National Geographic’s ‘Cat Watch’ Q&A on ‘The Fate of the Jaguar’ with Panthera’s Dr. Howard Quigley
National Geographic’s ‘Cat Watch’ blog published an interview with Dr. Howard Quigley, Panthera's Jaguar Program Executive Director, on ‘The Fate of the Jaguar.’ Dr. Quigley describes the most extensive and ambitious carnivore conservation program in existence for the Americas’ largest cat: Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative(JCI), which serves as the greatest hope for this iconic species.
Dr. Quigley explains how Panthera’s scientists are meticulously studying the movements of jaguars using camera traps and other tools, allowing jaguars to “show us the way” to effectively conserve them. Jaguars are mapping their own highway of connectivity, and teaching our biologists how to connect and protect the most critical jaguar populations and habitats ranging from Mexico to Argentina – the backbone of the Jaguar Corridor.
Dr. Quigley describes the region-specific issues affecting this big cat in Latin America, including an ever-expanding livestock industry, overhunting of jaguar prey, and habitat fragmentation, and Panthera’s simple, but highly effective solutions to combat these threats.
He also explains the prevalence of and science behind the mysterious and melanistic jaguar.
Jaguar Camera Trap Photo Gallery
Known as South Africa’s gateway to the African continent, the province of Limpopo crowns the northernmost region of the country, sharing a border with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Home to Kruger National Park, among other reserves, this province teems with an abundance of both wildlife and nearly 5.5 million people. Despite the growth of rural and urban settlements in the region, a University of Pretoria study recently found that a large proportion of Limpopo province (nearly 63%) serves as viable habitat for local leopard populations.
Given this knowledge, and the significance of preserving leopard populations within this critical corridor of South Africa, Panthera launched a long-term leopard monitoring program in Limpopo earlier this year, in partnership with the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Coordinated by Panthera’s Leopard Program Director, Dr. Guy Balme, and lead by Panthera Kaplan Scholar, Ross Tyzack Pitman, the Limpopo Leopard Project strives to track leopard population trends in Limpopo province over the next decade to glean comprehensive data on the status of the species, its primary threats and how to mitigate and best protect the leopards of Limpopo.
A female leopard carries her 1-2 month old cub in South Africa's Welgevonden Game Reserve, taken as part of Panthera's leopard conservation and monitoring work in Limpopo province.
To begin the monitoring process, Panthera’s scientists flooded a number of protected reserves with camera traps this year, including Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve, Atherstone Nature Reserve, Wonderkop Nature Reserve and Makalali Game Reserve.
Despite the threat of camera theft by poachers and damage from territorial elephants and brown hyaena, our field team was thrilled to recently uncover the first reward from these efforts – two camera trap photos of a female leopard carrying her tiny cub (right) estimated to be one to two months old, in the Welgevonden Game Reserve.
Serving as a sign of hope for Limpopo’s leopards, these images represent just a portion of an already highly successful camera trap study, which has produced numerous photographs of a resident male leopard, possibly the sire of this young cub, as well as photos of lion, cheetah, caracal, African wild cat, brown hyaena and other species.
In its first year, the Limpopo Leopard Project is already producing valuable, long-term data that will enable the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism to develop scientifically sound conservation management strategies for the leopard. This project will also create a monitoring framework to be replicated throughout South Africa and across the leopard’s range to help ensure the species thrives for generations to come.
Learn more about Panthera’s leopard conservation efforts in South Africa.
Limpopo Camera Trap Photo Gallery
We are excited to share that the new Panthera-National Geographic book, Tigers Forever: Saving the World's Most Endangered Big Cat, will go on sale on Tuesday, November 12th!
This gorgeous 224-page hard cover book features stunning images by Panthera’s Media Director and National Geographic photographer, Steve Winter, that portray the story of the tiger’s fight for survival and Panthera’s solution – our Tigers Forever Program. With fewer than 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild today, the book includes stunning photographs of these big cats in their natural habitats, conservationists working on the ground to save them, the suite of threats facing the species, and the landscapes, wildlife and people across India, Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia that share their homes with the endangered tiger.
