Thursday, 26 March 2020

PHOTOS: Rare black leopard caught on camera

The footage was captured by a member of the public on their way to work on 24 February in the Gauteng Province and was shared with the Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation.
The foundation posted the video on its Facebook page and explained just how elusive the species tends to be.
It said: "It's the stuff that urban legends and folklore get built around. A phantom, an illusion, a shadow so rare that most people believe they don't actually exist.
"Fewer than 35 sightings of wild black leopards have ever been scientifically documented in South Africa in over half a century; and clear pictures or video evidence are virtually non-existent - most people having spotted these elusive phantoms crossing a road or disappearing into the bush without the chance to take a picture."
The leopard - which is also referred to as a black panther - derives its dark coat from melanism, the opposite of albinism. While albinism causes whiteness due to a lack of pigmentation, the genetic variation melanism results in an excess of dark pigmentation.

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FUNNY: ' Lion' wandering in Spanish town turns out to be dog with unusual haircut

Authorities in the Spanish area of Molina de Segura received many reports of lion sightings last weekend.

Police searched the area and were unable to locate a big cat, although they did turn up another lead.

It turns out the lion was actually a large dog, with a rather unique haircut.


Wednesday, 25 March 2020

SIGHTING? UK: Beast of Burford' feared dead after A34 sighting

There are fears the fabled 'Beast of Burford' may be no more after a driver saw a 'puma-sized cat' dead on the side of the A34.

Olli Astley got in touch with the Oxford Mail to say on Thursday at around 4.30pm he was heading southbound on the A34, near Kidlington, when he spotted the creature on the central reservation.

He described it as a 'puma/lynx-sized cat' which was 'black or dark brown'.

Mr Astley, who was with his 16-year-old daughter, added: "We haven't contacted the council but it had been removed overnight and by 8.15am this morning (Friday) as we went to take a picture.

He said he was 'sure' the animal was a cat due to its features but was far bigger than a normal pet feline.

The 47-year-old's description of the big cat is the latest in a long line of people going back to the 1990s to see what they swear is a big cat in west and north Oxfordshire.

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NEWSLINK: Woman keeps nine-month-old puma as a pet

Dogs may be man's best friend, but this brave pet owner has chosen to adopt a dangerous predator as her new companion.

Natalia Korotova, 33, from Perm Krai in Russia, is the proud owner of London, a nine-month-old puma.

Footage captured by Natalia shows the big cat behaving almost like a dog around the house and in the car.

Despite being not much old than a kitten, London is already incredibly large and a big presence in her home - though it was scared of her tiny Pomeranian when it first moved in.

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VIDEO: Colorado deputy escapes jaws of mountain lion

A witness captured the terrifying moment when a deputy escaped the jaws of a mountain lion in Colorado.

When a group of officers arrived at a neighborhood in Loveland, Colorado -- after a call of a mountain lion attack -- they tried to contain the big cat.

But instead, it attacked a deputy and took her to the ground on Wednesday.

That's when one of the officers kicked the wild animal off her, while the other officers shot at it and scared it away. Then, deputies followed the animal to a nearby home where a Colorado Parks & Wildlife game warden shot and killed the mountain lion, a Larimer County Sheriff's Office news release said.

If you feel like you've been hearing a lot about mountain lion attacks in Colorado recently, that's because there's been more than usual.

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SIGHTINGS: Somerset big cat sightings

More sightings of big cats are reportedly being seen in Somerset after one woman claimed she saw one "as large as an Alsatian" run through her garden.
Somerset Live recently spoke to Mrs Bond, who lives in a housing estate on the outskirts of Paulton, after she discovered a black animal enter and walk through her back garden on Saturday, February 15.

Mrs Bond, who didn't want to give her first name, described the animal as "powerful-looking with long legs", had "short black hair" and was "at least big as a large Alsatian".

Alarmed but intrigued by what she saw, she told her son, Derek Bond, who is now helping her investigate what they claim is a possible big cat sighting.

Since we published the previous article, a number of readers have suggested what Mrs Bond saw may not have been a big cat, but instead a domestic cat.

