World’s rarest big cat turns the corner as Amur leopard population grows sharply
via: WWF Russia
April 2013. Specialists of Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, “Land of the Leopard” National Park, WWF and Wildlife Management Department of Primorsky Province have finalized the results of snow track leopard census
Best hopes exceeded: The census produced four happy results, and one alarming development. In general the results exceeded all expectations - 48-50 individual leopards were detected, or 1.5 times more than 5 years ago.
The first bit of good news was that, according to census results, minimum leopard numbers were determined as 43-45 adult individuals and 4-5 cubs. In 2007, 27-34 leopards were recorded. Thus, if the slogan “Only 30 left in the wild!” was recently true, today we can say with confidence that not less than 50 Far Eastern leopards now live in the Russian Far East. Although good news, 50 is still a critically small number for the long term survival of the population…
Camera trap images from cities and villages in India reveal that leopards, striped hyenas, and jackals regularly pass by dwellings at night, unbeknownst to most. What does this say about these species¹ adaptability?
Two leopards encounter a mirror for the first time and inspect it as adorably as possible
by Lauren Davis
Xavier Hubert-Brierre and Michel Guiss Djomou set up a mirror and a hidden camera near Nyonié in Gabon, filming the local fauna’s reactions to seeing their reflections. These two leopard approach the mirror with kitty curiosity, testing out its properties in unwittingly adorable fashion.
Every day, little by little, our species is creating new islands…
These are not islands in the sea. They are patches of forest, grassland, mountainside, and swamp that encompass what remains of the wild. Unlike islands dotted across the sea, though, there are sometimes pathways between these protected swaths that permit organisms to traverse the small percentage of their range that remains open to habitation. In the case of central India’s tigers and leopards, these wildlife corridors are critical for survival.
Zoologists Sandeep Sharma and Trishna Dutta of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, along with a host of coauthors, have just published a pair of studies that used felid feces to gauge the genetic diversity of tigers and leopards in central India’s Satpura-Maikal region. This area is one of the richest tiger holdouts left in the world, despite the fact that these forests have been cut back over 75 percent over the last 300 years. The need for farmland, organized hunting, and, since the 1970s, poaching have all taken their toll on tiger populations while leopards, who do all they can to avoid the remaining tigers, have been pushed out towards the fringes where the forest meets human settlements.
Spread across several conservation areas, the big cats would seem to be isolated from each other. As Sharma, Dutta, and their colleagues found, though, the roads and trails between the parks are essential for genetic exchange between the forests…
The black panther has a mythical aura: Rudyard Kipling chose the animal for one of his heroes in The Jungle Book, in the 1970s it became the symbol of an African-American socialist party, while comic guru Stan Lee selected the stunning feline for his first black superhero.
But the real black panther isn’t an actual species, instead it’s a rare dark pigmentation (melanism) found most commonly in leopards, but also occasionally in jaguars and other wild cats. The rarity of the black panther—not to mention its striking appearance—has added to their mystery. However, recent studies have found that black panthers, in this case ‘black leopards,’ are astoundingly common in one part of the world: the Malayan peninsula.
“In the same way a genetic mutation can cause some individuals within a species to display albino characteristics, black panthers are simply individuals that have a genotype causing a uniformly black coloration on their coat,” Laurie Hedges, a carnivore researcher working with the non-profit research group Rimba, told mongabay.com in a recent interview. “In total 13 species of wild felids have been documented with ‘melanistic’ or black forms, but apart from the difference in coloration, they are still the same species as their patterned counter parts.”
Rimba, which means ‘jungle’ in Malay, is currently conducing camera trapping in two wildlife corridors in Malaysia: the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor and the Bintang Hijau Wildlife Corridors. The camera trapping research, headed by Rimba’s co-founder Gopalasamy Reuben Clements, has so far taken some astounding images and even video of the black leopard. Here, black leopards are actually the dominant form of leopard. A complete reversal from what occurs across the rest of the leopard’s massive range…
A very rare, adrenaline-packed showdown between two spotted predators: a male cheetah and a female leopard. The leopard came to steal the cheetah’s fresh kill. No one expected the cheetah to fight for it, as he is lower on the predator hierarchy, but he was very hungry—it had been a couple of days since his last meal. We were all stunned by the sudden engagement between the two cats. Sometimes hard work pays nothing and ultimately the leopard prevailed.
Two leopards knock the spots off each other during an encounter at Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa. The female had already seen off a love rival to win the affections of the male, a formidable 90-kilogram predator named Kashane by locals. Picture: Rudi Hulshof/Solent News & Photo Agency
Aha oh boy, 90kgs? That is an absolutely humungous leopard. About the same size as a full grown female Sumatran tiger!
Development halted in crucial wildlife corridor in Malaysia
by Jeremy Hance
Kenyir Wildlife Corridor in northeast Malaysia is teeming with wildlife: elephants, gibbons, tigers, tapirs, and even black panthers (melanistic leopards) have been recorded in the 60 km (37 mile) stretch of forest.
In fact, researchers have recorded over 40 mammal species (see species list below), including 15 threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List. When these findings were presented by scientists to the Terengganu state government action followed quickly: all development projects have been halted pending a government study.
“We will not hesitate to gazette the site if the findings reveal that it is of environmental importance,” Datuk Toh Chin Yaw, chairman of the Terengganu State Industry, Trade and Environment Committee, told fz.
Connecting Taman Negara National Park—the country’s largest—to other forests in Terengganu, Kenyir Wildlife Corridor sports a stunning abundance of wildlife, according to Reuben Clements, who has been taking remote camera photos in the forest for years…
Hungry leopard gets into a spot of bother after falling into a well
via Daily Mail UK
She may be an intimidating predator in her natural environment but this leopard looked more like a lost kitten after falling into an open well - prompting a rescue operation with a difference.
The fully grown female big cat was prowling for food near the Sonaigali village in Guwahati city, northeast India, when she tumbled into the well. Residents of the village were shocked to find the trapped animal when they made their morning trek to draw water from the well.
They notified the local police, who summoned forest rangers to tackle the angry cat. The rangers tranquilized the leopard before veterinarian Bijoy Gogoi gently carried the creature out of the well. The leopard was taken to the local zoo. It is the second time a leopard has had to be rescued from the populated area within the past month…