Save Pampas Cats 2002

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Save Pampas Cats

Cats in the wild need your help!

There are only 15 Pampas Cats in Brazilian Zoos and only 3 in the U.S. according to ISIS. 

There are seven more species of exotic cats native to this region that will also benefit from this project.  There has never been a field study done on the Pampas Cat.  Just $3,000.00 can fund the first ever scientific study of this rare cat in the wild.  Join us and make history.

In just the past few weeks there has been exciting news about the progress of this study.  Dr. Jim Sanderson met Leandro Silveira who is working in Emas N.P. in the cerrado of Brazil. Dr. Sanderson sent one antenna, one receiver, and 10 radio collars to Emas and Leandro happened to receive them.  Leandro has personally observed Pampas cats in Emas N.P. crossing the road. He says they are not common but they exist in the park. Moreover, Emas is where Conservation International  is working. Therefore, this is where we will study Pampas cats.

Cristina Adania, the Director of the Brazilian Center for Neotropical Felids has located 15 Pampas Cats in their country’s zoos, when just days ago that number was only known to be 7.  She is organizing a cooperative effort to pair these cats up for a successful captive breeding program.  Things are moving fast, and they have to, if this cat is to be brought back from the dark edge of extinction.

Your donation will be used to:

1.      Purchase the camera traps, telemetry collars, microchips and other equipment necessary to study the Pampas Cat in the wild.

2.      To pay the local people that will be trained to monitor the equipment.

3.      Processing of samples and development of film.

4.      Building of suitable breeding cages for the non releasable Pampas Cats in zoos.

5.      Supplement the diets and medical needs of the Pampas Cats in the program who are producing viable offspring.

Our goals are to:

1.      Make people aware of the beautiful Pampas Cat and cause them to care about its survival.

2.      Learn about the needs of the Pampas Cat for survival in the wild so that the people of Brazil can incorporate those needs into their reforestation plans.

3.      Establish captive breeding programs for the non releasable cats in situ and ex situ so that we can learn more about these cats from close contact and so that they will be exhibited more widely around the world, thus bringing more attention to their preservation in the wild.

4.      Convince AZA and the Felid TAG that these cats are important and that we must act now to ensure their survival and that of their eco system.  At this time both groups have decided to let the Pampas Cat die out.  Other Brazilian cats that we would like to encourage them to assist are the Margay, Tigrina, Jaguarundi, and Geoffroy Cat.  At this time all of them have been selected by AZA and the Felid TAG to abandon.  The zoos have been advised to let these small cats die out so that they can concentrate their efforts on the larger species.

5.      Ultimately to see the Pampas Cat, and all of his wild cat cousins, living “Safe In the Wild.”

If you think this project is of no concern to you, then reconsider. Man is accelerating the extinction process 100 to 1000 times the natural rate by plundering the planet’s natural resources. The same habitats these cats need to survive are the ones that provide the air we breathe. We all have to work together and the time is now.

If you want to help be sure to signify in the notes that you want your donation to go to the Pampas Cat Project.

You can be assured that your donations are being spent on the projects you select as we provide an accounting of all of our income and expenses on line on the page called Finances. If your other charities don’t make this information readily available you have to ask, “Why?”

Thank you from Big Cat Rescue.

Pampas Cat Update 4/15/02

Dear Carole,

I just returned from Cote d’Ivoire. Thanks for your letter and generous support for the Pampas cat project.

Based upon repeated camera trap photos of Pampas cats, I am planning a full radio-telemetry campaign in Brazil. I will probably go in May and stay a month to
6 weeks. I have several Brazilian students already in place. Please see attached pics. Clearly Pampas cats! I will also survey several other places in the Brazilian cerrado with the camera traps.

I still want to see more done on the husbandry from and I hope your efforts to work with Cristine is continuing. We need to maintain a steady, constant effort and not give up because things take more time than they should. Patience will pay off as the cameras have once again shown.

Once I get the Pampas cat project launched and we have a few cats outfitted with collars my Brazilian colleagues and their students are fully capable of running the project. This allows me to jumpstart another project. I really want to get some camera
trapping going in Kalimantan where CI has good relationships with national parks.

However, let me not jump ahead to far. Give me May and June and I will send you pics of Pampas cats with collars. The information we gather will help us estimate how many Pampas cats there are, what they do all day, and what their ecological requirements are. Once we know that it will help conservation efforts greatly.

