Cha Cha, a 16-year-old male lion at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, has died, the zoo announced Wednesday in a news release.
According to the Press Release:
Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo announced today the passing of the male lion Cha Cha. The lion was diagnosed this week with inoperable liver cancer and was humanely euthanized because his quality of life continued to decline. He was 16 years old.
“He brought a piece of the wild to Des Moines that we all could admire,” said Bonnie VanEllen, animal keeper. “He enjoyed entertaining those who admired him through training demonstrations.”
“Cha Cha was one of the most visible animals at Blank Park Zoo and was an ambassador to show the public about the need for conservation of all animals,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO of Blank Park Zoo.
According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, wild lion populations are down significantly; only 30,000 remain. In the wild, male lions typically live 12 years.
Cha Cha was born in 1996 and came to Blank Park Zoo in 1999 when the Zoo opened the Tom & Jo Ghrist Great Cats exhibit.
In 2006, Cha Cha was one of the lions that the Chicago Field Museum studied to help determine that thicker manes in male lions played a role in sexual attraction in female lions. Lions that live in northern zoos tend to have thicker manes because of the colder climate. As a result, zoo officials proclaimed Cha Cha “one of the sexiest males alive.”
The search will begin for another male lion to come to Blank Park Zoo; however this is a complicated process that will take time.
Memorial contributions can be made to Blank Park Zoo Foundation at www.blankparkzoo.com. The Zoo is also asking the public to share their favorite stories, pictures and videos of Cha Cha on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blankparkzoo.
Blank Park Zoo wishes to thank Loving Rest Pet Cemetery for their cremation services.
CEOs, industry and business leaders, and President Zoellick hope to broaden coalition
The Roundtable was held in Singapore
February, 2012 – Singapore – World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick is discussing the tiger crisis and enlisting the active engagement of industry and the private sector to protect biodiversity in a series of private meetings with CEOs and other industry and business leaders. This is part of the Global Tiger Initiative’s strategy to reach out to a new set of stakeholders that would complement and fundamentally strengthen the existing circle of partners.
President of the World Bank Group,
Robert B. Zoellick, with other Bank officials
The first round table of CEOs was held in Singapore on February 25, where eleven influential executives joined Zoellick, senior management from the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and the Global Tiger Initiative. CEOs from major corporations and regional heads of finance, infrastructure, education, and transport companies brainstormed how they could come together to address threats to biodiversity and set a good example of environmental responsibility by supporting tiger conservation. A second round table, with the Confederation of Indian Industry, is planned in New Delhi at the end of March.
President Zoellick said the World Bank Group, which together with partners such as the Global Environment Facility and the Smithsonian Institution founded the Global Tiger Initiative in 2008, could act as a “connector” to link industry with environmental groups and other agencies seeking to protect tigers and their natural habitats: “Supporting tiger conservation is part of the global development challenge and with the pace of development in the Asia Pacific region, enlisting the support of business and industry fills in the missing piece in the campaign to protect tigers and strengthen biodiversity conservation across the region.”
CEOs spoke of changing attitudes
towards conservation and biodiversity
In Singapore, the chief executives suggested that attitudes about the importance of wildlife and biodiversity in Asia are changing. Some of the executives sensed that while wildlife crime was once considered a minor offense, people are beginning to recognize its seriousness and to call for tougher law enforcement and penalties. They also emphasized a need to leverage the energy of the younger generation and Asia’s new “haves” to motivate them to quell demand for wildlife-based products by appealing to their pro-environment, pro-conservation instincts.
Keshav Varma, Program Director of the Global Tiger Initiative, updated progress on GTI and how the flagship initiative is helping mainstream conservation into development policies across the tiger range. He appealed to the corporate leaders to apply innovative business models from the private sector to enhance and professionalize management of national parks and other protected areas in the tiger range countries. During the series of dialogues with industry and business, the GTI is emphasizing the importance of careful planning for infrastructure and natural resource projects in and around critical wildlife habitats and adoption of principles of Smart Green Infrastructure.
President Zoellick and the GTI have built solid partnerships with the public sector and civil society since GTI launched in 2008. With the round tables in Singapore, New Delhi, and beyond, they are now seeking to build a global base of private-sector support for tiger conservation by fostering regional business councils to flag areas of cooperation on wildlife and tiger conservation and advise on how industry can help to raise conservation awareness among other private-sector organizations and the public.
