Common Name: Marbled Cat Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata) Class: Mammalia Order: Carnivora Family: Felidae Genus: Pantherinae (Pardofelis) Species: marmorata
Misc: Genetic studies of this cats blood serum, shows that it shares an identical karyotype with Lynx, Panthera and Uncia, leaving this cats evolutionary history somewhat of a taxonomic puzzle. Perhaps, this little cat is similar in form to the forest ancestors of the big cats some 10 million years ago (Collier and O’Brien, 1985). However, it may have also diminished in size more recently due to competition with other big cats.
Size and Appearance: The Marbled Cat is like a miniature version of the Clouded Leopard, weighing between 9-18 pounds and reaching lengths of 32-46 inches. It has thick, soft fur, which varies from brownish gray through yellow to reddish brown in color, and is covered in large blotches, which are paler in the center. There are black spots on its limbs and some black lines on the head and neck. The Marbled Cat has a short, more rounded head than other felines, with a wide forehead and large pupils. Like the Clouded Leopard, the Marbled Cat also has relatively enlarged upper canines. The tail is very long and bushy, and well adapted to its arboreal lifestyle. It’s arboreal adaptations suggest that it is probably the Old World ecological equivalent of the Margay.
In captivity, Marbled Cats have lived 12 years.
Habitat: Primarily tropical forests, also reported in mixed deciduous-evergreen forests and secondary forests.
Distribution: Southern Asia from Nepal through southeastern Asia to Borneo and Sumatra.
Reproduction and Offspring: After a gestation of 81 days they produce a litter of 1-4 young. They weigh approximately 3.5 – 4 ounces at birth. They reach maturity at around 21 months. Their ears unfold from their head at 5 days, and their eyes open by 14 days.
Social System and Communication: Believed to be solitary and nocturnal, with vocalizations that are comparable to the domestic cats.
Hunting and Diet: Being primarily an arboreal dweller, its diet consists mainly of rats, birds, bats and squirrels, with the occasional reptiles, frogs and insects.
Principal Threats: Habitat destruction throughout their range remains to be their primary threat. Surprisingly and thankfully, for an animal with such a beautiful coat, they are not commonly found in the local wildlife markets.
Status: IUCN: Insufficiently known. CITES: Appendix I.
Felid TAG recommendation: Marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata). A little-known felid from Southeast Asia, all recent captive-born specimens are derived from a single pair of founders at the Los Angeles Zoo. Apparently rare in nature, this little “big cat” is highly protected and not likely to ever be available from captive-born sources in range countries for North America.
How rare is this cat ? The International Species Information Service lists 3 worldwide, with 1 being in the U.S. There are 0 living at Big Cat Rescue.
Information taken from the natural History of Wild Cats, and With Permission from IUCN Wild Cats.
The first few minutes are sounds you might not have ever heard a tiger make, as Amanda Tiger does Operant Conditioning w/ Olga, our guest from Spain. After being away for a few days, Carole goes around checking on cats and takes note of what the volunteers and interns have been doing. Rare footage of Vern at Family Dinner too.
Ringling’s Relent on Elephants as Performers Was Long Overdue by Ira Fischer
Faced with mounting pressure from animal welfare organizations and bans and restrictions by local jurisdictions, Ringling Brothers finally relented on the use of elephants as entertainment. Ringling’s announcement that it will phase out the use of elephants comes after years of dwindling attendance in the wake of adverse publicity about the treatment of its elephants and other wild animals used as performers.
The victory in this long-standing battle belongs to the elephants caught in the trap of the Ringling circus and the time is propitious to reflect upon what they endured during the last 133 years. For the most part, the circus is a wonderful event. The clowns, acrobats and other performers provide terrific entertainment. However, behind the rose-colored facade there is a dark side to the big top that has been kept far from public view.
The so-called “tricks” that wild animals are forced to perform is contrary to their nature. The image of a tiger jumping through a hoop of fire makes one wonder, why would an animal that is terrified of fire do this deathly trick? The spectacle of an elephant performing a headstand is no less curious.
