Habitat research methods give a new peek at tiger life with conservation
by Sue Nichols, Michigan State Univ.
From a tiger’s point of view, yesterday’s thoughtful conservation plans might be today’s reason to branch out. An international team of researchers has found a useful way to better understand the tiger’s take on policy.
Twelve years ago, a team led by Jianguo “Jack” Liu at Michigan State University (MSU) showed that China needed to revisit how it was protecting its pandas. Now research on tiger habitat in Nepal, published this week’s Ecosphere journal of the Ecological Society of America, again shows that conservation demands not only good policy, but monitoring even years down the road.
"Understanding long-term outcomes of conservation programs is crucial and requires innovative methods," Liu said. "Now we’re learning that Nepal’s outstanding efforts to protect tigers are best supported with close monitoring because conservation situations are so dynamic. In both cases, the key is to understand how the people who live near the valued wildlife are faring as well."…
Read TakePart’s article, ‘Why Secret Wildlife Cameras Might Be a Poacher’s Worst Nightmare,’ to learn about Panthera’s plans to deploy new ‘Poachercams’ in Sumatra later this year that use cell phone technology to send pics of poachers in real time to ranger stations. Also learn what Panthera’s Snr Tiger Program Dir Dr John Goodrich had to say about the innovative work of anti-poaching patrols…
The second most common cause of infectious disease death in domestic dogs, distemper, also represents a significant threat to wildlife — tigers included. Scientists recently confirmed that canine distemper virus is both directly and indirectly killing the endangered big cats in the Russian Far East.
Good News: Tigers in Nepal - population increases 63 %
The small Himalayan country of Nepal shared some big news on Global Tiger Day.
Nepal’s government announced its tiger population has increased by 63 percent since the last survey in 2009—putting the number of tigers at an estimated 198 with a range between 163-235.
Nepal was able to definitively confirm that wild tigers are found in 12 of the 14 districts in the Terai Arc Landscape, which is also home to rhinos, elephants and nearly 7 million people. Remarkable tiger population gains were noted in:
Bardia National Park—grew to 50 (45 - 55) from 18 (17 - 29) in 2009
Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve—increased to 17 (13 - 21) from 8 (8 - 14) in 2009
Chitwan National Park—rose to 120 (98 - 139) from 91 (71 - 147) in 2009
The first-ever joint tiger survey between Nepal and India in the transboundary Terai Arc Landscape began in January. In Nepal, this massive wildlife survey included over 260 trained staff, camera traps covering 1,870 square miles of tiger habitat and 7,699 tiger images…
Rising Numbers May Not Be Enough to Save Tigers and Kiwis
by Traci Watson
The little spotted kiwi is a shy worm-eater so small it can be cradled in a child’s arms. The Bengal tiger is a 220-kilogram predator that shouldn’t be cradled in anyone’s arms. But new research shows the cuddly bird and the powerful feline share an unfortunate fate: Though their numbers have stabilized or are even rising, some populations are suffering from profound genetic isolation or loss of genetic diversity—enough in some cases to leave them deeply vulnerable to new diseases and other threats.
Taken together, the findings demonstrate that “just because population sizes of threatened species have recovered doesn’t mean that they are okay,” writes Richard Frankham, a professor emeritus at Macquarie University in Australia and an author of several conservation-genetics textbooks who was not involved with the work, in an e-mail. “Genetic management of fragmented animal and plant populations is one of the most important, largely ignored issues in conservation biology.”…
Tigers are perhaps the most iconic cat species in the world, next to the African lion, and one of the most loved animal species worldwide. And yet, despite the respect, admiration and fear it inspires, it is endangered and disappearing from the wild at a rapid clip. There are six subspecies of tiger, including the more familiar Sumatran Tiger and Bengal Tiger, and some are more threatened than others. But the tiger as a species is in danger everywhere.
Threats include a loss of habitat, but also they are hunted for their skins, and for parts of their bodies used as pain killers and aphrodisiacs (though there is zero scientific evidence that any part of a tiger has any medicinal properties). Though protected through CITIES, the black market trade in tigers (both alive and in pieces) is thriving. Today, the captive tiger populations for several subspecies outnumber the wild populations. Without more stringent protections and better enforcement, these big cats may disappear from the wild entirely.
Cat fight to cat nap: Two teenage tigers need a long lie down after exhausting scrap
These young Bengal Tigers went from having a ferocious cat fight to a cat nap after tiring each other out in a heated battle.With a swat of an enormous paw and a fearsome flash of teeth, this pair of young tigers were captured fighting tooth and claw at the Bandhavgarh National Park in India.But despite appearing to be a serious battle, the teenage tigers were actually just flexing their muscles with a bit of playful posturing…
What weighs 3 pounds, has its eyes closed and is striped?
A newborn male Sumatran tiger cub, born at the Sacramento Zoo on March 3, stands to be a boon for the critically endangered species.
The as-yet-unnamed cub was born to mom Bahagia at 2:55 a.m. and weighed 3 lbs (1.4 kg), a good size for a Sumatran tiger cub, which are usually only 2 pounds at birth. Both mother and baby tiger are in good health, the zoo noted in a release…
A critically endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) growls at a photographer at the Sumatra Tiger Rescue Centre compound, inside the Tambling Wildlife Nature Conservation (TWNC), near Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, on February 25, 2013.
The rescue center has released five tigers since 2009 on the 45,000 hectares of the TWNC jungle. Eight tigers, which eat a total of 80 live pigs a month, are still under its care, but one of the eight will be released next year.
The Sumatran tiger is a rare tiger subspecies that inhabits the Indonesian island of Sumatra and is classified as critically endangered. About 440-600 of these animals were accounted for by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2008. The owner of this preserve has said that it costs roughly $150,000 per month to maintain.
Siberian tigers approach a keeper’s car as they wait to be fed at the Siberian Tiger Forest Park in Harbin, China, on December 27, 2011. More than 800 Siberian tigers are currently living in the park, which is also a breeding center for this endangered species, according to a local report.
Over the past decade, more than 1,000 critically endangered tigers have been killed for their furs and skins. A century ago, more than 100,000 tigers existed in the wild. Today, that number is estimated to be 3,500. The big cats occupy less than seven percent of their original range.
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…
Meet Smasher—the male in the background. That’s the name photographer Steve Winter gave this youngster, cooling off in a watering hole in Bandhavgarh National Park, after he slapped the automated camera trap until it stopped clicking. Both tigers are thought to have killed people, and Smasher is now in captivity.
See more pictures from the Dec. 2011 feature story ”A Cry for the Tiger.”
Camera trap images reveal tiger numbers rebounding across Asia, especially in southwestern India, where young tigers are leaving protected reserves due to population pressure, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
The WCS attributes the rise indifferent tiger groups to better law enforcement and protection of additional habitat. For example, a notorious poaching ring was busted in Thailand last year, and the gang leaders have been given prison sentences of up to five years — the most severe punishments for wildlife poaching in Thailand’s history, the conservation group said in a statement.
Tiger numbers have been rising steadily in Thailand’s Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary since 2007, with a record 50-plus tigers counted last year, the WCS said. The sanctuary is part of the country’s Western Forest Complex. This core spans 7,000 sq mi (18,000 sq km) and is home to an estimated 125 to 175 tigers…
(read more: Live Science) (photo: Wildlife Conservation Society)