"Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it”

Environmentalism Chapter 28 – Wildcat Conservation

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The big cat family we absolutely adore within the animal kingdom that have roamed for planet for over a million years virtually left untouched by man, consumer greed, increasing wildlife part medicine trade and fur/skin trade, to habitual destruction, agriculture, pet trade, mining, pollution and human species conflict. (Picture above is Eurasian lynx)

Wild cats are one of a prized species of wild felidae’s that share almost the same appearances but are not all generically related to one another such as the Tiger and Lion, and of course all being prime carnivores that hunt their prey stealthy, with precision speed, compact agility, and power to stay alive in today’s demanding and competitive world.

Mostly nocturnal they will take their prey in the dead of night or early mornings. The larger felid family though that have no real known predators will hunt both morning and night to sustain their colossal carnivorous diet that normally ranges in between 11Lb and 25Lb of fresh hunted meat a day every day. We have heard of “one to two” larger felids consuming a plant based diet however it’s unheard of and [very rarely] practised in the Zoological society, this diet can also cause malnutrition and severe illness, arthritis, bone and skin disease to eventual death.

Over one hundred years ago the population sizes of our most precious wild cats that range from  Lions, Cheetahs, Tigers, Jaguar, Jungle Cat, to the Pampas cat down to the near threatened [NT] Sand Cat that is almost identical to the domestic feline cat Felis silvestris catus populated the earth in the thousands.

Unfortunately we are now losing our wild cats very rapidly for many reasons that we can as a human species control if other nations reduced a range of environmentally damaging factors such as mining, palm oil to and poaching, pet trade and a vast reduction in fur trade both legal and illegal that’s seen many celebrities that was against fur now return to this repulsive trade.

Those celebrities were adored by many for their stance against the fur trade, environmentalists and activists were most thankful regarding the awareness they created thus educating many, sadly with so many now returning to their old past life style behaviour more animals suffer with many wildcats pushed to nearing extinction.

There are some thirty six species of wild cats within today’s world of which some are listed as least concern [LC] on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature [IUCN] to others that are critically endangered [CR] only living in the hundreds, to the Amur that’s population count stands at a mere thirty individual cats left within the Eastern European wild.

The most precious critically endangered wild cats that still inhabit the earth in small populations are going to be pushed to extinction within the next three to five years unless immediate action is taken by Asia and Eastern Europe “members of the Cites agreement” in ceasing the illegal wildlife parts trade imminently.

Since the start of the Cites summit in Bangkok, Thailand 4th March 2013 from which 35,000 species of animals and plants fall under the Washington agreement there was very little mention with regards to the wildcats, no sanctions placed against China or Thailand in banning them from all importations of all 35,000 species which would have been seen as exceptional punishment for trade and poaching violations.

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The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the I.U.C.N did explain 10th March 2013 that more Bengal Tigers were to be pushed into the wild thus increasing population size. The problems we see though with the Tiger Bone Wine trade. Is how can one possibly protect our Bengal or Sumatran unless imminent sanctions are placed to at least give populations time to increase.(Picture above is the Serval)

Pushing more species into the wild is merely pushing them into the poacher’s hands thus increasing more money and demand. Please view this link. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=176332405848682&id=199685603444685

Immediate action must now be implemented to end the barbaric Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM] and Traditional Indian Medicine [TIM] trade cultures that are seeing many animals slaughtered for their bones, claws, skins, to organs, and genitals for fake medicines, cultural myths and urban legends that supposedly bring you luck and good will to improving one’s health which is complete fantasy.

I have identified, detailed and highlighted some of the most precious and extremely endangered wildcats from the least concern to critically endangered, that still inhabit the earth today.

The thirty six wildcats within the wild are as follows;  

The African Golden Cat, Asian Golden Cat, Andean Mountain Cat, Bay Cat, Black-footed Cat, Bobcat, Caracal, Cheetah, Chinese Desert Cat, Clouded Leopard, Cougar, Fishing Cat, Flat-headed Cat, Geoffrey’s Cat, Iriomote Cat, Jaguar, Jaguarundi, Jungle Cat, Kodkod, Leopard, Leopard Cat, Lion, Little Spotted Cat, Lynx Canadian, Lynx Eurasian, Lynx Spanish, Margay, Marbled Cat, Ocelot, Pallas Cat, Pampas Cat, Rusty-Spotted Cat, Sand Cat, Serval, Snow Leopard, Tiger, Wildcat-African, Wildcat-Asiatic, Wildcat-European.

All thirty six cats are of the most colourful, powerful, yet stunning, skilled hunting mammals that still walk the earth today, unfortunately as explained they are under enormous threat and we cannot as conservationists to the general public just simply look at the most critically endangered thus leaving others out of the equation. We have to look at the entire race in the same identical fashion to all flora and fauna that inhabits this destructive world.

Should we lose our concentration or let ones guard down we will most certainly view more species pushed further to the end of the cliff like lemmings, thus losing some of the most beautiful species of wildcats that have roamed shifting continental plates for hundreds of thousands of years.

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All thirty six species of wild cats inhabit Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Europe and the Middle East [United Arab Emirates], most populations and species are normally located within the warmer climates, with few species such as the Snow Leopard Panthera uncia located high above sea level in the snowy cold central mountains regions of Asia throughout Pakistan, and Afghanistan to China.(Picture above is the Canadian Lynx)

Panthera unicia is native to these areas yet regrettably being pushed higher up the ridges as their own prey that ranges from the Yak, agricultural wild stock to rabbit and birds are losing their own territory that they would normally feed on due to an array of reasons from climate change, habitual destruction, and pollution to over grazing which is rapidly seeing the Panthera unicia lose its fight for survival.

FELID HISTORY PAST & PRESENT;

The earliest fossil records of the modern felid ancestors come from a period of just under 10 million years ago. However findings of such fossils are rare and it is difficult to piece together a comprehensive picture of the early relationship between the felid species.

The small cats, those grouped in the “genus felis”, are poorly represented, with the exception that is, of the ancestor of the modern day Lynx. The early descendants of the lynx first appeared around four million years ago and are known as the Issoire Lynx (Lynx issidorensis).

This early Lynx was larger than the forms found today and is said more to resemble those species from the genus felis, notably in having shorter legs than the lynx of today.

It is now commonly believed that the Jaguar and Leopard both share a common ancestry, centred in Eurasia a little over 2 million years ago. However whereas the Leopard spread west into Europe the early Jaguar travelled east and crossed the Bering land bridge into North America. The early Jaguars that inhabited the Americas were both larger and longer legged than the modern species.

