across the world.”

It is due to strengthened protection and enforcement efforts across the country, led by the government and supported by its conservation partners such as WWF and the National Trust for Nature Conservation. The newly developed Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and the establishment of its 16 district cells together with the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has also helped create the needed balance between central and local level enforcement to curb wildlife crimes.

“It is a matter of great pride to mark the first World Wildlife Day with the announcement of a year of zero poaching in Nepal,” says Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “We are committed to work with the government, conservation partners and the local communities to redouble efforts to sustain this success.”

“We congratulate Nepal on reducing poaching to zero within its borders,” says Yolanda Kakabadse, President of WWF International. “This achievement serves as a model for WWF’s goal for drastically reducing wildlife crime worldwide – with a combination of brave policy making, determined implementation and robust enforcement.”

To read Sue Watt’s trip report to Bardia National Park in Nepal when she went on the trail of the elusive Bengal tiger please click here.

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Animal welfare award


This video from India is called Anthony Marr: Champion of Bengal Tiger – part 1 of 2.

And this is Anthony Marr: Champion of Bengal Tiger – part 2 of 2.

From Wildlife Extra:

The WVS Animal Champions Award 2014

January 2014: The Worldwide Veterinary Service have launched a new award, the WVS Animal Champions Award 2014 and want your ideas on how they can help make the biggest difference to animals in need, wild or domestic.

The winner of the award will be provided with support to tackle an animal welfare project of their choice. An experienced WVS team will be sent to work on the project for one week and financial support will also be provided for essential materials and equipment. They are therefore seeking applications for projects that the WVS team can achieve during this time frame and that will have a lasting impact to support and sustain animal welfare in your area.

Applications are welcomed from all WVS supported charities and the deadline for applications is 1 February 2014. The winner will be selected and notified in the week commencing 4 February and the project will then take place between February and May.

For more information click HERE.

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Good Indian mammal news


This video from India says about itself:

Big cats under threat in Bihar reserve

28 March 2010

News X is on the save Tiger campaign and as a part of that campaign it did a reality check of the Valmiki Tiger reserve in Bihar.

Now, three years later, from Wildlife Extra:

Four mammal species identified in India tiger reserve for the first time

Uncovering Valmiki’s treasures: Four more species added to the Tiger Reserve baseline

August 2013: A once neglected tiger reserve has proved that a wealth of smaller mammals have survived and are now benefitting from the recent efforts to revive the reserve. Three species, previously unrecorded in the once-neglected Valmiki Tiger Reserve have been spotted in the past two months.

A crab-eating mongoose (Herpestes urva), a yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula) and a Himalayan serow (Capricornis thar) were all captured in camera traps placed by the Bihar Forest Department and NGOs WWF-India and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

A 4th new species, a hoary-bellied squirrel (Callosciurus pygerythrus) was also photographed recently by WTI’s Regional Head for Bihar, Dr Samir Kumar Sinha.

Dr Sinha said; “We are excited by these discoveries. Valmiki has excellent potential for tiger recovery and given its contiguity with the Chitwan National Park in Nepal, it will be a critical site for undertaking transboundary tiger conservation. WWF will strengthen its partnership with the management of Valmiki and intensify conservation efforts,” said Dr. Dipankar Ghose, Director, Species and Landscapes, WWF-India.

These species have all been previously recorded in the neighbouring Chitwan National Park in Nepal, which forms the northern boundary of Valmiki Reserve. ZSI has recorded 10 species of amphibians, 27 species of reptiles and 75 species of insects in Valmiki, including the gaur (Bos gaurus) and the Indian wild dog (Cuon alpinus), which are not found in [the] rest of the Terai region in India.

The crab-eating mongoose, listed in Schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife (protection) Act, 1972, is a mongoose species found in a variety of habitats across northeast India and South-east Asia. Hunting affects localised parts of the global population. It is generally grey in colour, with a broad white stripe on its neck extending from its cheeks to its chest.

Yellow-throated Marten

The yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula) has a wide distribution, and evidently relatively stable population, across Asia. Also called honey dog for its fondness for sweet food, this mammal has a brown coat that darkens toward and on the tail, and its throat and chin are yellowish orange. It is listed in the CITES III appendix in India.

Himalayan Serow

The Himalayan Serow is a goat-antelope native to the Himalayas and Bangladesh, listed as ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN red list, due to hunting for food and habitat loss. Accounts from throughout the species’ range report that it inhabits rugged steep hills and rocky places, but its population is on a steep decline. In appearance, the serow has a goat-like body with short limbs, and its coat is coarse and varies in colour from red to black with some white on the chest.

White tigers, welcome back!