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VIDEO: Leopard attacking a crowd

Though videos of animals are much liked on social media, while them attacking humans have always giving goosebumps. This time the video which is surfacing on the Internet will shake you up. In the viral video, a leopard can be seen jumping in the air while it attacked two people. Sushanta Nanda, an officer of the Indian Forest Service, shared this video on Twitter.
The horrifying video which was uploaded on March 19, is sure to take you to the edge of your seat. In the video, a leopard can be seen suddenly jumping out from a pit. After coming out, it starts chasing people in the crowd who stood there shocked and surrounding the pit. As soon as it was out, it pounced on a person from behind and tried to suppress it. The big cat then leaves that person and turns around to pounce on two other people. Susanta also expressed his displeasure on Twitter and wrote, "A horrendous rescue. Crowd control is half the problem in man-animal conflicts like this. They had no business to be there.” He also goes on to describe that the leopard acted purely out of natural instinct and was not at fault.

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ARTICLE: The True Story of Madagascar's 'Forest Cat'

On the island of Madagascar, evolution has worked overtime assembling a menagerie like no other on Earth. That makes any interloper’s history all the more germane.

Take the resident non-native “forest cat,” for example—an animal whose origins have been the subject of much debate. Many scientists have long thought the feline’s ancestors were small wildcats that somehow reached Madagascar from mainland Africa. Others posited that Felis catus, the domestic cat, was also part of the gene pool (though historical and ethnographic data suggest that domestic cats didn’t arrive here until the 1800s—with a U.K. ambassador—after the forest cat was already established on the island nation).

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Tuesday, 17 March 2020

SIGHTING, UK: Woman claims she saw a big black cat in Gloucestershire

A Newent commuter on her way to work early one morning couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw a big black cat in the road outside where she lives.
Beverly Burford, 60, was turning out of her drive in her car on to Cleeve Mill Road at 6.15am when she saw the beast.

She said: “It was crossing the road. I did not see the head as it was by the hedge. I did see it’s back, shoulders and body and tail.

“I would say that it was the size of a German Shepherd dog.

“I was in disbelief but as I started driving I knew what I had seen."

Read more... 

VIDEO: Leopard rescued from a well in Madhya Pradesh

MP's forest department is winning hearts for its practical and timely rescue of a leopard that had fallen into a well in Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh.

A one-minute-long video posted this morning by an Indian Forest Service Parveen Kaswan, Indian Forest Services officer, shows the rescue operation where the big cat is being lifted out of the well with the help of ropes attached to a makeshift platform at both ends. The rescuers used a traditional bed made of wood and ropes called 'khatiya' to lift up the big cat from the well. The leopard is seen sitting on the 'khatiya' while the rescuers lift up the bed from the well from the Pahari range in Shivpuri. 

And by the looks of it, the leopard was more than happy to 'co-operate'.
Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Colorado deputy escapes mountain lion attack; big cat shot and killed

A mountain lion was fatally shot after attacking a civilian and a deputy at an RV park in Colorado on Wednesday.

The big cat was captured on video nearly sinking its jaws into the neck of the deputy in Larimer County before members of law enforcement converged and the animal was kicked off.

Witness Gregory Scot Paul was able to capture the encounter from inside a trailer after the big cat jumped on the deputy.

“My heart goes out to her,” Paul told the Loveland Reporter-Herald. “If she hadn’t put her arm up, it would probably would have gotten to her neck.”

Read more... 

CARL WRITES: Paulton, Somerset - 15/2/20

Read the original story here.

Given that this sighting occurred in a residential area we should probably be cautious, however, like Danny Bamping quite rightly pointed out, it’s still possible that this could have been a big cat as previous reports have been filed from this area, and some of them quite good.

Paulton is large village with a population 5,302, located north of the Mendip Hills, North-East Somerset. Mrs Bond’s sighting was made on the outskirts of the village - basically it’s a rural area; the kind a large predator could quickly disappear from back into wilderness.

I can quite understand Mrs Bond falling over backwards as she was completely taken aback by what she believed was a big black cat – an encounter which would, accurate of not, shock anyone!