Ancestral Tigers were thought to have originated from Central Asia and China and spread out both east and west to cover most of Asia from the Caspian Sea to the Russian Far East. It is thought that the modern day Tiger, found in northern China is “perhaps” the closest direct ancestor of the earliest forms of the species.

Fossil records indicated that the Lion appeared on the scene considerably more recently than the other members on the genus Panthera. The earliest known records date back to around 750,000 years ago and stem from Western Africa. From here Lions spread north into Asia and Europe, were the Cave lion (Panthera spelaea) and Tuscany Lion were found in the Balkans and Northern Italy respectively.

The ancestral Lion also crossed from [Asia] into North America and the American lion (Panthera atrox) spread south as far as Peru. It is believed the Lion species evolved from eastern Asia of which then introduced “sub-species” within central Africa.

Early forms of the Cheetah are also believed to have inhabited North America as far back as 2½ million years ago (Acinonyx studeri) to as recently as 12,000 years ago in the smaller form of Acinonyx trumani. The early ‘Old World’ form, Acinonyx pardinensis found in Europe, closely resembled the modern day cheetah apart from being noticeably larger.

HISTORICAL DATA;

There are twenty-six species of “small wild cats belonging to the same group or genus as the domestic cat”, identified as the Felis, and these, together with three species of Lynx, six species of large cats (Panthera), and the cheetah (Acinonyx), make up the family of the Felidae which completes the full set of living species numbering thirty six, excluding though all domestic species of Feline.

There are currently over 73 breeds of domesticated cats recognized by the IPCBA (International Progressive Cat Breeders Alliance), while the more conservative CFA (Cat Fanciers’ Association) gives the nod to only 41. Developing and registering a new breed of cats is a long, involved progress, and not every attempt is successful. For example, the CFA steadfastly refused to admit cats bred from “wild stock,” such as the Bengal, or the Savannah, although these breeds are both accepted by TICA and IPCBA.

There are 45 titled in this link of which extra non-classified members such as the White Lion, White Tiger I have placed herewith for your interest – However please note that there are only 36 recognized wild true species alive. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=445618188851424&set=a.445618178851425.1073741826.199685603444685&type=1&theater

With the exception of the Cheetah, the felids are a contiguous group of meat-eaters which are all recognizable as belonging to the same family of mammal. They all have long legs, short faces, and sleek, athletic bodies with beautiful coats.

In addition, they can all retract their claws, have a keenly developed sense of smell, and they all purr. With the exception of the lion and two sub species of critically endangered Asian wildcat, all the felids are solitary hunters, kill rather small prey, and usually hunt at night. Interestingly, the lion is the most social of the felids, and lives and hunts in a family group which we call a “pride”, we note that not all wildcats that live within “social groups” are clearly identified as a [pride] though.

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It is now thought that because the diet of the cat has remained the same for thousands of years, this may explain why the thirty six species of wildcats resemble each other so closely, with the exception of their size and the traits necessary for appropriate camouflage.(Picture above is Ocelot)

Cats have had no reason to change! Excellent hunters since the Lynx-like “Ur-cat” of the Miocene from whom the modern cats descend, the cats have had no need to adjust their bodies or their diets in response to major changes in the world’s climate. This is because the diets of the cats didn’t change. To a cat, a fish that eats algae, a bird that eats berries, and a giraffe that eats acacias are all meat for the hunting.

So while the glaciers came and went, while the vegetarians struggled to try and digest new plants and adapt themselves to overwhelming global changes, the cats simply kept on hunting, waiting to pounce on whatever managed to survive into the next epoch. It is the same limber body of the cat that hunted successfully in the Pliocene that hunts successfully today. – http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/tertiary/pliocene.php

WHY ARE THE NUMBERS OF FELIDS REDUCING?

  • Illegal wildlife trade that mixes clothing with fake Asian medicine – Funding off illegal arms with regards to local and international civil war and terrorism. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/12/wildlife-trafficking-national-security-wwf
  • Over hunting that’s not seeing the species rejuvenate in time. http://www.africanskyhunting.co.za/trophies/lion-hunting.html
  • Habitual destruction/depletion of natural resources that wildcats rely on caused mainly from commercial and domestic construction and trade such as the manufacture of the palm oil plantations, over grazing, pollution, deforestation, over population of which the Planet Earth has some 800+ billion people that inhabits the earth with one child born every minute. http://uk.oneworld.net/article/view/166165/1/
  • Human and species conflict which unfortunately see’s wild cats always come the worst off, slaughtered in the most extreme sickening ritualistic fashions, mostly by armed gangs seeking revenge for an attack on family and/or friends.
  • Capture and breeding – We now have more Bengal Tigers in Chinese and Thailand zoo’s and temples that are being kept in the most appalling of conditions, then left to starve for the production of Tiger Bone Wine and now Lions are being slaughtered for counterfeit Tiger Bone Wine. Lions are mostly hunted then their bones are sent to Asia via the hunter that makes vast sums of return money. Whereas the Tiger as explained above is left to starve to death then their bodies are stripped from the bones and placed within a vat of Rice Wine which apparently in Chinese medicine cures many diseases, improves impotency, and now cures Human immunodeficiency virus which is complete and utter nonsense. Tiger Bone Wine like Rhinoceros horn doesn’t cure any illness, and never has, it is complete myth. http://mg.co.za/article/2012-07-04-sa-breeders-embrace-growing-asian-demand-for-lion-bones  http://www.lionaid.org/blog/2012/09/concentration-camps-for-tigers-in-china.htm
  • Hunting traps that poachers or illegal hunters have set for smaller animals or primates that are lain down near commercial land of their own accord or have been paid by palm plantations, or mine owners to keep roaming predators away from working areas. The innocent Tiger or Leopard then accidently roams into these areas that were once their homes just to have their leg caught in a snare/trap. The more they struggle the more the snare or metal trap tightens. It has been noted that some cats have been left for days if not weeks in these traps from which they are then slaughtered by the poacher/hunter or humanely euthanized by a rescue unit that gets to them first or are called by the forestry commission. http://www.eyesontheforest.or.id/?page=news&action=view&id=561
  • Pollutions and poisons – This year already we have seen 1 Bengal Tiger that was poisoned found floating in a river. We are not sure of the outcome of this investigation as yet. It could be a silent poaching incident, deliberate poisons to keep Tigers and other big cats out of populated villages, or commercial poisoning that we are now seeing on a regular basis. This commercial poisoning was also linked although not yet proved to be the cause of death of over 16 Pygmy Elephants next to plantations that grow palm oil trees. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/31/world/asia/malaysia-pygmy-elephants  – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=565401643478744&set=a.400871756598401.99979.400620306623546&type=1&theater

The main losses to our wild cat populations are primarily due to poaching, illegal wildlife trade for fake Asian medicine that doesn’t cure any illnesses at all or increase sexual libido, Tiger/Lion bone wine trade, habitat fragmentation, and retributive killing which is seen more in India, Indonesia Thailand and Malaysia.

