Victory for jaguars in U.S. – N.Y. Times

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January 13, 2010

In Reversal, Jaguar Habitat Will Be Protected
By LESLIE KAUFMAN

After more than a decade of resistance, the Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that it would reverse previous decisions and protect the habitat of the jaguar.

The sleek, ferocious cats have been listed since 1997 as endangered, the highest level of peril for a wild species. Still, the government has never designated critical habitat for the jaguar or come up with a formal recovery plan, steps that are commonly taken under the Endangered Species Act.

The federal government has given varying reasons for its refusal to act. In 1997, the Fish and Wildlife Service said that to protect the jaguar’s habitat, it would have to make public maps of its range. That would make the animals vulnerable to more poaching, already a primary cause of deaths, it said.

In 2006, the service argued that jaguars were primarily native to South and Central America and that their range in the United States was largely incidental to its survival.

Wildlife advocates sued to protest those findings, pointing out that jaguars were thought to have once ranged from Louisiana to California, although they had rarely been seen in recent decades.

Last March, the Federal District Court in Tucson told the government that it would have to come back with a decision that was soundly based in science.

In theory, the service could have sought again to rule out habitat conservation. But this time the government said it would move to protect critical habitat and would publish a description of the land proposed for the designation.

It also agreed to develop a formal recovery plan, which will envision how the jaguar might make a recovery.

The Fish and Wildlife Service says there are no known jaguars in the United States today. The last jaguar known to exist within the nation’s borders died last March.

However, there are nearly 5,000 in Mexico, and more ranging as far south as Argentina and Paraguay.

The notion behind a critical habitat designation is to enable the jaguar to survive if it ranges north again.

Protecting the jaguar’s habitat will be a complicated challenge. The cats can range over hundreds of square miles to hunt prey, and ranchers have fiercely opposed protection.

Conservationists were exultant on Tuesday, with some predicting that the protection of such a far-ranging species could have a broader impact.

“It will reorient land conservation in the Southwest,” said Michael J. Robinson, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, a Tucson-based group that brought the lawsuit.

When the government weighs a plan to allow tree cutting or mining on public lands, for example, he said, it will have to ensure that it will not harm the jaguar’s critical habitat.

“We will see planning to ensure jaguars can reach each other,” he said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/science/earth/13jaguar.html

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Anthropologists study Mayan text found in urn with jaguar skin

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Antropólogos mexicanos estudian relato maya de sacrificios sacerdotales

28 de Diciembre de 2009, 07:40pm ET
MÉXICO, 28 Dic 2009 (AFP) –

Antropólogos mexicanos estudian el texto maya más largo encontrado en el estado de Tabasco (sureste), donde se encuentran las ruinas de algunos de los principales templos de esa civilización mesoamericana, y que refiere sacrificios y penitencias a que se sometían sus sacerdotes.

Se trata del primer texto maya sobre la vida de un sacerdote y no sobre un gobernante y sus esposas, indicó el Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) en un comunicado difundido este lunes.

El texto se compone de 260 glifos (caracteres), referentes a 14 años de la vida de un importante sacerdote del siglo VIII de nuestra era, que incluye referencias a rituales de sacrificios que incluían sangrías y actos de penitencia previos a los equinoccios de primavera.

Se trata del “texto epigráfico maya más largo encontrado hasta la fecha en Tabasco. Fue hallado en una urna funeraria descubierta durante las excavaciones del sitio arqueológico de Comalcalco”, explica el comunicado.

El texto se encuentra escrito en pendientes de concha y en espinas de raya, depositados en la urna funeraria en la que el sacerdote fue amortajado y cubierto con abundante cinabrio (pigmento rojo) junto con una ofrenda envuelta en piel de jaguar.

Los sacerdotes mayas de Comalcalco usaban los aguijones de raya para perforarse los oídos, lengua, frente, pene y otras partes del cuerpo, en rituales que producían desangramientos y mucho dolor, y que los llevaba a alucinar para entablar contacto con los dioses, según los expertos del INAH.

Uno de los glifos encontrados proporciona una fecha equivalente al 31 de enero de 771, que se cree corresponde al inicio de los textos recuperados en la ofrenda.

La civilización maya, que se extendió desde el sureste de México hasta Guatemala, Honduras, Belice y El Salvador, se destacó por sus avances en astrología, matemáticas y por la creación de un calendario propio, que indica que en 2012 habrá un cambio de era.

jg/hov/lm

http://www.univision.com/contentroot/wirefeeds/10la/8110842.shtml

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Mexican zoo fears that feral cats will spread disease to zoo’s big cats

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Pululan los gatos en el zoo de Neza

Reforma
27 de diciembre del 2009
Jonás López

NEZAHUALCÓYOTL.- Una colonia de gastos se ha convertido en el dolor de cabeza de las autoridades del Parque Zoológico del Pueblo de Nezahualcóyotl.

Desde hace varios años, unos 300 felinos sin dueño han invadido áreas verdes, tejados y jaulas del zoológico municipal y sus colindancias, en donde duermen, cazan, comen, defecan, orinan y se reproducen.

