Jaguars are beneficiaries of Arizona bike-a-thon

BAT for the Southwest Jaguar!

Hear ye, Hear ye…Our first call for cyclists and supporters for the upcoming Jaguar Bike-A-Thon in Arizona.

We will be going the “extra mile” for the jaguar – pedaling a route of at least 300 miles from the Arizona-Mexico border to Phoenix, Arizona, to demonstrate our strong support for bringing back the jaguar as a native species of the American Southwest.

We invite you to join us for all or part of this important event, or to pledge your support or assistance (see check off below).

When: fall 2009 or spring 2010. We’ll have specifics by mid-August.

Itinerary (Subject to change/modification): The US-Mexico Border at Sasabe; Arivaca; Coronado National Forest; Nogales area; Patagonia-Sonoita, Saguaro National Park; Tucson; Oracle; Superior; Phoenix. We will make short stops in or near areas of important jaguar habitat, places where jaguars were know to have occurred, and locations where there are threats to jaguar habitat.

Objectives: Our purpose is to draw attention to the plight of the jaguar and what needs to be done to recover this species in the Southwest. We will talk to people along our route and carry messages from them along with proposals to restore the jaguar. We’ll present these to federal and state officials and political leaders in Tucson and Phoenix.

____Sign me up! I will peddle to show my support for jaguar recovery during all or part of the event. I will gladly help with costs for a jaguar T-shirt and other items to be worn or carried by our team while on the Jaguar Bike-A-Thon.

I want to support the Jaguar BAT! I can do so in the following way (s) (check off):
___ give a donation ___provide/drive a support vehicle
___host cyclists along the route ____other (please indicate):

Please send your name, address, e-mail, and interest as soon as possible to: Dr. Tony Povilitis, Jaguar Bike-A-Thon:

E-mail: or c/o Janie, 5589 Timken Trail, Willcox, AZ 85643

HELP spread the word by e-mailing and printing/posting a copy this announcement jaguarbike-a-thonannouncement1

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Baton Rouge Zoo has jaguar, cheetah, new tiger exhibit

What’s new at the Zoo?

Focus on global awareness, animals and geography

Travel editor
Published: Apr 26, 2009

Crossing the wooden bridge at the zoo entrance, we watched moms, cameras dangling from their necks, pushing strollers. A group of curious kids gathered around the Globe Fountain. Made of solid black granite, the globe weighs one ton, but it continually turns — floating on a bed of water. By putting their hands on the globe, kids can turn to different continents on the globe. And, they can literally stop the world — at least for a few moments.

“This is Conservation Plaza,” said Mary Woods, marketing director for BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo. Pointing to banners waving in the breeze above our heads, she said, “All the animals pictured here on the banners represent different continents. They are actual pictures of our animals here at the zoo. We are setting the tone so that when visitors cross the bridges, they realize they are about to take a trip around the world.”

Global news often baffles Americans. Even when modern technology transmits world news swiftly, our knowledge of world geography is sadly behind the curve. Recently, The Advocate reported scientists have found an orangutan population of 2,000 in Borneo. Where is Borneo? What about endangered frogs in the Amazon Basin? Where is the Amazon?

Learning adventures can start right here at home. The Baton Rouge Zoo is a wonderful place to begin geography lessons. Both children and adults can get up to speed on the basics — and they can do it together.

Modern zoos are changing. Once they were more concerned about displaying animals and entertaining visitors. Today, they are about conservation and education. Baton Rouge Zoo is keeping pace with the trends with educational programs and expanding habitats focused on continents.

Woods said, “The conservation we do here in Louisiana has global reaching effects. We actually support the Cheetah Conservation Foundation in Africa and the International Elephant Foundation in Asia.”

Currently being put into place is a tall pole that will have smaller signs pointing in all directions. The signage will show exactly how many miles it is from Baton Rouge to places around the world.
As we talked, egrets, blue herons and swans on the lake gathered to snack on a morning breakfast of silvery fish. Moving past the lake, we strolled toward a massive new project, Realm of the Tiger, a large Asian habitat under construction. Here, visitors will see koi (Asia and central Europe) ponds and siamang gibbons (native to Malayasia and Sumatra) and an Asian aviary. There will be a large tiger exhibit with three large plexiglass windows. “We will have room for up to eight tigers,” Woods said. “And we will be equipped to breed tigers.”

Next, we came upon the zoo’s male cheetah (Africa) strolling leisurely along the fence pretending to ignore morning visitors, yet keeping a careful eye on a nearby construction crew. The cheetah’s sign on the fence features a map of Africa showing the big cat’s range in the wild. An animal education sign at each exhibit in the zoo shows the animal’s continent and range. The sign also features a color code from bright red (extinct) to bright blue (common) letting visitors know the animal’s endangered status.

