Police stop tiger skull auction
Publish Date: Saturday,26 January, 2008, at 01:41 AM Doha Time
A top London auction house has been investigated by police after trying to sell body parts of endangered species.
Bonhams in Bond Street was visited by Met officers after a tip-off from a customer that the items were illegally up for auction. The body parts – a tiger’s skull, three narwhal tusks and a number of turtle shells – were due to be sold in the annual Gentleman’s Library sale.
An antiques dealer, attending a pre-sale viewing of the lots, spotted the items and alerted police.
Two officers from the Met’s wildlife crime unit told Bonhams to remove the objects from the auction, warning staff they could be prosecuted and face a fine or even imprisonment if they were sold.
The antiques dealer, who asked not to be named, said he was shocked to see the body parts on display. “I called police and they said not to leave a bid because I could be liable to prosecution,” he said.
“I have told Bonhams several times in the past they are supposed to establish whether items can be legally sold or not. They are very laissez faire and have a ‘we know best’ attitude.”
The objects are covered by rules imposed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. ? London Evening Standard
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Pals with Claws: Tiger World owner promises safety
Sat, Jan 26, 2008
By Mark Wineka
ROCKWELL ? Apollo, Boo and Icis ? two tigers and a lioness ? ease out of their brick, lockdown structure and move immediately toward Lea Jaunakais, who is standing outside the front fence.
“Hey, Boo-Boo, how ya doing?” she says, bending down to the 400-pound Siberian tiger. “Tigers love to rub. It’s funny that they want to come greet instead of play.”
Jaunakais thought the big cats would go to a perch or push around the large ball in their enclosure. But she figured out why they made the beeline toward her first.
“I haven’t seen them all day so, of course, they want to say hi to Mamma,” she says.
In a week, Jaunakais will take possession of the animals left over from Metrolina Wildlife Park, which closed at the end of last year, and combine them with Apollo, Boo, Icis and brother tiger cubs Riley and Jackson to form “Tiger World.”
Her plans to open Tiger World this coming summer have drawn comment and scrutiny both from supporters of her dream to form a nonprofit, educational center for endangered species and skeptics who question just how safe Tiger World is for the surrounding community.
Jaunakais says she expected some concerns after the initial publicity about the change in ownership. It simply made people more aware of this privately owned zoo, she says.
People also were surprised to hear Tiger World, located at the end of Cook Road off N.C. 152, will include up to 30 tigers, 10 lions, a leopard, jaguar, panther, reptiles and primates ? even though all of these same animals have been at Metrolina Wildlife Park for a long time.
“If you’re not familiar with it, and it’s new information,” Jaunakais says. “It can be scary. … I’m not discouraged, and I feel very optimistic and excited.”
The Tiger World owner says she has been receiving about 70 e-mails a day, many from people who want to volunteer or express their support. One neighbor said she hears the lions roar, “and it’s like magic,” Jaunakais says.
The Post has received a steady stream of letters to the editor ? pro and con ? while county officials have quietly been investigating whether Tiger World will meet existing county regulations.
Rowan County Planning Director Ed Muire says his office will render an opinion next week “on what we think the status is on her project.”
From a zoning standpoint, Metrolina Wildlife Park was a non-conforming use in its rural agricultural district. The wildlife park was allowed because it was in operation before the county established zoning.
As a non-conforming use, Tiger World could continue as long as it opened within 360 days of the change in ownership, according to zoning rules.
Muire says he has met with Jaunakais twice, once on site and once in his office.
Jaunakais says she’s not exactly sure of the total number of animals she will take possession of next week but stresses that the animals and the public will be safe, thanks to modified procedures and renovated exhibit areas.
“Steve (former park owner Macaluso) has had an establishment here for 11 years and has never had a big cat escape, ever,” Jaunakais says. “He has been successful in housing these animals, and I’m going to continue with that and even add safety features.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which inspects zoos, fined Macaluso recently for violating the Animal Welfare Act for some aspects of his park’s operation.
Jaunakais plans for the non-profit Tiger World to offer memberships, whose privileges will include visits to the zoo throughout the year and Internet access that will allow online viewing of the tigers 24 hours a day.
The cameras also will be part of Tiger World’s new safety and security features.
She also envisions members being invited to special programs and conducting fundraisers for better exhibits. She speaks of having a day near her grand opening when she will invite all Rowan Countians to visit Tiger World for free and learn about the animals and safeguards in place.
Long range, Jaunakais dreams of building a “Tiger Splash,” a large exhibit providing a pool, waterfall, jumping logs and climbing sticks so tigers could demonstrate their natural behaviors.
Jaunakais established Tiger World and took over the direct care and financial responsibility for Apollo, Boo, Icis, Riley and Jackson late last summer. They were cats she had worked and bonded with most closely as a longtime volunteer with the wildlife park.
“I thought they would be a good bunch,” she says.
Just outside the wildlife park, Jaunakais has an enclosure for the three bigger cats that includes a 14-foot-high, angled fence, a separate lockdown area for bad weather and cleaning of the enclosure and double-entry doors to reach the exhibit.
The 9-month-old tiger cubs, Jackson and Riley, likely will move to a similarly appointed enclosure next door, once some angled fencing is added. The enclosures are set into 200 pounds of concrete every 8 feet and the galvanized, stainless steel fencing is stretched between reinforced poles, Jaunakais says.
