KWS, conservancy fight over cheetahs
Photo/CORRESPONDENT | NATION One of three cheetah cubs over whose custody the KWS and Mara Conservancy are fighting sniffs an impala carcass at the conservancy.
By JULIUS SIGEI firstname.lastname@example.org AND EMEKA MAYAKA GEKARA email@example.com
Posted Saturday, May 12 2012 at 21:38
On the morning of March 1 a mother cheetah gracefully wandered into the lush golden savannah grassland of the western tip of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve with her three two-month-old cubs.
Pulled by the craving for food, she left them behind and hunted deep into lion territory. She never returned. It is possible she fell into the jaws of the lions.
A search by game rangers found only the destitute cubs, now shrivelled due to hunger and cold. They were transferred to the Mara Triangle headquarters.
But the little cubs are now the subject of a dispute between the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Mara Conservancy, which manages the Mara Triangle on behalf of the Trans Mara County Council.
The triangle, known for its rich wildlife, was hived off the Narok County Council side of the world-famous reserve when Trans Mara district was carved out of the larger Narok district in 1994.
It is a centre of attraction for tourists who flock there to watch the wildebeest migration. It is also home to hippo, lions, cheetah and rhino.
While the conservancy wants to keep the cubs, KWS on Saturday moved them to the Animal Orphanage in Nairobi. Each party seemed eager to take care of the cubs, the contest being the best way to do so.
The conservancy wants to keep the cubs, arguing that they would find a better habitat in the Mara than being kept “in captivity at the Nairobi Animal Orphanage.”
“These cubs play an important role in the survival of their species. We are appealing to the Kenyan Wildlife Service to give these cheetahs a chance due to the critical situation.
“Everything is in place, the cubs are wild, experts in carnivore release have stepped up to help, everything is ready except the cooperation of the KWS,” said Ms Sybelle Foxcroft, wildlife biologist and cat specialist, who is also the founder of an Australian Conservation organisation Cee4life.
But KWS director Julius Kipng’etich says all wildlife are the property of the State and that it could not give licence to own an orphanage without a sustainability model.
The cheetah has lost 76 per cent of its historical range and has continued to be threatened by habitat loss, competition by rival carnivores and persecution by farmers. It is estimated that there are just about 300 cheetahs left in the Maasai Mara.
“The proposal for rehabilitation for the three cubs was sent to KWS on May 5, 2012. On the May 7 Kenya Wildlife Service informed MC that the proposal will apply for future incidents and not for the current three cubs,” the conservancy said in a statement.
Dr Kipng’etich told the conservancy in a letter that cheetah rehabilitation back to the wild is not scientifically proven to be successful, and the cheetahs would be kept at the orphanage for educational purposes.
In the last two years, there has not been a single surviving cheetah cub in the Mara Triangle. A total of 16 cubs have been killed by hyenas, leopard and tawny eagles.
The conservancy started a social media campaign mobilising animal lovers to join them in lobbying KWS to allow the cubs to enjoy their freedom.
But on Saturday, Mr Kipng’etich was adamant the animals had to be moved.
British tourist mauled by captive cheetahs
Violet D’Mello petting a cheetah before the attack.
PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — Two excited, supposedly tame cheetahs mauled a Scottish tourist in a petting area at a South Africa game park, forcing her to play dead and turning her holiday into a “nightmare.”
The Port Elizabeth Herald reported the incident at the Kragga Kamma Game Park began last Saturday when Violet D’Mello, who had just posed for a picture with the hand-reared cheetahs named Mark and Monty, tried to protect a seven-year-old boy.
According to D’Mello, who was with her husband, Archibald, one of the animals first grabbed the leg of a visiting eight-year-old girl, leaving her with cuts and abrasions.
When she was free, it appeared to run after her seven-year-old brother.
“They weren’t being vicious,” D’Mello, from Aberdeen, told the paper. “You could tell they [the cheetahs] were just excited, but it became serious very quickly.”
