When People Go Near Big Cats

Bad few days for tourists watching exotic animals.

First came word Monday that a 22-year-old Norwegian had been clawed by a cheetah on the Harnas game farm in Namibia. A report on eTurboNews.com says Kristel Johanson left a tour vehicle to help a guide feed cheetahs. One pawed her, tearing her shorts and leaving her leg bloody. Luckily, her injuries were not serious. The guide told a reporter along on the tour that you should never turn your back on a cheetah.

Coincidentally, a Hyundai Super Bowl ad showed a caged cheetah preparing to race a vehicle and instead turning on its caretaker and chasing him.

Said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: “Hyundai fumbled when it used a real cheetah in its ad. Wild animals used for ads often spend most of their lives confined to cages or chains and may be routinely beaten in order to ‘show them who’s boss.’ ”

Then came a report from the San Angelo Standard Times in Texas that a 6-year-old boy was injured Sunday while being attacked by a mountain lion Sunday in the Chisos Basin of Big Bend National Park.

Tuesday, Chinese media said tourists on a bus in a wildlife park in eastern China were rattled when Bengal tigers attacked the vehicle. An Agence France-Presse report says the tigers punctured tires and smashed the windshield, reports say, injuring the driver’s hand in the process. The tourists were not hurt.

AFP says last year, a bus driver in northeast China died after getting out to check on a mechanical malfunction and being set upon by a Siberian tiger.


What do you think about tours that put you close to uncaged wild animals?





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Jack Hanna berates Ohio legislators for lack of exotic pet laws

Hanna berates Ohio legislators on exotic pet laws

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Celebrity zookeeper Jack Hanna criticized Ohio lawmakers Thursday for not yet passing a bill to regulate exotic animals, months after authorities shot dozens of lions, tigers, bears and other wild creatures let loose by their suicidal owner.A Republican state senator from Zanesville, the eastern Ohio city where the animals were shot, had planned to introduce a bill this week but then said it was not ready. There is no new timetable for the measure.

“What’s it going to take, everyone, to pass a bill? Someone else getting killed?” Hanna said during his remarks to an Ohio newspaper trade group.

Hanna, a former Columbus Zoo director who has given animal demonstrations on national television for decades, said he can’t believe legislation hasn’t progressed.

“In fact, I’m actually in a state of shock right now because, folks, you’re not dealing with some little issue of animals here. You’re dealing with bombs,” Hanna told members of the Ohio Newspaper Association at their convention in Columbus.

Hanna said he has no power over the Ohio Legislature and isn’t running for office. But he said he has seen a tiger finish off a 2,000-pound water buffalo in less than 10 seconds and lions take down even larger animals in less than 30 seconds.

“You probably don’t want to witness it,” he said.

Ohio has some of the nation’s weakest restrictions on exotic pets. Efforts to strengthen the state’s law took on new urgency in October when authorities were forced to hunt down and kill 48 wild animals — including endangered Bengal tigers — after their owner freed them from his Zanesville farm and then committed suicide.

In August 2010, a bear attacked and killed a caretaker during a feeding at the home of a man who also kept wolves and tigers on property near Cleveland.

Hanna again defended the sheriff’s decision to kill the animals released from Terry Thompson’s Zanesville home. The animals destroyed included six black bears, two grizzlies, a baboon, a wolf and three mountain lions.

“When we showed up, we had 45 minutes of daylight left,” Hanna said. “Tranquilization, folks, is very difficult. It’s not like on TV where you pop something and it just, plop, falls over.”

He said no one knew for sure how many animals were loose or captured that night, which why the dead wildlife were laid out in a row across the countryside. A photographic image of the scene was disseminated to newspapers and websites around the world.

State Sen. Troy Balderson, of Zanesville, had sent a letter last Friday to state lawmakers, asking them to sign on to his bill.

