Orphaned Amur tiger’s success story in Russia


This video says about itself:

Cinderella Story for an Orphaned Tiger Cub | WCS

21 January 2015

Dale Miquelle, Wildlife Conservation Society Russia Program Director, tells the story of an orphaned tiger cub named Zolushka – the Russian equivalent of Cinderella. Rescued in 2012, the cub has since been rehabilitated and reintroduced and is thriving in the Russian Far East.

From Wildlife Extra:

Orphaned, frost-bitten Amur tiger cub now thriving in Russia’s Far East

A starving, frost-bitten orphan Amur tiger cub, rescued in the Russian Far East in the winter of 2012, has been a success story for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

The female animal, given the name Zolushka, which means Cinderella in Russia, was found alone, her mother had most probably been killed by poachers.

On the verge of starvation, she was brought by hunters to a wildlife inspector of the regional Primorskii Wildlife Department and was treated by vets from the regional Agricultural Academy, who had to amputate a third of her frostbitten tail.

For 15 months, Zolushka lived in a Russian federal tiger rehabilitation centre, designed with technical assistance from WCS’s Bronx Zoo General Curator Dr Pat Thomas.

Dr Thomas made recommendations on facility design to improve safety and reduce the need for direct interactions between tigers and humans.

The key to this rehabilitation was ensuring that the tiger’s natural fear of humans would remain intact and that she learned to hunt live prey before being released by into the wild.

After growing significantly in size and strength, Zolushka began successfully capturing her live prey, including wild boar.

She was then released in the spring of 2013 into Bastak Reserve within the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, a region where tigers vanished some 40 years ago as a result of habitat loss, direct poaching, and loss of prey. Here she could continue learning how to be a tiger.

Scientists followed her movements with GPS and camera trap technology. They found clear evidence of successful predation on wild boar, badgers, and red deer.

“Zolushka appears to be thriving in her new home, and represents the spearhead of a process for re-colonising habitat once roamed over by her ancestors,” says Dr Dale Miquelle, Director of the WCS Russia Program.

“This story is good news for Cinderella but also for tigers overall, as she and her prince appear to be consorting in formerly lost tiger habitat.

“Since her release, an additional five more orphaned cubs have been rescued, rehabilitated and released also into this westernmost range of historical tiger habitat. All but one of the cubs seems to be doing well in their new environment.”

The exact population size of Amur tigers is difficult to estimate, but the official estimates suggest that tiger numbers have dropped to 330-390 individuals (from 430-500 in 2005).

This decline was likely the result of increased poaching of tigers and their prey between 2005-2010, a period when poachers took advantage of wildlife management restructuring and the confusion associated with those changes.

A full-range tiger population survey, conducted every 10 years, is scheduled for February 2015.

The WCS Russia Program plays a critical role in monitoring tigers and their prey species in the Russian Far East and minimising potential conflicts between tigers and human communities. WCS works to save tiger populations and their remaining habitat in nine range countries across Asia.

Saving cheetahs in the Sahara


This video is called This Is Why You Can’t Outrun a Cheetah.

From Wildlife Extra:

New research could help the critically endangered Saharan cheetah survive

The critically endangered Saharan cheetah, of which fewer than 250 individuals remain, requires vast areas to survive and adapt their behaviour to cope with the harsh desert environment scientists have discovered. They are active at night, probably to avoid heat or contact with humans, and must cover a vast amount of ground to find prey.

Scientists and conservationists at WCS, ZSL, University College London, UK, and Université de Béjaïa, Algeria, in collaboration with the Office National du Parc Culturel de l’Ahaggarthe, used infra-red camera traps to monitor Saharan cheetahs at Ahaggar Cultural Park, Algeria.

“This is the first time we have been able to collect scientific data on the rare Saharan cheetah, as in the past we have had to rely on anecdotes and guesswork,” said Farid Belbachir, lead-author from Laboratoire d’Ecologie et Environnement, Université de Béjaïa, Algeria.

“We hope that this important carnivore does not follow the path to extinction like other Algerian desert species such as the addax antelope and dama gazelle.”