Alongside these images are the poignant stories written by Winter and environmental journalist, Sharon Guynup, of individual tigers, and Panthera’s scientists working through the Tigers Forever program to save this species from extinction. Accompanying these stories are inspiring messages about the state and future of the tiger from the Tigers Forever program co-founders, CEO Dr. Alan Rabinowitz and Board Member J. Michael Cline, and one of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation, Panthera’s Vice President, Dr. George Schaller. Winter, too, shares with readers tales from his photographic adventures in the field.
A portion of proceeds from the sale of this book will go directly to the field to support Panthera’s Tigers Forever program. Help ensure a future for tigers in the wild by pre-ordering Tigers Forever now, or purchasing your copy on Tuesday, November 12th.
With perhaps as few as 3,500 individuals remaining in the wild, snow leopards are one of the world’s most endangered big cats. The secretive nature of these cats (known by locals as guardians or protectors of their sacred mountains) and their remote habitat has, until recently, largely precluded a thorough understanding of the species’ ecological, behavioral and evolutionary traits. Thanks to modern-day research, conservationists have begun to uncover more about the snow leopard’s evolutionary history, ecology and human-predator conflicts. However, much less is known about the actual number of snow leopards found in the wild, which scientists estimate to be anywhere between 3,500-7,000, and the species’ genetic diversity, gene flow and habitat connectivity.
To fill in these gaps in knowledge, Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program Regional Coordinator, Dr. Byron Weckworth, was recently awarded a research grant from the Chinese Science Foundation to carry out a critical snow leopard conservation genetics project in the Sanjiangyuan region of Qinghai, China, in collaboration with scientists at Peking University, Shan Shui and Panthera. Today, China is home to as much as 60% of the snow leopard’s habitat, and therefore maintains extreme significance for the conservation of the species.
Panthera’s Regional Snow Leopard Coordinator, Dr. Byron Weckworth, collecting snow leopard feces in Sanjiangyuan region of the Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai, China
Within this landscape, Weckworth is working to create a comprehensive DNA database for snow leopards using cat scat (feces) found in the field. Tried and true, this non-invasive research method can reveal incredible findings about the number of snow leopards living in the region, their relation to one another, where and how far they move and more.
Combining genetic data gleaned from this scat with previous scat collections by Peking University colleagues, Weckworth seeks to calculate the size of the breeding population of snow leopards in the region, and identify how different landscape features, both natural and man-made, impact snow leopard movements and population connectivity. In other words, these data will inform scientists about specific geographic characteristics that help or hinder the connection and gene flow between snow leopard populations, thus enabling the development of more effective snow leopard conservation and management policies.
Weckworth’s genetics study will be the first of its kind for snow leopards, and the expected findings will not only provide significant information for snow leopard conservation efforts in Sanjiangyuan, but will also provide methods and results largely applicable to snow leopard research throughout Central Asia.
Learn more about Panthera’s Snow Leopard Conservation Program.
Snow Leopard Photo Gallery
In other snow-leopard related news – For the entire month of November, Custom Alaska Cruises will donate 5% of any Southeast Alaska cruise booked in 2014 aboard the small luxury vessel, MV Sikumi, to Panthera! Participants booking the week of June 20th-26th will be joined by Panthera’s Snow Leopard Program Director, Dr. Tom McCarthy, who will serve as a nature guide, sharing details on the region’s wildlife and landscape, along with providing a special presentation on the snow leopard and Panthera’s conservation efforts for this big cat. Learn more at www.sikumi.com and on Panthera’s cruise page.
Two beautiful books by Panthera’s President, Dr. Luke Hunter, including Cats of Africa: Behavior, Ecology and Conservation and Cheetah, have just been released as e-books, now available for purchase online.
In Cats of Africa, Dr. Hunter explores the divergent worlds of the continent’s wild cat family, including the revered big three – the lion, leopard and cheetah – and the lesser-known caracal, serval, African wildcat, black-footed cat, African golden cat, jungle cat and sand cat. Having conducted fieldwork on Africa’s wild cats for over 20 years, Dr. Hunter shares his knowledge and recent conservation findings, while describing the evolution, physical adaptations, anatomy, social structure, communication, reproduction, hunting strategies, conservation and threats of these felids. Coupled with these interesting facts are striking photographs by Gerald Hinde of Africa’s cats in their natural habitats – feeding, socializing, and engaging in other behaviors, some of which have never been recorded.