He included some details about future regulations in his letter. For instance, the measure would immediately ban people from acquiring additional exotic animals. Zoo, circuses, sanctuaries and research facilities would be exempt.

Owners of lions, tigers and other large animals, such as elephants and crocodiles, would be banned in 2014 from keeping the creatures unless they applied to be a “private shelter” and met new caging requirements and care standards.

Balderson said Tuesday the bill needed more work and wouldn’t be introduced this week.

Asked to respond to Hanna’s comments Thursday, Balderson said in a statement: “The draft legislation continues to be a work in progress, which is complicated by such passion involving public safety and personal property. Therefore, we want to make sure we get it right, and that requires very careful dialogue with all interested parties.”

Balderson’s draft proposal is less strict than a framework suggested last year by a state study committee, in which Hanna took part, and state agencies.

The group had recommended a more stringent ban on the casual ownership of exotic animals. Those who still owned restricted wildlife — such as bears, monkeys and others — in 2014 without proper licenses or exemptions would have the animals taken away by state or local officials.

Hanna took issue with the idea of with some owners being allowed to keep their animals because they would be grandfathered into any ban.

“I can tell you now,” Hanna said. “Someone is going to get killed again if this thing isn’t properly passed.”

Hanna said that on his travels around the world, he has frequently been asked whether the laws have been changed in Ohio as a result of the Zanesville hunt.

“This is an international issue,” he said. “The world is waiting for what the law will be.”

Scientific American


Tiger cub injured in Bandipur India

Tiger cub injured in Bandipur

Lawrence Milton, TNN Feb 15, 2012, 04.26AM IST




The National|Madumalai National Park|K T Hanumanthappa|Bandipur National Park

MYSORE: Forest department officials who have noticed an injured tiger cub at Bandipur tiger reserve are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the injury does not threaten its life.


Authorities are keeping close tabs on the injured 15-month-old male cub, which is with its mother and three other cubs. The cub is slightly injured in its hip region and the wound is approximately 4-5cm in diameter, an official said. The injured cub, however, is licking its wound which is a good indication.


The injured tiger cub was sighted by visitors during a safari in the national park last week and it was brought to the notice of the authorities. Bandipur forest officials who inspected it from a distance and confirmed that the cub was suffering from an injury. The cub, however, was not struggling to move around, they said.


The mother and its cubs were roaming near the safari area till Monday, but officials seem to have lost track of them on Tuesday.


Officials who wanted to know the nature of the injury and how serious it was, decided to photograph the injured cub, which was done last weekend. Later, the pictures of the cub’s wound were circulated among experts and their counterparts in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu forest department to seek suggestions and to take a decision on what needs to be done to treat the cub.


An expert attached to Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore, has suggested monitoring the injured cub till the wound heals. He is claimed to have said as of now intervention to treat the cub is not necessary because the cub is licking the injured part and it is a sign of healing.


Meanwhile, another expert from Madumalai National Park, abutting Bandipur National park, suspects that the tiger cub was injured while hunting for wild boar, spotted deer or sambar or while sharing food with other cubs. Usually, tiger cubs start separating from their mother at this age and the inexperienced and young cats try their luck in hunting and may have been injured. The injury does not appear serious but it should be monitored.


Bandipur National Park DCF K T Hanumanthappa, who confirmed to TOI that the tiger cub was injured in the region, said they are keeping close tabs to ensure the cub is healthy. To a query, the official said they are yet to decide on whether they need to step in.  http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-02-15/mysore/31062693_1_tiger-cub-safari-area-bannerghatta-national-park

3 cubs spotted in Ranthambore tiger reserve

JAIPUR: Spotting of three cubs comes as good news for the Ranthambore tiger reserve. At least three cubs were reportedly seen in the Khandar range of the forest by one of the forest ‘mitras’.

“One of the forest guards spotted three cubs. The cubs, according to him, are of the tigress T-30 in the Khandar area. But we are yet to confirm it. Trap cameras have been set up in the area to captures pictures of the tigress and her cubs,” chief wildlife warden A Choubey said.