This research into how the cheetah survives extreme desert conditions gives scientists a better understanding of how best to approach their conservation.

Dr Sarah Durant, co-author from WCS and ZSL, said: “This research provides us with important new insights into the world of this remarkable desert-dwelling large cat. I hope that it not only provides invaluable scientific information about the ecology of the Saharan cheetah for the first time but also reminds the world of the value of studying and protecting desert species and their environments, which are often overlooked by researchers and conservation programs.”

Confined to desert environments, the Saharan cheetah lives in pockets of north and west Africa. The report shows that Saharan cheetahs are more nocturnal, more wide-ranging and occur at lower densities than other cheetahs living in Africa.

African golden cat hunting monkeys, video


This video says about itself:

First known footage of elusive African golden cat in daylight

28 January 2015

Extremely elusive African golden cat shown hunting red colobus monkeys.

Wildlife Extra writes about this:

Film footage of the very rare and elusive African golden cat has been captured in Uganda by scientists from Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

A camera trap recorded the wild cat hunting red colobus monkeys gathered around and feeding on the dead wood of a tree stump during daylight in Kibale National Park, Uganda.

The African golden cat is found only in the forests of Central and West Africa, and grows to the size of a bobcat, weighing between 5-16 kilograms. Very few western scientists have observed the living animal in the wild and almost all records of the African golden cat consist of photographs taken by remote camera traps, or of dead animals.

South African cheetah’s survivor story


This 2014 video is called National Geographic Wild – Cheetah: Fatal Instinct (Documentary).

From Samara Private Game Reserve in South Africa, with photos there:

A cheetah’s story: From tortured to treasured

Privileged to be home to the highly endangered cheetah, Samara also hosts a remarkable individual. Her story embodies not only the plight of these incredible cats, but also the immense potential for successful conservation of a species on the precipice of extinction.

Born a wild cheetah in South Africa’s North West province, Sibella’s life nearly ended at the hands of hunters. After being set upon by hunting dogs who tore away all the flesh on her hind legs, a rope was forced roughly into her mouth, and she was savagely beaten and locked in a cage. Lying at death’s door, fear and mistrust haunting her eyes, she was fortunate enough to be rescued by the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust. She owes her life to the five-hour surgery and dedicated rehabilitation that ensued.

In December 2003, Sibella began a new chapter when she was introduced onto Samara along with two male cheetah. From the moment of her release, all those involved in her rehabilitation waited anxiously to see whether she would be able to fend for herself. But we needn’t have worried. Eleven years on, Sibella has outlived most cheetah in the wild, proving herself to be a capable hunter despite the occasional twinge from her previous injuries.

Successfully rearing an astonishing 20 cubs in four litters since her release, she has also been an exemplary mother – giving birth on steep mountain slopes to avoid potential predators and eating only after her young have had their fill.

The unspoken bond she now shares with the humans in her new home is extraordinary – with the birth of each new litter, when the cubs are old enough to leave their den, this wild cat dutifully presents to her human guardians her latest bundles of fur, the very reason for her existence. The degree of trust she vests in human beings, walking to within just a few metres of them, is simply astounding – her past suffering at the hands of her tormentors all but forgotten.

This exceptional cat has done more than merely touch our hearts and allow us to marvel at her beauty. She is also a record-breaker of note, being the first cheetah back in the Karoo in 125 years, contributing 3% to the wild cheetah population in South Africa through her various litters, and featuring in dozens of magazines, newspapers and television programmes across the globe.

Sibella, Sultaness of Samara, is a true ambassador for Samara’s ongoing conservation efforts and objectives.

Good Indian tiger news


This video from India says about itself:

Tiger Hunts Large Gaur [NEW FOOTAGE]

11 November 2013

Amazing new footage of the dominant male tiger from Bandipur, Raja, taking down and killing an adult gaur on a hunt. Gaurs are the largest bovine in the world, and this is a very rare incident caught on tape.

From Wildlife Extra:

India’s tiger population on the increase

New figures released indicate India’s tiger population has significantly increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014, an increase of 60%.