The statement that Mrs Bond could hear “thumping sounds” on the pavement while the animal was retreating her garden is curious, though maybe she meant she could hear light padding sounds, which would be expected of both leopards and pumas moving short distances on concrete paving slabs. Even though species such as these are reasonably large, they are extremely stealthy animals in their movements and in fact make very little sound. I can imagine it making more noise scrambling over a wooden fence to escape, than running along the ground.  

The fact that the sighting happened during the day is also suspicious, but not impossible, given the rural location, which would in fact be rather choice for a large felid who’s had an unsuccessful nights hunting. Fortunately though, there is a faecal sample available for analysis. So hopefully positive results might come from this (though, I would of expected a strong ammonia smell to have been mentioned in the article), but if not, and the sample is eventually proven to come from a fox or something else, it wouldn’t disprove Mrs Bond’s sighting, it would just show that the sample didn’t come from the kind of animal Mrs Bond believes she observed, and could have nothing to do with her alleged encounter at all.

At the moment, who knows! Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t! More data required..

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

NEWSLINK: Howletts Wild Animal Park bids heartbreaking farewell to much-loved Bengal tiger Delhi

Howletts Wild Animal Park has announced its 'beloved' male Bengal tiger, Delhi, has passed away at the age of 21.

Keepers, near Littlebourne, described the big cat as a 'chilled out old boy' after making the heartbreaking decision to euthanise him on February 28.

While the typical lifespan of a wild tiger is around eight to ten years, this can increase to 15 and beyond with good diet, veterinary care and regular exercise in captivity.

Delhi had been showing signs of mobility issues and began losing weight, despite continued efforts from the dedicated keepers.

Read more... 

PHOTOS: Cat makes herself at home in the lynx’s enclosure

Stray cats look for food and shelter wherever they can. But this kitty found it in the most unexpected of places...and what's more, she made it her forever home!

One night, an unexpected visitor made an appearance at the St. Petersburg Zoo. On the lookout for scraps of food, the little stray cat noticed there was still some meat left in the lynx’s bowl. So, she snuck into the enclosure and went to help herself.

Our natural reaction would be to think that the cat then becomes – ironically – dead meat. But nothing of the sort! Not only did the lynx not chase the cat away, but she even shared her meal with her new acquaintance.

So naturally, the cat came back, time and time again, for a meal. And time and time again, Linda the lynx happily shared. The two quickly developed a special bond, and soon, they were inseparable.

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RARE SIGHTING: Threatened rusty-spotted cat seen after 10 years in Uttar Pradesh

Even as a tiger census is presently underway, two rare wildlife species - a rusty spotted cat and a coral red kukri snake- were spotted by H Rajamohan, director of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, Uttar Pradesh, during a stroll in the forest.

The rusty-spotted cat, known to be the smallest member of the cat family, was spotted in Mala range while the coral red kukri snake was sighted in the Haripur range. The first picture of the cat was captured 10 years ago by camera traps installed in the PTR for the tiger census, but the feline was not seen since then.

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NEWSLINK: Tiger Mauls Man To Death After He Jumps Into Its Enclosure

A tigress mauled a man to death after he jumped into its enclosure at a biological park in the Indian city of Ranchi on Wednesday.

According to local reports, the man, identified as 27-year-old Wasim Ansari, leaped into the enclosure and tried to catch the attention of the big cat by folding his hands and bowing down in front of it. Moments after, the tigress leaped at him before grabbing him by his neck. The man succumbed to injuries on the spot.

The staff then pelted stones at the nine-year-old tigress and when she retreated, they removed the body from the enclosure.

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NEWSLINK: Creatures that you wouldn't expect to find in Scotland

The debate of big cats in Scotland has been going on for years; a hill walker’s claims or blurry photographs have done little to persuade many people. However, PC Chris Swallow, who was based at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde, managed to capture some footage of a large cat-like animal in 2009, just one of many possible big cat sightings across Scotland.

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NEWSLINK: This Big Cat Covered 2,000 Km For A Mate, Netizens Impressed

Amid all the corona fear and stories of bloodshed and politics there appeared a hero who burnt bright and impressed netizens this week -- it was a tiger who travelled 2,000 km seeking his sweetheart.

