Showing posts from August, 2011

Translocating Felids and Sariska Tiger Reserve

You may have heard about the loss of all tigers at the Sariska tiger reserve. It was a highly embarrassing situation for Project Tiger - now National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) -  management. It gradually dawned on management what had happened in and around 2004. The loss of all tigers from poaching was confirmed in January 2005. There were 15 tigers at the Sariska tiger reserve before they were poached. They probably all ended up in tiger bone wine and medicinal products in Asia. This is tragic for people who care. There has been a gradual restocking of the park. And it seems to be very gradual. Two tigers, a male and female, were translocated in 2008. And a search of the internet indicates that as at 2011 there are five tigers (2 males and 3 females) and two new translocated cubs. Cats are reportedly poor travellers, meaning poor at translocation and introduction to new habitats . This is due to the land tenure system employed by tigers and all wild felids. Also breedi

Man Eating Tigers

One reason why tiger end up being categorised as "man eating" (meaning attacking people) is because they are sometimes forced from their home range. Male tigers like to keep an exclusive home range (for himself) and therefore when the available space on a reserve is limited and the tiger population expands males end up fighting each other for territory and if they lose they then are forced to wander throughout the margins of the reserve where they come into contact with livestock and farmers at which point there is the potential for an attack on a person if for example the tiger is injured and unable to take large prey, his usual prey. Man eating tigers give a bad name to the tiger but actually the reason is the space given to tigers by the people is too small. The problem is ours, therefore. Sadly, many tigers in reserves are killed by poachers so the problem of man eating tigers due to overpopulation is rare. Perhaps one reason why there is poaching is because the aut

Siberian Tiger Prey Profile

This is a spreadsheet that sets out the profile of prey items of the Siberian tiger in the far east of Russia where it is essentially found currently. The region is Sikhote-Alin, Zapoveknik . The data was published in 1996. Please note that prey items as scientist call animals preyed upon are also hunted by people and accordingly the prey profile of wildcats will by necessity change and adapt. As at 2011 the figures might be different for that reason. The Red Deer ( Cervus elaphus ) is one of the largest deer species. The tiger prefers large prey. The male weighs 160 to 240 kg (350 to 530 lb). The source material comes from the premier work on wild cats: Wild Cats Of The World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist. ISBN-13: 978-0-226-77999-7

Genetic Pollution of Tigers

Two examples of the unwitting, deliberate or reckless creation of the pollution of tiger genetics by cross breeding different subspecies, come to mind. In captivity the South China tiger is cross-bred with the Bengal tiger sometimes. And in India there is a startling story of a British zoo supplying an Indian Bengal tiger reserve, the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, with a Bengal tiger that was in fact a Bengal/Siberian tiger cross-breed! The zoo, Twycross Zoo in England, did not know. They thought they would help out the dwindling tiger population in one of India's many reserves. Unwittingly they ruined (too strong a word?) the Bengal tiger population at that reserve. I have no idea if the tigress is still breeding in the Dudhwa reserve. She quite possibly is. Some tigers showed signs of being Siberian tiger hybrids. These tigers have got to die in this reserve to protect other reserves. Apparently Twycross Zoo maintained no breeding records and had behaved irresponsibly. It beggars b

Bengal Tiger Reserves

Here is a nice interactive map showing some major tiger reserves in India and Bangladesh. If you click on the blue flags marking the reserves you will see a photograph most times of the reserve and some information about size, management and tiger population density. View Bengal Tiger Reserves India in a larger map You can see it in large format and some information about Bengal tiger reserves on this page .

Global Tiger Recovery Program

The global tiger recovery program is the plan thrashed out at the St. Petersberg International Tiger Forum (‘Tiger Summit’), on November 21–24, 2010. Putin was present (good for his image). The meeting was a response to the continuing failure of "Tiger Range Countries" (TRC - countries in which the tiger lives) to stop the gradual decline of the world tiger population. The 13 TRC's agree the contents of the program. You can see the document by clicking on this link . It is a large document - too large in my humble opinion - and takes ages to load. As it is so large, in this post, I will focus on one area; what the TRCs propose to do to reduce and/or stop poaching of tigers. Poaching is probably the second most important factor in the loss of tigers in the wild after loss of habitat. The thirteen TRCs are as follows, and a summary of what they intend to do follows the country's name: People’s Republic of Bangladesh - they intend to "deploy" people to