The cats wander into what was their own territory that results in possible attacks on human’s mostly causing serious injury or great fatalities. As there are no wildlife officers within many regions they cannot get to the scene fast enough to halt the vigilante gangs that then proceed to hunt the wild cat down. Sadly the wild cat is stoned, whipped with metal chains or sticks, or on one case this month trapped into a cage then set alight. The Leopard suffered horrendously taking some toe to five minutes to perish in excruciating agony. .  One report here http://www.indianexpress.com/news/3-leopards-killed-in-4-days-no-arrests-yet/1085525/ quotes how a Leopard was “axed to death” with another here http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4652281/girl-killed-by-leopard.html that reports a child was snatched by a Leopard then mutilated, there are no other reports on this sickening yet concerning story.

SPECIES IN DANGER WORLDWIDE;

All species listed below are of concern to International Animal Rescue Foundation © and all other conservation societies. Red listings have been updated from various lists that have failed to update their classifications. We have as an organisation since contacted them to inform them of their update.

Africa – Lion (Panthera leo, – (Vulnerable as listed on the IUCN Red List)

Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus (Vulnerable as listed on the IUCN Red List)

Both species are currently under enormous threat not to mention that they are also still canned hunt which International Animal Rescue Foundation© is currently working to put an end too.

Panthera leo

The Lion (Panthera leo) numbers have dropped to as low as 32,000, down from nearly 100,000 just 50 years ago, the research is the most comprehensive assessment of lion numbers to date for December end.

(Extracted data) 2012

African savannahs are defined as those areas that receive between 300 and 1500 mm (approximately 11 to 59 inches) of rain annually. “These savannahs conjure up visions of vast open plains,” said Stuart Pimm, co-author of the paper who holds the Doris Duke Chair of Conservation at Duke University. “The reality is that from an original area a third larger than the continental United States, only 25% remains.” In comparison, 30% of the world’s original rain forests remain.

Lions in West Africa are at highest level of risk, researchers found. “The Lions in West Africa have suffered the greatest declines,” said Andrew Jacobson, another co-author from Duke. “Giving these Lions something of a fighting chance will require substantial increases in effort. The next 10 years are decisive for this region, not just for lions but for biodiversity, since Lions are indicators of ecosystem health.”

(End of Extract)–

Should the ecological systems that the Lion uses to hunt within, then be fragmentised even more, it will push the Lions prey that range from Kudu to Impala, Antelope and more away thus placing other species of animals in danger from lack of food and water sources.

The Lion and Cheetah requires these eco systems as they hunt using stealth tactics, and the grasses and high plains is what the female Lioness use as basic camouflage and safe haven to keep her cubs safe from other predators such as the Hyena, and wild dogs.

Should botanical ecosystems such as tree’s and grassland’s swamps, marshes and lowland scrub plants then come under threat from habitat destruction, pollution, and climatological destruction then the big cats prey and both Lion and Cheetah are forced to move on thus placing more areas in danger. The prey the Lion and Cheetah feed on could also become under immense threat thus causing eventually massive ecological catastrophic failure leading to one or more species pushed further into extinction.

Climate change and over population within Africa is now seriously playing a copious role with regards to the decrease in Lion species from which if no immediate and direct action is taken to sustain the species and environment then we could lose them in less than 10 years 2018 being the starting point of overall lion species decline.

Pseudo hunting, and the decreasing numbers of the world’s remaining Tiger populations in Russia and Asia is seeing the Lions exploited for fake medicine and counterfeit Tiger Bone wine. We now have on average within Africa a rough total of 32,000 Lions in the wild with numbers decreasing rapidly.

BRIEF TIGER BONE HISTORY;

As wild-tiger populations dwindle, poachers are now turning to Lions to feed the insatiable Chinese appetite for potions made from big-cat bones. The Lion is genetically similar to the Tiger and therefore Lion bone can be promoted as having similar healing properties.

The most infamous Tiger-breeding farm in China, Xiongsen Tiger & Bear Mountain Village in Guilin has bred many hundreds of Lions as well as Tigers with Tiger-bone wine openly on sale at the park. http://iheartchina.com/location/Xiongsen-Bear-and-Tiger-Mountain-Village  – http://www.china-tour.cn/Guilin/The-Bear-and-Tiger-Village.htm

The endangered Asiatic Lion population in India is initially most at risk. In 2007, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) raised the alarm that a new phase in wildlife poaching to meet Chinese demands could wipe out the world’s only Asiatic Lion population.

WPSI said: “This serious new development points to the fact that since Tigers are so scarce in the wild, these poachers are now targeting the last remaining population of Asiatic Lions. Gir’s Lions are an easy target, since they are comparatively used to people and live in open scrub forest.

Their bones are also virtually indistinguishable from those of Tigers. There is no market for big cat parts in India, and their poaching and the trade is entirely driven by demand from outside India’s borders, for use in traditional Chinese medicine’. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asiatic_lion

Also in 2007, environmental photojournalist Debby Ng wrote in “Asia Magazine” that both Leopards and Lions are now used as common substitutes for Tiger bones.

As well as Asiatic Lions, this trade is threatening the already-declining African Lion population and demand for Lion bone may also be met by Lion farmers in South Africa.

In December 2009, the Department of Environment, Tourism and Economic Affairs, Free State Province approved the export of Lion bones from a captive-Lion-breeding facility. Please read the information below from www.cannedlion.org

“On Tuesday, 1st December 2009, the permit committee of the Department of Environment, Tourism and Economic Affairs, Free State Province decided to approve the permits for the exportation of Lion bones to one Cobus van der Westhuizen.

The Free State is one of the worst provinces in South Africa for captive Lion breeding. Lions are bred in South Africa in enclosures, just as a Pig farmer breeds Pigs in crates, for slaughter. The difference between raising Pigs and raising Lions is that the Lion abattoir has been turned into a lucrative ‘sport,’ colloquially called ‘canned Lion hunting.’ Various spin-offs from this grisly trade have already been successfully established, including cub-petting, walking with young lions, and the promotion in USA of Lion meat consumption which is still on-going.

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International Animal Rescue Foundation © is aware off seven cub petting and walking with African wildcats off which one has British and Dutch Links named as the Daniels Cheetah Foundation run and owned by Wild Cats World and one concealed British owner that we believe to have some form of operation in.(Picture above is the Bengal Tiger)

On challenging this owner 2012 August of which it was clearly evident that there was a colossal six breeding farms and abattoirs within the vicinity we was threatened along with others too that had made attempts to question the owners in Holland.