A picture of the tiger along with a map tracking its movement went viral on social media with Twitterati super impressed.

"He walked for 2,000 km through canals, fields, forests, roads & no conflict recorded. Resting in the daytime & walking at night all for finding a suitable partner. Was being continuously monitored," IFS officer Parveen Kaswan posted the heart-warming photo.

He captioned it: "This #Tiger from India after walking into records has settled to Dnyanganga forest." The sanctuary is situated in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra and is part of the Melghat Tiger Reserve.

As the post went viral, Twitterati have flooded the social media with their reactions.
A user wrote, "What a lucky tigress it would be...He walked 2000 kms & settled for nothing less meanwhile. These humans exaggerate their struggle in love."

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NEWSLINK: Dartmoor Zoo hits out at 'escaped tiger' hoax

Dartmoor Zoo has responded after a series of hoaxes wrongly suggested that an animal had escaped.

Fictitious reports on social media a few weeks ago suggested an animal at the zoo near Sparkwell was on the loose.

The zoo was quick to deny these rumours only for hoaxers to contact Plymouth Live earlier today claiming a 'tiger had escaped'.

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SIGHTINGS, UK: Sightings of big cats in Norfolk have tailed off, new figures reveal

Sightings of elusive big cats, which scores of people have claimed to have spotted prowling through parts of Norfolk, tailed off in recent years, new figures have revealed.

For years, there have been rumours of creatures roaming the countryside, but a marked lack of evidence to prove it.

A Freedom Of Information Act request has revealed that Norfolk Constabulary has received 96 reports of big cat sightings over the past decade.

However, while the peak year for such sightings was 2013, when there were 19 reports, just one person called police last year to report that they had seen a big cat.
The FOI request, which was submitted to the police by a member of the public, asked the police for all reported big cat sightings since 2010.

The force carried out a check of all incidents which had been recorded over that period which included the keywords big cat, large cat, puma, panther, cougar, jaguar and lynx.

The bulk of the sightings happened in the first half of the decade, with 74 between 2010 and 2014. From 2015 until 2019 there were 22 - just four of which were in the past two years.

Read more... 

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

FUNNY: Driver Spots an ‘Injured Leopard’ on the Road, but It Turns Out to Be Just a Coat

Humans have introduced animals from many areas in the world into ecosystems where they do not belong—think of the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco as an example. For Ben Lilly, of Halifax in the north of England, to spot what seemed to be a leopard body in the middle of a road was certainly an unusual sight.

“I saw something in the distance as I was coming round the bend and slowed down, giving it a wide berth in case it was an injured animal,” Lilly said, per the Daily Mail,
When he got closer, the driver was sure he saw the spotted fur of a big cat. “I got out cautiously, because I didn’t want something taking my face off,” Lilly said, “but as soon as I looked at it from the other angle I started laughing.”


NEWSLINK: Leopard enters school, kills a dog; terrified students hide in their classroom

The city of Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh is infamous for its constant human-wildlife conflicts. Just recently, students of a school in the small village of Keeratpur were terrified when they had a face to face encounter with a wild leopard. While none of the students were harmed, the leopard did kill a dog in the area.

The students of the government school in Keeratpur first encountered the leopard when it entered into the school ground through an adjacent field. The leopard then killed a dog and dragged its carcass back to the nearby Barahi forest. The Barahi forest is part of the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, which is infamous for its poor borders.

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NEWSLINK: Rescued Amur leopard is sent on 9hr flight to cure back tumour

One of world’s rarest big cats was hit by a car and went through months of treatment at the rescue centre in Russian Far East.

The young male Leo131M aka Elbrus was found by hunting experts in grave condition in March 2019, with many experts believing he had maximum two weeks to live.

The dedicated team of surgeons at the Tiger rescue centre outside Vladivostok did a miracle bringing the big cat to life, and almost completely restoring its health.

Elbrus spent months in a spacious fenced enclosure where he hunted deers and smaller prey like bunnies.

The plan was to re-introduce the rare cat into the wild, as there are only 91 adult Amur leopards living in this part of Russia and every animal counts for the endangered population.

