Welcome
into the
world of the
magnificent
cats

Haven project turns the tide for the Scottish wildcat

250 square mile region of West Highlands now feral cat free according to survey by pro-neutering Wildcat Haven project, halting risk of hybridisation to the critically endangered Scottish wildcat

After a decade of bad news for the Scottish wildcat, in which population estimates have plunged from thousands to less than 35, largely due to cross-mating with feral domestic cats, there is now real hope that the species can be saved from extinction.

bennettwildcat

The Wildcat Haven project in Ardnamurchan and Sunart in the West Highlands, established by the Scottish Wildcat Association to conserve the species by neutering away its primary threat, has announced that after five years of intensive planning, trials and fieldwork funded primarily by grants from US foundations, that the 250 square mile project region appears free of feral cats and feline diseases.

“Cats of any kind are notoriously difficult to survey,” explains project chief scientific advisor Dr Paul O’Donoghue, “however a summer survey turned up nothing and over the last six months we’ve really saturated the area with live traps, cameras, vets and ecologists, and had lots of people from the local community out looking as well. The only feral cats seen have already been neutered, which means the population should collapse naturally within the next couple of years. Once verified, this will be the first time feral cats have been removed from such a large mainland area anywhere in the world.”

Based on a peninsula with a small land bridge, the area is protected by a large, heavily monitored and camera trapped buffer zone at a geographic bottleneck which feral cats cannot migrate past. Further surveys are being carried out and the local community asked to report any sightings, but now the project has its eyes firmly set on the next phase.

“Our goal is to establish populations of genetically pure wildcats,” Explains Dr O’Donoghue, “we are determined not to settle for second best or to settle for a bunch of tabbies that bear a resemblance to wildcats. Protecting anything less than the pure Scottish wildcat will condemn the species to extinction.

“The behaviour of feral cats and pure wildcats is very different, Scotland’s ecology needs the true wildcat and, outside of a wildlife park enclosure, this is the only place in the UK where they are safe from hybridisation.”

The project has drawn strong support locally, in an area with a remarkable diversity of wildlife where people are greatly concerned that any conservation efforts are carefully planned and rolled out.

“This is a huge achievement for everyone involved,” commented Steve Piper, who founded the project with the SWA in 2008, “the project only really moved out of field trials a couple of years ago so this is very rapid progress on something many said was impossible; Wildcat Haven is easily five years ahead of the SNH action plan, they’re well aware of it but have chosen to ignore it; a practical, affordable, fully field tested way to save the genetically pure Scottish wildcat which has built the support of very diverse stakeholders; this is only future the Scottish wildcat has.”

Website: wildcathaven.co.uk

Personal statement to all canned & trophy “hunters”

P1040984_m

Click for larger version


We share this picture not to show off or to encourage everybody to do the same. Leopards are no pets, neither are cheetahs, lions, tigers
etc. and in our WCW projects no one is allowed to interact with our ambassadors, to give them a natural life as possible which works. Come and see for yourself!

With this leopardgirl Felicia we have come a long way to get her in good shape and health, and to make her live a leopard-worthy life with lots of natural space and nice leopardfriends who groom her and play with her. She was almost lost to this world, but now she regained health and strength!

This is about a bond we have. Even though it is a private photo, we decided to show this picture to make a statement to all coward canned & trophy hunters, who feel so brave to pose holding a leopard or other big cat in their arms that they have just shot and killed. They feel brave to pose with a dead wild cat, big shame on them. This is posing with a leopard alive and healthy, important ambassador to her species in the wild and no, we don’t feel brave holding her like this, as you can bond with all living beings as long as you respect them. We need to rescue them.

STOP THE LOWSCUMS KILLING THEM!!!! (don’t try to do this yourself though, as it is of course all about a strong bond, not to go to a
cuddly place and pay money for interaction, as then you will also support Canned Hunting).

May 2014: Cheetahmom gives birth to 6 cubs in Arnhem-Zoo (Netherlands)

It sometimes happens that 6 cubs are born, also in the wild, usually not all of the cubs make it to adulthood. A few years ago a female cheetah did raise succesfully a litter of 6 in the wild (Masai Mara, Kenya.) The biggest litter cheetahcubs was one of 9 cubs (in South Africa, captivity) of which 7 did survive. They were not raised by the mom but by Zanchieta Wildcat farm.

