N.M. approves cougar hunt changes, ID course

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By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN Associated Press Writer
Article Launched: 10/06/2008 05:46:19 PM MDT
 
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Mountain lion management in New Mexico is changing and wildlife advocates say it’s for the better, with new protections for female cats and their kittens and the end of a cougar-snaring program.
 
But the changes aren’t sitting well with ranchers and others in southeastern New Mexico.
 
The state Game Commission, at its meeting last week, approved a voluntary hunter education course to teach hunters the difference between male and female cats to ensure that more breeding females are left in the wild.
 
Commissioners also voted in favor of setting a limit on how many cougars can be harvested around the state and how many of those can be female cats. If the number of female kills comes within 10 percent of the limit in a given hunting unit, conservation officers can shut down hunting in that particular area.
 
“New Mexicans and the Game Commission understand that cougars are icons of majesty and wildness. These hunting reforms not only enhance conservation of the species, but reduce the ethical dilemma associated with orphaned cougar kittens,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring of WildEarth Guardians.
 
The commission also approved a department recommendation to end the preventative cougar control program in southeastern New Mexico, which was aimed at reducing depredation of livestock.
 
Environmentalists criticized the program, saying the state was spending tens of thousands of dollars a year to benefit a few livestock owners.
 
But Debbie Hughes, whose family ranches along the Guadalupe Mountains in southeastern New Mexico and holds the contract to snare the cougars, argued that the program has helped ranchers maintain their livelihoods and it has led to an increase in the area’s once-declining deer population.
 
“To get this program nearly 24 years ago, we had to suffer extreme economic losses,” Hughes said. “We went to hundreds of meetings and took hundreds of pictures and wrote hundreds of letters to prove and document all of these losses. And it was like none of that mattered, they just threw it all out the window.”
 
Hughes said she fears depredation of livestock and deer will increase without the control program. She noted that the Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Monument do not allow hunting and that cougars often fan out from the parks to the nearby ranches.
 
Hughes, who also serves as executive director of the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts, said safety is another concern.
 
“We have had in this state three human attacks by mountain lions in the past six months,” Hughes said, referring to cases near Albuquerque, Taos and Silver City. “That right there tells the whole story. The mountain lion population is totally out of control.”
 
Wildlife activists, however, couldn’t disagree more.
 
WildEarth Guardians and Animal Protection of New Mexico contend that the number of cougars killed on private land has more than doubled in recent years and too many female cats are being killed during hunting season, resulting in abandoned kittens and lost breeding opportunities for the species.
 
The groups also dispute the idea that cougar control programs would increase safety. Keefover-Ring said several studies have found no evidence that hunting or snaring reduces human attacks.
 
Game Commission chairman Tom Arvas acknowledged that ranchers are concerned about the cougar management changes, but said he believes the game department is doing a good job at managing the species’ population.
 
“I think in some of the public’s eye, we’re still not doing enough,” Arvas said. “We try to make everyone happy.”
 
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New Mexico Game and Fish Department: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/
Animal Protection of New Mexico: http://www.apnm.org/
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http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_10653205
 
————–
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org
 

Florida Panther Update for October available online

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http://www.floridapanther.org/update_10_08.pdf
 
Contents include:
 
* What is the total number of Florida panthers and how are they counted?
 
From the Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge: http://www.floridapanther.org
 
————–
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org
 

Eastern Cougar Foundation newsletter for Sept. available

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Contents include:
 
* Do wild cougars inhabit the eastern United States?
* Two new confirmations from the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec
* Florida: Reintroduction timeline needed
* Wild Felid Workshop in the Berkshires
* Introducing our new science Advisor John Laundré
* Book Review: Where the Wild Things Were
 
————–
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org

Tiger kills woman in Kanha reserve

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Tiger kills woman in Kanha reserve

Tue, Oct 7 06:01 PM

Bhopal, Oct 7 (IANS) A tiger is believed to have killed a middle-aged woman in Kanha Tiger Reserve, an official said Tuesday.