Again thanks for your help and continued support with Pampas cats.  –jim

Update on Guatemala Project:

10/8/01    (Photo at right is a margay)

I’m back from Guyana and malaria free so far though it
was going around – 7 of 21 people had it during the

My Brazilian colleagues are organizing a trip for me to visit the cerrado to look for Pampas cats. I have to get the details.

These are some pictures from my camera trapping in
Guatemala.  (Photo at left is an ocelot and below is a puma.)

I hope all is well.

Jim Sanderson

(The eyes shine because of the flash of the camera that is set off when the cat walks through the infra red beam.)

Update on Pampas Cat Project:


Dr. Jim Sanderson reports:

I am just back from South Africa where I attended the international carnivore conference. Gave two presentations: one on guigna, the other on Andean Mt

I met Leandro Silveira at the meeting. Leandro is working in Emas N.P. in the cerrado of Brazil. I sent one antenna, one receiver, and 10 radio collars to Emas and Leandro happened to receive them. I have great news from Leandro. He has personally observed Pampas cats in Emas N.P. crossing the road. He says they are not common but they exist in the park. Moreover, Emas is where Conservation International  is working. Therefore, this is where we will study Pampas cats. Also we will establish a camera trapping program. Great news indeed.

We have no studies of tigrinas of any meaningful duration.  I have a colleague, Tadue, in Brazil who wants to study tigrinas.

Photo is Pampas cat seen in April 2002.

8/11/01  Cristina Adania in Brazil reports:  “Concerning the origin of the pampas cat, we have the following situation: 3 females are from Brazil (Central and south of Brazil) and we are not sure about the origin of the males. The first information is that they are from Brazil, but we want to be certain about this officially from Sao Paulo zoo. They bred in Sao Paulo zoo and now we have 15 pampas cats in captivity. Until last year, Sao Paulo  zoo had 7 pampas cat. We are receiving one female from Uberlândia zoo (Minas Gerais) and we are asking Sao Paulo zoo for a male. In this way, we will be starting a distribution of pampas cat captivity population in agreement with the protocol of the Management Plan of Brazilian Small Cats.”

“We are receiving the female from Uberlândia zoo (Minas Gerais). I introduced them to our project and I have compromised to send them a couple when it becomes possible. They also want to work with us on nutrition (the director of Uberlandia zoo is a nutrition master) and the in situ program.”

“I have good news! Next week we will send the project (technical project) to work in situ conservation to the units of IBAMA like Cerrado. I asked one friend to translate to English and then I will send it to you. ”

“Pat Quillen is coming to Brazil! Pat wrote a grant request asking for an anesthetic machine and she got it! She is bringing the equipment to us with one person who will teach us how to use the equipment. I am very happy because it will be very useful and certainly help many animals.”

Jim Sanderson has been busy as well.  While in Switzerland he learned about a group in the Brazilian Cerrado who are starting to  research small wild cats in (Parque Nacional Grande Sertão Veredas) with guidance of Peter G. Crawshaw.  Jim is trying to find out if they believe there to be any Pampas Cats in this area so that they can make this cat a priority.  These new members of the team are:

Edsel A. Moraes Jr
Programa de Mestrado em Zoologia de Vertebrados
Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais

Joaquim de Araujo
Programa de Mestrado em Zoologia de Vertebrados
Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais

Rafael Aarão
Pontificia Universidade Catolica de Minas Gerais

This is Jim’s travel schedule.  As you can see, he is actively making a difference for all the small cats.  Aug 12-18 South Africa. Aug 20 US Fish and Wildlife Service to talk about small cats, Aug 24-25 California to fund raise, Aug 29 Brazilian Embassy to talk about small cats in Brazil. Sept 1 – Oct 11 Guyana to put out camera traps, November 1 – November 30 Borneo, three weeks in December Philippines. January 10 – February 15 Andes in Chile/Argentina.

Excerpts from letter dated 8/11/01

Dear Carole and Christine,

I wish everyone was working cooperatively. I just received a note from a friend in Guatemala that the margay he rescued as a 3 month old kitten has died at 6 months old at a “rehab” center. Ulcers in the stomach probably due to stress took it out. We had planned on outfitting this margay with a radio-collar and releasing it when it was ready. It would have been a soft release with a moving food station so as to
keep it well fed during establishment. We wanted to (1) test if the cat could successfully be released and find itself a territory, and (2) help us find other margays to study. Alas, it was not to be. We planned on $3k for the study. Cheap by any measure.

