Lion Guardians Promotes Coexistence between People and Lions
One of my favorite organizations is the Lion Guardians. This community based conservation program is bringing hope for the survival of the African Lion. I hope you will take time to watch the amazing video that was created to help bring more awareness and support for this amazing project.
The Lion Guardians Mission is:
To promote sustainable coexistence between people and lion using cultural values, community participation and science.
The Lion Guardians program was initiated in 2006 by the Living with Lions project and the local communities, and was set into motion in collaboration with Maasailand Preservation Trust in January 2007 on Mbirikani Group Ranch in the Amboseli Ecosystem
Tigers Today on Global Tiger Day
The Tiger (Panthera tigris) is our world’s largest cat and is also the cat most threatened with extinction. Just 100 years ago, there were as many as 100,000 wild tigers living in Asia but today fewer than 3,200 remain.
We have already lost three of the subspecies to extinction in the last 80 years; the Javan, last recorded in the 1970′s, the Caspian, lost in the 1950′s and the Bali lost in the 1930′s. Of the six remaining, the South China subspecies is thought to be extinct in the wild. There have been no signs of this tigers in the wild over the last 10 years. The Bengal, Indochinese, Sumatran, Siberian and Malayan are the only remaining wild tigers and are fighting to survive in just 7% of their historic range. Tigers only live in 13 Asian countries now having gone extinct in 11 countries already.
First Responders Set Out to Rescue 5 Men Trapped in Tree by Big Cats in Sumatra
A group of Indonesian men spent four days trapped in a tree while Sumatran tigers paced in circles around the tree. The men were hunting
for rare wood used to make incense but this is not what provoked the tigers. These men accidentally killed a tiger cub in a trap set to catch antelope and deer for food. The tigers were relentless seeking revenge killing a sixth man and waiting for the remaining five to come down from the tree.
A team of 30 rescuers, including police and soldiers, dispatched to help the men deep in the jungle in the north of Sumatra arrived to find the critically endangered tigers still circling the tree. This team did not dare approach, but called in three local animal tamers. Eventually the tigers left the tree and the men were rescued.
This took place in Sumatra, home of the Sumatran tiger, where cases of animal-human conflict are increasing due to extensive logging chewing up the big cats’ natural habitat. The Sumatran tiger is the world’s smallest tiger and the team of 30 rescuers would not approach the tigers without an additional team of animal trainers skilled at diverting the tigers’ attention. And this happened in Sumatra, where both the tigers and the first responders both live.
First Responders Bear the Burden of the Big Cat Crisis in the United States Too.
First responders bear the burden of the big cat crisis in the United States too but this country is not home to wild tigers. There are an estimated 10,000- 20,000 big cats kept as pets in backyards, basements and roadside zoos throughout the United States. Sadly, the U.S. is thought to be home to more captive tigers than are found in the wild. Exact numbers are not known so there is no way of knowing how many big cats are being kept in private hands and under what conditions.
Sophisticated Tracking Collars Show Surprising Results
Cheetahs might be the fasted land animal but a new study reveals it isn’t speed but extreme agility and maneuverability that’s key to bringing down their prey. A team from the Royal Veterinary College, UK, working with the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, used custom-built tracking collars containing GPS and inertial measurement units to capture the locomotor dynamics of cheetahs hunting in the wild.
In the 1960′s cheetahs were clocked reaching speeds of 64 miles per hour, but research using modern technology shows the cheetah’s speed at 40 mph. These studies were carried out with captive cheetahs and could give little insight into how a cheetah uses their speed in the wild. So researchers collared five wild cheetahs and tracked their movement. These sophisticated collars are capable of of monitoring speed, acceleration, deceleration and location. Data was collected for 367 runs over 17 months.
Cheetahs Rely on Agility and Maneuverability
Distinctive Lions Will Live Better Lives Thanks to Genetic Testing
Scientists thought there was something different about the fifteen lions living in the rundown Addis Ababa Lion Zoo. The male lions living in the Ethiopian zoo have large, dark brown manes that extend down their chests through their front legs, down their backs below
their shoulders and the length of their belly through the groin. These male lions are also smaller in body size than their cousins from eastern and southern Africa. These distinguishing features in the Addis Ababa Lions made the biologists think this group of lions are distinctive, and in fact, made them wonder if they could be the relatives of an extinct lion subspecies.