We have tried to warn the government and many other’s from which we would not off been made aware unless the general public that had visited, viewed and raised questions to then contacting ourselves and others of this situation. Canned hunters have been linked to the vicinity, however we have been refused to meet in person to even attacked verbally via email communications.

We have serious problems in SA regarding conservation of biodiversity, due partly to a well-orchestrated campaign against any civilized notion of animal welfare, and partly to dysfunctionality in many areas of conservation – especially in some provinces. Now, with the approval of the permit, our worst fears and imaginings have been realized.

The door to the huge market for “Tiger bone” in Asia has been opened. Furthermore, *the demand for free-ranging Lion bone is much higher than that for captive Lions* and we fear the worst for our African Lion populations. Big money is involved, and we all know what that means.

Should the remaining 1,500+ plus Wild Tigers be pushed to extinction then our Lion’s will most certainly be next. International Animal Rescue Foundation’s © Conservation Crimes team have noted many bones up for sale on African and European classified advertisement’s from which every single buyer is purchasing from the the nations of Thailand, Vietnam, China, ,Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and again the United States to the even United Kingdom (London – China Town)

Cheetah – Acinonyx jubatus

The Cheetah species is within the same predicament as the Lion although there is no proof as of yet that they are being used for the making of Traditional Chinese Medicine as “yet” however the threat is still there should we lose our Tiger and even Lion species. We must also point that other species of Asian cats are being used for substituted Tiger Bone Wine then mislabelled as Tiger Bone Wine that in turn keeps the demand up.

“Illegal hunting within Africa, and India, to poaching all play a role within the decrease off populations off one of the world’s fastest land mammal”

Cheetahs are mostly hunted however we have noted within many road side seizures and arrests that Cheetahs are being used mainly in the production of Eastern European and Asian home decors, coats, rugs, carpets and upholstery to even “fur ornaments” that is seen within Europe as the new craze. This trend though is mostly confined to Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Kosovo, and Romania.

Hunters will obtain a permit to hunt of which they know that the skins in the black market and fur trade can actually fetch them depending on the size and age of the Cheetah up to $80,000 per skin. We ourselves have also noted on Russian EBay and classified advertisements some furs selling for up to $100,000. All sales are conducted from what appears to be a “shop on line” however on later investigations via meetings and Internet Protocol search the owners actually turn out to be hunters living in a house within Moscow.

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One site under investigation was a Russian site named as www.avito.ru that had a total of 4 Tiger skins on sale, Leopard, Zebra, and Giraffe, Lion and many illegal arms, to even Rocket Propelled Grenade Launchers. The site has since been ordered to remove and the traders arrested that had breached the Russian environmental and poaching laws. Law enforcement has also since become involved within Moscow based on our reports from January 2012 after investigating an [unnamed fur trader].(Picture above is the Borneo Bay Cat)

The hunter would normally pay in between $20,000 and $30,000 for a hunting holiday of which they know they can easily obtain a much higher revenue back on the taxidermist product itself, which is [unusual to see] from a finished dipped and shipped trophy however intelligent and supplicated criminals have the knowhow on removing then selling on which does concern us as the hunting trade is being exploited in all directions. We will continue to demand a moratorium on hunting investigating and analysing all avenues until it is drafted into place.

The problem is without adequate policing agencies to help in gathering this intelligence then sadly this will be a long drawn out battle that will see some of our wildcats and other larger mammalians pushed further to extinction.

“Poaching as explained above is on the increase and this again relays back to the European and American fur trade market”.

With the fur trade now taking off again and skins to rugs fetching enormous prices then sadly the poachers will continue to desolate our wild Cheetah species more, the imitation products [fake Leopard and Cheetah] skins are also increasing the [demand] for the real item that buyers quote “there’s nothing better than having top quality animal fur to keep you warm in the winter months”.

Cheetah cubs also have a high mortality rate that regrettably see’s mum lose two to three of her cubs from natural deaths, Lion or Hyena attacks. It has been suggested that the low genetic diversity of Cheetahs is a cause of poor sperm, birth defects, cramped teeth, curled tails, and bent limbs. Some biologists even believe that they are too inbred to flourish as a species

The species has been re-introduced back in to India as of the populations being desolated by hunting, illegal poaching, habitual destruction, and human species conflict. Cheetahs where currently extinct in India form the 1940’s however conservationists have pushed them into India that has seen some success although minimal.

It has also been suggested although again we have seen no current recent evidence of importing, that South Africa is importing Cheetahs into India, which is fair as long as they are introduced into well managed zones that are away from the general public, with efforts to combat poaching in these areas.

Leopard – Panthera pardus

The Leopard is currently listed as near threatened off which we do believe that should poaching, habitual destruction, pseudo hunting, illegal hunting, human species conflict and better park management not improve within the next ten to fifteen years then we could see the Leopard at critical point.

The Tiger species must be preserved and education to awareness within the fur trade must be paramount to demonstrate to buyers what carnage they are causing. Leopards are virtually solitary cats that are occasionally mistaken for the Cheetah.

Leopard species are located in Siberia, Russia, South Africa and Africa as a whole with some states seeing them extinct. Asia holds the current highest populations although both Africa and Indian critics quote different.

In 2008, the IUCN stated that leopards may soon move from a “Near Threatened” to “Vulnerable” status due to heavy hunting and poaching mainly for the commercial trade in Asia, persecution due to human-conflict situations, poorly managed legal trophy hunting, and habitat loss and fragmentation. Leopards are also persecuted in Africa by local tribes who use leopard skins for ceremonial dress and body parts for traditional uses.

African cats that are listed within the International Union for Conservation of Nature

  1. African Golden Cat –  Profelis aurata – Near Threatened
  2. Black Footed Cat – Felis nigripes –  Vulnerable
  3. Sand cat – Felis margarita – Near Threatened (located in mainly Asia although some species have been found in the African Sahara
  4. Lion – Panthera Leo – Vulnerable
  5. Cheetah – Acinonyx jubatus – Vulnerbale

All other remaining wildcats from the Serval to Caracal are of least concern on the IUCN list [however as explained this could change if we see the entire Tiger species wiped out].

North America big cats range from the Bob Cat, Puma, Canadian Lynx, Jaguar, Jaguarundi, and the Ocelot. Although we are not seeing a great decline the Jaguar is of the most important in this region of which there numbers are decreasing rapidly.

