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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scientists encouraged by glimpses of big cats

A group of scientists led by Kashmira Kakati, a wildlife biologist, have encouraging news concerning the populations of "Big Cat" species in the northeast region of India. According to an article written by Cornelia Green, and posted at the New York Times online edition,"a  new set of photos, made by automated cameras in a rain forest in northeast India are “an encouraging sign,” according to group of conservation organizations aiming to protect biodiversity hotspots. The photos show that one forest area is home to seven cat species  — clouded leopards, marbled cats and golden cats, all of which are rare, and tigers, leopards, leopard cats and jungle cats, which are more numerous.

Big cats, such as lions,tigers are among the most endangered animals on the planet, due to habitat loss and poaching by humans.Here is a beautiful photo of one of the cats as it encountered an automatic camera owned by  Kashmira Kakati:

According to the blog,

"A century ago, more than 100,000 big cats roamed the Earth, but stocks have plummeted: scientists say there are now just 3,200. India has the largest number of wild tigers with almost 1,400.
Tiger hunting is illegal worldwide and trade in tiger parts is banned in more than 160 countries. At the website: I found this statement:

"Lions are threatened throughout most of their African range. But nowhere is their condition as perilous as in Kenyan Maasailand, ... Lions there, which number fewer than 150, are under imminent threat of extinction from Maasai herdsmen thought to be retaliating against prides who prey on their cattle."

"Recent years have seen the extinction of two sub-species of Indonesian tiger, the Caspian Tiger from western Central Asia, a sub-species of clouded leopard from Taiwan, and the Barbary lion from the wild in North Africa. Meanwhile, populations of the Iberian lynx, Asiatic cheetah and Amur leopard have fallen so low that they would be functionally extinct without current conservation efforts. Tiger populations have declined from more than 100,000 at the turn of the century to less than 6,000 today, while cheetah number are estimated at less than 15,000. Even lion populations have dropped: from over 100,000 one hundred years ago to probably less than 40,000 today."

"Given these trends, it should come as no surprise that big cats have become the focus of conservation efforts. Not only are large predators often the most vulnerable to human pressures and the first to disappear from ecosystems, but efforts to conserve them effectively help protect thousands of other species that share their habitat."

"At the forefront of these efforts in Dr. Luke Hunter, a biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) where he heads their Great Cats Program. While he has worked in Africa since 1992, in the past year Hunter has tracked highly endangered Asiatic cheetah in Iran and jaguars in the Brazilian Pantanal and is part of an effort to develop a comprehensive plan to conserve the snow leopard throughout its range. Hunter believes that understanding the biological needs of these species -- through careful research that sometimes includes tagging and remote monitoring of animals -- is the first step in saving them. Alongside that, he strongly advocates collaboration between conservationists and local people to minimize predation of livestock (often overstated) and activities that threaten predator populations. "

You can read an interview of Dr. Hunter at the website posted above.In this interview Dr. Hunter talks about what steps have to be taken to ensure that big cats do not become extinct.

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.