‘The partially eaten body of a middle-aged woman, Sukhna Bai, was recovered by forest department staff and villagers in the Supkhar range of tiger Reserve Sunday,’ additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) H.S. Pabla told IANS by phone.

Sukhna Bai, a resident of village Sukhdi in the Supkhar Range of the Tiger Reserve, went Saturday into the forest to collect leaves to make bowls. But an animal attacked her and dragged her away while she was plucking leaves.

‘Other villagers, who accompanied Sukhna Bai, heard her shrieks but could not do anything to help her. They, however, came back and informed the forest department staff which launched search operations Sunday and recovered the body,’ Pabla said adding that ‘pug marks found at the spot suggest that she was killed by a male tiger’.

This is the fourth incident of attack on human beings in the area in the last year and a half. In 2007, three people – one each in May, September and October – were reported killed by wild animals from the same area. Then too, a male tiger was cited to be the animal behind the attacks.

The forest department has announced a compensation of Rs.100,000 for the next of kin of the killed woman.

http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20081007/812/tnl-tiger-kills-woman-in-kanha-reserve_1.html

http://bigcatrescue.org

Honolulu Zoo Shows First Images Of Tiger Cubs

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Honolulu Zoo Shows First Images Of Tiger Cubs
Public May See Cubs In Habitat In Upcoming Weeks

POSTED: 1:17 pm HST October 7, 2008
UPDATED: 3:54 pm HST October 7, 2008

HONOLULU — The Honolulu Zoo on Tuesday released the first pictures of its newborn tiger cubs.

The cubs were born on Sept. 15, to Sumatran tiger Chrissie. The three tigers are the first for the zoo in 27 years.

The litter is Chrissie and Berani’s second. Their first litter was born at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Indiana in 2004.

Zookeepers must still inoculate and weigh the cubs.

“As you know, with the feral cats that we have around here, the possibility of disease and infection is very high. So, we’re trying to keep these animals in a controlled environment, really allow them to get nourishment, nice and strong before they jump out in the habitat with mom,” Department of Enterprise Services Director Sidney Quintal said.

After the zookeepers determine the cubs’ sex, officials will give them names. They have not determined how the names will be chosen.

If all goes as planned, the public may be able to view the cubs in the tiger habitat in a few weeks, officials said.

There are just 500 Sumatran tigers in the wild and about 200 more in captivity, so the births of new tigers are important to preserving the endangered species.

Chrissie and Berani are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Sumatran Tigers. It is a breeding program to improve the population. It is possible that the cubs may eventually be moved to other zoos as part of the program.

Previous Story:
September 16, 2008: Honolulu Zoo Tiger Gives Birth To 3 Cubs

http://www.kitv.com/news/17651569/detail.html?rss=hon&psp=news

http://bigcatrescue.org

Bullet wound in dead tiger

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Bullet wound in dead tiger

A STAFF REPORTER

Calcutta, Oct. 7: The tiger found dead in a Sunderbans river yesterday had been shot in the forehead, a post-mortem has revealed.

Tourists on a motorised launch had spotted the carcass floating in the Bidya in Gosaba, 260km south of Calcutta.

“The post-mortem report confirms one gunshot injury by a country-made weapon. However, no bullet could be traced as it had pierced its temple. The animal might have died of brain haemorrhage,” Neeraj Singhal, director of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, said today.

The three veterinary surgeons who carried out the post-mortem at Calcutta’s Alipore Zoo found a deep hole in the tiger’s forehead.

Singhal said the injury marks were initially not visible as the tiger’s body had swollen and started to rot. Forest officials had yesterday taken the carcass of the “full-grown male” to the Dobanki forest camp and brought it to Alipore Zoo today.

A preliminary investigation points the needle of suspicion at deer poachers. “We suspect that deer hunters might have shot the tiger in self-defence. Had the animal been killed by professional tiger poachers, they would have taken away the carcass. But all its parts, including the skin, claws and penis, were intact. It died 48 hours ago,” Singhal said.

He promised to increase the number of forest guards in the Sunderbans tiger reserve.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1081008/jsp/nation/story_9938787.jsp

http://bigcatrescue.org