Among those attending the Singapore meeting were Mahesh Babu, Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS); Gautam Banerjee, Executive Chairman at PricewaterhouseCoopers Singapore; Ben Chan, Executive Director of Khazanah Nasional of Malaysia; Cheah Sui Ling, CEO, BNP Paribas Securities Singapore; Goh Choon Pong, CEO of Singapore Airlines; Dilip Khatau, Chairman of the Corbett Foundation; Colin Low, Chairman of Singapore Investment Development Corporation; and Ibu Shanti Poesposoetjipto, CEO of PT Samudera Indonesia, a major shipping company. Representatives of global law and education firms, as well as the Smithsonian were also present.
Press Release: Business Leaders Join World Bank in Talks to Protect Asia’s Wild Tigers
Leopards Don't Belong in Cages
Officials from Ohio zoos and humane societies have told a state Senate panel they support a bill that would ban new ownership of exotic animals but question some of its provisions.
Media outlets report that a main point of contention at the Wednesday hearing was an exemption for members of a zoological association that one official described as an advocacy group for private animal owners. Some officials also questioned less restrictive regulations for snakes and an exception made for a Massillon high school’s tiger cub mascot.
The bill came in response to the October release outside Zanesville of dozens of pets by their owner, who then killed himself. Most of the animals, including bears, lions and endangered Bengal tigers, were killed by law enforcement seeking to protect the public.
Cheetah Attacks Two Visitors at Eagle Heights Zoo
AL AIN // The pet cheetah caught last week after escaping its abusive owners died only a few hours later, it was confirmed yesterday.
Dr Majid Al Qassimi, the deputy chief veterinarian at the Al Ain Zoo, said the reasons for the cheetah’s death had not been confirmed but it was found “stressed” and severely malnourished.
Dr Al Qassimi said that after escaping from its cage in a private villa, it ate several pets belonging to its owner’s Emirati neighbours.
The zoo is awaiting results of a post-mortem examination.
Meanwhile, the second baboon in a week has been found roaming the wilds of the Garden City.
The zoo last Wednesday received a call about an illegally kept baboon that was wandering around Al Masoudi. The female olive baboon jumped from roof to roof, eluding zookeepers before being caught the next morning.
Yesterday another was found roaming Al Ain, but on the other side of town. This one was caught by pest control workers.
Dr Al Qassimi said the cheetah’s death was “quite surprising”, as there had been no sign of severe illness. But he said cheetahs were known to be susceptible to stress.
The animal had been caught with a net, without tranquillisers, then taken to the zoo in a cage. At first it appeared “normal and content”, but it died soon after.
Dr Al Qassimi said it was not the zoo’s job to identify the owner who, if caught, could face court action.
He blamed a lack of awareness and education for the illegal habit of keeping exotic animals.
“You cannot keep the animal like that properly,” Dr Al Qassimi said. “You do not have the facilities to. It’s a real shame when it happens because it is a compound issue, not a single one.”
He suggested owners wanted to be seen as unique – “everyone has a dog or a cat, but I have a cheetah”.
“People don’t understand the consequences of such decisions,” Dr Al Qassimi said. “It’s a cute cheetah cub now, but in a year you would have a full-grown carnivore at hand, too large to control.”
He said the owners also did not realise how sellers obtained their animals.
“They don’t understand the part of poaching – illegal work in other countries,” he said. “Then it has to travel to you, then there are welfare issues, and then there are no official channels so there is the matter of diseases.
“And when it outgrows its cuteness and becomes a full-size animal, a primate or carnivore – it needs a lot of food.”
A cheetah will eat at least a whole chicken for lunch, as well as dietary supplements that are available only at zoos.
And if not fed properly, their hunting instinct could kick in, said Dr Al Qassimi, “which could be very dangerous if children are around”.
“Really, the solution is raising public awareness on danger of such activity,” he said.
“Instead of paying Dh4,000 for a cub, spend a week on safari. The experience would be much better than keeping them as pets.”