This video, from Amersfoort zoo in the Netherlands, says about itself (translated):

Aug 15, 2013

After a long time, people can admire the white tigers again in the zoo. As a surprise a nice breakfast for these carnivores hangs in their compound. Take a look at these spectacular images!

The tigers went back to their compound after it had been reconstructed.

Tiger poachers thwarted in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

May 9, 2011

For more information: www.wwf.or.id/savesumatra

This forest is under imminent threat of being cleared by the pulp and paper industry, despite being designated a “global priority Tiger Conservation Landscape”.

WWF urges the industry to save this and other tiger forests from destruction.

Footage taken in March 2011 by automatic video cameras in a wildlife corridor connecting Rimbang Baling Wildlife Sanctuary and Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Riau and Jambi Province in Sumatra, Indonesia. Within only 2 months 12 different tigers were identified in a 50,000 ha forest block surveyed with the cameras.

Video is courtesy of WWF Indonesia’s Tiger Research Team and PHKA.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rangers destroy 40 active tiger snares in Sumatra’s Kerinci Seblat National Park

Tiger Protection and Conservation Units hailed for their heroic efforts in this year’s Great Kerinci Snare Sweep.

August 2013. In any competition there are winners and losers. But for Tiger Protection & Conservation Unit rangers taking part in this year’s Great Kerinci Snare Sweep, even victory was marred by concern as the results revealed a huge rise in threat to Sumatran tigers from purpose-built snares.

Runs during Ramadan

The Great Kerinci Snare Sweep is an annual competition that began in 2011 and offers bonuses to tiger protection rangers in the long-running Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and Kerinci Seblat National Park Sumatran tiger protection and conservation programme. The snare sweep starts just before (and runs for the duration of) the holy month of Ramadan and offers bonuses to the Tiger Protection and Conservation Units (TPCUs) that find and destroy the most active snares in the national park during forest patrols.

All snares rewarded

Although the emphasis is on finding and destroying active tiger snares, points are also awarded for destroying snares targeting deer and other smaller mammals, as well as removing snares and mist nets used for capturing wild birds.

Over the course of the five week snare sweep, the six TPCUs destroyed a truly shocking 40 active tiger snares (by comparison, in the whole of 2011 a total of 11 active snares were found on three of the 91 patrols conducted) along with 564 active deer snares and 79 bird snares.

Arrests

They also arrested two deer poachers (who placed a total of 270 snares in a single area) and a further nine men (from another park-edge province and district) on suspicion of poaching helmeted hornbills; these individuals were later released on bail, their high-powered air guns confiscated.

Tip-offs

Of the tiger snares destroyed, 80% were found as a result of covert investigations or tip-offs from forest-edge community informants, while more than half the deer snares destroyed were also found as a result of ‘information received.’

Tigers recorded

Not all was bad news though – the ranger units also made 29 Sumatran tiger presence records during this period – including two units reporting disturbed nights’ sleep due to what the team traditionally describe as ‘an orchestra’ but others might describe as tigers roaring.

Lone rangers

As its name suggests, the Sumatran tiger is found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and is the country’s last remaining subspecies.

Although population estimates vary, the most recent research indicates that around 500-700 of these animals remain in the wild, with numbers in decline due to illegal poaching (primarily for their skin and bones) and through habitat loss for plantations, small holder agriculture and mining.

Tigers are primarily solitary animals that require large territories and a good supply of prey, making them an excellent ‘umbrella species'; not only does their presence (or absence) indicate the overall health of an ecosystem, but conservation efforts that target tigers inevitably benefit other species as well.

In 2011, an island-wide survey (the first of its kind) found that Sumatran tigers were widely distributed across the 1.38 million hectare (5,300 square mile) Kerinci Seblat National Park, highlighting not only the importance of the area for this big cat, but also the significance and magnitude of the TPCUs’ task.

A seasonal surge, or something more sinister?

The TPCU ranger units (which consist of members of forest-edge communities contracted through FFI and national park rangers on secondment to the programme) work from base camps to the east and west of the national park. During the course of this year’s snare sweep, TPCUs conducted 26 forest patrols, spending just over 110 days in the forest and walking a distance of well over 200 km – an heroic effort, given that the last three weeks coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, when most of the rangers, as devout Muslims, were fasting (from both food and water) from dawn to dusk.

Ramadan sees a surge in poaching

The Ramadan period sees a surge in poaching in many areas around the national park as the Fast is traditionally broken with special meals – including venison – while poachers are happy to satisfy demand and reap the profit. And because these snares are indiscriminate, they threaten not only deer (key tiger prey) but also other non-target species, including tigers themselves. Hari Raya Idul Fitri, a huge celebration marking the end of the fasting month, only adds to the incentive to poach.

