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have issued this letter to Mongolia's Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism to request that this decision be rescinded.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.
Few people know much about the snow leopard, Asia’s ‘mountain ghost’, and even fewer are aware that only 3,500-7,000 snow leopards remain in the wild in 12 Asian countries. To highlight the story of this magnificent and elusive species, Panthera has created a snow leopard brochure that explains the ecology of the snow leopard, the primary threats facing this big cat, and what Panthera is doing in nine countries throughout Asia, with numerous partners, to ensure that the snow leopard does not, in fact, become a true ghost of this earth.
The mere concept of shooting a big cat in the name of ‘sport’ nauseates me. I have spent my career working to conserve the world’s great cats, and have logged thousands of hours in their magnificent presence. When I watch a male lion grooming his cubs or see a female leopard haul a carcass her own weight up a thorn-tree, I am mystified that some people take pleasure in killing their kind with a high-powered rifle. I’m not especially averse to culling- like all wildlife biologists, my work occasionally necessitates killing animals, such as euthanizing injured wildlife- but it certainly isn’t fun. I simply do not understand what drives a hunter to shoot a creature as magnificent as a lion for a trophy and bragging rights.
The voting portion of Panthera’s ‘Name the Jaguar’ contest ends Tuesday, March 8th. Be sure to vote for your favorite name for the first female jaguar collared by Panthera in the Pantanal. Right now, the name ‘Noca’ has a nice lead over the other three names. ‘Noca’ is a play on the word ‘onca,’ which is the scientific species name for the jaguar – Panthera onca – and also means ‘jaguar’ in Portuguese. Learn what the other three finalist names mean - Iara, Artemis and Amarantha - and cast your vote!
Join us on March 3rd at 7 p.m. for a lecture at the Eastside Audubon by Panthera's Snow Leopard Program Executive Director, Dr. Tom McCarthy, on "Snow Leopards: Saving a Treasure of Central Asia's Mountains."