The two (Southern) African Wildcats (Felis silvestris caffra, ‘vaalboskat’ in Afrikaans) shown in this video are Sid and Louise, and are Wild Cats World’s (www.wildcatsworld.org) ambassador wildcats.
Recognition: the African Wildcat closely resembles a domestic cat (of which is it the direct and recent ancestor), with a grey or buff ground color and warmer tints on the face, back of the ears and on the belly.
Habitat: woodlands, savannahs, grasslands and steppes.
Food: mainly rats, mice and small mammals up to the size of a hare. Birds and, less frequently, reptiles, frogs, and insects are also taken.
Status: although widespread and common (IUCN: Least Concern), the wildcat is prone to hybridising with domestics cats, and is frequenty victim to dogs.
Diva and Boy: A devoted black-footed cat mother and her kitten
Wild Cats World & Wild Cats Films present a new video:
WCW female black-footed cat ambassador Diva, a devoted mom to her (and our male Blacky’s) kitten Boy.
Footage dating January 2015 as part of the WCW Black-footed Cat Conservation Project. Our ambassadors currently live at Cat Conservation Trust.
A public survey launched last month by the Lynx UK Trust has returned a remarkable 91% in favour of a trial reintroduction of lynx to the UK, with 84% believing it should begin within the next 12 months.
27/04/2017 (LYNX UK TRUST) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE…
Almost seven weeks ago the Lynx UK Trust, a team of international wildlife and conservation experts, announced their hopes to carry out a trial reintroduction of Eurasian lynx to the UK. Wiped out in the UK over 1,300 years ago by fur hunters, lynx have been successfully reintroduced across Europe, and the team hope that reintroduction here will provide a valuable natural control on the UK’s overpopulated deer species, leading to forest regeneration and a boost to the entire ecosystem.
Photo by: Erwin van Maanen
A public survey by the Trust, carried out with support from the University of Cumbria, was launched with the news and the results, released by the Trust today, reveal a huge weight of public support behind the reintroduction. Over 9,000 people took part in the survey, with 91% supporting a trial reintroduction and 84% believing it should begin within the next 12 months.
“We’ve been blown away by the level of interest and support from the public.” comments chief scientific advisor to the project, Dr Paul O’Donoghue, “This is by far the biggest survey of its kind ever carried out in the UK, with almost five times the feedback of the original beaver reintroduction survey in Scotland which recorded an 86% approval rating. That led to government approval for the trial reintroduction, so we’re expecting to see a consistent response from Scottish Natural Heritage and hope for similar in England and Wales. The UK public have spoken; people overwhelmingly want these animals to be given the chance to come back and we’ve got an extremely capable team to deliver it.
“Lynx have proven themselves across Europe to be absolutely harmless to humans and of very little threat to livestock, whilst bringing huge benefit to rural economies and the natural ecology, including species like capercaillie which face some serious problems in the UK. It’s wonderful that the general public want to see lynx given the chance to do the same here.”
Encouragingly, over half of the people who filled in the survey were from rural communities, returning a level of support only 5-6% lower than urban communities, showing that this project has considerable support from people who live and work in the UK countryside.
The survey results were analysed by Dr Ian Convery and Dr Darrell Smith of the University of Cumbria. Dr Convery commented; “It’s an impressive sample size of people who feel really strongly about lynx reintroduction, and consistently all of the results and analyses are extremely positive.”
A further survey was commissioned following traditional opinion polling techniques canvassing just over 1,000 people representatively spread across age and social demographics which recorded support levels of up to 70% for lynx reintroduction.
Convery explained “As with the pro-active online survey, this representative sample shows very strong support for lynx, again at rates comparable with that for beavers, and with those against lynx reintroduction numbering very low.”
Buoyed by the results, the Trust are continuing public consultation and education activities, and preparing formal applications for trial reintroductions at sites across the UK with one of the world’s largest law firms, Clifford Chance.
‘We’re delighted to learn of the British public’s overwhelming support for this project which we believe will ensure its success.” comments Roger Leese, a partner at the firm, “Our next step, supporting the Lynx UK Trust in submitting its applications for trial reintroductions, will be ground breaking in the area of UK environmental and conservation law. It’s a complex legal challenge and we are committed to supporting the Trust from the centre, not the sidelines.”
Applications to Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage are expected to be completed by summer for sites in Norfolk, Cumbria, Northumberland and Aberdeenshire, with the Trust still evaluating potential release sites in Wales. Up to six lynx would be released at each site and closely monitored via satellite collars over a trial period likely to last for 3-5 years.
Source: Lynx UK Trust/University of Cumbria
It’s safe to assume that at one point or another, each of us has experienced seeing animals in captivity. Having the opportunity to see wild animals like tigers, elephants and gorillas up close is an exhilarating prospect. Sadly, anyone who as ever set foot inside an establishment housing captive wild animals has also likely witnessed unnatural stereotypic behaviors. These include:
- Bar biting
- Head bobbing, swaying, neck twisting
- Self Mutilation, Overgrooming
Many patrons are amused, feeling as though the animals are following them around the exhibit. In some cases, they think the animals are “dancing.” The truth is these are only a few of the many stereotypic behaviors exhibited by captive animals. These abnormal behaviors describe “zoochosis,” the psychological impact captivity has on wild animals.
According to one study, the importance of behavior is as significant as the internal organs essential to one’s life. Animals that display normal behaviors allow for homeostasis, which is needed to ensure internal conditions are maintained and stable. When a captive animal is not capable of modifying or controlling its environment, animals begin to cope by exhibiting stereotypic behavior. Scientists believe this abnormal behavior releases endorphins and allows for momentary relief.
While many renowned facilities pour millions of dollars into programs designed to keep the animals “happy,” it’s clear that stereotypic behaviors are representative of poor welfare in captivity. No habitat can rival the environment animals would have in the wild; albeit the animals born in zoos and other facilities are often born through breeding programs, the number of animals suffering from these stereotypic behaviors only further corroborates that these animals are inherently wild and suffer in captivity.
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A few hours outside of Bangkok tourists can visit the famous “Tiger Temple”. This monastery and wildlife sanctuary, formally called ‘Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yanasampanno’ holds no less than 147 tigers and other animals. This will soon be a thing of the past.
Nipon Chotiban, head of the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said the temple had been keeping the animals without a legitimate permit. The wildlife sanctuary raided the temple in February to investigate the circumstances. Chotiban sent an official notice to the temple soon after, ordering them to return the tigers to conservation areas or to local zoos. All of the tigers are due to be relocated on April 24, after which they will receive a health check.
Besides this, there will be an inspection of microchips, in order to see whether three reported tigers are missing.
The news comes as a big relief to conservationists in Thailand, who have been trying to free these tigers for years. They’ve accused the monks at the temple of breeding programs, trafficking of endangered species, and illegally selling the animals. The tigers have been chained up and trained to pose for photos with tourists since the temple first started housing them in 1999.
Earlier this month six bears were seized from the temple and in February birds of paradise were found (listed as endangered species).
Photo: A buddhist in Tiger Temple (ANP ©)