The industry would have the public believe that circuses do not use cruel methods to train animals. However, the tools of the trade used by trainers belie this claim. Whips, tight collars and wire tie-downs are routinely used on big cats, while elephants are subject to being stricken with bullhooks (a heavy metal club with a point-and-hook at one end, sharp enough to pierce elephant hide). They are also disciplined with electro-shocking devices that keep them in a state of fear so they will perform on command. Much of the brutal treatment is inflicted upon baby elephants and is designed to break their spirit at a time when they should be with their mothers.
Dr. Melvin E. Levine, professor of pediatrics at UNC, opines that circuses teach children to disregard “the feelings, the needs, and the rights of other living individuals”. This raises the question: Does the use of wild animals as performers in circuses send a wrong message to children that cruelty to animals is acceptable? Inarguably, real educational value lies in seeing these magnificent creatures in a natural environment where children can learn to appreciate their true nature.
Denials by the circus industry about the treatment of elephants flies-in-the-face of numerous undercover photographic and video footage revealing shocking beatings in training sessions. After an investigation by the USDA, Ringling paid a record $270,000 penalty under the Animal Welfare Act.
Wild animals in circuses also endure grueling travel demands in boxcars, trailers and trucks. Elephants may be forced to stand for days while traveling, even in extremely hot and cold weather and without climate control. Big cats and bears are confined in cages so small that they can barely turn-around. Elephants are highly intelligent, sensitive beings with strong family bonds and typically walk more than twenty miles in the wild. In circuses they are doomed to a life in captivity and may be kept shackled in chains for up to twenty-two hours a day.
In the last session of Congress, Representative Jim Moran introduced the Federal Circus Bill into the House of Representatives. Rep. Moran observed: “[I]t’s clear that traveling circuses aren’t providing the proper living conditions for exotic animals.” Hopefully, the Ringling announcement will serve to invigorate members of Congress to re-introduce the Bill and it will be penned into law without further delay.
With laws now banning wild animals in circuses in 27 countries and ordinances banning or restricting such events in dozens of jurisdictions in the US, the trend indicates that governments are finding the use of wild animals as performers unacceptable. The growing popularity of animal-free circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil, suggests that the public too finds objectionable circuses that feature animals as entertainment. Cole Brothers recent show in Winchester, Virginia was held without the use of animals, to comply with a ban on exotic-animal exhibitions. Interestingly, Cole boasted its humans-only show as “just as dazzling and just as amazing”.
There still remains much to be done to put an end to the use of all wild animals as entertainers in all circuses that hold them captive. It is incumbent upon lawmakers, in jurisdictions where circuses are hosted, to prohibit an event that is inextricably linked with extreme inhumane treatment of animals. Only then would the sad chapter of suffering endured by these remarkable beings be closed. This would represent a long overdue tribute to their birthright to be wild and free.
Ira Fischer devotes his retirement from the practice of law to advocacy for the cause of animal welfare. The mission of the Ira’s website [www.irafischer.com] is: Kindness and Compassion for Animals. Ira is a proud supporter of Big Cat Rescue and is a member of its Legacy Society.
Cybil has some moderate liver enzyme elevations for which she will start a new supplement as well as worsening kidney disease which is pretty significant. She will be monitored closely now that she is back in her enclosure.
Mickey was taken to Dr. Hay last Friday for surgery on his right knee. His left knee was repaired in September of last year. During his exam we took x-rays of his previously repaired knee. Unfortunately it did not heal very well.
The upper and lower leg bones are misaligned at the joint and the knee cap is displaced. However he is actually walking much better on that knee which is unexpected. So it was decided to leave that joint alone as it is so deteriorated that it most likely would not survive another surgery.
His right knee was repaired using the same technique as the left, but with a different material. The first knee joint (left) was repaired with a synthetic ligament that was woven through both leg bones and anchored to the bone with screws.
The second knee joint (right) was repaired with a thick suture (about as thick as yarn) also woven through the joint, but tied off onto itself. Sadly the right knee joint was badly eroded and the use of plates and screws was not an option because his bones are so poor.
The good news is that after the surgery on Friday Mickey’s knee felt much more stable. He will recover in the Cat Hospital for 10-14 days and then go back out in half of his enclosure.