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NEWSLINK: Sick tiger trade exposed as dead cubs found in freezer by BBC crew

Dead tiger cubs were found in a freezer by a BBC film crew investigating big cat trafficking across South East Asia.

Investigator Aldo Kane also finds the animals illegally hidden in high security pens in Thai zoos, a trader openly selling tiger products in Laos with a street value higher than cocaine, and caged cats fattened up in a dark basement in Vietnam to be killed and cooked to order.

The frozen cubs were discovered at a breeding facility in Laos, with Kane opening the chest freezer and saying: “Oh f***. Tiger cubs. Baby bones. There’s three cubs in here.”

Leaving behind camera traps, he succeeded in filming men taking the corpses out for transportation.

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SIGHTING, UK: Woman claims she saw big cat 'as large as an Alsatian' run through her garden

A woman claims she saw a big cat "running through her garden" and is determined to establish exactly what she saw.

The woman, who only wanted to be known as Mrs Bond, who lives in a housing estate on the outskirts of Paulton, discovered a black animal enter and walk through her back garden on Saturday, February 15.

A combination of shock and losing her balance saw her fall over at the sight of the animal and she just looked on as it strolled past her.

Alarmed but intrigued by what she saw, she told her son, Derek Bond, who is now helping her investigate what they claim is a possible big cat sighting.

Read more... 

CONSERVATION: 2 Cheetah cubs born at Columbus Zoo are first-ever IVF birth for species

History was made at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Wednesday when two cheetah cubs were born using in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer into a surrogate mother, the first-ever birth of this nature for the species.

The cubs’ biological mother is named Kibibi, but after careful planning and innovative medical procedures, a female cheetah named Isabelle gave birth to the two cubs Wednesday night. The father of the cubs is a 3-year-old cheetah named Slash from Fossil Rim Wildlife Center.

During in vitro fertilization, or IVF, sperm and eggs are fertilized in a laboratory and incubated to create embryos, which are then implanted into a female’s womb in hopes they develop into fetuses. IVF is popular with humans and other species, but this successful birth via IVF is the first-ever in a cheetah birth.

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CONSERVATION: Tiger coridoors in India

One more tiger has crossed over into Adilabad district from neighbouring Maharashtra on February 25, making it the second big cat to do so within a fortnight.

While the first one which had crossed Penganga river near Tamsi (K) in Bheempur mandal was identified a female from Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS) in Pandharkawda Tahsil in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, the second one is yet to be identified but it could have come either from TWS or from the forest outside the sanctuary.

The tiger was seen by motorists on Bhoraj-Bela road near Awalpur in Jainad mandal at about 11 p.m. By 6 a.m., it reached Mangurla, about 10 km away from where it crossed the road. The tiger on prowl was seen by villagers at this point. It also attacked a bullock but could not kill it.

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PAWPRINTS, UK: Man finds 'Beast of Bodmin' big cat paw prints in Cornwall

A man believes he has discovered paw prints made by the 'Beast of Bodmin'.
Mark Davies spotted the unusual markings on Saturday (February 22) in Madron.

He claimed the prints were made by a non-domestic animal.

Sharing the pictures, Mark said: "Last night I was investigating an abandoned place in Madron near the moor.

"On returning we found prints of non-domestic animals. This paw print shows it is big and heavy and people need to be aware."

He continued: "It was fresh on the wet tractor tracks and looks like it was in a prowling movement.

"Too big for a domestic cat and not the prints of a dog. Neither of which would be on the moorland, 10am in the morning, so far from home.

"I can only assume it is what is called the 'Beast'."

Read more... 

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

NEWSLINK: Maharashtra tops in human deaths in tiger attacks

In a surprising development, Maharashtra has registered highest number of human deaths – 74 – in tiger attacks over a period between 2014 and 2019, reveals the data tabled in Parliament by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The data further stated that total 275 human deaths resulted in conflict with the big cat in the same period across the country. Besides, Maharashtra, West Bengal had registered the same numbers of deaths as victims of tigers. Uttar Pradesh with 49, Madhya Pradesh with 38 and Uttarakhand with 10 deaths follow the two states.

Speaking to Nagpur Today, Nitin Kakodkar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Wildlife disclosed various relating and preventive measures between these conflicts.