Tiger Copulation

The tigress kisses the tiger - bites him gently - turns, rubs her body against his, raises her tail, and finally presents herself by sitting with fore-limbs fully extended and hind-legs more that half-bent. The tiger mounts her in a half-knees-bent position without putting any pressure on her body and she emits low, deep "Oaar oaaa" sounds. As the act comes to a climax, the tiger lowers his head and grips the skin folds of her neck firmly but carefully; this position helps both to achieve proper orientation at the time of the climax. The tiger then gives the peculiar high-pitched squeal..., the tigress growls, and finally gives a sudden jerk to dislodge the male. She turns round to face the tiger and starts boxing. Extract from Sankhala K.S. 1977 Tiger: The story of the Indian tiger . New York: Simon and Schuster This is a verbatim description. I argue fair use on the basis that it promotes the work and is educational. The excerpt is short and has no detrimental effect on

20% of Tigers Missing at Ranthambore Tiger Reserve!

As at the date of this post four tigers are "missing" at Ranthambore National Reserve. The authorities don't know the exact number of tigers at the reserve but an estimate is around 20. A very low figure but it is a small reserve (too small you might say). So a loss (temporary?) of four represents a twenty percent loss. Of course they may turn up but then again they may not. What chance that they have been poached? Poaching and corruption of officials that supports poaching is dire in the conservation community in India it seems to me. The reserve is 12 km from Sawai Madhopur town. There is a train station at Sawai Madhopur. Biodiversity of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan

Tigress protects her young and is extremely cautious and secretive

We know that cats protect their young with courage and aggression if needs must. Tigers are no exception. Tigresses are very cautious and secretive when they are caring for their cubs. When disturbed they will move the cubs to a new den. Here are two examples from Wild Cats of the World (page 359). In Ranthambore National Park a tigress hid her cubs near a main road. It was the time of year when the road was used by pilgrims so it had become busy. The tigress threatened the pilgrims and then moved the cubs to a safer location. Tigress with her cubs in captivity. Image by nlw143 from Pixabay   In Chitwan a tigress charged at villagers several times in protecting her 6-week-old cubs. The villagers had approached her den while cutting grass. Eventually the mother moved her cubs out of harm's way. This tigress also attacked a researcher in a tree because he or she got too close to her 4-day old cubs.  In captivity tigresses spend 70 percent of daylight nursing her young.  At ten day

Tiger Conservation is a Long Term Failure

We have to conclude that tiger conservation as a whole and in the long term is a failure. This is not necessarily to criticise conservationists. It is simply that a dead tiger as a product to supply the body parts trade is more valuable than a live one and the short term benefits of that simple fact drives poaching and corruption in what are still relatively poor countries in which the tiger finds itself. Where there is human poverty within the tiger range there is bound to be poaching. Commercial interests always outweigh conservation because commerce is richer. If conservation has failed why give money to fund conservation? Good question. We either change tactics completely in respect of conservation or we decide that we don't want the tiger living in the wild anymore and go to the end game. At the moment it is the slow drip, drip of conservation failure that is leading to one conclusion: the extinction of the tiger in the wild. The tiger is actually becoming extinct in c

Tiger Vocalizations

The tiger communicates in fundamental terms like any other cat including domestic cats. It also scent marks as a form of communication. Scent fades and needs to be renewed. The tiger is a good vocal communicator. Blue tiger vocalising. Pic in public domain. Some of the sounds the tiger makes can travel long distances and are designed for that purpose. And bearing in mind the tiger lives in dense vegetation the sound has to travel through that too. Other vocalizations are meant to be used in face to face encounters to greet, reassure, appease and to show aggression. Body language plays a role in these vocalizations. Close range, friendly sounds between females and young are obviously commonplace. The sounds are variable in "intensity, duration and rate of emission". Tigers have a number of types of vocalizations: main call prusten - "staccato puffing sound" - close range sound. Greeting sound. Air is forced through mouth and nose. The lips flutter. growl snarl

Mining Operations Engander the Tiger

There are countless examples where mining operations have a huge impact on the survivability of the tiger in the wild. If it's not mining it is deforesting and logging and if it is not the tiger it is some of the wildcat or wild animal. Big business want to mine for all manner of ore to fed the market for consumer products primarily manufactured in China. China has a huge and growing appetite for metals of all kinds to manufacturer electrical and electronic goods. That is why they have invaded Africa and are digging it up. They will wreck the landscape in Africa and no doubt endanger the lion there. There are upsides though in terms of wealth creation at least potentially. In Goa there is the classic battle going on between business and conservation. Conservation almost invariably loses because there is more money in business. There is believed to be a tiger in Goa! Actually there has to be more than one and the second one has to be a different sex to the first one if there i