Google+

Global Tiger Day ONE Thing You Can Do to Save our Big Cats

Tigers Today on Global Tiger Day

Gracey's Promise to Tiger

Gracey’s Promise

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.

[Read more…]

Cat Obituary. Farewell Eastern Cougar

 

Eastern cougar

Cat Obituary. Farewell Eastern Cougar

The Eastern Cougar, a subspecies of one of North America’s largest cats, was declared extinct by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)  on March 2, 2011,  after  a very  long and protracted review process. The USFWS gathered information on the elusive cat subspecies from both scientists and government authorities in the 21 states where the eastern cougar, also known as the eastern puma once lived.  The private Eastern Cougar Foundation spent a decade looking for evidence and  after finding none, changed its name to the Cougar Rewilding Foundation.

The historic distribution of the cougar was across lower Canada in the north, all the way to Patagonia, South America. The  highly adaptable big cat was the most widely distributed land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. It could be found in tidal marshes, deserts, mountainous terrain and deciduous, coniferous and tropical forests. But the expanding human population reduced their distribution and they did not adapt well to areas with conflicting land uses.

The eastern cougar once roamed from Maine to South Carolina and as far west as Michigan and Tennessee. They were agile for such a big cat.  The cougars had long slender bodies and small heads with short rounded ears.  They sported a beautiful  tawny coat, usually  brownish red or grayish brown, that would be more tan in the summer months and more gray in the winter. Their muzzle, chin, and underbelly were a beautiful creamy white.  They had a distinctive black tip on their tails and black coloring behind the ears, and at the base of their whiskers.

The eastern cougar was a solitary and territorial hunter whose  job was to thin the deer herd through direct predation. The big cat was a “natural shepherd” forcing deer to be more vigilant and stop grazing like cattle so that the forest would have a chance to regenerate. There are no other species available to take over the eastern cougar’s position as a top-level predator. This leaves behind ecological consequences, including a population explosion of white -tailed deer and the Eastern forests in declining health.

The USFWS decision to declare the eastern cougar extinct does not affect the current status of the Florida Panther, another wild cat subspecies that is endangered.  The Florida panther once roamed throughout the southeastern United States but now exists in less than 5% of its historic range. There are only an estimated 120-160 cats remaining in southwestern Florida.

Preparations are being made to remove the eastern cougar from the endangered species list, since extinct animals are not eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The eastern cougar was considered a distinct subspecies, although it is now believed they had the same genetics as their western relatives.   It is highly unlikely that there will be any attempt to reintroduce cougars to the eastern states, the required habitat is just not available .

The announcement of the extinction was made quietly and  the cougar was put to rest without a ceremony. And that is fitting I suppose for a cat so elusive it was given the nickname “ghost cat”.  Researchers believe the subspecies has  been extinct since the 1930’s and was listed as an endangered species in 1973.

Even though the extinction conclusion was not  unexpected, the official declaration of extinction,  the acknowledgment that the big cat is gone forever still hurts.

 

Eatern Cougar Extinct Getty file

Petties Winner Badge

The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club!

Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger

Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger photo by Patty Wycinski

Hi there and welcome to The Tiniest Tiger’s Conservation Cub Club where small paws are uniting to make a big difference!

My name is Gracey, The Tiniest Tiger, and I am a domestic cat. I belong to the felidae family which also includes big cats like the tiger, lion and jaguar. I am a lucky cat because I live in a safe and loving home where I have plenty of food, fresh water and toys to keep me healthy and happy.  My  human parents recued me from the dog pound as a wee kitten and  have provided me a safe environment in which to thrive!

But some of the members of my extended family have not been so lucky. Most of my big cat relatives are in trouble. Our humans are competing with the big cats for land and natural resources. People are taking over the big cats natural habitat. Their natural habitat is their home.

Some of our big cats are at risk for extinction! When something is extinct, it means it is gone forever!! But if you take action and help your family and friends realize how important all animals are in the world, we can make a difference. There are many good people working very hard to protect and preserve not only my Felidae family but all animals. I am asking you to do anything you can to stand up for all animals.

I am calling all animal lovers to join my Conservation Cub Club.

As our Conservation Cub Club family grows we will be able to make  donations by uniting our small paws to make a big difference. When everyone gives just a little, it helps a whole lot. We may have small paws, but together we can make a big difference!

Our The Tiniest Tiger facebook community is over 22,000 members strong.  Thank you for being my Friend and for caring about all cats, both big and small.