Snow leopard discovery in Siberia


This video is called Silent Roar: Searching for the Snow Leopard (HD Nature Documentary).

From Wildlife Extra:

Photo proof of snow leopards in newly created refuge in Siberia

Camera trap images have been taken of snow leopards in the newly created National Park of Sylyugem National Park in the Altai mountains of Siberia.

Aleksei Kuzhlekov, a national park researcher, reports that, “four pictures of snow leopard were taken at different times, probably of three or four individuals”.

The Saylyugem National Park was created five years ago to protect wildlife in that region of Siberia, especially the snow leopard and argali mountain sheep, in an area totaling 118,380 hectares.

The creation of the reserve was much needed, because poachers had killed more than 10 snow leopards in the area in the 1990s alone, to sell their pelts and body parts on the black market for Chinese medicine.

The snow leopard is in the endangered category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with as few as 4,000 left in the world, of which only 2,500 are likely to be breeding.

The head of the local conservation department, Igor Ivanitsky, adds: “We were able to place the cameras in the right place by painstakingly working out the movements routes of the cats.

“Being then so successful with our camera trapping efforts tells us that the park is their main home and hunting ground.

“Park staff have also found snow leopard tracks and scats (droppings) in several places around the national park, giving further evidence that the big cats are thriving in their newly created refuge.”

Dr. Matthias Hammer, Executive Director of Biosphere Expeditions, which assisted in the creation of the new National Park says he is delighted with the news.

“We spent ten years working in the Altai, researching snow leopard presence, building local capacity and trying to create economic incentives for local people to keep their snow leopard neighbours alive.

“When we started, there was no national park, little awareness, research or infrastructure, and rampant poaching.

“Now we have a national park, national park staff, anti-poaching patrols, several research initiatives, much more awareness and many ways for local people to benefit from the presence of the snow leopard.

“Poaching continues to be a threat, as is the Altai gas pipeline, but all in all this is a remarkable turnaround and success story, and we are very proud to have played our part in this.

“We’ve had many successes through citizen science voluntourism over the years and this is yet another excellent illustration of how citizen science-led conservation expeditions can make a genuine difference.”

For more information visit Sailugemsky National Park and Biosphere Expeditions.

What Dutch cats eat


This video says about itself:

Alpine Accentor – Prunella collaris – Alpenheggenmus / full video / Zeebrugge – Belgium / 8-5-2012

Full video of this mega rarity for Belgium.

Showing extremely well (pruning, singing, showing underside of wing and tail).

Dutch site Waarneming.nl reports about 3000 wild animals, caught by Dutch domestic cats.

They write about the cats’ prey (translated):

The majority (94%) are mammals (in particular shrews and mice), but also birds (5%), reptiles, amphibians and insects are reported. Of the 27 reported species of mammals wood mice (number=784), greater white-toothed shrew (n=653) and common vole (n=580) were reported most often. Also some national rarities have been reported like water shrewbicoloured white-toothed shrew, yellow-necked mouse, black rat and root vole.

Furthermore, bats with 19 individuals and four species were also occasionally found as prey. Also with the birds some rarities were reported like Alpine accentor, wryneck and a rare species like the jack snipe. Also 5 grass snakes are surely worth mentioning.

‘Extinct’ lion seen in Gabon


This video says about itself:

Incredible new footage of lion, thought to be extinct in the Gabon

9 March 2015

Watch this incredible new footage of a lion, thought to be extinct, spotted in Plateaux Bateke National Park in Gabon, Africa.

The last observation of lions in the area were made in Odzala National Park in northern Congo in 1994 and in Plateaux Bateke National Park in south-east Gabon in 2004.

From Wildlife Extra:

Video proof of a lion in Gabon for the first time since the 1950s

New camera trap footage from southeast Gabon has revealed a male lion in a region of Africa where the species was believed by scientists to be “locally extinct.”

Two camera trap videos taken in the same fortnight depict a single male lion roaming along an elephant path in the Gabonese region of the Batéké Plateau.

This savannah landscape extends across southeast Gabon and into the Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where lions last roamed in any great number in the 1950s.

The footage was recorded as part of a chimpanzee study in Batéké Plateau National Park led by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and The Aspinall Foundation, partners of big cat conservation organisation Panthera.

Immediately following the discovery, Panthera joined with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, The Aspinall Foundation and Gabon’s National Park Authority (ANPN) to mount a new, intensive lion survey in the Gabonese park.

Panthera’s Lion Program Survey Coordinator, Dr Philipp Henschel, explains, “This footage is truly unexpected, and yet wonderful proof that life for the lions of Gabon and the region still remains a possibility.

“The videos demonstrate that the efforts of the Gabonese authorities to protect this landscape, starting with the designation of the Batéké Plateau National Park in 2002 after an initial lion survey in the area, have been successful.”

In 2001 and 2003, Dr Henschel led lion surveys on the Gabonese side of the Batéké landscape, walking several hundred kilometers in search of Africa’s biggest wild cat.

Henschel’s team found almost no wildlife during the expeditions, and camera traps set during the surveys produced more photos of Congolese poachers than of animals.

Habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching and illegal hunting of the lion’s prey species contributed to the loss of lions in the region by the end of the last century.

Until recently, lions were known to be present on the DRC side of the Batéké Plateau. Dispersing male lions can also easily travel 300-400km from their natal area.

The new survey aims to determine if the male lion filmed in Gabon is a solitary individual which may have immigrated from a remnant population in the Malebo region of the DRC, or if it is part of a new, breeding lion population in Gabon.

Survey data confirming the number and location of lions remaining in the unique forest-savanna mosaics of the Batéké Landscape will allow Panthera and partners to devise a strategic conservation strategy and initiatives for this unique and isolated population.