Kaitlyn Butler, 5, from St. Francisville was visiting with her aunt, Kassandra Butler. She stared intensely at the cheetah as it strolled along the fence. Kaitlyn said she didn’t know the cheetah was from Africa, and she shyly told us her favorite animal was the elephant.

Waiting to see the elephant show, Jenna Lowe, 9, a student at St. Jean Vianney, said she enjoyed seeing the globe at the zoo’s entrance. She liked the signs with maps showing where the animals are from. “My favorite animal is the elephant,” said Jenna. “I like the ones with the little ears.” She knew the small-eared elephants are from Asia.

Pat Reeves of Central, Jenna’s grandmother, said, “This is a wonderful zoo. I took my kids here and now the grandkids.”

Continuing our walk, Woods explained, “When you present animals in a geographic continental habitat, it’s good for people and the animals. It’s enrichment for the animals and encourages their natural behaviors. Ultimately we get the animals to behave as they do in the world.”

In the zoo’s South America area, we saw Andean spectacled bears, a llama and a jaguar.

We continued past the American bison to view the black-handed spider monkey lazing in the sun and munching on green leaves. In the Atchafalaya Basin exhibit, a zoo keeper was talking with a school group, explaining the life of river otters who were swimming about seemingly unaware of the attention they were getting. Visitors enter the otter exhibit through a simulated Cajun cabin featuring hands-on displays.

Then it was on to Flamingo Island and the pink Chilean flamingos. Here, new landscaping is designed to lead visitors along a path toward a spacious viewing area constructed with wood stakes and plexiglass.

At the giraffe habitat (Africa), we ran into kids participating in the zoo’s Spring Break Camp. Feliciana Johnson, education curator, held out a bouquet of spring grass to a curious and hungry giraffe, who shook his head, wiggled his ears and calmly leaned over for a snack. She said students were learning about birds and how they adapt to the place they live.

“For example, a parrot in Brazil has a beak that can open a Brazil nut,” Johnson said. “We explain that their diet is special because of the place where the animals live.”

Our next continental stop was Australia, where we watched kangaroos hop about a green lawn, then stand tall in the shade, observing us with cool glances.

Before leaving the zoo, we walked through the Kids Zoo, where youngsters brushed the coats of baby goats. We also spied The Toulouse Goose, from where else but France, and the perfectly content Jacob sheep, native to Greece.

During another recent trip to the zoo, we stopped by the Parrot Paradise area where we talked with Vadim and Galina Kochergin and their son, Nicholas, a third grade student at LSU Lab School. By checking out the map there, he immediately knew the green macaw here was from South America.

“Nicholas is way ahead on his geography,” said Galina Kochergin. “He knows a lot of geography from a computerized globe. It’s worth more money than many toys, but it’s better than anything else for the kids.” She said the globe has games and explains about country’s money, population,
animals, music and anthem. “The child is playing and learning,” she said.

When learning is combined with play, as is the case with BREC’s Zoo, then knowledge comes swiftly. Toward that end, the zoo has plans to remove chain-link fences wherever possible and replace them with natural barriers such as wooden posts, cargo netting and plexiglass. “It helps the barrier to disappear into the background, said Woods. “It makes the habitat appear natural, and facilitates the human-animal connection. It also helps people to realize how small our world is getting.”

If you go

GETTING THERE: BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo, 3601 Thomas Road, Baton Rouge. Call (225) 775-3877. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., weekends, April-Labor Day. Admission is $6, adults and teens; $5, seniors; $3, children 2-12; free to children age 1 and younger. Because the zoo remains open during inclement weather, there are no refunds or rain checks.

Restrooms and drinking stations are found throughout the property. Food and snacks are available at the Flamingo Café daily. A sidewalk narrated tram ride throughout the zoo is $1.50 per person. Train rides on the Cypress Bayou Railroad cost $1.50 per person. The last train ride is one hour before the zoo closes. Wheelchairs and strollers are available for rent. Animal encounters include: elephant show, 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.; otter encounter, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; and wildlife safari theater, 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

MORE GEOGRAPHY: Geography is the study of the surface of earth, its divisions into continents, countries and its climate, plants, animals, natural resources, inhabitants and industries of the various divisions. Visit these Web sites:;;;

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Legislation to protect big cats in the wild advances

The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act gets overwhelming approval in House of Representatives.

Posted: April 24, 2009, 3 a.m. EDT

Wildlife advocates are praising the recent passage of an act that seeks greater protections for endangered and iconic cat and dog species, including leopards, cheetahs and African wild dogs.

The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act, introduced by Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., garnered overwhelming approval by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 21. Passage of the act supports conservation programs, educational resources and increased monitoring and law-enforcement measures to prevent poaching and illegal trafficking.

