I have a guilty pleasure. When I am tired and just want to relax and not think about anything, I like to watch Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet. They haven’t found Bigfoot yet, or even come close, but they keep on trying. Although the shows seem to follow a predictable pattern, I still watch because it is entertaining hearing all the “squatch” jargon. Even the phrase “Gone Squatchin” makes me laugh.
Conservation programs that take into consideration the well-being and interests of the people that live with the big cats have the most chance of succeeding. In the past, there has been a conservation versus them approach and people were even removed from their homes as protected areas were off limits to local people. Projects that work with local people and give them an incentive to save the big cats have a much better chance of success. Here are three big cat conservation projects that help humans too.
1) Jaguar Corridor Lights Up Eastern Colombia
The Cheetah is Racing for Survival
Our Friend and Neighbor Marie
Our neighbor Marie was a wonderful person, so full of warmth and laughter. She was always happy to see me and I was always happy to see her too. She had the kind of smile that warmed your heart the moment you saw her. You always felt better after chatting with Marie. Years ago when I started up the bakery part of the business, she was the first to buy a loaf of English Muffin bread. I have a photo somewhere, but that was before digital images. Marie was super excited about The Tiniest Tiger.
She held the book close to her and said she would cherish her copy. And I know she meant that too.
Welcome to The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club!
Super Hurrah for Mary! The winner of The Tiniest Tiger Hipster! Don’t wander far, we will be hosting other exciting giveaways soon.
The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club where small paws are uniting to make a big difference!
Master of Zoology Graduation Celebration
It was with mixed emotions that we celebrated our graduation from the Master of Zoology program at Miami University. Even though my mom and I spent many many hours in the office reading, thinking and writing, what we were learning was so super interesting it seems the time just flew by.
Into the Field
We had the opportunity to travel to the Baja peninsula to live in the dessert at Rancho San Gregorio and swim in the Sea of Cortez. We visited elephants in Amboseli National Park in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya, dismantled snares with the African Conservation Center Game Scouts, learned to track lions, walked with baboons and lived with the Maasai in Olkiramatian.
Burning Bushes to Restore Habitat Land and Save Cheetahs.
Most of us know our big cat cousins are struggling to survive in in the wild. You might even know that loss of habitat, human-wildlife conflict, loss of prey and poaching are among the biggest reasons the big cats are fighting for their lives. But did you know the loss of habitat is not just due to the increasing human population but due to another invasive species, the thorn-bush.
The acacia thorn bush overgrowth has claimed thousands of acres of savannah in Namibia where the largest number of wild cheetahs still live. Overgrazing, drought, extirpation of elephants are a few of the reasons for the bush encroachment. As the bush thickens and the sharp thorns of the acacia entwine to form a barrier, not only is the cheetah at risk but so are the prey species that thrive on the savannah.
December 4 is International Cheetah Day
Khayam was the inspiration for today.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) has declared December 4 to be International Cheetah Day. The cheetah is not just the fastest, but the oldest of the big cats having survived over 3 million years of glaciations and warming cycles, and even its own genetic bottleneck. But with habitat destruction and conflict with humans, the cheetah could become extinct in less than 20 years.
In 1977, Dr. Laurie Marker traveled to Namibia with a female cheetah named Khayam. Dr. Marker wanted to see if it was possible for a cheetah that had lived their entire life in captivity to be released into the wild. But when Dr. Marker and Khayam arrived in Namibia, she learned the cheetahs needs were quite different from what the wildlife community had assumed.
Cheetahs were considered vermin, pests that should be shot on sight. The Namibian farmers worried about their small livestock herds, thought of the cheetah as a threat to their own livelihood. Dr. Marker soon realized that if the cheetah was to survive in Namibia, a solution must be found to enable the farmers and the cheetah to live side-by-side, allowing both to thrive. Shortly after the assessment of the cheetahs’ needs, Dr. Marker also realized there was no group working to find a solution to help the farmers that would in turn save the cheetah.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund
This past summer we had the honor of being able to speak with Dr. Marker as part of our course work in Namibia. When we were sitting in a meeting room at CCF, talking with Dr. Marker she explained that she realized “There is no “they” and if you want something done you have to do it yourself.”