However by 2010, patrols and other actions had seen continuing year-on-year falls in both tiger and deer poaching in the teams’ focus patrol areas, even during the Ramadan period, as hunters realised there was a strong likelihood of their snares being destroyed (and so either stopped or sought other, safer, sites to hunt).

The Great Kerinci Snare Sweep was established in 2011 as a novel way to incentivise TPCU rangers to seek out remaining deer and other poaching hotspots while rewarding them for working so hard in a period when many try to avoid hard physical labour. But the results from this year’s sweep seem to confirm a worrying trend.

“Over the last year, forest patrols and investigations have recorded a deeply disturbing surge in threat, both in the number of snares found on patrol and in suspected trade in tiger body parts,” says Debbie Martyr (the Kerinci team leader), who believes there is strong evidence that the demand is from overseas, not Indonesia, and is highly organised.

“Deeply alaming”

“We know from team investigations that huge sums of money are being brandished to tempt former poachers back into the forest to hunt tigers, while the cartels we believe responsible are very difficult to penetrate. It is deeply alarming that the team has found so many tiger snares in such a short period of time, but hardly surprising given what we have learned in the last 18 months.”

Battle plans

As the TPCU rangers pack up for a well-earned break, plans are underway to hold a ‘council of war’ at the team’s main base camp to discuss the explosion in tiger poaching in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park and how to take action against the organised syndicates behind the problem.

In the meantime, back-up teams remain in place, ready – as always – to respond to emergencies.

November 2013: IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme and WWF have signed an agreement to develop the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas in a bid to promote tiger conservation through the WWF’s Tigers Alive initiative: here.

A tiger conservation programme managed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has received €20 million from the German government through the KfW Development Bank. The aim of the programme is to increase the number of tigers in the wild and improve the livelihoods of communities living in and close to their habitat: here.

Good Nepali tiger news


This video says about itself:

May 9, 2012

Wildlife encounters on safari in Nepal at the Royal Bardia National Park. Wild elephants, one-horned rhinoceros, and amazing encounters and charges by the Royal Bengal Tiger.

From Wildlife Extra:

Tiger numbers increase by 63% in Nepal in 4 years

Nepal records remarkable growth in tiger numbers

July 2013. An encouraging announcement from the Government of Nepal on put the number of wild tigers in the country at 198, though there may be anywhere from 163 – 235 tigers allowing for errors. This marks an increase in the population by 63% from the last survey in 2009.

“Nepal’s results are an important milestone to reaching the global TX2 goal of doubling the number of wild tigers by the year 2022,” stated Megh Bahadur Pandey, Director General of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. “Tigers are a part of Nepal’s natural wealth and we are committed to ensuring these magnificent wild cats have the prey, protection and space to thrive.”

Cross border populations

Tigers are found in the Terai Arc Landscape stretching 600 miles across 15 protected area networks in Nepal and India. The two countries embarked on the first-ever joint tiger survey using a common methodology in January 2013. In Nepal, the field survey was carried out between February and June 2013 followed by two months of data analysis to arrive at the final estimates. It was agreed by the two governments that each country could release its national estimates and that a joint report will be released later in the year to provide a landscape-wide estimation of tiger populations and a better understanding of tiger movements in the trans-boundary landscape.

Bardia, Chitwan, Suklaphanta & Banke

Nepal’s analysis covered five protected areas and three corridors. It revealed tiger populations have tripled in Bardia National Park, from 18 (17 – 29) in 2009 to 50 (45 – 55), and doubled in Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve, from 8 (8 – 14) in 2009 to 17 (13 – 21). Tiger numbers in Chitwan National Park, home to the country’s largest number of wild tigers, have also increased, from 91 (71 – 147) in 2009 to 120 (98 – 139). The results have also shown a comeback of tigers in the recently declared Banke National Park with the presence of 4 (3 – 7) tigers.

More effort needed

“While we celebrate the positive results from this tiger survey, WWF calls on the government of Nepal to redouble efforts to protect these conservation gains that could easily be lost as human-tiger conflict increases and illegal wildlife trade empties our forests,” stated Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “Tigers are an iconic symbol of wild nature and WWF will continue to work closely with the government, conservation partners and local communities in Nepal to get to TX2.”

The tiger and prey-base survey was a collaborative effort of the Government of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Department of Forests, WWF Nepal and National Trust for Nature Conservation. It was funded by WWF UK, WWF Australia, WWF US, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Hariyo Ban Program (funded by USAID), and US Fish and Wildlife Service.

November 2013: The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has awarded the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)  $3 million to help Nepal double its wild tiger numbers by 2022 – the next Chinese Year of the Tiger: here.

August 2013. Representatives of 12 the 13 Tiger range countries (Myanmar did not attend) meeting last week in Kunming reached agreement on measures to improve management of transboundary landscapes and on combatting the illegal wildlife trade in wild Tigers: here.