Panthera onca better known as the Jaguar is now near threatened of which we do believe is soon going to be moved up to vulnerable status for many reasons that I have listed below;

  • Farms, ranches, mines, roads, towns, residential subdivisions and border infrastructure are increasingly being built in areas important to Jaguar survival, destroying Jaguar habitat and blocking migration routes.
  • Human species conflict although rare in these dense forests where many plantations from Palm oil to Cocaine and Cannabis fields are grown, conflict still occurs. Most individuals in these areas carry hunting rifles or hand pistols that then take the cat down should conflict or intrusion occur.
  • Palm oil plantations are a massive risk to the Jaguar as explained and should reduction in obsessive consumer demand not decrease or other alternatives be used, regrettably there will be a substantial decrease in numbers.
  • Poaching is a major worry as usual with regards to the fur trade, and animal parts trade. The Jaguar is used mainly though for its skin as it brings in much illegal black market revenue. Native and non-native settlers that reside in the forest of Amazonia also hunt the Jaguar for bush meat.
  • Their life span is crucial at such a small age from which they face many threats from snares, and the tropical pet trade.

Jaguars are the largest of South America’s big cats. They once roamed from the southern tip of South America’s continent north to the region surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. Today significant numbers of Jaguars are found only in remote regions of South and Central America—particularly in the Amazon basin.

These beautiful and powerful beasts were prominent in ancient Native American cultures. In some traditions the Jaguar God of the Night was the formidable lord of the underworld. The name Jaguar is derived from the Native American word yaguar, which means “he who kills with one leap.”

Unlike many other cats, Jaguars do not avoid water, in fact, they are quite good swimmers. Rivers provide prey in the form of fish, Turtles, or Caimans—small, Alligator like animals. Jaguars also eat larger animals such as Deer, Peccaries, Capybaras, and Tapirs. They sometimes climb trees to prepare an ambush, killing their prey with one powerful bite.

Most Jaguars are tan or orange with distinctive black spots, dubbed “rosettes” because they are shaped like roses. Some jaguars are so dark they appear to be spotless, though their markings can be seen on closer inspection.

Jaguars live alone and define territories of many square miles by marking with their waste or clawing trees.

Females have litters of one to four cubs, which are blind and helpless at birth. The mother stays with them and defends them fiercely from any animal that may approach—even their own father. Young Jaguars learn to hunt by living with their mothers for two years or more.

marbled-cat-photo-credit-terry-whittaker

South America consists of ten species of wild cats that are native to both South and North America and are mostly confined to the regions of Amazonia. As listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature the three wild cats that are most at risk are the Jaguar as explained above that’s now moved from vulnerable status to endangered, the Andean Mountain Cat of which should no major conservation efforts be enforced then we will lose these cats in 1-5 years if that, and the Kodkod Leopardus guigna that’s listed as vulnerable that’s similar in appearance the Andean cat.

Andean Mountain Cat – Leopardus jacobita

There are now no fewer than 2000 of the Andean Mountain Cat left in the wild with very few in Zoological Gardens. The Andean Mountain Cat is nearing extinction rapidly and within our eyes it would be seen as professional to then take at least a half of these cats then place them in to protective captivity to push numbers up thus after releasing into a protective wild reserve increasing numbers more. Once numbers are within the thousand mark then a slow release into the wild must begin.

There are no known sub species although this still has to be ascertained as the Andean cat was only discovered by conservation biologists in the late 1980’s.

Threats that face the Andean Mountain Cat are listed below;

  • Climate change is playing a huge factor in the reduction off numbers.
  • Deforestation is making a huge impact on the desolation of numbers from which the Andean Mountain Cat lives within tall grass lands and areas that food is widely available, yet now rapidly decreasing. Illegal and sustainable logging is damaging the surrounding ecosystem thus reducing the numbers via starvation or taking much larger risks to obtain prey within its own predator’s areas. Viscachas and Chinchillas, small birds and even Lizards are all being pushed out of the Andean’s cat ecosphere which will eventually kill the species of.
  • Tropical pet trade is also a player in this area as their likeness to the actual domestic cat, the female (Queen) as it is better known has very small kittens that can fetch anywhere in between $500 to $5000 on the black market.
  • Species competiveness/conflict, within the Andes range, there are other species of my larger cat such as the Puma, Pampas cat, and Jaguar that all compete to survive and within such harsh environments that’s coupled with illegal logging, mining, agriculture and poaching competing to stay alive and being one of the most smallest out of the wild cats of which the Andean Mountain Cat is no larger than a domestic pedigree cat is difficult for them to live and survive in now cramped zones. The Andeans cat’s kittens are also small prey for the larger cat of which the Tom (male) will occasionally guard the kittens however this is not always the case and mom will/can lose up to 2-3 “kids” if not “all” from predators that are all hunting within the same areas. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andean_mountain_cat please read more regarding this cat within the link provided. Please also note that more has to be done to now conserve these very small and agile cats.

Kodkod – Leopardus guigna

The Kodkod is the smallest cat within the region of South America of which Argentina and Brazilian  conservationists have numbered the cats population to be no higher than 7,000 now from which only three years ago there was an estimated 10,000 adult Kodkods in the wild.

Confined to mostly Chile and Argentina the Kodkod was listed in 2002 on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable.

Habitual destruction and loss of its own hunting prey from both poacher, deforestation, agriculture and persecution could see in the next three to five years should conservation efforts not be upgraded and the cat listed as critically endangered, then pushed extinction which is a sad fact of life now with most of our wildcats that are always under persecution from larger prey to humans. The Kodkod has no current sub species and is similar to pedigree feline.

white lions return

The Kodkod’s diet’s range from small rodents, birds, lizards, and occasionally they will hunt prey such as Geese and Chicken. The gestation period lasts about 72–78 days. The average litter size is one to three kittens. This species may live to be about 11 years old.(Picture above on the left is a Female Lioness the the right is an extremely rare White Lion that is formed by a mutant gene. – The White Lion is a rare colour mutation of the Kruger subspecies of lion (Panthera leo krugeri) found in some wildlife reserves in South Africa and in zoos around the world. White lions are not a separate subspecies and are thought to be indigenous to the Timbavati region of South Africa for centuries, although the earliest recorded sighting in this region was in 1938.

The main threats to the Kodkod I have listed below;

  • Illegal and sustainable logging
  • Agriculture
  • The spread of Pine forest plantations from which its prey would not normally within
  • Poaching is rare however there have been reports of the Kodkod for sale on the illegal black markets with regards to the illegal pet trade.

As with many of the small wild cat species within the Americas very little is known of the lifestyle of the kodkod. It is believed to be mainly a nocturnal hunter.

The cat is a forest dweller and is able to climb well. As with its lifestyle, little is known of the size of population of the kodkod, but loss of natural habitat due to forestry and logging activities, pose a constant threat. The kodkod is listed in CITES Appendix 2 and is protected in both Argentina and Chile.

