Tuesday, 28 April 2020

NEWSLINK: Before “Tiger King,” there was New York’s infamous Tiger Man

So, did Tiger Man enjoy “Tiger King?”

“I was turned off by it,” said Antoine Yates, who became known as New York City’s Tiger Man long before the wild popularity of Netflix’s documentary mini-series. “It just shows how ignorant these so-called exotic animal lovers can be.”

Mr. Yates also got momentarily famous for keeping a full-grown tiger, this one named Ming. But rather than the more rural settings favored by Joe Exotic and the show’s other big-cat enthusiasts, he kept Ming in his Harlem apartment, for more than two years.

In 2001, Mr. Yates, then a 31-year-old construction worker, brought the 8-week-old cub to his sprawling home in a Harlem housing project.

Ming quickly went from bottle feeding to consuming 20 pounds of chicken thighs a day, which Mr. Yates would heft home each morning from a local supermarket. And in less than three years, the Siberian-Bengal mix grew into a 425-pound behemoth.

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NEWSLINK: Nepal’s Highest Tiger Sighting Is A Reminder To Save The Big Cat's Himalayan Home

Recently, a camera trap has captured a Royal Bengal Tiger at an elevation of 2,497 meters in the densely forested mountains of Dadeldhura in far-western Nepal. It is the country's highest-ever recorded tiger sighting. Although Bengal tigers have been reported at higher elevations in India (3,602 meters) and Bhutan (4,038 meters), Nepal's national record reminds us of the value of the high-altitude forested Himalayan mountains as a habitat for these endangered big cats. To understand the significance of this sighting and its role in shaping future tiger conservation strategies, World Atlas spoke to Dr. Ghana S. Gurung, country representative of World Wildlife Fund-Nepal (WWF-N).

"Tigers are highly adaptive species with their range spanning from sea levels to mountainous regions, so it isn’t surprising that they’ve been recorded at 2,497metres. The significance is huge for a small country like Nepal. With this finding, the tiger range in Nepal extends to the Mahabharata range, and beyond the boundaries of Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) - the only landscape in Nepal with known tiger distribution to date. This finding will, therefore, form the basis for shaping the conservation of tigers in Nepal beyond the Terai Arc Landscape" - WWF-N.

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NEWSLINK: Lured by buffalo meat odour, leopard tours factory in Chandigarh

After a spate of unconfirmed sightings and false reports in the Tricity of leopards roving deep into human-dominated landscapes, this time around the pugmarks were authentic. Lured by the odour of buffalo meat under slaughter at an export house plant, a leopard made a bold appearance at 3.30 pm on Monday and then repeated the foray on Monday/Tuesday night. Not only was the leopard spotted by the factory watchman but the big cat left behind a trail of unmistakable pugmarks in dry and wet soil. The big cat even entered the closed factory as its pugmarks were found inside later by the wildlife department's guard, Narendra Kumar.

Having confirmed the intrusion was indeed of a leopard at the Mirha Exports’ meat/slaughter plant on Rani Majra road, Jaula Khurd village, Derabassi, the Punjab forest and wildlife preservation department placed a trap cage on Tuesday afternoon to reassure factory staff and nearby residents. “Leopards have come into the Derabassi area in past years also as it lies in the foothills and is contiguous with such areas as Berwala.

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PHOTOS: Wild tiger cubs in Thailand rekindles hope for species

Camera traps in eastern Thailand’s Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai (DPKY) forest complex have yielded photos of tiger cubs, providing long-awaited evidence that the big cat is breeding in this part of Southeast Asia.

Conservationists conducted the camera-trap survey in the Thap Lan-Pang Sida Tiger Conservation Landscape (TCL) of DPKY, where recent reports suggest a small, but vital, population of tigers (Panthera tigris) occurs. (There’s currently debate about whether Indochinese tigers constitute their own subspecies, P. t. corbetti, or are simply a population of mainland Asian tigers, P. t. tigris, that also include the larger Bengal and Siberian tigers.)

“Efforts to improve anti-poaching patrols and law enforcement efforts are critical to providing a safe area for tigers to breed,” said Supagit Vinitpornsawan, the former head of the DPKY Wildlife Research Station. “Recent results of our monitoring indicate these efforts may be paying off.”

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NEWSLINK: Mountain Lion Sighting Reported in San Mateo

The San Mateo Police Department warned residents to be aware of a mountain lion sighting early Monday morning.

Officers spotted the mountain lion around 1:15 a.m. in the area of West Poplar Avenue and North El Camino Real while responding to an unrelated call.

The mountain lion ran west but officers were unable to locate it after a thorough search of the area. The big cat was about 5 feet 6 inches long and 150 pounds with brown fur.