I hope to do the same thing in Vietnam where there is a rehab and release center for wild cats. Again, a small budget is required. These kinds of projects can be effectively carried out on low budgets and allow people to tract their financial support. After the receiver and antennas are paid for (around $1000) the radio-collars are $250 each. Salary is not much by our standards. Since are brought to the center and are going to be released anyway, we do not have to capture any cats. So that is avoided altogether.

I’d like to start a program to fund several of these studies. With a $3000 initial grant and though my network we can keep track of progress. As more cats come in we can radio-collar them and include them. If things go well, another $3000 would go a long way because the large expense of the receiver and antenna is paid for. If the project is not successful as might be the case, I can recover the receiver and antenna and start elsewhere. And I have contacts who would oversee the project. Also, I can visit as part of my duties at Conservation International and so not reduce the $3000 for the

I’d like to see several such projects running concurrently all over the world. It can be done and it would greatly increase our knowledge of small cats even if we only had a few cats. For many species of small cats we have had in the past NO such studies

You both should keep pushing the Pampas cat work. Let’s make a big deal about any that successfully breed. Any that are 6 months old (Carole help me out here, 9 months??) we might consider for a radio-collar release program. Think about it. We could release one or more with radio collars and closely monitor them. Do a soft release with food out. They could be recaptured at any time since we know where they are. They might well lead us to a wild population of Pampas cats. That is, we could take the cats back where they came from and use them, especially, FEMALES to help find other wild Pampas cats. The hardest part of any study is LOCATING A VIABLE POPULATION of cats to study. Why not let the cats do that for us?

What’s the population in zoos now? Any new ones come in? From where? Keep on it.

Off to South Africa Sunday – to show slides of Andean Mountain cats and guignas!!

Work together. Work with anyone who wants to join in. Don’t concentrate on differences. Find common ground and work there. What is best for wild cat populations? Not individuals, but populations. Biodiversity is populations not individuals. Work for the species. We can make individuals more comfortable and learn from them in facilities. Maybe they can help us too. In the wild we must deal with populations. The question is (1) where are populations, (2) how do we monitor them, (3) how do we protect them.

Do not let a day pass without thinking about this. Let’s get some studies going in the wild. Do you realize that one Pampas cat with one radio-collar will be the first ever done. If one rehab individual could locate members of its own kind that cat would have have done something no biologist could do! It might well die trying however. When we have a breeding populations in zoos we need volunteers, preferably
females who are more likely to be welcomed by established territorial males.

Jim Sanderson, Ph.D.
Center for Applied Biodiversity Science
Conservation International
1919 M Street, NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036-3521 USA
202 912-1803 FAX: 202 912-0772

Read Big Cat Rescue’s Daily Updates on Wildcats in the Wild at Field Projects

Big Cat Rescue is saving pampas cats. We post the latest in pampas cat news here and in our newsletter The Big Cat Times . We gather news from around the world DAILY and forward it to The Global Federation of Sanctuaries and the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, of which we are a part, who are actively involved in saving pampas cats and all exotic animals. See what you can do to help save these exotic cats in captivity and in the wild. Great Cats and Lesser Cats are in peril around the world and need people like you, who care about pampas cats and other exotic cats to help save them from the brink of extinction. Big Cat Rescue is working to make it illegal to sell exotic cats as pets and is diligently striving to improve conditions for big cats in zoos and circuses.

Dr. Jim Sanderson is someone who shares our belief that the money should go to the animals and not be wasted on salaries and benefits for those who are doing the fundraising.  If you contact him and say you want 100% of your donation to go to the Leopard Cats in the wild, that is exactly what will happen.

Dr. Jim Sanderson has been responsible for igniting a passion in local peoples for the Leopard Cats.  He works with teams of local scientist to camera trap and gather information on these rare wild cats all around the world.  He goes a step further and gets the people in the area to take pride in their natural resources so that they will help to protect these small cats that are on the brink of extinction.

Dr. Sanderson is working to establish six high priority long-term research sites in Bolivia, Borneo, Cambodia, Chile, China, and India. He also supports the efforts of alliance colleagues in Argentina, Brazil, India, Sarawak, Suriname, and Vietnam. Sustained camera photo-trapping efforts will enable him to monitor the populations of small cats and to detect changes in their population trends. Dr. Sanderson’s resourceful methods – carrying out arduous research with very limited resources – are the hallmark of a true entrepreneurial scientist.

To read more about this conservation effort go to:

To make a donation to help save snow leopards in the wild go to

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