“The area has been cordoned off and we are hopeful of capturing pictures of the cub soon.” Rajesh Gupta, additional director of the park, said.

The park has been seeing a baby boom since the past year when 17 cubs were born. However, officials warned that all the cubs are not alive still. Out of the 17 cubs, two have not been spotted in the recent days.

“The number of cubs in the past year was very good but we may soon see some migration when they become sub-adults,” warned Choubey.  http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-02-22/jaipur/31086645_1_three-cubs-trap-cameras-khandar-range

Search for Dead Tigers Cub

CHANDRAPUR: Intense search operations have been launched in the jungle around Lohara Forest Research Centre to locate the cub of the tigress that died in the accident. Forest officers are now concerned about the well being of the cub that is alone. The tiger cub, aged around 15 months, was last located sitting in vile of dense shrub mere 50 metre from the carcass of the tigress.


“Earlier it was thought that it could be a mate of tigress, but later it came to fore that it was a cub, that was trying to get close to its mother. The cub remained for few hours in the shrubs waiting for mob to be cleared, but after it sensed that people are not going to leave the place, it went into in the jungle. Dozens of people saw the cub sitting there,” said a forest officer present at the spot.


Three camera traps were laid and bait tethered, but the cub neither came close to the bait nor was captured in the camera trap. Its pug marks were found in a nearby nullah. Forest officers are even afraid that the cub could be injured in the accident.


APCCF Anmol Kumar visited the spot and directed the forest officials to locate the cub and monitor its movement. Officials said, “The cub appears sturdy and can survive in the wild. We are trying to locate it but have no plans to capture it. Baits would be kept in the area of its location and its movements will be monitored continuously.”


What caused the haemorrhage?


The autopsy confirmed that the tigress died due to internal haemorrhage in the skull. But speculations are rife over the reason that caused the haemorrhage. Forest department has maintained that tigress was hit by some vehicle while it was crossing the Chandrapur-Mul road. The injury in the hind leg was caused in the accident, probably by sharp bumper of the vehicle or by some protruding metal on the road. The injured tigress later walked over few hundred meters into the jungle of research centre and died. They claim that recovery of tar and sharp pellet of road metal substantiate their theory.


But wildlife activities have raised question over the theory. They asked why there is no visible injury or fracture on head or upper body? The big gash on the paw of hind leg is most unlikely place to sustain injury, when the rest of the body had no cut or scratch sustained from hit of the vehicle. As far as tar and road metal found in skin is concerned, they could get stuck even when tigress sleeps on the road, they argue.


They suspect low voltage electrocution may have caused the haemorrhage in the skull leading to dripping of blood through nose after death. But forest officials and veterinary doctor, who performed the autopsy, completely ruled it out saying that the big cut injury near the paw had no burn mark. However, samples of skin from the injured part have been forwarded to forensic lab for examination.


Orphaned mountain lion cubs find home in Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A pair of orphaned and injured mountain lion cubs from California are starting new lives at a Scottsdale wildlife sanctuary.

Cypress and her brother, Ash, arrived at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center near Dynamite Road and Rio Verde Drive Monday afternoon.

The California Department of Fish and Game captured the cubs near San Jose in late January. They were estimated to be about 12 weeks old at the time.

Their mother had died and the female cub was in especially bad shape, according to officials. She had bite wounds to her back right hamstring and several broken teeth. She was emaciated, weak and covered with fleas and ticks. It was later discovered that she had two broken legs and a broken jaw.

An employee of the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary in Folsom, Calif., provided round-the-clock care at her home to the cubs. Both are doing well now.

The siblings were flown to Scottsdale and transported to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, the only facility that could give the cubs a home together.

The cubs, which can grow to more than 100 pounds as adults, will eventually live in a large enclosure with other mountain lions at the sanctuary.