We are saddened to share that Rinchen Wangchuk, a dear friend of Panthera’s and the Founder and Director of the Snow Leopard Conservancy–India Trust, passed away recently after years of battling ALS. Among the international wildlife conservation community and beyond, Rinchen was renowned for his incredible lifetime contribution in studying and saving snow leopards.
Panthera’s April newsletter has just been released! Check it out to learn about Panthera’s latest conservation activities in Guyana, including an exciting jaguar camera trap photo, a Panthera scientist’s rare encounter with a group of lions in Nigeria, Google the scat-detecting dog’s snake avoidance training, the recent creation of an International Tiger Advisory Group, the ‘Power of the Petition,’ the airing of the Lost Land of the Tiger program on National Geographic, and a champion for the world’s snow leopards. If you haven’t already joined Panthera’s email list, do so now at the top of the page!
The BBC 'Lost Land of the Tiger' program featuring Panthera President and CEO and tiger expert Dr. Alan Rabinowitz will air on National Geographic beginning Friday, April 8th, at 9pm. Tune in to watch Dr. Alan Rabinowitz & a team of scientists as they travel through Bhutan in search of tigers.
The program will also be airing on: Saturday, April 9th, at 12am & 9am EST Monday, April 11th, at 11am EST Friday, April 15th, at 5pm EST More info can be found on this program at http://on.natgeo.com/eHoqHK & http://bit.ly/hGNupX.
The recent tiger estimates to come from the Government of India, released on the 28th March, put the current Indian wild tiger population at 1,706 adults (including 70 from the Sundarbans bordering Bangladesh). These numbers have been making headlines, as they indicate a 16% increase in India's overall tiger population since the 2007 estimates of 1,411 individuals. Significant resources (money and manpower) have been put into these recent efforts, which need to be applauded. However, celebration of a rising tiger population should be tempered. As one of India’s most renowned tiger biologists, Dr. Ullas Karanth was quick to point out, the methodology that underpins these estimates has yet to be adequately described, making it difficult to be confident in the estimates.
The 2010 Lion Guardians Annual Report has just been released! Learn about the achievements of the Lion Guardian staff, including 29 Lion Guardians or Maasai warriors, and the challenges they faced in a year still impacted by one of the worst droughts in history, in 2009. For starters, in 2010 the Lion Guardians staff monitored 55 lions in Kenya’s Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem and prevented the hunting of at least 44 lions in this region, with the help of the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Maasailand Preservation Trust. Also be sure to read the latest news about the planned expansion of the Lion Guardians model to Tanzania, & around the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Ruaha Game Reserve.
During a trip to the Yankari Game Reserve in central Nigeria in late January, Panthera’s Lion Survey Coordinator, Philipp Henschel, encountered and photographed a group of three lions while out on a field survey, including an old adult male, one female, and a cub thought to be 8-10 months old (pictured left) as they were resting, having just fed on a waterbuck.
The Mongolian government has just announced its decision to reverse a proposal that would have allowed for the hunting of at least four snow leopards, and possibly many more, for the sake of scientific ‘research.’ See Panthera’s Press Release congratulating Mongolia on this decision, and read about Panthera’s petition to the Mongolian government that was signed by nearly 3,500 Panthera supporters.
In an inspiring wave of support, Panthera’s community has joined together to petition the Mongolian government to reverse their decision allowing the hunting of at least four snow leopards for scientific ‘research.’ In just the past few days, Panthera’s petition of Mongolia’s snow leopard hunting proposal has received over 2,000 signatures! To continue to raise support for this cause, we are asking our fans to sign Panthera’s petition and share it with friends and family via email, Facebook, Twitter and other means.
Alarmingly, the Mongolian Government recently announced a proposal for the legal hunting of up to four, and possibly many more, endangered snow leopards in 2011, for scientific “research”. In response to this proposal, Panthera’s Vice President, Dr. George Schaller, and Snow Leopard Program Executive Director, Dr. Tom McCarthy, have issued this letter to Mongolia's Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism to request that this decision be rescinded.
Recently, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) declared the Eastern Cougar (Puma concolor couguar), a subspecies of the Cougar (Puma concolor), as officially extinct. The Eastern Cougar had been listed as an endangered species since 1973, but has been believed by much of the scientific community to have been extinct since the 1930s. Although there have been supposed recent sightings of the Eastern Cougar in its historical range, it is believed that these sightings were, in fact, of other Cougar subspecies, including South American subspecies.