I’d like to begin by saying that in some ways I truly admire you. Perhaps we have different views on some (or many) social issues, but I do see in you a deep desire to be kind to others. You seem to put great effort into being a progressive and independent woman and a role model not only to entertainment-obsessed masses, but to the youth of America (this includes your young daughter). I think it was, perhaps, a mother’s love and the need to provide your daughter with extraordinary opportunities, that you, yourself, never had, that was the impetus behind what was an incredibly misguided, but well intentioned action.
You and your husband brought your young daughter to Thailand and whilst there paid to have your family photographed while bottle feeding a tiger cub. No doubt in your mind this would be an image captured forever on film that would allow your daughter to look back on that family trip and say “Wow, how fortunate I was to be part of such a ‘rare’ experience.” What you did not know, and what I think, sadly, you still have not realized, is that while this experience was, indeed, amazing, it was also a form of animal abuse. One that does not occur only in Thailand, but all over the world.
Sadly, the practice of ‘paying to play’ is most prevalent here in the United States.
What seems like a harmless encounter to humans is, in actuality, just one brief moment in a lifetime of misery and abuse for these cubs. Here in America dozens of traveling zoos and roadside exhibits make quite a pretty penny by charging members of the public to pet, play with, or even swim with adolescent wild animals. The most common victims in the ‘pay to play scheme, are cubs of the big cats.
What the public doesn’t understand, is that the adorable babies they get to hold have been ripped from the care of their mothers, artificially orphaned, and thrust into a short life of suffering and abuse as nothing more than photography props.
The inhumane treatment begins early on with the removal of the cubs from their mothers. At this vulnerable age their immune systems are not fully developed and the intense stress and exposure from constant handling puts them at great risk for disease or fatality. Unnatural habitats and prolonged photo sessions leave the cubs unable to regulate their sleep patterns, which further damages their growth. Forced to endure being passed around like merchandise and exposure to flashbulbs, some of them develop vision and limb problems. Many suffer the removal of their claws and teeth, in order to guarantee the safety of the customers paying to hold them.
Others are starved in an attempt to stunt their growth, thus keeping them viable for use in ‘pay to play’ gigs even as they age. I will never forget the first time I watched a cub-handling encounter on YouTube.
The way the handlers roughly grabbed them and hung them by their armpits to “reset” them, claiming that this is how they would be held in the wild, blowing in their faces to “calm” them down. Or the heartbreaking cries of protest from the cubs as they were tossed from stranger to stranger simply for entertainment value.
As a mother, I am sure you can’t imagine letting anyone handle your child in such a way.
The luckiest cubs will grow too large or too aggressive to be useful as photo props, and subsequently will be spared the prison sentence of a life in captivity. Instead, they will be sold for use in canned hunts. Taken to open land and released for a few precious moment before the bullet of a paying hunter puts an end to their short-lived joy. Others will be butchered outright, their body parts sold on the blackmarket. As I said, those animals are the lucky ones. Many ‘pay to play’ cubs will, unfortunately, become part of the exotic animal trade, an industry which is surpassed in profit only by drugs and guns.
I share all this with you now, not to shame you. I know you have been slandered and criticized by many because of your actions. While I understand the anger that many people feel, what some fail to understand is that the fault lies not only on your shoulders. We must also blame a lack of education within our society. Fault also lies within our media. Commercials and television programs glorify the idea of turning wild animals into pets, and precious little attention is given to the vile underworld of animal trafficking and the abuse associated with ‘pay to play’ venues.
Why has so little attention been paid to this horrendous form of abuse?
Why is it allowed to go on legally in so many parts of our country and elsewhere in the world? Equally culpable are our lawmakers. At what point do we say, “We must change the laws that allow this to continue”?
Ms. Carter, you did not create the industry that propagates this kind of abuse, but I ask you now to take a stand against it. Channel your inner Sasha Fierce and speak out on behalf of those who have no voice of their own. We need your help. The baby wild animals need your help.
There is no shame in making a mistake, no matter how erroneous, if you acknowledge that mistake and embrace the change that allows you to become a more enlightened human being. I hope my words find you somehow through social media and that not only do they inspire you to instigate change, but that they help you realize that as human beings we are fallible. In the end you are not guilty of anything but remaining silent.
With warm regards and hope for the future of all the Earth’s children,