Adicionalmente, los gatos pueden transmitir a otros felinos del parque, como jaguares, leones, tigres y linces, hasta tres enfermedades mortales, informó Magda Cecilia García Trinidad, coordinadora del zoológico.

“Este riesgo provoca que tengamos que estar aplicando vacunas periódicamente para garantizar que nuestros felinos no sean contagiados por los gatos”, dijo.

Además, los felinos callejeros afectan a otros animales porque dejan restos de comida, heces y objetos extraños en las jaulas.

“Por lo regular, los gatos son una molestia para los vecinos, quienes intentan matarlos por medio de comida envenenada y, si este alimento llega a las jaulas de los animales y lo comen, pueden provocar un envenenamiento también en ellos”, señaló.

Los gatos formaron una comunidad que se multiplica sin control desde que los vecinos los abandonaron en los jardines del parque público cuando eran cachorros o hembras preñadas, explicó Óscar Corro Montero, administrador del zoológico.

http://www.reforma.com/

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Big cat areas at Edinburgh Zoo need upgrading for safety, inspectors say

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Zoo upgrade ordered or sea lions will be left high and dry

Published Date: 08 December 2009
By MICHAEL BLACKLEY

THE future of one of Edinburgh Zoo’s oldest attractions could be put at risk unless urgent repairs are carried out.

Bosses at the tourist attraction have been told that they have to either revamp the sea lion facilities or get rid of the animals altogether.

They have also been told to upgrade some facilities used by big cats when they are not on show to the public amid health and safety fears.

The repairs are among a series of upgrades that the city council has ordered the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) to complete in order to get its licence renewed in 2012.

Inspectors indicated that a lot of repair work had been put on hold while the company tried to resolve financial issues, which included its plans to build housing on part of the site.

In relation to sea lions, inspectors said: “The accommodation and water management for the sea lions must be brought up to modern standards, so as to include facilities for separation, isolation and restraint of the animals, and a high standard of water treatment and hygiene.

“An alternative strategy would be to cease to keep sea lions. Either way, this must be resolved within the lifetime of the current licence, ie three years.”

There have been concerns about the decline in the number of animals at Edinburgh Zoo.

A report published last year showed that, during 2006, there was a reduction of 200 animals as a result of death or transfers to new homes.

Among those to leave recently were two Siberian tigers, Sasha and Yuri, who were moved to the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie last year. They were joined this year by Mercedes, the UK’s only polar bear in captivity.

The sea lion enclosure is one of the oldest at the zoo and houses Sofus, Miranda and Mona, three Patagonian sea lions from Norway.

Under the Zoo Licensing Act 1981, zoos have to go through a “periodical inspection” midway through the period of their licence. The inspection team included two inspectors appointed by Scottish ministers.

As well as concerns about the sea lion facilities, inspectors also said that the “off-show” areas for big cats, particularly jaguars, have to be upgraded “to ensure staff safety, hygiene and animal welfare are not compromised by further deterioration”.

They also called for a “radical refurbishment or complete replacement” of the food store and veterinary areas of the zoo.

Overall, inspectors said that the zoo should be commended for “excellent new developments” like the Budongo Trail and said it continues to achieve “very high standards” in conservation, education, research and animal welfare.

Mark Turley, director of the city council’s services for communities department, said: “The zoo has indicated that the matters giving rise to the recommended additional conditions can be complied with within the time period recommended by the inspectors.”

No-one from the zoo was available for comment.

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh/Zoo-upgrade-ordered-or-sea.5891891.jp

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Pennsylvania town passes exotic pet ordinance

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Freeland’s exotic pets expelled by ordinance

By AMANDA CHRISTMAN (Staff Writer)
Published: December 4, 2009

If you live in Freeland and have a pet puma – or any other animal considered exotic – you’ll have to pay a fee or find it a new home.

Freeland Council approved its version of an exotic pet ordinance at Thursday night’s meeting.

The ordinance was drafted and advertised to the public in November after two pet pythons went missing from an Adams Street home, to the fright of several people in the neighborhood. The snakes were eventually found, according to borough police, but residents still rallied for a ban on certain animals from becoming pets.

Now, residents who keep a pet defined under the ordinance as exotic or wild is subject to a $1,000 fine, 30 days in prison or both for each day the violation exists.

The ordinance also bans breeding or selling the animals in Freeland.

If someone has a pet considered exotic, they don’t necessarily have to get rid of it. The pet owners can obtain a $300 permit and non-conforming use status for the animal, pending borough approval. The pet in question cannot have a history of health or safety problems and the owner must fill out an application that includes the animal’s species, age and sex and a plan for housing the animal to prevent its escape.

If the pet dies or is taken from the home for any other reason, it cannot be replaced.

The permits must be obtained within 30 days of council adopting the ordinance.

Anyone who violates the ordinance must get rid of the animal or give it to the borough police department. Officers are allowed to release the animal into the wild, a zoo, or “dispose” of it in a humane manner, at the owner’s expense.

achristman@standardspeaker.com

http://www.standardspeaker.com/news/freeland-s-exotic-pets-expelled-by-ordinance-1.461253

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