It had been speculated that the Addis Ababa lions might be the last pure relatives of North African Barbary lions or South African Cape lions, both subspecies now extinct. Or could these 15 lions be a completely genetically distinctive population of lion?
The lions are descended from a private collection of the last Ethiopian ruler, Emperor Haile Selassie, who captured their ancestors from the wild and brought them to his palaces in the 1940′s. Today, these lions live in the same holding pens as the first lions captured, only now the zoo is in poor condition and the lions are lacking proper nutrition, and inadequate space.
Addis Lion zookeepers became so overwhelmed caring for the lions that they reached out to their German “sister city” Leipzig, for help. Vets from the Leipzig zoo traveled to Ethiopia to check the health status of the lions. While examining the lions, a team of vets took blood samples for genetic investigations for an international breeding program in case the results confirmed these lions are their own subspecies or perhaps their own genetic construction.
by Joanne McGonagle
Richard Turere’s “Lion Lights” Save Lives
Maasai, Richard took over the responsibility for herding and safeguarding his family’s livestock when he was only 9 years old. One of the threats to his family’s cattle, sheep and goats is the presence of African lions when they wander out of Nairobi National Park following the path of zebra and other prey animals searching for savannah grasses.
Richard grew up hating lions because at night, lions would sneak in and kill the family’s livestock while the boy was sleeping. Determined to protect the families valuable livestock, Richard knew he had to think of a way to help him protect his animals from lion attacks.
Richard first built a fire, but realized even though the lions are afraid of fire, they were not afraid to go around the fire and snatch up a meal and in fact their path was made easier by the light of the fire. Richard then tried to place a scarecrow to fool the lions into thinking that he was guarding his cattle, but this only worked for one night. Richard said, the lions are very clever, so when they returned the second night, they must have realized this scarecrow is not moving and so were no longer intimidated.
Male and Female Lions Hunt Using Different Strategies
I t has long been thought that male lions did not hunt, but rather were dependent on the lioness’s hunting prowess to sustain the pride. A study recently published in the March 2013 issue of Animal Behaviour discusses how researchers used airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LDAR) measurements of vegetation structure in Kruger National Park, and combined a global positioning system (GPS) telemetry data on lion kills to quantify lines-of-sight where lion kills occurred as compared to where lions rested. What they found was significant differences in use of vegetation structure by male and female lions during hunts.
Males Ambush and Females Work as Team
Amur Tiger Seeks Help from Humans
In the Russian Far East Primorye, a young Amur tiger left the forest with an illegal poachers trap grasping his paw. The weakened tiger was crying out from the pain as he entered the village. The tiger appeared to be asking for help as he walked from place to place and didn’t seem interested in returning to the forest.
Paw Caught in a Trap
Local hunters, came to the aid of the young male, thought to be about one year of age, by calling on the police and forest rangers for their assistance. The tiger was humanely captured and the trap was successfully removed from his paw. Local experts think the tiger accidentally got caught in a trap set for a much smaller animal. The lure of the bait in the trap was too hard for the tiger to resist.
Get Well Soon!
Circuses End Performing Lions and Tigers in the United Kingdom
Big changes are underway under the Big Top in the United Kingdom. Traveling circuses have started their season but for the first time no circus will be entertaining the crowd with performing big cats. The Great British Circus was the last show to feature tigers doing tricks and they sent their cats to an operator in Ireland just in time before the new animal welfare regulations became active last month.
The Victorian era ushered in circuses with performing elephants, lions and tigers on tour. The last time the circuses toured without exotic animals was around 1768 when the first modern circus entertained the spectators with horses and riders performing daring feats. Wild animals did not debut in the circus until after the British empire expanded in the 19th century. Wild animals were captured and brought back to be put on display at a time when the average person had little chance of seeing a live lion, tiger or elephant let alone watch them performing tricks.
Over the last couple hundred years, our world is a very different place. We have access to learning about and seeing lions, tigers and elephants from many sources, whether that be a zoological park, a sanctuary, learning via the internet or nature programs on television. We also know more about the big cats that share our world and most people are concerned about how they are treated and find physical abuse unacceptable in modern society.