6_cheetahcubs_bornIn Arnhem zoo the mom and her cubs won’t be shown to the public for a while longer as if the mother gets stressed there’s a possibility she can kill or even eat her cubs. So far the cubs are all healthy. Sadly zoos always have a pressmoment which gives a lot of stress to the animals, who already are nervous because of the vaccinations and implant of a chip. This of course doesn’t happen in the wild.

Source: Omroepgelderland.nl

Canned hunting lions to Madame X Project!!!

(not the ones on this photo)

IMG_6030

Behind the scenes we have several projects either started by us in Wild Cats World or supported by us. We already informed you a while ago about the celeb, Madame X, that asked our help to make her dream (and the one of some lions and cheetahs) come true. She has lots of influence, land and well yes, the funds, we support her with the knowledge and suggestions how to make this project work.

Canned Hunting in South Africa is a big issue…..and even though there’s still a lot of people who believe in the fairytale to bring (captive) lions from Overseas (like Europe) to South Africa for the so-called promised release in the wild. Well sorry people, this is never going to happen! Bringing water to the sea isn’t going to help. There’s a lot of lions in South Africa waiting on the hunting lists, help them instead of bringing more lions to SA…ending up in a private project or sanctuary (1 ha is the average size you can offer in SA) in SA so you might as well keep them the same way in e.g. Europe. In South Africa you cannot release captive born lions and cheetahs without 100% certainty of the family tree or studbook. So no circus or zoo lion will ever be released.

We in our captive SA project, rescued 2 lions out of Canned Hunting before, and after all the hassles (headaches) that caused us, we decided lions are no go for our SA project, but of course we still fight for this species like for all wildcat species, big or small. So when Madame X (a celeb who doesn’t want her name revealed) offered this chance of a lifetime, we started searching for lions to start a nice Pride, for a long life in the best of circumstances with lots of space (talking to start with about 1000 HA and more). Negotiating with Canned Hunting breeders is so much easier when a celebrity is involved. She just confirmed us today 5 lions were taken from the Canned Hunting List and offered to the Madame X project: 2 male lions (brothers) and 3 females (sisters). No need to mention that this project will be ethical in every way, so no BREEDING involved! It is a start…..

As for cheetahs we aim for (hopefully) our own off spring to give the same future to as these lions. As for the problems mentioned above, the lions will not be kept in SA but in a European country with the right climate and equal space. We hope if this project seems to turn out 100% to the satisfaction of Madame X we can mention to her starting with a similar project for snowleopards.

So much more opportunities when there’s enough funds. Celebs usually are not very interested to help out projects for endangered cats but when they ask our help to be part of a project this huge, it is a big compliment. You will understand we have to be very discrete about this project so sadly we are not able to give you all inside info, but just to share with you the best news that at least another 5 lions are safe, ready for a wonderful future!

Sunny – cheetah ambassador

Sunny is a young male cheetah who arrived at Wild Cats World in the summer of 2014 as one of our ambassadors for his species.

Sunny - ambassador cheetah

Like the other two cheetah ambassadors at the Spotted Cats Conservation Project, Speedy & Spiky, Sunny is also semi-wild, or motherraised. The Wild Cats World cheetahs will live in huge camps far from the other WCW projects, to give the cheetahs a relaxed and stress-free life, far from the tourist-zone.

Born: Steitlerville(SA), October 2013

Caracal video

Surf to a wonderful docu about caracal mom Tetha and her 3 adorable kittens, filmed on foot in the Addo, in South Africa. Tetha was released there and successfully raised this litter of kittens. Sadly she did die. Watch and enjoy – and get convinced that caracals should be in the wild, to survive and be left in peace by humans (famers, rangers….)