Learn more about Panthera’s lion conservation efforts carried out through Project Leonardo.

Two lion subspecies in Africa, new research


This video is called Lions Documentary National Geographic – The Kingdom of Lion.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands:

African lion has two subspecies

The traditional separation of lions in an African and an Asian subspecies is unjustified, says biologist Laura Bertola. In Africa two subspecies live. PhD defence on March 18th.

Unique position

Lions are found in virtually all of Africa and a small part of India. Until now, they were divided into two groups: an African subspecies, Panthera leo leo, and an Asian subspecies, Panthera leo persica. This format is not correct according to Laura Bertola. They examined the DNA of lions in Africa and India. The animals in West and Central Africa are more like the Asiatic lions than like other African lions. Bertola: “They are clearly different from the lions in the rest of Africa. You can speak of two African subspecies. The unique position of the lions from West and Central Africa calls for even better protection. Especially because these populations are under great pressure. ”

Separated by rainforest and desert

Changes in the African climate over the last 300,000 years separated certain populations,” says Bertola. “The expansion of dense rainforest and dry desert formed a barrier to the lions. The historical isolation which arose so, is still visible in the DNA. From the DNA we can deduce what groups recently have been contacted and which groups have long been separated in their mutual evolution.”

Wild lynx returning to Britain after 1,300 years


This video says about itself:

24 March 2014

With large tufted ears, a short tail and a trusting look, one could almost believe that lynxes are just big cats. In their hearts, however, they are wild and untamed. They are the tigers of Europe. This is the story of a hard earned friendship. On the one side is Milos Majda, a quiet, nature loving ranger at the Mala Fatra national park in Slovakia.

On the other side are two small lynxes, fresh from the zoo. With Milos’ help, it’s hoped the lynxes will return to the home of their ancestors in the forests of Mala Fatra in the heart of Slovakia. For two years Milos Majda and the biologist and animal filmmaker Tomas Hulik follow the journey of the lynx siblings from their warm nursery inside a cabin into the wilderness.

From the Daily Telegraph in Britain:

Wild lynx to return to Britain after 1,300 years

In one of the most ambitious ‘rewilding’ projects ever to take place in the UK, the large deer-eating felines could be introduced to three unfenced estates later this year

By Camilla Turner

7:32PM GMT 08 Mar 2015

Known as the Keeper of Secrets, the elusive forest-dwelling creature has been extinct in Britain for over 1,300 years.

But now the wild lynx could roam the woods of England and Scotland once again, as part of the most ambitious “rewilding” project ever attempted in the UK.

If the Lynx UK Trust’s scheme is approved, the large cats, which prey on deer as well as rabbit and hare, will be released onto three privately owned, unfenced estates in Norfolk, Cumbria and Aberdeenshire.

“The lynx is one of the most enigmatic, beautiful cats on the planet,” Dr Paul O’Donoghue, a scientific adviser to the trust said. “The British countryside is dying and lynx will bring it back to life.”

The Eurasian lynx is the largest lynx species, with powerful, long legs, with large webbed and furred paws. Due to its solitary and secretive nature, lynx does not present a threat to humans.

The trust has launched a public consultation to determine public reaction to the plan, after which it will lodge a formal application with Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the government agencies that license such releases.

If the plan is given the green light, four to six Eurasian lynx wearing GPS tracking collars would be released later this year at each of the sites, all of which are rich in deer and tree cover.

One of the chosen sites is near Norfolk’s Thetford Forest, one of England’s largest and wildest woodlands and the other is in Ennerdale, a remote Lake District valley.

Lynx could help control Britain’s population of more than one million wild deer, which lack natural predators. Deer damage woodland by overgrazing and eat the eggs of birds that nest on the ground or in low bushes.

Peter Watson of the Deer Initiative which campaigns for the controlling deer in a sustainable way, welcomed the experimental reintroduction of lynx, saying that introducing lynx could help solve this problem.

Tony Marmont, a businessman who owns Grumack Forest, near Huntly in Aberdeenshire, told the Sunday Times that lynx will have an “extremely beneficial effect” on forest ecosystems. He added that lynx would serve as “ambassadors for wider conservation projects”.

However, not everyone is as enthusiastic, as the economic impact of reintroducing large predators remains controversial.

Previous reintroduction plans have been opposed and sometimes blocked by farmers arguing that creatures such as lynx and birds of prey attack livestock and gamebirds. …

In Germany, 14 lynx were reintroduced to a site in the Harz mountains in 2000 and have since bred and colonised other areas. Another reintroduction, in Switzerland in the 1990s, has also seen animals breed and spread.

Australian night parrot killed by feral cat


This video from Australia says about itself:

3 July 2013

Thought to be extinct: Queensland bird enthusiast presents first photos of the elusive night parrot.

From the Birds Alive Newsletter, March 2015:

Feral cats versus Night Parrots

The latest twist in the rather secret story of the Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) is that a cat-killed individual has been found in an area of arid spinifex country SW of Winton, in W Queensland, close to where John Young photographed the species for the first time in May 2013.

Apparently, according to Queensland government sources, professional marksmen have been employed by a private conservation company to patrol the area at night with spotlights, shooting feral cats (Felis catus) on sight. The programme is funded by mining company Fortescue Metals, whose involvement dates back to the reported discovery of Night Parrots in a mineral exploration area in Western Australia in 2005. However, government agencies have been kept in the dark concerning the whereabouts of Night Parrots in Queensland, and the sites where the species occur are on a privately leased grazing property.

Feral cats have long been implicated in the decline of this once widespread species: in 1892, it was reported that ‘numerous’ parrots were killed by cats near Alice Springs. Some observers have noted increases in feral cat populations in recent years in parts of inland Australia. The region around Winton where the parrots occur has been drought-afflicted for several years.