The San Mateo Police Department advised residents to avoid approaching a mountain lion or running away from one if spotted. While most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation, residents should make noise and an effort to make themselves look bigger by waving their arms to ward off the big cat.

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SIGHTING, UK: 'Beast of Burford' footage captured near RAF Brize Norton

Sisters out walking near RAF Brize Norton today think they have captured footage of the fabled 'Beast of Burford'.

April Millin, who shared the video with the Oxford Mail, said she and her sister Hannah were walking in Carterton near the perimeter of the Oxfordshire air base when her dog stopped to sniff.

She said: "I just so happened to look up through the trees and I saw what I thought was a black Labrador dog."

Ms Millin added she initially thought it was strange she couldn't see its owner but then realised it was no canine.

She explained the creature had a 'long tail' and the pair could see it's shoulder blades as it walked.

She added: "It stopped and looked at us before walking away through some bushes.
"I have a pet black cat but this was different. It was huge.

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NEWSLINK: Leopard enters premises of hospital earmarked for Covid-19 patients, devours monkey

A leopard entered the premises of Haridwar’s Mela Hospital, which has been earmarked for Covid-19 patients, on Saturday morning According to hospital staff present on the spot, the big cat caught hold of a monkey and devoured it.

Staff members alleged that leopards have been spotted in the area with increasing frequency. “Barely a month ago, a dog was taken away and devoured by a leopard. We have repeatedly urged the forest department to take action but nothing concrete has been done so far. Fortunately, all staffers were indoors when the leopard was strolling on the terrace,” said Rajendra Kumar, whose daughter first spotted the leopard at around 6:50 am.

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SIGHTING, UK: Big cat sighting of 'muscular wild puma' in British countryside divides opinion

Big cat fans claim some of the clearest pictures in Britain have been taken of a "wild puma".

A woman said she spotted a "muscular" beast in the countryside when she was driving on her way to work.

Although the exact location of the spotting is being kept secret, the photos were posted by a Facebook group called Big Cats in Cumbria.

The woman said she stopped to get something out of her van when the saw the animal eating a pigeon.

She was able to take three pictures before the creature disappeared, she added.

The snaps match regular sightings of large cats spotted in Bowness-on-Windermere in southern Lake District.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2020

NEWSLINK: Man, 65, killed in suspected tiger attack, partially eaten body found

A 65-year-old man was killed in a suspected tiger attack near Katarniaghat range of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) on Sunday. According to forest department officials, the partially eaten body of the man, a farmer, was found near railway lines near Tikunia area of Lakhimpur Kheri district and “injury marks on the body suggest that the man was killed by a big cat”.

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NEWSLINK: Coronavirus outrage: How traders peddle 'tiger bone, bear bile and rhino horn' as cure

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 2.4 million people worldwide since the first cases were announced in early December. Medical experts across the globe are working tirelessly to develop a vaccine that can halt COVID-19 in its tracks. 

But in China and other southeast Asian countries there have been reports of countless crooks trying to capitalise on the deadly outbreak. Some of whom falsely tout that products made from wild animals, who have been raised in abhorred conditions and brutally slaughtered, can cure coronavirus – all in a dastardly quest for profit.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) have revealed numerous advertisements posted over social media making bogus claims of a coronavirus cure.

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NEWSLINK: How a Bronx Zoo tiger was tested for coronavirus

The Bronx Zoo tiger who tested positive for the coronavirus is “writing the book” on how big cats are affected by the deadly bug, according to the animal hub’s vet.

A new Animal Planet feature on Nadia — the 4-year-old Malayan tiger that tested positive for the virusearlier this month — provides details on how the big cat was tested in what experts believe to be the first-ever case of the deadly bug infecting a wild animal, USA Today reported.

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NEWSLINK: Two held for poisoning tigers at Pothamadai

Forest department officials on Thursday arrested two farm workers on charges of poisoning a tiger and a tigress which were found dead at Pothamadai in the Pollachi Forest Range on April 8.

The officials said the workers took revenge on the death of a calf and poisoned the big cats. Search is on for two more farm workers.
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SIGHTING, UK: Man comes forward to reveal truth behind latest 'Fen Tiger' sighting

A homeowner claims a giant ‘wildcat with big claws’ seen prowling a garden is his pet.

Eyebrows were raised when pictures of a large feline with distinctive marking were posted online, leading some to believe the legendary ‘Fen Tiger’ had remerged.

The Fen Tiger has a reputation in south Lincolnshire and neighbouring county Cambridgeshire after reported sightings going back more than 30 years - and the latest was last week in central Cambridge.

Images of the big cat sparked debate online – but now a man has come forward claiming the mysterious animal is his pet.

Sid Lydon, who lives in the city, spoke out after a resident sent a photo of an animal 'the size of a Labrador' on top of a shed in the city centre.