Up-date Javan Leopard Release Program (May 2014)

Although the situation where Dimas and Sawal are living in right now isn’t ideal, they are both fine. They are active, hunting and eating well. The caretaker at the sanctuary is giving them live prey once a week. On other days they get their food in different ways to give them enrichment: meat hanging on a rope, or hidden in a carton box that is hanging in their enclosure. Unfortunately we still haven’t found a suitable release site for them. It really is a difficult situation as there are not so many suitable areas left and the better areas are already occupied by other leopards. Besides, there’s so many human-leopard conflict.

At this moment we are still focusing on the Ciremai National Park. One male leopard has been spotted there, but more research needs to be done in the middle of this National park. Although we are very happy with the help and cooperation with the National Park, the research isn’t going as fast as we hoped for. We are depending on their officers and they are also the ones who place the camera-traps to see if there are more leopards around.

If it appears so there’s just one male around in this area, the question still would be if it is wise to release our two males there as well, as they no doubt will start searching for females and if they are not around in this National park they will probably start looking outside. If they leave the area we can start all over again as there will be conflicts with humans again. There’s just too little space for wildlife and leopards left on Java and not much better elsewhere in the world.

An other option is Cikapu area. The Forest Department talked to us about this area as it seems there are no leopards around here but they are interested to get some there. But before this can happen lots of work needs to be done, to have this area better managed as a lot of people are entering this area. Also the usual habitat assessment needs to be done first, so before we actually know for sure it is suitable, many months will pass… and still many more funds are needed.

Just for you to know, we continue to work hard on this and hopefully next time there will be better news about the release of our two leopard friends Sawal and Dimas. Keep them in your prayers and if you have anything to spend, please fund and support the leopards with the help they so desperately need. See the info on the Wild Cats World website.

Survival factors in living with lions

Cheetahs thrive, wild dogs don’t…

Increases in the number of top predators like lions do not always affect the number of cheetahs in the area. A recent study looked at the effects of lion populations on other hunters. The number of cheetahs was not affected by the increase in the lion population but wild dogs suffered to the point of local extinction.

The study used historical data accumulated in the Serengeti over a period of 30 years and study of individual animals via radio-collars. During the closing decades of the previous century the number of lions tripled. During the same period the wild dogs left the area or were killed outright while the cheetah population remained stable.
When comparing the findings with data from fenced areas in southern Africa showed the same pattern. Cheetahs can live with lions but wild dogs can’t.

What could be a factor is that lions do not exclusively hunt the same prey as cheetahs and therefore will not always compete at the dinner table. Wild dogs have a wider range of prey animals and can therefore be a greater threat to lions.

Of course the study only addresses certain aspects of inter-species dynamics and does not mention that all three species suffer most from the ultimate apex-predator, humans and their relentless expansion.

Read the study report in the Journal of Animal Ecology

Up-date Javan Leopard Release Program

On ground level they are still working hard to make the release of the wild leopards Sawal and Dimas a fact. Sadly things in Indonesia are not going fast, as you can expect of a country with an atti…tude “if not today, there’s always tomorrow!”

But currently there’s a meeting with Ciremai National Park to talk things through about the release and to put camera traps in the center of this Park to continue with the assessment in that area. It is a difficult project as there’s little info and experience in the release of Javan leopards and no knowledge of suitable areas to do a release as such in which the leopards will be safe.

The leopards are fine under the circumstances but the situation is far from ideal of course and we all cannot wait to give back their freedom. Help is offered now from a person experienced in surveys, camera trapping etc. so let’s hope this will speed up the assessment in the Ciremai National Park.

Our fund raising #3 is still on for 5 more days on Indiegogo, for everyone who still wants to support this release project and everything to do with it, a very valuable and time consuming operation. In the meantime we keep you up-dated whenever there’s news!!

Global March For Lions, 15 March 2014, Amsterdam

On 15 March 2014 the world united in a Global March for Lions. The March against Canned Hunting. These photos are taken during the participation (read: joining the march against Canned hunting) of Wild Cats World in the Amsterdam-March to give you all an impression of a very successful day, with many thanks to foundations Four Paws, SPOTS & WAR International for the organisation of this march. More..


 For Dutch visitors




Help us save wild cats worldwide!

donate2

 

Photogallery

wild_cats_3a_precious_caracal_nina



Cat of the month

African Golden Cat
(Profelis aurata)

afrgoudcat1

 Info...