The increase in the tiger population can be largely attributed to better management and improved protection within tiger reserves and other tiger bearing protected areas. Poaching remains the greatest threat to wild tigers today with tiger parts in high demand throughout Asia.

“These results confirm that more than half of the world’s tigers are in India, and thus, an up-to-date and precise estimation becomes imperative for assessing the success of future conservation efforts. This demonstrates that species conservation works, especially when it brings together political will, strong science and dedicated field efforts,” said Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India.

The report highlights that the future of tigers in India depends on maintaining undisturbed core habitats for breeding tiger populations, habitat connectivity and protection from poaching of tigers and their prey.

The estimation exercise in India saw an unprecedented effort from the National Tiger Conservation Authority, state forest departments, the Wildlife Institute of India, and conservation organisations including WWF-India, CWS, ATREE, Aaranyak, WRCS and WCT.

Flaws in a method commonly used in censuses of tigers and other rare wildlife put the accuracy of such surveys in doubt, a new study published in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution suggests: here.

Circus lionesses recovering in South African game reserve


This video from South Africa says about itself:

Two rescued female lions find new home in Africa

22 January 2015

Following years of abuse in a circus in Germany, two rescued female lions put their paws onto African soil. Sisters Maggie and Sonja were rescued by the Born Free Foundation and its partners, their new home Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.

From Wildlife Extra:

Two lionesses born to circus life get first taste of freedom

Maggie and Sonja have spent their eight years of life performing in a German circus

After eight years in captivity in a German circus, two rescued lionesses are settling into their new home at the Born Free Foundation’s Big Cat Rescue and Education Centre at Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa.

Maggie and Sonja spent the first eight years of their lives making regular appearances in the circus, performing for the crowds and living in a circus trailer in appalling conditions.

When the animals were confiscated by the German authorities in 2013, the Natuurhulpcentrum, a wild animal rescue and rehabilitation centre in Belgium, stepped in and offered them temporary accommodation.

There, they underwent rehabilitation and treatment for wounds acquired while living in the circus, before being declared fit to travel to a permanent new home in Africa.

Organised by the Born Free Foundation, they travelled from Natuurhulpcentrum to London’s Heathrow airport on January 20, from where they made the 6,000 mile journey across two continents, flying on the inaugural Kenya Airways Dreamliner flight to Johannesburg via Nairobi, and sponsored by the airline.

After touching down in Johannesburg on Wednesday, January 21, they were taken by land on the last leg of the journey to their new home at the award winning Shamwari Game Reserve in Port Elizabeth.

The overland journey was in specially arranged trailers, towed by Land Rover Discovery vehicles, which also sponsored the trip.

At the reserve they were released into a large natural enclosure, where they could begin to experience and get used to the sights and sounds of Africa for the first time.

Shamwari Wildlife Director and vet, Dr Johan Joubert, and Born Free’s big cat expert Tony Wiles, were present at every step of the journey.

Joubert says, “I am very satisfied with the rescue and translocation of the lionesses from Natuurhulpcentrum in Belgium to Shamwari Game Reserve.

“Although it was a long journey for them, they travelled well. It was snowing when they left, two days ago, and now they are adapting to a hot African summer’s day.

“They experienced natural grass and trees today for the first time in their life. I am sure they have a good life ahead of them here.”

Wiles, who has more than 20 years of experience working with big cats, is pleased that the lionesses are already growing in confidence in their new environment.

He adds, “These are relatively young cats, and so despite being a bit tired from the journey, they should adapt quickly to their new surroundings.

“Already they are exploring the enclosure’s natural features and taking the opportunity to stretch their legs and bask in the southern hemisphere’s summer sunshine.

“After spending most of their lives in cramped and squalid conditions, it feels great to be able to offer these girls a safe, happy and natural place to live out the rest of their lives. That’s what it’s all about.”

To find out more about Maggie and Sonja’s new life, meet some of Born Free’s other rescued animals, or make a donation to enable the Foundation to continue its work with some of the world’s most vulnerable animals, visit: www.bornfree.org.uk.