The legislation would provide financial resources to restore populations of rare wild cat and canine species and protect their habitats. The bill was approved by a vote of 290-118.
The bill defines “rare felid” to: (1) mean any of the felid species lion, leopard, jaguar, snow leopard, clouded leopard, cheetah, Iberian lynx, and Borneo bay cat, including any subspecies or population of such a species; and (2) exclude any species, subspecies or population that is native to the United States and any tiger.

The act, HR 411, builds upon an existing program, the Multinational Species Conservation Fund, which provides funds to benefit tigers and other wild animals.

This new legislation expands that program to provide funds for additional wild cats, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

“Wild and rare cat and dog species are some of the most iconic animals on the planet,” said Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf, managing director of species conservation at World Wildlife Fund. “The bipartisan bill that passed the House will help ensure these majestic creatures continue to roam the wild for generations to come.”

Supporters said that the passage marks an important stride in the battle to save great cats from the loss of habitat and food sources. A vote in the Senate is pending.

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Judge in Tucson orders fed to prepare jaguar recovery plan

By Tony Davis
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona – Published: 03.31.2009

A federal judge overruled an agency’s decision today that had stopped preparation of a recovery plan and designation of prime protected habitat for the endangered jaguar in the Southwest.

District Judge John Roll’s ruling essentially said that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had failed to prove its case that the jaguar is primarily a foreign species and that there is no important habitat for it in Arizona and New Mexico. Roll ordered the service to return on January 8 of next year with a new decision on critical habitat and a recovery plan.

The ruling is a big victory for the Center for Biological Diversity, which had filed suit challenging service decisions on both issues, and the Defenders of Wildlife, that had sued against the recovery plan decision only.

“The Bush Administration decision to deny a jaguar recovery plan and critical habitat was not based on science, is what the judge found,” said Michael Robinson, an activist for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The court confirmed what we’ve known all along: the jaguar needs a home in the United States and a lifeboat– a recovery plan and critical habitat.”

“The jaguar is an iconic species of our Southwest. The Fish and Wildlife Service was willing to basically write it off because there are so few jaguars left in this country,” said Brian Segee, an attorney with Defenders of Wildlife. “The United States is the jaguar’s home, and we should take the actions necessary for it to recover here. We are thrilled with the court’s decision and hope the Fish and Wildlife Service will now move quickly to initiate recovery planning and provide the jaguar with the full Endangered Species Act protections.”

As of late this morning, the service had not yet commented on the decision. Under the law, it has a choice to appeal or comply with the court’s ruling to prepare a recovery plan and designate critical habitat.

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Questions arise about jaguar’s euthanization

Mar. 31, 2009 12:00 AM
Associated Press

TUCSON – A jaguar captured from the wild and euthanized may not have had chronic kidney failure after all, according to the University of Arizona’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

After reviewing tissue, pathologist Sharon Dial of the laboratory said authorities may have moved too fast this month to euthanize the jaguar.

Arizona Game and Fish officials had said the jaguar, named Macho B, had “off-the-charts” kidney failure, while Dial said the animal’s bloodwork actually could have indicated dehydration.

Dial said the Phoenix Zoo, where the big cat had been taken, should have kept Macho B on intravenous fluids for 24 to 48 hours before euthanizing it. State Game and Fish officials and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials agreed to euthanize the animal about five hours after he first got fluids. Zoo officials made the recommendation based on blood test results.

Dial said it is unproven “dogma” among some medical experts that blood levels alone can be used to “make a definitive statement that this animal will not survive.”

“Nothing is absolute,” Dial said. “There is nothing to say that he absolutely would have recovered, but I can say by looking at the kidneys that there is no structural reason why he would not have. I’ve looked at a lot of cat kidneys, not jaguar kidneys. For a supposed 15-year-old cat, he had damned good-looking kidneys.”

Pathology resident Jennifer Johnson said it’s possible Macho B had short-term, acute kidney failure that didn’t show up in the tissues. But the lack of signs of chronic kidney failure in those tissues probably means the jaguar didn’t have kidney failure at the time he was captured in February.

“Animals with chronic renal failure usually don’t have their coats in good shape,” Johnson said “They start to develop muscle wasting or atrophy. They do not look healthy and hardy.”

Shortly after the jaguar’s death, Phoenix Zoo veterinarian Dean Rice said the animal probably had kidney failure when he was initially captured that would have killed him within two months – although the capture probably aggravated the condition.

A federal wildlife lab in Madison, Wis., also is analyzing the cat’s tissue samples. Both labs’ conclusions and the tissues will go to Linda Munson, a specialist on large cats and a professor at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

“We encourage a full review of each and every part of the data, so we can provide the most complete review of what took place,” said Terry Johnson, Game and Fish’s endangered-species coordinator.

Game and Fish will post all the findings on its Web site, officials said.

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