Asia see’s many large and small cats that are listed on the CITES Appendix from being vulnerable to neat threatened and critically endangered. Within this section I have demonstrate as above only documentation on all “endangered” wildcats to those that are listed as vulnerable.

The following cats that reside and are native to Asia are listed below for your interest;

Please note that some of following cats that also reside in Africa and the Americas,that may also dwell in Asia too, and have different threat statuses.

  1. Asian Golden Cat  Catopuma temmincki,
  2. Bornean Bay Cat  Catopuma badia (vulnerable)
  3. Chinese Moutain Cat  Felis bieti
  4. Clouded Leopard  Neofelis nebulosa (vulnerable)
  5. Fishing Cat  Prionailurus viverrinus
  6. Flat-headed Cat  Prionailurus planiceps (vulnerable)
  7. Iriomote Cat  iriomotensis viverrinus (endangered)
  8. Jungle Cat  Felis chaus
  9. Leopard  Panthera pardus (endangered)
  10. Leopard Cat  Prionailurus bengalensis
  11. Lion  Panthera Leo (Formally extinct in Asia within the WILD)
  12. Marbled Cat  Pardofelis marmorata
  13. Pallas Cat  Otocolobus manul
  14. Rusty-spotted Cat  Prionailurus rubignosis
  15. Snow Leopard  Uncia uncial (endangered)
  16. Tiger  Panthera tigris (endangered)
  17. Wildcat (Asiatic)  Felis silvestris

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There are a total of eight wild cats within Asia that have been listed by CITES from vulnerable to endangered and regrettably critically endangered. I have highlighted each cat that’s current status I have also included along with threats and living behaviotr to ecology.(Picture above are Bobcat cubs)