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SIGHTING, UK: Second witness saw 'big cat' wandering by Coldham's Common

A second witness has said they saw the 'big cat' which caused quite the stir in Cambridge near Coldham's Lane last week.

Mike Stribling, 65, was on Coldham's Common when he saw the large cat wandering across the road on April 9.

He said: "I turned around and this cat walked across the road from one set of bushes to the other. It was a large cat, it wasn't a 'big cat' but it was a large cat.

"It had circles on its tail and it was lion coloured."
He went on to describe how "it just wandered, it wasn't running, it just wandered across into the bushes."

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Monday, 13 April 2020

NEWSLINK: Mountain lion discovered, killed near school playground

When the Plumas County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center reported that someone was trying to rundown pedestrians on Lee Way, I instantly thought it was bad.

As that scene played out and ended with an arrest without anyone maimed or killed, I went back to attending the list of stories I was writing for the following week’s newspapers.

It wasn’t long before dispatch revealed a report of a mountain lion in a tree. Did I hear that right?

I called dispatch and the person who answered the phone said she wasn’t certain of the location.

I went back to listening to one of the office scanners.

Did I hear right? Was it at Quincy Elementary School, Pioneer campus? I would have to see. Grabbing the scanner I was out the door and traveling to the school?

Which way to go? Should I go over the hill or around on Quincy Junction to Lee Road. As I waited in the turn lane at the light I told myself it had been better to go the other way, but I didn’t change my course.

A few minutes later, I was glad I didn’t go in the other direction. There, with lights flashing, was a group of people gathering near the bridge across Mill Creek on Lee Road.

Animal Control officer Alec Saez was directing traffic and was immediately yelling for me to back up and leave. I’d just pulled into a turnout to get away from traffic. I’d also spotted a man with a rifle pointing down toward the water in Mill Creek. “I have a right to be here,” I yelled back. I do. I also knew that Saez was trying to protect me. As he later explained during a lull in activities, he didn’t want me to be in the line of fire. I wasn’t. I had my eye on the shooter, but at that point I wasn’t sure what he had in his sights.

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NEWSLINK: Leopard dies of tick-borne disease in Odisha's Nandankanan

A 16-year-old leopard ‘Suraj’ died in its enclosure on Tuesday night while undergoing treatment for blood protozoan infection, a tick-borne disease. The disease had claimed life of a tiger in the Zoo last year.

Deputy Director of the Zoo Jayanta Das said the leopard was undergoing treatment for the last one month and had been kept in a separate enclosure. Though health of the leopard had improved and diarrhea had subsided, it suddenly became sick on Tuesday afternoon with respiratory distress which is suspected to have occurred due to internal bleeding, said Das.

“The exact cause of death will be ascertained after postmortem. The average life span of a leopard is 12 to 17 years,” he said. According to zoo authorities, the forest officials had rescued Suraj from Bhanjanagar in July 2004 when it was around four months old. After its death, the number of leopard in Nandankanan has come down to five, including three female.

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NEWSLINK: Mountain lion found in Chico neighborhood

People in several communities have reported seeing more wildlife in populated areas due to the lack of traffic as people stay home due to the coronavirus.

On Monday, a homeowner in North Chico found a mountain lion in her yard.

Butte County deputies and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to the report on Kelsey Drive off Keefer Road in North Chico.

A homeowner told deputies that her dog chased a mountain lion into a tree.

The mountain lion was tranquilized. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said the big cat fell asleep in the tree, and an employee with USDA Wildlife Services climbed the tree, restrained it properly, and lowered it down.

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NEWSLINK: Third cougar caught in Santiago streets

In the Chilean capital, Santiago, another cougar has been sighted wandering through a residential neighbourhood.

Officials caught the big cat and took it to the zoo to check its health, before releasing it back into its natural habitat.

Two other cougars have been caught since the city fell quiet amid the movement restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Santiago has six million inhabitants.

"They sense less noise and are also looking for new places to find food and some get lost and appear in the cities," Horacio Bórquez, Chile's national director of livestock and agriculture service, said of the animals.

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NEWSLINK: The Plague Has Been Quietly Killing Yellowstone Cougars for a Decade

A nine-year study of cougars in the Yellowstone National Park has found that nearly half of the big cats they tracked were infected with the plague-carrying bacteria Yersinia pestis at some point, according to a paper published last month in Environmental Conservation.

The Y. pestis bacteria is behind the Black Death, the mid-1300s epidemic of bubonic plague that in five years killed over 20 million people in Europe. These days, only about seven people catch Y. pestis each year in the United States. The bacteria lives in the soil, gets picked up by fleas living on rodents, and infects other creatures on its way up the food chain. The new evidence in cougars, also known as pumas and mountain lions, shows how flexible and dangerous the pathogen is in different hosts.

