Panthera has just rolled out our April newsletter, featuring the most recent news and updates from our wild cat conservation programs around the globe. Take a look to learn about the Panthera-supported ‘Long Shields’ project, which is employing local men and women - typically raised to hunt lions - to instead serve as protectors of lions and communities of southwestern Zimbabwe. Read a special contribution from Panthera’s Conservation Council member and actress, Glenn Close, on her reflections from a recent trip with Panthera’s team to Belize’s Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary – first established with the help of Panthera’s CEO, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, in the early 1980s.
F51, an adult female mountain lion currently tracked by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project, meandered towards the eastern edge of her range, her two female offspring bouncing like electrons in orbit around her. Who can say what a mountain lion thinks, but from our perspective, life seemed good for F51.
The family had fed off a series of elk in quick succession, and then successfully dodged the local wolf pack that stole her last kill from them. Her kittens were fat, healthy and growing fast. How quickly things can change.
In a recent presentation on ‘The Secret Lives of Cougar Kittens’ in Jackson Hole, Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project Leader, Dr. Mark Elbroch, explained the fascinating development of cougars from conception to birth, through development and eventually to dispersal. Referencing findings and data gathered from Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project over 13 years, Dr. Elbroch described the progression of life for cougars in northwest Wyoming, including the percentage of cougar kitten survivorship (20%), how often female cougars give birth and why den selection is so critical for kittens’ survival, litter hierarchy and social interactions, threats faced from wolves, bears, hunters, frostbite, and more.
On Monday, March 17th, Panthera's Teton Cougar Project Leader, Dr. Mark Elbroch, will give a special presentation on 'The Secret Lives of Cougar Kittens: Birth to Dispersal' at the Center for the Arts in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Combining ongoing ecological research with Panthera's incredible video footage, Dr. Elbroch will paint a rare portrait of wild cougar kittens in the Jackson area.
Join us at 7pm for Dr. Elbroch’s presentation, and come early for other presentations and a pot luck, hosted by Jackson Hole Nature Mapping, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, and the Meg and Bert Raynes Wildlife Fund, starting at 5:30pm.
Learn more about the event.
It was dark, and cold. Under cover of night, F61, an adult female mountain lion currently followed by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project, padded softly back to her kill. Drew Rush, on assignment for National Geographic’s article “Ghost Cats” had visited while she was away, and set up a motion-triggered camera to photograph her upon her return.
After a quick examination of the camera, F61 inspected her kill. It was an elk, and she had carefully covered it in snow to minimize its chances of detection from competitors.
Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project has just captured incredible, new footage showing how cougars communicate (yes, it's loud!), solicit attention and engage in courtship behavior in the wild. Watch this footage below and learn about the intricacies of cougar courtship from Panthera's Teton Cougar Project Leader, Dr. Mark Elbroch, in this National Geographic Cat Watch blog post.
Today, Panthera is excited to celebrate the first annual World Wildlife Day, designated by the United Nations General Assembly as a day “to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora, and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that conservation provides to people.” We ask you to join with us in celebrating the world’s big cats, and other species, by signing up for our big cat email updates.
Panthera’s Media Director and National Geographic photographer, Steve Winter, won first place in the 2014 World Press Photo Nature Category last week with his striking photo of cougar mother and her cub. Taken with a camera trap, these cougars are part of Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project (TCP) in Wyoming, which was also featured in the December issue of National Geographic.
The December edition of National Geographic Magazine features an interesting article entitled ‘Ghost Cats,’ which highlights the evolution of the cougar and the state of the species today in North America, Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project and individual cougars studied through this project, and photos of wild cougars taken by Panthera’s Media Director and National Geographic photographer, Steve Winter. Among Winter's photos is a stunning image of a cougar set against the backdrop of Los Angeles’ Hollywood sign.
Read ‘Ghost Cats’ on National Geographic’s website.
The leopard is the quintessential cat: stealthy, secretive and adaptable. It is able to exist in virtually all habitats from hyper-arid desert massifs in the Sahara to the dense equatorial forests of central Africa - the only African cat that occurs in both. The leopard eats prey ranging from dung beetles to wildebeest, and survives on domestic dogs near major cities; it can drink water from thermal springs and traverse Kilimanjaro’s snowline. However, all this adaptability comes at a price - the leopard occupies a conservation blind-spot, and is rarely thought of as threatened or needing conservation action. But the species has lost over 35% of its historic range in Africa and far more again throughout Asia.