Last week, Gabon's water and forestry and defence ministries arrested five vendors at Mont Bouët market in the Gabon capital of Libreville after attempting to sell 12 leopard skins, 1 piece of lion skin, 1 African golden cat skin, the head and hands of an endangered gorilla, 12 chimpanzee heads, 30 chimpanzee hands and five elephant tails. Intelligence about the vendors had been provided by the local wildlife law enforcement NGO Conservation Justice, and as the arrests were made, Panthera's Lion Program Survey Coordinator, Philipp Henschel, who is based in Gabon, was called in to help identify the confiscated felid skins.
A new study published in the journal Molecular Ecology reveals that the last remaining 70-110 Asiatic cheetahs now confined to the Iranian plateau are genetically distinct from the African cheetah, and are the last living representatives of the Asiatic subspecies. These data confirm that cheetah populations found in northern-east Africa & Asia are markedly different from cheetah populations occupying southern Africa. These developments demonstrate the urgency of the conservation of the Asiatic cheetah.
With fewer than 3,200 left in the wild, tigers are by far the most endangered of the big cats, and in order to ensure a future for the species, Panthera is working to educate young generations about the threats facing tigers and why it is important to save this enigmatic and declining species. This month, Panthera is featured in a weekly interactive newspaper for children called The Mini Page, which is included in nearly 500 newspapers in the US and abroad and is used to educate children about a variety of topics both in the classroom and at home using stories, pictures, drawings, puzzles, and other games.
Did you know that fewer than 25,000 lions remain in the wild in Africa today and that this enigmatic species has lost over 80% of its historic range? Join us for a special lecture to learn more about “The Vanishing Lion” this Sunday, January 9, at NYC’s 92nd Street Y from lion expert and Panthera Executive Vice President, Dr.
Listen to a fascinating BBC Radio 4 'Saving Species' segment featuring an interview with Panthera Exec VP, Dr. Luke Hunter, on why reintroducing captive-bred lions into wild African habitats is unlikely to make any impact on wild lion conservation. Learn about why Dr. Hunter believes the key to successful reintroduction efforts lies in using wild-born lions, taking into account the long learning curve needed for cubs to discover how to hunt, create spatial maps outlining where danger, prey and water exists, and master other strategies necessary to survive in the wild. The program begins at the 5:08 mark & Dr. Hunter's interview begins at 16:28.
This past weekend, the New York Times’ Green Blog posted about the latest “stealth” camera traps that were developed for the Panthera/Wildlife Conservation Society Tigers Forever Program to help our field scientists gather important data about big cat populations, movements and prey base around the world.
Just a few weeks ago, Panthera fan and big cat lover, Jonathan Stevens, embarked on a two week journey to Nepal’s snow leopard country to hike the Himalayan Mountain Pike Peak with the goal of raising £2,000 to donate to Panthera. So far, Jonathan has raised just over £ 1,000 to support Panthera’s global wild cat conservation projects, and fans of Jonathan’s and big cats are still making contributions to his JustGiving page!
Since discovering the unsustainable and illegal use of leopard skin garments at a South African Shembe religious gathering this summer, Panthera’s resident leopard expert, Tristan Dickerson, has been searching for a solution to discourage the hunting of local leopards for their skins, and he may have found his answer. Recently, Tristan met with a Zulu community chief and Shembe follower to discuss creating a fake leopard skin to distribute among the Shembe religious community. So far, Tristan and the Munyawana Leopard Project staff have developed two leopard skin patterns, and are working to perfect this pattern to create a convincing leopard skin “knock-off.” We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the Munyawana team’s progress.
We have just released our December newsletter which is filled with exciting stories of our global cat conservation work and interesting updates since past newsletters. Read about the signing of an historic agreement with Colombia’s Ministry of Environment, the defense of leopards in South Africa, a Panthera fan who climbed Nepal’s Pike Peak to raise funds for our international projects, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz’s PopTech presentations and Panthera lectures and debates coming up in January at the historic 92nd Street Y.