The three bigger cats are 2 years old and were born at the Metrolina Wildlife Park. Teeka and Puffer were the parents of Boo; Zeus and China, the parents of Apollo; and Big Willie and Shirley, the parents of Icis. All of the parents will become part of Tiger World.
Jaunakais isn’t sure where Riley and Jackson came from. “Steve took them in because they needed a home,” she says. The brother cubs are still teething.
Because the cubs are “hand-raised,” Jaunakais says, she can be in the cage giving them “unprecedented care” ? and no sedation ? for injections, medications or examinations.
The cubs weigh about 120 pounds each. Boo and Apollo (a bengal tiger) each weigh about 400 pounds. In captivity, tigers normally eat about 10 pounds of meat a day ? chicken, pork, beef or even deer that hunters sometime bring by.
Their coats grow thick in the winter, and the tigers shed like dogs in the summer. The big cats are not declawed because of the deformities that can occur. “And there’s no need to declaw them,” Jaunakais says. “That’s really cruel.”
As they move close to Jaunakais near the fence, Boo and Apollo make a sound called “chuffing.”
“It’s how tigers greet each other and let everyone know they’re in a good mood,” Jaunakais says.
Tiger World will take visitors on guided tours through the park. Four-foot-high fencing will keep visitors about 10 feet away from each exhibit.
“I just hope that people who are skeptical about what I’m doing give Tiger World an opportunity,” Jaunakais says.
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Wildlife in easy reach
Robert Scheer, Langley Advance
Published: Friday, January 11, 2008
…I hadn’t seen any lions at Busch Gardens, and the ones at Lowry Park Zoo were napping in the early afternoon sun and didn’t look too photogenic, but I got close to some very impressive lions at Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue.
A non-profit, educational sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue is the home of more than 140 lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, bobcats, and other large felines.
Jeff, the young man who guided me around the 18-hectare site, told me some heartbreaking stories about the abused and abandoned cats being sheltered there.
Stretched out in the sunlight near the front of his cage was Sabre, a gorgeous 15-year-old black leopard. He had been “temporarily” left in 1995 by an owner who then moved and left no forwarding address.
Some animals had more tragic histories.
From a distance, Jeff pointed toward another leopard.
“We shouldn’t go too close to Shaquille,” he said. “He hates men.”
The former Las Vegas circus animal had refused to jump through a flaming hoop and was beaten nearly to death by a man.
Now mostly recovered, he purrs affectionately when female volunteers care for him.
I also saw Nikita, a lioness whose owner had had her de-clawed and kept her chained in his basement.
She was seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration during a drug raid and has enjoyed living at Big Cat Rescue since 2001.
Being on safari in Tampa, Florida, may not be as adventurous as really going to Africa, but it’s easier, safer, and less costly.
For me, having recently passed the age-60 milestone, comfort and safety are travel priorities that have grown increasingly important.
Travel Editor Vic Foster’s guest this week is freelance travel writer Robert Scheer, who lives in Vancouver. Travel the world on the Internet at www.travelingtales.com.
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Tiger quads surprise zookeepers
The newest additions to the Aalborg Zoo family are ready to charm their way into the public’s hearts
Less than a month old, but already having what it takes to be stars of the animal kingdom, four Siberian tiger cubs were presented to the world by Aalborg Zoo in northern Jutland on Tuesday.
In the wild, tigers normally give birth to between four and five cubs at a time, but Gara, the cubs’ mother, had previously only given birth to broods of two, making the birth of the foursome something of a surprise to zookeepers.
The cubs, who are born blind and have only just opened their eyes, will remain at Aalborg Zoo together with Gara for about two years before they are transferred to another European zoo as part of an international breeding programme.
An estimated 500 Siberian tigers exist in the wild. About 10,000 tigers of all breeds are estimated to be living in captivity.
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UP to create special tiger corridors
Wed, Jan 23 02:36 AM
At last the UP Government has woken up to make the movement of big cats hassle free in the reserved sanctuaries and national parks.
The state Government has proposed to create special corridors in the Dudhwa National Park, Katarniaghat and Kishanpur reserved sanctuaries for the free movement of tigers. Of the total tiger population of the state, 60 per cent are found in these three forest areas due to which the state Government has declared them as Critical Tiger Habitats. It has been decided to evict villagers from these areas. In the first phase, villages falling in the way of the special tiger corridors will be relocated.
According to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wild Life) DNS Suman, the state Government is in the process of issuing eviction notices to 10 villages lying within the forest areas of Kishanpur, Dudhwa and Katarniaghat. “There is a provision for this in the Wild Life Protection Act 38 V and we are following it,” Suman told The Indian Express.
He said that once the state Government is over with the formalities, a proposal will be sent to the Union Government to provide necessary funds for the rehabilitation of the villagers of the forest area. The National Tiger Conservation Committee (NTCC) in its recommendations to the state Government had asked to evict people from the areas falling in the Critical Tiger Habitat. As per the recommendations, 490.29 sq km in Dudhwa, 203.41 sq km in Kishanpur and 400.09 sq km in Katarniaghat needs to be evicted and conserved.
Regarding the special corridors for the tigers, Suman said that it helps in protecting the big cats as they get disturbed due to human movement on their track.
In the Katarniaghat reserved sanctuary, a special track for tigers was created in 2006 and it has shown encouraging results. Due to the tiger track which was barred for the human as well as vehicular movement, the number of big cat has remained stable in this area. As per the tiger census of 2005, there were 77 tigers in Dudhwa followed by 58 in Katarniaghat and 29 in Kishanpur.
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