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SIGHTING, UK: Via Kev Rowland - Is this the mysterious 'Fen Tiger'?

A Cambridge University worker was stunned to discover a huge wildcat 'the size of a Labrador' with 'big claws' roaming around his garden.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, photographed the animal from his kitchen window in central Cambridge on Saturday morning.

The sighting raised suspicions the mysterious 'Fen Tiger' has once again been spotted in Cambridgeshire after an animal believed to be the legendary big cat was photographed in St Neots last December.

The 'Fen Tiger' has, as the myth goes, been on the prowl in Cambridgeshire and beyond for over 30 years, with numerous sightings reported throughout the county.

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Tuesday, 7 April 2020

NEWSLINK: Leopard dies of tick-borne disease in Odisha's Nandankanan

A 16-year-old leopard ‘Suraj’ died in its enclosure on Tuesday night while undergoing treatment for blood protozoan infection, a tick-borne disease. The disease had claimed life of a tiger in the Zoo last year.

Deputy Director of the Zoo Jayanta Das said the leopard was undergoing treatment for the last one month and had been kept in a separate enclosure. Though health of the leopard had improved and diarrhea had subsided, it suddenly became sick on Tuesday afternoon with respiratory distress which is suspected to have occurred due to internal bleeding, said Das.

“The exact cause of death will be ascertained after postmortem. The average life span of a leopard is 12 to 17 years,” he said. According to zoo authorities, the forest officials had rescued Suraj from Bhanjanagar in July 2004 when it was around four months old. After its death, the number of leopard in Nandankanan has come down to five, including three female.

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NEWSLINK: Eight-year-old female leopard rescued in Shirur

An adult leopard, which had caused a panic among local residents, was rescued by the Maharashtra Forest Department and Wildlife SOS from a farmhouse in Shirur in Pune district on Thursday.

The leopard was spotted earlier in the week in Apati Gaon in Shirur wandering outside a farmhouse located next to a sugarcane field. This was immediately reported to the Forest Department and Junnar-based NGO Wildlife SOS who were requested to deploy a rapid response unit at the location to avert a human-wildlife conflict situation.

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VIDEO: Wild cougar wanders Chilean capital

A wild cougar made its way to the Chilean capital and spent about 15 hours wandering the city's empty streets before being captured by police and veterinary specialists.

Authorities said the puma was first spotted in the city of Santiago around dawn Tuesday and investigators quickly confirmed that it was a wild animal, and not an escapee from the Metropolitan Zoo.

Police and the Agricultural and Livestock Service enlisted the help of specialists from the zoo to track the mountain lion as it wandered through multiple urban neighborhoods.

The animal was caught on video wandering through streets that had been emptied by the curfew imposed on the city amid the coronavirus epidemic.

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VIDEO: Puma or Cougar?

"Every Tuesday, Mongabay will bring you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our new show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.

Camera traps bring you closer to the secretive natural world and are an important conservation tool to study wildlife. This week we’re meeting the animal that has the world record for the most names for an animal with 80 different ones: the puma.

The pumas (Puma concolor) are large cats but they are not classified as ‘big cats’. 

Instead, they are the biggest of the smallest cats. They have the largest range of any native land mammal in the western hemisphere living all the way from Canada to Chile. Also, they are extremely adaptable and able to live in almost every type of habitat, from forests to deserts. Watch the video to learn more about pumas and it’s six different subspecies found across the Americas!"

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NEWSLINK: Mountain lion sighted near Cydney Casper Park

A mountain lion was spotted in a wooded area near Cydney Casper Park in Gilroy on Thursday morning, police said.

A resident reported the sighting to police about 9:30 a.m., Gilroy police said in a news release.

Officers searched the area but did not find the big cat. Police said they are working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to “ensure the safety of the public.”

Police reminded residents that the wooded area is in close proximity to mountain lion habitat.

Residents who come face to face with a mountain lion should not run or crouch, but instead try to appear as large as possible and give the animal room to escape, police said. Children should also be kept close.

If attacked, residents should do their best to remain standing and fight back, police said.

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NEWSLINK: Proposal to reintroduce the cheetah to India is an exciting opportunity

In January, the Supreme Court allowed the Union government to bring the African cheetah to India in an effort to reintroduce the species in the country. The Asiatic cheetah, which once roamed India’s vast forests and grasslands, was declared extinct here in 1952, after decades of human intervention, hunting and habitat degradation. The IUCN Red List classifies the species as critically endangered globally.

Kim Young-Overton, KAZA programme director for Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, believes that if any programme were to responsibly and successfully reintroduce the Asiatic, not African, cheetah, “it would be remarkable for this cheetah subspecies". KAZA stands for the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area in southern Africa, which hosts roughly 20% of the global cheetah population.