Similarly, in Cheetah, Dr. Hunter complements first-hand field observations and recent research on the species with fascinating details on the cheetah’s ancestry, role within the culture of man, hunting and social behavior, competition with predators, harassment as the smallest of Africa’s big cats, range use, parenting, conservation threats, status and hope for survival in both Africa and Iran. Powerful images by Dave Hamman show the cheetah in its element – sprinting mid-hunt, mothers caring for their young, and other images – all of which convey the grace, beauty and magnificence of the world’s fastest land mammal.
These e-books are available at extremely discounted rates just in time for the holiday season, and are also available in hard cover as gorgeous coffee table books, so you can flip through on your kindle or couch.
Get your kindle and/or hard cover copy of Cats of Africa: Behavior, Ecology and Conservation.
Get your kindle and/or hard cover copy of Cheetah.
Published biannually and available to members and Friends of the Cat Specialist Group, this journal includes the most up to date and fascinating news, scientific publications, editorials, articles and more on the state and future of wild cats around the globe.
Chaired by two of Panthera’s Cat Advisory Council members, Christine and Urs Breitenmoser, the Cat Specialist Group brings together over 200 leading international scientists, wildlife managers and conservationists, including many of Panthera’s scientists, to serve as honorary advisers to the IUCN. In this capacity, advisers provide data on wild cats and help to assess the status, conservation needs and rank of species for the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Animals; advise governments party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); and develop conservation strategies and action plans on behalf of wild cats, including the highly endangered Iberian lynx.
Join us in supporting wild cats and the Cat Specialist Group by:
- Joining the Friends of the Cat Group – includes Cat News Journal membership
- Making a donation
- Ordering the Cat News Archive CD
Check Panthera’s Newsroom for Cat News articles by our wild cat scientists.
Get your copy of the November 2013 issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine to read up on the Breitenmosers’ Eurasian lynx conservation study, including beautiful photos by Laurent Geslin, such as the image above of wild Eurasian lynx kittens in their den in Switzerland.
Photo of the Month
Remote-controlled ‘BeetleCam’ photo of a yawning lion in Kenya’s Maasai Mara by Panthera’s partner photographer, William Burrard-Lucas.Check out other great photos taken by Burrard-Lucas using this 'BeetleCam' or buggy with a camera on top at burrard-lucas.com/beetlecam and Facebook.
- Panthera's Chairman Tom Kaplan Featured in Forbes Magazine
- Press Release: PUMA, Wilderness Safaris and Panthera Join Forces to Protect the Lions of Zambia
- Panthera Partners with ROYALE to Support Wild Tiger Conservation
- Press Release: Hope for Tigers Lives in Sumatra
- ABC News (Video) Features Panthera’s Snow Leopard Conservation Program
- The Weather Channel Film Series Features Panthera’s CEO, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz
- Panthera and Partners Publish Grandes Felinos de Colombia (Wild Cats of Colombia) Book
- Management of Reintroduced Lions in Small, Fenced Reserves in South Africa: An Assessment and Guidelines
- Role of Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries in Snow Leopard Conservation
- Notes on the Distribution and Status of Small Carnivores in Gabon
- The Trophy Hunting of African Lions: Scale, Current Management Practices and Factors Undermining Sustainability
- Declaration of a New Sanctuary Creates Largest Protected Area Network in India and Curtailment of Run-of-the-River Projects Brings Respite to the Western Ghats
- Evidence for Large-Scale Effects of Competition: Niche Displacement in Canada Lynx and Bobcat
- Human-Snow Leopard Conflicts in the Sanjiangyuan Region of the Tibetan Plateau
- Biological Corridors and Connectivity
- Joint Indian Initiative Creates Tiger Corridor
- Creating Larger and Better Connected Protected Areas Enhances the Persistence of Big Game Species in the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Biodiversity Hotspot
- Occupancy Estimation of Jaguar Panthera Onca to Assess the Value of East-Central Mexico as a Jaguar Corridor
- Tigers Forever Presentation by Panthera’s CEO & Media Director at National Geographic Live! – November 19
- TEDxGateway ‘On the Trail of the Tiger’ Presentation by Panthera’s Media Director, Steve Winter – December 8
- Explorers Club Lecture by Panthera’s Media Director Steve Winter and Journalist Sharon Guynup – January 6, 2014
- Lions & Tigers & Bears: Through the Lens with National Geographic – July 25, 2013 – February 2, 2014