“Dependence of people on the forest, primarily for firewood, is the key factor of such incidents. These conflicts are mostly occurred in Chandrapur district. Most of the people living in the tiger infested areas, earn their livelihood owing to forests. So despite our awareness drive and high level monitoring to make locals aware about certain rules to be followed when tiger along with cubs is around, such conflicts occur,” said the PCCF.

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COMMENTARY: Looking for Sri Lanka's Charismatic Big Cat

In recent years, leopards in Sri Lanka (Panthera pardus kotiya), an endangered subspecies native to the island, have been grabbing local and international headlines for all the wrong reasons.

At the end of last year an adult male leopard was found dead and mutilated at Uda Walawe National Park. The killers had allegedly targeted it for its teeth and claws, which are prized items on the black market. A year ago this month, a leopard was found dead in a trap near a tea plantation. In July 2018, an adult female and two juvenile leopards were found dead from eating a poisoned cow carcass in the Nilgala Forest Reserve; and a month earlier, a mob beat to death a leopard that had strayed into a village.

The animal’s population is dwindling, standing at an estimated 1,000 today, and its habitats are shrinking even as the number of threats to its survival grows. Despite its protected status, both nationally and globally, the leopard is becoming increasingly threatened, and the recent killings highlight the intensifying human-wildlife conflict that extends to leopards in Sri Lanka.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Mountain lion spotted in Simi Valley backyard is captured and relocated

A female mountain lion spotted in Simi Valley was captured and relocated to a more suitable habitat over the weekend, wildlife officials said.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife tracked the roughly 90-pound cat after it was seen in a tree in a backyard in the 600 block of Laguna Drive on Saturday.
“We darted it in one yard,” Fish and Wildlife spokesman Tim Daly said in an email Monday. “It ran into another yard before the drugs took effect.”

After being tranquilized, the approximately 3-year-old cougar was tagged and released outside the city.

The mountain lion was initially spotted around 9:20 a.m., prompting the Simi Valley Police Department to issue a temporary warning to residents to keep children and small animals indoors. No people or pets were harmed, officials said.

Read more... 

SIGHTING, AUSTRALIA: Mysterious paw print on a remote dirt track in the Blue Mountains sparks fears a 'panther-like creature' is on the loose

A mysterious paw print found on a dirt track in the Australian bush has led many to believe big cats are roaming the area.

Four large paw prints were found on a trail in Leura, in New South Wales's Blue Mountains on Sunday.

Blue Mountains resident Kobe Bryant was running through the bush when he spotted the human hand-sized paw prints in the dirt.

He shared footage of his hand next to the paw prints to his Instagram page, sparking dozens of comments from people speculating where they came from.

Some suggested a wallaby, while others believed it could have been from the mythical black panther.

Mr Bryant said that due to the recent rainfall the track was untouched.

'I thought how nice it was to be on a track with no human footprints,' Mr Bryant told Daily Mail Australia.

'We rounded the corner and I nearly fell on it because I was trying not to step on it.'

He said the tracks were each as big as his hand and ruled out the possibility of a dog because they aren't allowed in national parks.

The group decided to show the footprints to a member from the Hunting and Shooting Association who strongly believed they belonged to a big cat.

Read more... 

CONSERVATION: Why the Death of Mountain Lion P-56 Matters

On Monday, the National Park Service announced a significant loss to a small group of mountain lions in California’s Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. P-56, an adult male cat, was killed by a local landowner under the state’s new depredation law. He was presumed to be the father of several other animals who are part of a group the NPS has been tracking for nearly 20 years.

“The loss of a breeding male is a concern for the study, especially when the population is already very small,” Jeff Sikich, the park service’s lead field biologist for the project, said in a press release.

Other conservationists were more blunt. “We are in a dire situation,” says Beth Pratt, the leader of the Save L.A. Cougars campaign and regional executive director at the National Wildlife Federation. “P-56 was one of only two known, or collared, males within the region, and we just took him out. What if the other male gets hit by a car tomorrow?”

Read more... 

VIDEO: Bobcat Poses For The Camera At Peninsula Home

Most wild animal sightings are fleeting; a doorbell camera rarely captures more than a second or two of footage before the visitor slinks out of the frame.