As she tried to protect the boy, “something jumped me from behind.”
The cheetah knocked her to the ground where it pawed at her head, the Herald said.
As their guide tried frantically to pull off the large cat, D’Mello said, “Something inside me just said, ‘Don’t move. Don’t move at all. Don’t react, just play dead’.”
As soon as the guide pulled the first cat off, the other one jumped in, biting D’Mello’s legs and holding her down.
Visitors struggled to get both cats off at once, and, after a few minutes, they all managed to make a run for the gate, the Herald said.
“This was meant to be a holiday, but it’s really turned into a nightmare,” said D’Mello, who reportedly received stitches for a head wound.
Park manager Mike Cantor said it was not clear what had triggered the attack by the cheetahs, who had been hand-reared since birth and were considered extremely tame.
“From what we’ve been told, there was a lot of commotion at the scene, which, unfortunately, most likely aggravated them somewhat,” Cantor told the Herald.
“We’re also considering the possibility that a female in heat in one of the neighboring enclosures might have played a role here, but we can’t be sure at this stage.”
Last Updated: 3:09 PM, May 4, 2012
Posted: 10:37 AM, May 4, 2012
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/british_tourist_mauled_by_tame_cheetahs_1AM8bLyfan8YQng7QMw7qL#ixzz1uBkiTYD0
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The Elephant (and lion, zebra, baboon, king cobra and giraffe) in the room
A quiet but sleepless pre-dawn and I returned once again to extraordinarily vivid and happy memories of experiencing African wild animals where they belong, just a few weeks ago. I’m not at all sure what stupid stroke of curiosity led me to leave such joyous memories for a web search of “wild animals for sale” and similar phrases but there I was, staring at ads from people offering to sell and as many from individuals wanting to buy just about every animal I had seen and many more I had not: shopping lists and classified ads for animals from Africa, Australia and every other corner of the planet.
On one exotic animal specialty site, Carlos writes “I am looking for a pure gray wolf cub” and Ryan wants “pygmy marmoset, kinkajou, or a fat-tailed dwarf lemur or anything similar” reassuringly noting, just in case would-be sellers might be worried: “Not an impulse buy. I have experience with exotics!” Meanwhile, Carly in Ohio wants “a female camel of breeding age” and John in Arkansas is seeking a zebra for stud service because obviously, as we all know, the Ohio and Arkansas camel and zebra populations have severely declined over the past few years.
Elsewhere we find Harley who provides the following shopping list: “zebras (preferably 2 males and 5 females), giraffes (1 male, 1 female), any ape species (pairs or trios or quads, no gender preference), cotton top, golden lion tamarinds, koalas, any otter species (preferably small to medium group), meerkat, prairie dog, lions (a small pride), any ocelots or servals.” And then there’s Esteban, who writes “I am looking for Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. They would need to be 3 ft. or more, anything less I could not use.”
On the seller’s side of the street, with just a few key strokes I find a pair of white rhinos being offered along with the also endangered sable antelope, plus white faced capuchin monkeys (babies at $8,500., adults for half that price), marmosets by the dozen, water buffalo, zebras (all three species, individuals of all ages), wallabies, wallaroos and kangaroos, camels, jackals (both striped and black-backed), serval (“we have four and only need three” so now’s your chance!), an eight year old castrated giraffe (“loves people and will take food out of your hand, $35,000.”), pit vipers and king cobras, sloths, caracal, Asian leopard cats, Geoffrey’s cats, a white tiger cub, long nosed fruit bats, lions cubs (“They are well trained, friendly and highly socialized. Looking for a good, loving and caring home.” Yea, right) and an eighteen month old baboon (advertised as “very trained, knows a handful of tricks” and who the seller insists “is not a pet and must go to an experienced monkey person”).
