For a change, it’s not tigers that are hogging all the limelight at Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR). For the first time ever, presence of the elusive Asiatic wildcat has been confirmed here with photographic evidence, and has wildlife enthusiasts cheering. Asiatic wildcat is one of the five subspecies of the wildcat and is also a sub species of the desert cat.
Manul – Pallas’s Cat
The cat that people think of for high-altitude central Asian habitats is the snow leopard. However, there is another equally important cat for those ecosystems that tends to get overlooked (which is generally the case for small cats). It is the Pallas’s cat, Otocolobus manul. Weighing between 2.2-4.5kg, Pallas’s cats are recognizable by their compact body, short legs, thick coat, fluffy tail, and a bearded, flattened face with an expression that makes Grumpy Cat seem content.
The habitats of big cats are diminishing all over the world
Forcing them to co-exist with humans in urban environments
Meet Lily, the leopard brought to streets of Camden to raise awareness for this issue
Enjoy and share this hilarious awareness video!!!
A LEOPARD HAS ESCAPED FROM LONDON ZOO!! #LondonLeopard #Bigcatweek
Opslået af The Wall of Comedy på 9. marts 2017
The focus of our project in South Africa at this moment is our co-operation with three incredible Private Game Reserves (names mentioned at final stage) in the Eastern Cape, to have our leopard youngsters (Solo, Olive and later Bahati & Bella) released. The Reserves are very interested in leopards from our bloodlines and our ultimate mission is to have them released, and live wild and free roaming.
Of course as always the only obstruction, or delay, is by applying for the permits, or better: to have the forest dept. grant the permits.
While the leopards in certain parts of South Africa, like the Free State, are doing well in some National Parks and Private Game Reserves, the leopardpopulation in the Eastern Cape is almost extinct, and now also confirmed that even the Cape Leopard Population near Cederberg/Capetown, is having far more dramatic numbers than first was claimed.
While in the (Eastern) Cape not just the Cape Leopard is roaming freely, of course also the common African Leopard does have a place in this area, like in the whole of Africa, if people let them.
Nature Conservation is reluctant to grant permits for a release of common African Leopards in the Eastern Cape, for some not-valid reason, claiming “just” the Cape Leopard is living in this area of South Africa.
Of course we, and the managment of the Private game Reserves, don’t take no for an answer, and are working hard behind the scenes to collect info, to hand in motivation letters along with the application for the permits.
Maybe a good idea for all to read the following article, confirming how dramatically the numbers have declined in the Cape, and that is almost impossible to collect data, and to sight leopards in this area. Like we are saying all the time: leopard conservation, in-situ and ex-situ, is most essential at this moment. So the person basically saying “NO” to a release in the foremost Private Game Reserves in the Eastern Cape, will in fact be responsible to the leopard getting extinct in this area. Do they want to be responsible for this?
“…….the complete absence of leopards is concerning. In total the survey effort was 2 334 days – substantially higher than the average survey effort in KZN of 1 692 days*. While this may not have been a sufficient period to obtain enough leopard pictures to generate a population density estimate, we would have expected to obtain some leopard pictures. Camera trap surveys in the mountainous regions of the Western Cape where leopard densities are similarly low (1 leopard per 100km2) have typically recorded at least 1 photo per 100 days of camera trapping.
*This is calculated by multiplying the number of camera trap sites / stations by the number of days spent in the field.
For example, studies in the Cederberg Mountains and Little Karoo both recorded leopards at a rate of approximately 0.012 leopard captures per day (Martins 2010, Mann 2014). A similar capture rate in the Drakensberg would have yielded around 27 leopard captures during this survey. While this is a coarse measure, it does show that leopard capture rates in the Drakensberg are much lower than have been recorded in other, reasonably analogous areas.
While it would be premature to suggest that leopards are absent from the southern Drakensberg, these results confirm a more general trend of extremely low leopard numbers in marginal habitat areas. This is of concern as these areas are generally considered to support extant leopard populations and account for a significant proportion of leopard habitat in South Africa (Swanepoel et al. 2013).
The results of this Drakensberg leopard survey suggest that, while leopards may persist in the Drakensberg, their numbers are possibly too low to constitute a functioning population. While monitoring leopard populations in mountainous areas is difficult and time-consuming, these are important refugia and habitat links in the context of the broader South African leopard population. We recommend further research to establish whether leopards are still extant in the southern Drakensberg, as well as to identify possible management interventions that could allow for population recovery.”
Call to Action – Please share! Please drive cautiously in mountainous areas! Leopard hit by car in Bainskloof – Death of BM30
On Thursday 16 Feb 2017, a leopard was hit by a car in Bainskloof Pass near Wellington. The animal sustained severe injuries, including a broken back as well as internal trauma, and sadly had to be put down.
The Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project was notified of the incident by partner organisation CapeNature, and a CLT researcher inspected the carcass to take various morphometric measurements and some samples.
The leopard was a beautiful and healthy adult male. He was known to us from camera trap photos as a territorial male in the larger Bainskloof area, and was referred to as BM30 (Boland Male #30). He was quite large for a fynbos leopard, weighing in at 37kg and was estimated to be around 5 years old. Although the loss of such a magnificent animal is extremely unfortunate and certainly undesirable, the local leopard population is healthy. BM30’s home range will most likely be taken over by a strong young male who had been waiting for an opportunity to hold a territory.
Leopards being hit and killed by vehicles is fortunately not a regular occurrence in the Western Cape. However we would like to draw attention to the possibility that it can – and does – happen, and every time it does it is an unnecessary loss of life. Almost all incidents happen at night, on mountain passes and roads going through mountainous terrain. Leopards have been hit by vehicles on Piekenierskloof pass south of Citrusdal, Michell’s Pass outside Ceres, Bainskloof, the N1 through Du Toitskloof, Franschhoek pass and on the R44 coastal road between Gordons Bay and Rooiels. We would like to extend a call to action to all motorists using these roads to please exercise caution and drive slowly – not only for the sake of leopards, but also their prey and other small carnivores. Countless mammals get run over by cars on the roads leading through and around the mountains every day. Caracal, mongoose, genet, polecat, honey badger, porcupine, rabbit, hare, dassie, etc – all fall victim to reckless driving and speeding on our roads.
We ask that you share this widely and encourage everyone you know to take a moment to consider the wildlife which often has no choice but the use the roads that now traverse their fynbos habitat.
A camera trap photo of BM30, taken between Eerste and Tweede Tol in Bainskloof.
Insert: a photo taken soon after the accident by a passer-by.
Shareable weblink: http://bit.ly/BM30Bains