Not so for this bold bobcat, which recently stopped by a home in the Los Altos Hills and lingered in front of the camera long enough to let us see the spots on its fur, as seen on video on the Neighbors app.

Video shows the big cat walking slowly to the center of the frame and pausing before continuing on to the right and out of view.

Residents in the Los Altos area have welcomed quite a few big cats into their backyards in recent months, including multiple mountain lion sightings.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: California mountain lion killed after state issues permit

A Southern California mountain lion tracked by scientists as part of a federal study was killed after state wildlife officials issued a permit to a rural property owner whose livestock was repeatedly attacked, officials said Monday.

The male cougar dubbed P-56 was suspected of feasting on animals at a property in Camarillo, within the Santa Monica Mountains northwest of Los Angeles. The owner reported nine depredation incidents resulting in the loss of 12 animals over a two-year period.

National Park Service biologists said they were informed that P-56 was killed on Jan. 27.

It’s the first time the Department of Fish and Wildlife granted permission to kill a big cat in the Santa Monica Mountains under California’s depredation law, officials said.

Hunting mountain lions is illegal in California, but the state may issue property owners permits to kill any big cats that have killed or injured domestic animals or damaged property.

P-56, estimated to be about 5 years old, had been tracked via radio collar since 2017 by researchers studying how the animals survive as urban areas encroach into wildland.

Read more... 

Sunday, 16 February 2020

NEWSLINK: Mountain Lion Returns To Peninsula Home

For the fourth time in recent months, a mountain lion was filmed creeping through the same Peninsula backyard, seen on the Neighbors app.

Mountain lion sightings are a rarity for most people, but they're becoming almost routine at one Los Altos Hills home.

Video on the Neighbors app shows a mountain lion creeping through the home's backyard — the fourth such visit its residents have had since October, according to the video's uploader.

Footage of the new visit is nearly identical to a similar incident in December: the big cat can be seen walking to the middle of the yard, seemingly triggering a motion-activated light, before continuing on into the bushes and out of sight.

The Los Altos area has had numerous brushes with mountain lions in recent months: in November, a sighting shut down several hiking trails in Rancho San Antonio Preserve.

Read more... 

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

CARL WRITES: Latest from Bodmin

See the story here.

Over the years, many fleeting glimpses of mysterious dark shapes described by eyewitnesses as ”big cats”, and sets of ominous looking paw prints have fuelled the theory that the famous Beast of Bodmin (or rather its descendants) might still be out there stalking the desolate shadows of Bodmin Moor and the surrounding areas of rural Cornwall.

The “beast” whatever it is, was first made public in 1983 (though reports appear to begin in 1978) and ever since sightings of the creature have been reported.

The latest report: (published on Facebook)

“Driving home tonight and a huge, what I thought was, a black dog ran out in front of my car near the Fowey cross turning. I had to brake hard not to hit it, but now [I am] thinking it might be a black panther as it had a huge tail and long legs, [that were?] very muscular.”

The eyewitness, who is not identified in the Cornwall Live article, then added:

“How I didn’t hit it, I’ll never know.”

“[There were] Lots of cars in front and behind me so [I would] like to know if they saw it too.”

“It was so quick too.”

Fowey (pronounced ‘Foy) might be familiar, as this is the town where, in 1995, a boy walking by the River Fowey discovered a large cat skull. The skull, which measured about 10 cm (4 inches) long by 18 cm (7 inches) wide, possessed two sharp prominent canines. There was, as might be expected, no lower jaw attached and minimal decay present.

The skull was sent to the Natural History Museum in London for verification, where it was quickly determined that it was in fact from of a young male leopard, however, unfortunately for those of interested in such things, one that had not died in Britain and had likely been imported as part of a leopard-skin rug. The back of the skull was cleanly cut off in a way that is commonly used by taxidermists when mounting the head on a rug, and there was also an egg case inside the skull that had been laid by a tropical cockroach not found in the UK.

This all happened less than a week after a dismissive government report was published, keeping the beast, whether it existed as a flesh and blood reality or not, very much in the public imagination.