Sure, various permits are required by many states (not all) and cities (even fewer) for people wishing to either buy or sell, but where there is a will and a credit card I assume there is a way. And once you make the deal and find yourself with a completely inappropriate animal, a living being who you so callously brought to your home, cheer up for all is not lost. Chances are the animal is not long for the world. And then you can respond to another ad, like the one from John who writes on one of these sites, probably a pretty wise move in fact: “I am a taxidermist and am looking for exotic animals that have passed away and in good presentable shape.” What a very strange and in many ways disturbing animal we can be.
UPDATE: Cougar shot and killed this morning in Kennewick
By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City Herald
Bob Brawdy -Tri-City Herald – Law enforcement officers shot and killed a cougar at 3207 W. Third Ave. in Kennewick this morning. It’s not known how long it had been in the neighborhood. Officials said the big cat had to be killed because it could not be trapped safely after it climbed a tree.
Kennewick A state Department of Fish and Wildlife officer shot and killed a cougar at a home in downtown Kennewick this morning after the cougar had spent about nine hours in the area.
The cougar was about 25 feet up in a tree in the backyard of the home at 3207 W. Third Place in Kennewick.
Casey Leach’s two shepherd mixes were keeping the cougar up in the tree. As soon as she called the dogs into her home at about 10 a.m., the cougar was killed, said Sgt. Mike Jewell of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Kennewick Police Department had received three different calls reporting a cougar in a half-mile radius near where it was eventually found. The first call came in at about 1 a.m. today.
Jewell said he arrived at the home at about 9 a.m. The decision to shoot the cougar was made after discussing options with his supervisor, the area wildlife biologist and Kennewick Police officers.
There were no other options based on the situation, Jewell said. A tranquilizer would take 15 to 20 minutes to immobilize the animal in ideal circumstances, he said.
And there was no escape route for the cougar because it was in a neighborhood surrounded by other homes and people, Jewell said.
“We had no other option, and we want to make sure we keep the public safe,” he said.
Washington State Patrol also assisted in the response.
Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2012/05/02/1925175/kennewick-cougar-shot-and-killed.html#storylink=cpy
New Delhi: Advancing efforts to conserve the growing population of tigers, the Centre today asked the states to expedite steps towards raising, arming and deploying the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) in and around big cat habitats.
“We persuade all the states to raise, arm and deploy the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF). I would like to request all of you to ensure that this be expedited by all the states,” Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told All India Meeting of Field Directors of Tiger Reserves.
Stating that field protection is something which continues to remain extremely high on tiger agenda of India, which holds over half the world’s tiger population, the Minister said the Centre supported the states in a “very big way” to deploy the local workforce for protection of big cats.
“Despite a 100 percent central assistance to four states– Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Orissa– the deployment of STPF has not taken place,” she said.
Karnataka has emerged as the first state to deploy STPF.
“I am happy to announce and also to congratulate Karnataka, which has emerged as the first state to implement the STPF,” she said after distributing awards for best performance to various tiger reserves in the country.
“Tiger conservation is a collective responsibility between government of India, state governments and civil society. Today tigers need support from one and all,” Natarajan said.
According to the latest tiger census report, the current tiger population is estimated at 1,706. The results include figures from 17 states with tiger reserves.
The Minster also released a book ‘Fundamentals of the Wildlife Management’ written by Rajesh Gopal, Member Secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority.
Natarajan said that since last year, the Ministry has sharpened its focus on the tiger.
“The centrally sponsored scheme of Project Tiger was revised in August 2011. Its allotment was stepped up to Rs 1216.86 crores, especially to support the states for securing inviolate space for tigers,” she said.
Spelling out the steps being taken by the Ministry, she said several additional components include change in the funding pattern in respect of north eastern states (90:10), raising compensation for man-animal conflict to Rs 2 lakh and acquisition of private land for making the core/critical tiger habitat inviolate.
The Minister also said the Centre has given a nod for establishment of tiger safaris, interpretation/awareness centres under the existing component of ‘co-existence agenda in buffer/fringe areas’ and management of such centres through the respective Panchayati Raj institutions, and re- introduction of cheetah.