  • Bornean Bay Cat (Catopuma badia) now listed as endangered, in 2003 it’s reported that the Bornean Bay Cat had been completely wiped out. Fortunately in 2011 there were sightings of this very lucid and secretive Asian wild cat. The last pictures of the Bay Cat were taken in Lanjak Entimau wildlife sanctuary in southern Sarawak in 2003 and it had since been classified as extinct. Endemic to the island of Borneo there is a rough total of within the wild based on factual census that now range from 1,000 individuals however with poaching increasing these numbers have regrettably decreased and we no longer know for sure how many from the 1,000 are left within the wild from 2011 when all data was released after secret filming and documenting. The species was listed as endangered because of a projected population decline by more than 20% by 2020 due to habitat loss. As of 2007, the effective population size was suspected to be below 2,500 mature individuals. Current threats are mainly habitual destruction from deforestation, trappers and wildlife dealers. The Bay Cats diet ranges from small agricultural cattle, birds, and rodents.
  • Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Listed as vulnerable, the Clouded Leopard is a felid found from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China, and has been classified as vulnerable in 2008 by IUCN. Its total population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults. Current conservation threats of this most beautiful cat range from illegal logging that has regrettably decreased the forest size that it resides within. Large scale commercial poaching, skin/fur trade along with the Traditional Chinese Medicine trade that acquires the cat from its claws, teeth, meat and now worrying the Tiger bone wine trade of which the Clouded Leopard is sadly used as a substitute in the making of fake Tiger bone wine. The diet of the Clouded Leopard ranges from agricultural stock, Pheasants, rodents, and Deer. Clouded leopards also don’t appear to purr like the majority of cats. Hissing, grunting, snorting and moaning are very unique within this cat of which these vocalisations where observed in captivity and not the wild.
  • Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps) Listed endangered is a rare, little cat that is about 60 cm (2′) long and only weighs 2.2 kg (4.8 lbs.). The diet of the flat-headed cat includes fish, Frogs, crustaceans and rodents. You will notice that the majority of their diet lives around water. This is why you will always find the furry, flat-headed cat around lakes and streams. The appearance of this cat would make you question whether it truly is a cat since it has short legs, a long head with tiny ears and a short tail. They have often been compared to muskrats and otters instead of other cats. The differences continue to pile up for the flat-headed cat since their toes tend to be webbed and they are one of the few cat species with non-retractile claws. Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true since their claws do retract, however, the sheath covering is so short that two-thirds of the nail remain exposed. The flat headed cat’s threats are primarily threatened by wetland and lowland forest destruction and degradation. The main causes of such destruction are human settlement within the areas that they are native within, pollution and drainage for agriculture, and yet again the palm oil trade of which forest transformation effects every living species from cat to bird, rodents to incest’s. The clearing of mangroves, trapping and poising have reduced the levels of this cat down to 2000 maximum in the wild with 1% of them in captivity.
  • Iriomote Cat (Iriomotensis viverrinus) Critically endangered, Located in Japan Iriomote Cats are small cats with a body length between 48 and 56cms (18.9 – 22 inches), a tail length between 16 and 45cms (6.3 – 17.7 inches) and they weigh between 3 and 7kgs (6.6 – 15.4 lbs.). Their current conservation status is endangered of which there are no more than 2,000 in the wild [if that]. The Iriomote diet normally consists off small mammals, such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and occasionally fish. Current threats are habitat loss and persecution from humans. Normally living for only 8-9 years old there are literally a bare 200 in the wild up from 2007 of which saw only 100-110 before the last census [if that] so conservation within this area is slowly improving, however we do believe that we are going to lose this most amazing cat unless conservation protection is practiced.
  • Leopard (Panthera pardus), Endangered (Please note that the Leopard is also present in Africa) of which professionally trained conservation teams including ourselves International Animal Rescue Foundation © are trying to preserve its [Near Threatened] status. Leopards are currently now endangered in Asia. Compared to other members of the Felidae family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard’s rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguars do. Both leopards and Jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers. Diet normally consists of Antelope, Kudu, dead stock and agricultural stock too. They are an avid hunter being “one of” but not the fastest land running mammal in the world. The Leopard is a versatile hunter and generally nocturnal in its pursuit of prey – however the increased frequency of hunting found in the female [raising young] often leads to more opportunistic hunting during daylight hours. The type of prey taken by the Leopard is again dependant largely upon its locale – in the open grasslands of Africa where roaming herds of large to medium sized herbivores are common the Leopard will take young Eland and Wildebeest, Impala and Gazelle. However in the same areas the Leopard will also take small mammals such as Hares and Rock hyrax, reptiles and insects. In contrast, in the west and central forested regions of Africa the Leopards prey consists mainly of the smaller antelope such as Duiker, small Monkeys and various rodents such as Rats, Squirrels and Porcupines. The Leopard is currently living in 25 locations internationally that are located mainly from United Arab Emirates, China, Nepal, Africa and many more. Although the Leopard has had greater survival success across the African/Asian range compared with the Cheetah and Lion, who now only exist in single locations within this extended range, the Leopard, especially in the Middle East and South West Asia is under extreme threat. The Leopard is listed in CITES Appendix 1. Their numbers are dwindling in Asia due to human species conflict, skin/fur trade, fake Tiger Bone Wine trade (used primarily as a substitute) Traditional Chinese and Indian Medicine trade too.
  • Lion (Panthera Leo) EXTINCT There are very few Lions in Asia and what Lions there are they are mostly if not all confined to zoos for eye entertainment or as explained with the Leopard and Tiger (Panthera tigris) they are subsequently starved to death within large sprawling zoo’s that China tries to keep secret. The Lions bones and/or skeleton is harvested then placed into a vat of rice wine. There are currently NO Lions in the wild within Asia that we are aware off.
  • Snow Leopard (Uncia uncial) Listed as endangered although sharing its name with the common leopard, the snow leopard is not believed to be closely related to the Leopard or the other members of the Pantherine group and is classified as the sole member of the genus Uncia uncia. Due to the under-development of the fibro-elastic tissue that forms part of the vocal apparatus the Snow Leopard cannot give a full, deep roar and this along with differences in skull characteristics help to separate it from its fellow ‘big cats’. Locating the this stunning and majestic cat can take weeks if not months and can easily camouflage itself out witting its prey to performing some of the most daring cliff face jumps just to obtain its prey. The Snow Leopard lives to an average age of 15-20 years. Current environmental threats are poaching for fur and skin trade, animal parts trade, Traditional Chinese and Indian Medicine, hunting to protect agricultural livestock that has now been pushed into its own predatory hunting grounds, habitat depletion, and human species conflict although rare its happening. A recent study by the World Conservation Society W.C.S revealed that the Snow Leopard is in high danger of extinction within the mountainous regions of Asia from Afghanistan and Iraq. The study indicated that many Snow Leopard parts had been purchased by American and European soldiers that where being sold on the base camps from Afghan vendors that then consequently funds the illegal armoury trade and illicit  narcotics trade. The Wildlife Conservation Society though have acted upon this and are now implementing new strategies and improved education to reduce illegal purchasing within the markets of Afghanistan and base camps. However wildlife trade is still being sold and is still on display in the local markets, if the vendor obtains high profit and sales or [want for more from the customer] this then increases the extinction rate rapidly through more illegal poaching. There are roughly 2,000- 2,800 Snow Leopards in the wild with 800 located in international Zoological Gardens. The Snow Leopard generally inhabits elevations between 2000-4000 meters although it can occasionally be found at lower altitudes to the north of its range and as high as 5500 meters in Himalayan regions. The cat is generally associated with generally rocky terrain such as high valley ridges, rocky outcrops and mountain passes. As summer gives way to winter, the snow leopard will follow its migrating prey down below the tree line to the lowland forests that cover much of its habitat – however the cat is rarely associated with dense forestation.
  • Tiger (Panthera tigris) Endangered The male Siberian or Amur Tiger/Bengal/Sumatran, has a total body length in excess of 10 ft. and weighing up to 300 kg is by far the largest and most powerful member of the cat family. – However overall body size varies considerably throughout the five sub-species – the female Sumatran being almost 3 ft. smaller. With exception of the Lion the tiger is probably the most easily recognised of all wild cats – its fur which ranges from orange to brownish yellow with a white chest and belly is covered with broken vertical black/dark brown stripes. The length of the fur is longer in the Amur Tiger which inhabits the colder forested regions of eastern Russia and northern China. However, seasonal variation occurs throughout the species, with the winter markings often being paler and less well defined in the longer winter coat. Males of all sub-species also exhibit longer fur in the form of a ‘ruff’ around the back of the head, this is especially pronounced in the Sumatran male. In general the Tiger is a forest dweller but can also be found in grass land and swamp margins beyond woodland areas. They are never far from a source of water, are strong swimmers and have a particular love of bathing in pools and lakes in hotter regions. Principally, Tigers are nocturnal hunters although in protected areas away from human intervention the animal is often active during the day. Although habitat dictates the type of animal that it hunts, the Tiger prefers larger prey, such as wild Boar, Buffalo and Deer, but also hunts fish, Monkeys and various small mammals if its preferred food source is unavailable. The Tiger is often regarded as a cautious hunter, stalking as close as it can to the rear of its prey before making the final charge. Depending on the size of its prey the Tigers killing bite is usually to the throat or neck of its victim – with smaller animals a bite to the neck is often sufficient to sever the spinal cord, whilst with larger prey the throat bite is preferred, gripping the animal until it finally suffocates. As in common with many cats the Tiger will cache its food supply, hiding it under loose vegetation, returning to feed on the carcass over several days. Although, with the exception of mother and cubs learning to hunt, it is generally a solitary hunter the Tiger will often share its food with others of its family group. The Tiger more than any of the ‘big cats’ has earned a reputation of a ‘man-eater’. In the Sundarbans Reserve in the swamp lands along the coast of the Bay of Bengal it has been reported that tigers have attacked fishermen in their boats – however such unprovoked attacks are rare. Confrontation mainly occurs when humans stray into reserved areas to collect firewood or food and here, more often than not, it is by old or injured Tigers unable to compete for normal prey sources. Until recently, when the study of Tigers in their natural habitat has increased due to the establishment of protected reserves, little has been known of the life style of the animal. However today we know much more of the Tigers daily routine and social activities. Although in many ways a solitary animal, patrolling and marking its territory with urine sprays and scrapes the male Tiger will often spend time with its mate and offspring. The male’s territory usually encompasses that of more than one female and is rigorously protected against intrusion from other neighbouring males. The typical litter is between 2 to 3 cubs, which are born some 3 to 4 months after mating. The young Tigers will stay with their mothers in a family group for up to two years, learning the skills of hunting before separating to take up their independence. Young males may travel far, living a solitary life before establishing their own territory, often by ousting older or injured males. On the other hand young females often stay close to their mother and in some cases even share parts of her territory. Although popular in some zoos, ‘White Bengal Tigers’ are extremely rare in the wild – the last sighting of a white tiger in its natural habitat was near Rewa in Central India back in 1951. This male Tiger was captured by the Maharaja of Rewa and named Mohan – it is this animal that most of the white Tigers in captivity today are related. The white Tiger is not a true albino – it simply has less dark coloured pigment in its coat – this is sometime known as a ‘chinchilla’ mutation. The white Tiger is not pure white but has brown stripes and blue eyes. There is some concern about the keeping of white Tigers in zoos. These cats are by nature, extremely inbred and possibly not of pure bred Indian descent. Some suggest that they are taking up valuable cage space and breeding resources and this is to the detriment of other pure bred and more threatened sub species. The current environmental status of all Tiger species from the January 1996 stood at between 4,800 to 7,300 there is now more Tigers in Chinese captive breeding facilities than there is in the wild, and the populations within the wild stand now at a depressing 1,300 if that with 20 dead for 2013 to date March 2013.

