Watch how easy it was to entice Hal into the transport cage, a great example of why our operant conditioning program is both enriching for the cats and very useful when it comes to medical issues and keeping stress levels low :)
Hallelujah the cougar has to go in to see the vet, Dr. Wynn today.
Update on Tony the Tiger
Sandlin Stalls by Filing Another Lawsuit that ALDF Deems Baseless
BY JOE GYAN JR.
Advocate staff writer
The owner of a Grosse Tete truck stop filed suit Tuesday in Baton Rouge against the state of Louisiana and Iberville Parish in a last-ditch effort to continue keeping a 550-pound tiger on display at the facility.
Tiger Truck Stop owner Michael Sandlin argues he and his truck stop have held a federal permit since 1988 to keep tigers at the truck stop, and Tony, a Siberian-Bengal mix, has been kept there lawfully for 10 years.
Sandlin contends the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, a defendant in his lawsuit, lacks statutory and constitutional authority to prohibit ownership of big cats by owners with federal permits.
“I think this is an important lawsuit,’’ Sandlin said. “It will set a precedent for animal owners all over the country.’’
Sandlin’s lawsuit also claims the litigation is important for exotic animals.
“The fact is that the exotic animals in the wild are disappearing at alarming rates because of the illegal activity of criminal poachers. Thus, private ownership and exhibits like Sandlin’s and Tiger Truck Stop’s has become the safe haven for these most precious of our endangered commodities,’’ the lawsuit said.
“Making it more difficult and expensive to assist with preserving these precious species is only furthering the likelihood that private citizens will stop assisting with the fight to prevent the complete extinction of these animals.’’
Animal Legal Defense Fund staff attorney Matthew Liebman said Sandlin’s lawsuit is “baseless and without merit.’’
“We are confident that the state of Louisiana and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries acted well within their legal authority when they decided to protect both the public and big cats like Tony by restricting private ownership of wild animals,’’ he said.
A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office, Amanda Larkins, said the state’s attorneys were unable to comment on the lawsuit because they were in the process of reviewing it.
Sandlin’s lawsuit comes two months after a state District Court judge ruled Tony is not permitted by state law to remain at the truck stop off Interstate 10.
Judge Mike Caldwell said a state permit can be issued only to an individual, not a corporation, and Tiger Truck Stop is the permit holder, not Sandlin.
Caldwell barred Wildlife and Fisheries from issuing any new permits to keep Tony on display.
Tiger Truck Stop’s state permit expired Dec. 31.
The ruling, which came in a lawsuit that the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed last year against Wildlife and Fisheries, is being appealed by Sandlin, who intervened in the lawsuit.
Caldwell’s judgment is not final until the appeals process runs its course.
If Sandlin’s appeal is ultimately denied, Wildlife and Fisheries has said it would give Sandlin 30 days to move Tony to a sanctuary of Sandlin’s choosing.
In its suit, the Animal Legal Defense Fund cited a 2006 Louisiana law that prohibits the private ownership of large and exotic cats.
The law includes a grandfather exception that allows people to keep exotic cats as pets as long as the animals were legally owned before Aug. 15, 2006, when the law went into effect.
Tony was not legally owned by Tiger Truck Stop before that date because a 1993 Iberville Parish ordinance prohibits anyone from owning wild, exotic or vicious animals for display or exhibition, the Animal Legal Defense Fund said.
Sandlin’s lawsuit said the 2006 state law and the 1993 Iberville Parish ordinance are unconstitutional.
Wildlife and Fisheries has never been given any authority over exotic animals because exotic animals are not indigenous to the state, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also said the Iberville ordinance does not have an exception for persons with proper permits under federal law.
Sandlin’s lawsuit was assigned to state District Judge Janice Clark.
India's first anti-poach
ing tiger force begins work
By Habib Beary
4 January 2012
Last updated at 07:04 ET
India's first forest ranger unit charged specifically with preventing tiger poaching has gone into action.
The 54-member force will patrol tiger reserves in national parks straddling the borders of Karnataka, Tamil Nado and Kerala states in the south.
The Special Tiger Protection Force has received training in jungle survival and weapons use.
Tiger numbers have shrunk alarmingly in recent decades. A census last year counted about 1,700 tigers in the wild.
A century ago there were estimated to be 100,000 tigers in India.
"The force is operational," Karnataka conservation official BK Singh told the BBC. "They will deal with poachers and hunters."
The Special Tiger Protection Force was formed by the forest and environment ministry on the recommendation of the National Tiger Conservation Authority and Karnataka authorities.
With their special training course completed, the unit has moved into Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks, south of Bangalore.
The forested region has the highest number of tigers in India, according to a census released in March 2011 by the forest and environment ministry.
India's tiger numbers have shrunk from 100,000 to 1,700 in a little over 100 years Karnataka state, which has six tiger reserves, has about 300 tigers, followed by Madhya Pradesh in the north with 257.
The census indicated that tiger numbers had increased to 1,706 from 1,411 at the last count in 2007.
Officials say conservation efforts by the government and wildlife organisations have helped tiger and elephant populations increase.
But poaching remains a threat, with some 25 tigers killed in Karnataka alone since 2006.
A second tiger force will be set up in the eastern state of Orissa.
Senior National Tiger Conservation Authority official Rajesh Gopal said 13 tiger reserves in seven states across the country had been identified for special measures to protect the big cats.
Tiger expert Ullas Karanth said the new force would go a long way toward saving tigers from poachers.