KINGSTON, Tenn. (CN) – It started with one pet tiger, but now a woman has more than 250 tigers, lions and other big cats on her property, whose roars can be heard for miles, and whose failure to use kitty litter contaminates the environment, irate neighbors say in court.
Lead plaintiff Everett Bloom and four married couples sued Tiger Haven and Mary Lynn Haven aka Mary Lynn Parker, in Roane County Court. Tiger Haven is a nonprofit corporation in Kingston, where all the parties to the case live.
The neighbors say Haven got a state permit to keep one Class I animal, a pet tiger, in 1991. However, they say, Haven and Tiger Haven “have substantially increased the number of Class I animals on their property now believed to be in excess of two hundred and fifty (250). As a result, Tiger Haven’s operation has escalated into a commercial existence and is currently housing two hundred and fifty (250) to three hundred (300) large class I wildlife cats.
“The substantial increase in the number of class I animals in the possession of the defendants Tiger Haven and Mary Lynn Haven have caused an ongoing increase in noise level, odor, waste and water runoff from a point source that includes but is not limited to urine, feces, bacteria and other contaminates, all of which threaten the life and property of the plaintiffs and the environment as a whole.”
The neighbors say the deluge of big cats “created a nuisance that has destroyed the quiet enjoyment of the plaintiffs’ use of their property, and caused the same to diminish in value. Indeed, the plaintiffs’ ability to keep and maintain domestic and farm animals has been greatly impacted due to the reaction of the plaintiffs’ animals to the presence of the large cats, particularly when the cats roar, caterwaul or otherwise make their presence known. Indeed, certain sounds of the bigger cats can be heard for several miles.”
They say at times they cannot even sleep at night for the “roaring, caterwauling [and] fear of escape … that is caused by the excessive number of Class I cats as a result of their nocturnal nature.”
The plaintiffs point out: “Tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, jaguars, and all large cats and mixed breeds thereof are classified as inherently dangerous animals (carnivores) under class I of the laws of the State of Tennessee.”
They seek an injunction and $5 million in damages for nuisance and trespass, and want the defendants “enjoined from acquiring any additional tigers” on their land.
They are represented by James Scott with Pemberton & Scott, of Knoxville.
Kingston, pop. 5,600, about 40 miles west of Nashville, was the site of the enormous spill of coal fly ash from Tennessee Valley Authority retention ponds in December 2008.
Rare Bengal Tiger Mom and Cubs
Caught in Camera-Trap Photos
By Dave Mosher
A female tiger and her cubs have been photographed roaming a north-Indian river valley by hidden camera traps.
The images were taken in the Kosi River corridor, part of remote India’s Terai Arc Landscape.
A photo taken in January shows the tiger mom carrying a one-month-old cub in her mouth (above). Another taken on Nov. 26, 2011 shows the same female feasting on a domestic cow with two large cubs (below).
“Knowing the tiger numbers and their movement routes in a corridor would provide a sound database in taking decisions on developmental activities within and around the corridor,” said World Wildlife Fund coordinator Joseph Vattakaven in a press release.
The Bengal tiger is an endangered Indian subspecies called Panthera tigris tigris. According to the latest population survey by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, no more than 2,500 Bengal tigers exist globally.
India harbors most of them with an estimated population of 1,706 tigers in 2011 — up from roughly 1,411 tigers in 2006. The boost to the population and its density (about 15 tigers per 39 square miles in the Kosi River corridor) can be deceiving, however, as the big cat’s habitats are shrinking.
Other camera-trap images gathered by the WWF suggest at least 13 tigers use a particular piece of the river corridor, and that this parcel of land may be under threat from an increasing number of tourist resorts.
“Human-animal interaction is frequent owing to movement of humans in forests as well as the expansion of tourism in the area,” WWF coordinator K.D. Kandpal said in the release. “If unchecked, the resorts mushrooming in the area will choke the corridor and block the free movement of tigers through it.”
Although the tigers managed to kill a domestic cow, the WWF allegedly compensated the animal’s owner to prevent a retaliatory killing. While not an ideal arrangement, the organization asserts that the strategy works.
“The fact that the tigress survived and it was photographed later is an example of the cattle compensation scheme working when implemented in earnest,” the release stated.
Images: WWF-India/Uttarakhand Forest Department