Panthera’s August newsletter has just been released and includes some of the most exciting stories and updates from our wild cat conservation projects around the globe. Watch the first known footage of one of the world’s most elusive and least known wild cats – the African golden cat – captured by a Panthera Kaplan scholar in Gabon, as featured on CNN. Read about a new study, co-authored by Panthera’s Dr. Luke Hunter and Dr. Philipp Henschel, demonstrating how leopards and bushmeat hunters are directly competing for prey species in the Congo Basin rainforest, and learn what this means for the region’s leopards. Also read a story by one of Panthera’s field staff about the role Costa Rica’s cattle ranchers play as conservationists.
A team led by Panthera Kaplan scholar and graduate student, Laila Bahaa-el-din, in Gabon has captured the first known footage of one of the least known and most elusive wild cats on earth – the African golden cat. This exclusive footage was taken with cameras set as part of a research project to understand how African golden cats are affected by different levels of human activity, such as logging and hunting, which are prevalent across forested Africa. The African golden cat is found only in the forests of Central and West Africa, and grows to the size of a bobcat, weighing between 5-16 kilograms. Very few western scientists have observed the living animal in the wild and to Panthera’s knowledge, there are no African golden cats currently in captivity anywhere in the world.
Panthera’s global wild cat conservation initiatives have recently been featured in a variety of top-tier international news outlets. In case you missed it:
In a recent article, ‘Leopards Losing Out to Bushmeat Hunters in Competition for Prey,’ Mongabay reports on a new study, co-authored by Panthera’s Dr. Luke Hunter and Dr. Philipp Henschel, demonstrating that bushmeat hunters in the Congo Basin Rainforest are out-competing leopards for the same prey species. Mongabay reported that while hunters are not directly targeting leopards, they are in fact indirectly depleting leopard numbers by hunting their preferred prey species, including medium-sized herbivores like forest antelopes and bush pigs. Read the full Mongabay article for more information on this fascinating study.
Panthera Press Release: New Study Sheds Light on Threats Facing Leopards in the Congo Basin Rainforest
A new study led by Panthera Lion Program Survey Coordinator and leopard expert, Dr. Philipp Henschel, in cooperation with the Universities of Oxford, Stirling and Göttingen, has identified a new threat to Africa’s dwindling leopard populations: direct competition with human bushmeat hunters for the same food. Henschel’s study of leopards in the Congo Basin rainforest, published in the September issue of the Journal of Zoology, suggests that bushmeat hunting by people may drive declines in leopard numbers by removing their food base - in ecological jargon, exploitative competition for prey.
Panthera has just opened the Fall 2011 intake round for the Save the Tiger Fund-Panthera grant program and is encouraging all appropriate candidates to apply now through September 30th.
Panthera Film ‘My Pantanal’ Selected as Finalist for Best Children’s Program at Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
‘My Pantanal’ – a film written and directed by Panthera’s Vice President, Andrea Heydlauff, about our ongoing jaguar conservation initiatives in the Brazilian Pantanal – has just been selected as a finalist (one of three films) in the Best Children’s Program category at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. The Festival is internationally renowned as the largest and most prestigious competition of the nature genre, and this year a record 510 films from over 30 countries were submitted for 22 category awards.
CNN Inside Africa has just released two videos online from its program, ‘Saving South Africa’s Leopards,’ which features Panthera’s Munyawana Leopard Project based in South Africa’s Phinda Game Reserve. Watch the videos and follow Panthera Leopard Program Coordinator Tristan Dickerson as he tracks and re-collars a large, male leopard as part of the Munyawana Project. Also learn about the threats leopards are facing today, what Panthera’s innovative research revealed about the persecution of leopards in and around Phinda, and how Panthera’s efforts directly led to a rebound of the region’s leopard population.
Panthera Conservation Council Member Jane Alexander Named Honorary Chair for 2012 Indianapolis Prize
The Indianapolis Prize recently announced its honorary chairs for 2012, which includes actress Jane Alexander who also serves as a member of Panthera’s Conservation Council - an expert advisory board that contributes to the direction of Panthera and the implementation of Panthera’s mission.
This short video clip shows a beautiful jaguar grooming himself on a riverbank in the Pantanal – a region in western Brazil, on the border with Bolivia and Paraguay, that is home to the world’s largest wetland and the highest density of jaguars. The video was taken during the filming of My Pantanal – a short Panthera film told through the eyes of a 10 year old boy, Aerenilso, who lives on a conservation ranch in the Pantanal. With as many as 2,500 ‘fazendas’, or ranches, the Pantanal is home to nearly eight million cattle, and is therefore also a hotbed for conflict between local ranchers and jaguars.