Anyway, back to Feb 2020.

In this report’s favour, the witness admitted that when first spotted, she initially believed the animal to be a large black dog, and only after looking again thought its long tail and muscular legs reminded her more of a large cat. This might suggest an observant and rational individual who changed her initial identification only when she had a better view of the animal.

Unfortunately this is where the favours end. There is very little that can be determined from this report, other than the creature was a large, dark coloured (possibly black), quadrupedal mammal with a long tail. The witness herself says that “It was so quick too”, suggesting that the animal shot past at breakneck speed and unfortunately; going by the ambiguous features reported, one likely not inducive to positive identification when combined with the speed of the car and the initial shock of the encounter, in which she almost collided with the animal.

Despite this, I personally think it is possible that the witness could have had a fleeting encounter with a genuine big cat, as I’m almost convinced, that small populations leopards and pumas have at least in the past, been moving (and greatly avoiding the other species) continually between Cornwall and Devon; possibly even breeding. (Not together. Personally I find the theory of natural hybridising between these species in Britain to be, at best, unlikely!)

It is interesting to note that there were other vehicles in front and behind the eyewitness’s car that, with a little luck, might have also caught a glimpse of the mysterious animal and come forward, providing more much needed data. Further corresponding reports would be invaluable at this point, as on its own, very little can be deduced by this latest observation. Not even what species we might be dealing with.

Sometimes regional legends travel farther than the transient animals themselves; encouraging misidentifications and potential hoaxes, making it all the more difficult to determine how many of these animals could potentially exist in Britain, and to predict regular territories and potential target breeding areas. So far, we are basically limited to testimonial evidence (e.g Mr or Mrs so and so saw a female panther and two smaller cubs while walking the dogs the other week – that sort of thing.), which unfortunately, no matter how credible, can never be used as definitive evidence to prove these animals are living in a wild state in Britain, let alone predicting regular breeding territories.

In the absence of any corroborating evidence and the ambiguity of the latest description, at this time, I think it’s reasonable to suggest that this report is most likely a genuine misidentification of some other known species; one briefly and inadequately observed through car headlights at night.

However, if further reports do come forth (such as more from the same area over the next few months, or better still from the other vehicles occupants mentioned in this report), or preferably something tangible, like signs of depredation in the area not clearly attributable to known British carnivores, or the collection of any biological samples, I would be completely prepared, like any good researcher, to re-evaluate this report, though at this time I think it’s best described as inconclusive. More data needed.

NEWSLINK: ‘Mismanaged’ Goa turning into death-trap for big cats

The report was commissioned by the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests after four tigers were poisoned in January. The report stated that in view of the unfortunate incident in which four tigers, the state government should undertake urgent action for upgrading the legal status of ‘Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary to a tiger reserve. It said that by upgrading the legal status to a tiger reserve, the protected will get access to monitoring, financial and technical support from NTCA, in order to safeguard the conservation values of the sanctuary.Tribals poisoned tigers

The team that was commissioned by the Union Ministry for investigating the death of four tigers found out that the big cats were poisoned by four persons, all tribal residents of the sanctuary. The four accused have been arrested by the police.

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NEWSLINK: Uttar Pradesh Government to Open Five Leopard Rescue Centres to Curb Leopard-Human Conflict

The Uttar Pradesh state government has initiated a 'Project Leopard' to deal with the growing population of the big cat and the increasing incidents of man-animal conflict within the state.

According to official sources, the Yogi Adityanath government has decided to set up five leopard rescue centres in Meerut, Pilibhit, Chitrakoot, Etawah, and Gorakhpur. The first of these five rescue centres will be opened in the Etawah Lion Safari, and permission for the same has already been obtained by the Central Zoo Authority.

A forest official involved in preparing the blueprint for the project said: "Whenever a leopard is caught, there is a problem of keeping it in a safe place. The zoos in Lucknow and Kanpur are already overcrowded and we have no choice but to release the big cat in the forest from where it invariably comes back to the villages to hunt."

The leopard population in Uttar Pradesh, according to the 2018 census, stood at 415. But wildlife experts now claim that the population may have crossed the 600 mark.