The total number of Tigers from the year of 1996 stood at;

  1. Bengal Indian 4735
  2. Siberian Tiger 230
  3. South China Tiger 30
  4. Sumatran Tiger 500
  5. Indo-Chinese Tiger 1790

The sad reality with regards to the Tiger is we are losing the conservation battle against the illegal animal parts trade, and from recent submitted reports that we acquired from reputable conservation teams, we are lead to believe that the Tiger we may lose unfortunately unless action is implemented quickly and aggressively. The palm oil trade within Indonesia and Malaysia is also playing a crucial role in the destruction of these amazing million year old cats. The Ramin tree that the Sumatran’s live within has been illegally logged time again even though it is classified as endangered and must not be felled, logging agencies and plantation owners continue to flout the rules placing the Sumatran Tigers habitat in greater risk.

United Arab Emirates, Middle Eastern Asian nations and Europe compromise the following wildcats of which I have only documented on the individuals status as listed on the I.U.C.N list below this picture. Documentation on the Leopard Panthera pardus is listed above.

1039

  • Eurasian Lynx Lynxs lynx
  • European Wildcat  Felis silvestris
  • Jungle Cat  Felis chaus
  • Leopard  Panthera pardus (endangered)
  • Sand Cat  Felis margarita (near threatened)
  • Spanish Lynx  Lynx pardinus (critically endangered) – Picture above is the Jaguar – Amazonia
  • Sand cat (Felis margarita) is listed as near threatened from which populations of this particular cat are actually still quite dense and with birth rates exceptionally high at 4-5 Kittens coupled with the where the cats breed they are still not really as yet in any near danger of being moved to vulnerable status. Known as the sand dune cat, is the only felid found primarily in true desert, and has a wide but apparently distinct distribution through the deserts of northern Africa and southwest and central Asia. The IUCN listed the cat as near threatened due to mostly the tropical pet trade and one can see why as they are an exquisite felid with such splendid colourings, and facial features that customers will pay up to $5000 for each on the black market. Habitat degradation is the major threat to the sand cat. Vulnerable arid ecosystems are being rapidly degraded by human settlement and activity, especially livestock grazing. The sand cat’s small-mammal prey-base depends on having adequate vegetation, which may experience large fluctuations due to drought, or declines due to desertification and loss of natural vegetation. They also may be killed in traps laid out by inhabitants of oases targeting foxes and jackals or in retaliation for killing their chickens. There are occasional reports of animals shot in south-east Arabia. Other localized threats include the introduction of feral and domestic dogs and cats, creating direct competition and through predation and disease transmission. The sand cat is the only wild cat that is not threatened with loss of habitat since it is found in the desert. But this species is threatened by hunting and collection for the pet trade. Some are killed by humans who consider them a threat to their livestock. Because sand cats live in such vast, desert locations, they are hard to study and keep track off, and population estimates are not available to date for 2012-2013.
  • Spanish Lynx (Lynx pardinus) Listed as critically endangered, more commonly known as the Iberian lynx the species was mentioned in this month’s CoP 16th meetings in Bangkok Thailand from which we and other conservationists believe that we may lose this amazing specimen of wildcat. Native to the Iberian Peninsula in Southern Europe it is the most endangered species off wildcat in the world. Should the Spanish Lynx die out it would be the first felid species to become extinct since prehistoric times. The lynx is a solitary cat that haunts the remote northern forests of North America, Europe, and Asia. Lynx are covered with beautiful thick fur that keeps them warm during frigid winters. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes. These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen. There are several species of lynx. Few survive in Europe but those that do, like their Asian relatives, are typically larger than their North American counterpart, the Canadian Lynx. All Lynx are skilled hunters that make use of great hearing (the tufts on their ears are a hearing aid) and eyesight so strong that a Lynx can spot a mouse 250 feet (75 meters) away. Canada Lynx eat mice, squirrels, and birds, but prefer the snowshoe hare. The Lynx are so dependent on this prey that their populations fluctuate with a periodic plunge in snowshoe hare numbers that occurs about every ten years. Bigger Eurasian Lynx hunt Deer and other larger prey in addition to small animals. Lynx mate in early spring or late winter. About two months later, females give birth to a litter of one to four young. Humans sometimes hunt Lynx for their beautiful fur. One endangered population, the Iberian lynx, struggles to survive in the mountains of Spain, far from the cold northern forests where most lynx live.

We are going to see a vast decline within the wildcat species unless immediate conservation actions are not stepped up and all nations responsible for poaching “incidents” now start to tackle these poachers with stringent punishment, fines, and stiffer prison sentences. Poaching, and the animal parts trade is and will always be the number one threat to our wildcat species plus the barbaric and completely senseless fur trade that’s gaining more momentum by the month.

Tropical pet trade, illegal logging, mining and the palm oil trade are all adding up to conservation stock depletion plus the massive over population of the human race that now stands at over eight billion people worldwide. It’s a sad fact of life that should we not start to reuse, reduce, and recycle then we are sadly only contributing to more trees being felled for the products that we could off reused and other products purchased on the high streets done without. The illegal logging trade and mining increases poaching from open road ways and places more animals at risk from the live illegal pet trade.

Mining and agriculture are also causing catastrophic habitat loss with now oil drilling threating thousands of species off plant and animal to aquatic and reptilians.

We have only one chance in life to save these most precious and majestic magical cats that are still residing upon Planet Earth, one must now also start gearing up and working harder to preserve the Lion and the Tiger with the Tiger being at the forefront of the Lions preservation. Should we see all 1,000+ Tigers vaporised for counterfeit medicines, balms, and bone wine, to bush meat then we will most certainly lose the Lion and the Tiger within a ten years.

We and all other conservationists require your immediate help to make aware the plight of the suffering and nearing of extinction these cats are facing with immediate action taken now rather than later. We have not got time to wait for the next CoP17 summit and based on the meetings so far we and others are going to be gearing up for more battles with regards to the Rhinoceros, Elephant, and many other species.

To report a poaching incident and or major animal abuse please contact us below

externalaffairs@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk  or alternatively you can contact us for more information at info@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

Thank you for reading

Dr J C Dimetri V.M.D, B.E.S, Ma, PhD, MEnvSc

Director

Delegated Rescue Corps & Administrative staff

International Animal Rescue foundation

www.international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

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