Lesser-Spotted Cheetah “Spot”-ted

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I have never heard of this cheetah till yesterday and unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get much information from the net either. So, I’ll let these pictures do the talking. They were taken by British photographer, Guy Combes, in Kenya.

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When we think we know everything, something like this pops up and changes everything! I’d appreciate it if anyone would be willing to share information (other than Wiki) about this elusive cat.

JV.  

Full Article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2134975/The-lesser-spotted-cheetah-Rare-big-cat-traditional-markings-sighted-wild-time-nearly-100-years.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

And I do not own any of the pictures above (obviously).

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Antelopes A-B-C: Lesser Kudu (Ammelaphus Imberbis)

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Contrary to most species of antelopes, only the male Lesser Kudus bear horns which grow up to 2 to 3 feet long.  The Lesser kudu is active primarily at night and early morning. They are native to East Africa and usually inhabit dry thorn brushes and forests. They fall prey to lions, leopards and Cape Hunting dogs.

As its name suggests, the Lesser Kudu is smaller than its larger cousin, the Greater Kudu, and stands approximately 90-110 cm at shoulder height. Other than that, the Lesser Kudu also differs from its cousin in terms of the stripes on its body. The stripes of the Lesser Kudu are more obvious and there are usually 10 stripes on both sexes. Also, unlike the Greater Kudu, which is one of the slower antelopes, the Lesser Kudu can run up to speeds of 62 miles per hour, making it one of the fastest antelopes.

The Lesser Kudu was also once introduced in the Arabian Peninsula where they were a favourite for trophy hunters. Despite being classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN, these graceful antelopes are in decline.  

JV.

Happy Earth Day 2012

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It’s been 42 years since the very first Earth Day!

Nonetheless, this does not mean that today’s the only day that we should protect our planet.

Just keep in mind that every little thing counts, from switching off the bathroom lights when not in use to picking up an empty container along the way to university. 

And remember; we are sharing this planet with other living things.

Have a good day! 🙂

For more info on Earth Day, visit http://www.earthday.org/

JV. 

What’s Their Difference?

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I have had a lot of people asking me what is the difference between cheetahs, leopards and jaguars. Now, I don’t want to sound as if I know everything about these majestic cats, simply because I don’t. So I’d try my best to explain the differences between them from my own knowledge.

To identify the differences between these cats, it’s always easier to start with the similarities. The biggest similarity that all 3 of them have is that all of them are spotted!

However, our first difference starts here.

  • Cheetahs have solid black spots all over their body.
  •  Leopards, on the other paw, have rosettes similar to that of a jaguar’s, but are smaller and more densely packed.
  • Finally, Jaguars have small dots and irregular markings within larger, dark rosettes.

Another difference between these felines would be their habitat.

  • Cheetahs and Leopards are both found in Africa while the Jaguar is native to South America.
  •  Despite being from the same continent, cheetahs prefer open savannah grasslands where their speed can be fully utilized.
  • Leopards prefer wooded scrub where there is plentiful cover and trees for them to hunt prey. The Leopard is probably the most widespread of the 3, being found in India, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
  •  Jaguars live in the Amazon rainforest.

Hunting technique can also be used to differentiate these cats.

  • Cheetahs, being land’s fastest mammal, is naturally a sprinter and can run up to speeds of 70 miles per hour. Their favourite prey is the Thompson’s Gazelle. Furthermore, cheetahs prefer to hunt in midday where other large predators are mostly sleeping.  By doing so, they minimize the likelihood of them losing prey to stronger rivals.
  • Leopards are masters of stealth, preferring to stalk their prey as close as possible before striking. There are also cases where leopards attack prey from above, using trees as a height advantage. They are nocturnal cats.
  • The Jaguar, the largest of all three, has the strongest jaws of all big cats. They hunt a variety of prey such as peccaries, capybaras and caimans.

Finally, the way these cats are built can also be used to differentiate them.

  • Cheetahs are the slimmest of all being built for speed.
  • Leopards are stockier than cheetahs.
  • Jaguars are the largest of all 3. As mentioned above, they have the strongest bite of all big cats, usually killing prey with a bite to the skull.

Hopefully the pictures below would make the differences between these cats more obvious.

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Jaguar

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Leopard

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Cheetah

JV.

 

 

 

1 Park & 3 Births!

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Some great news for the Amur Leopard:

A 261,000-acre national park in Russia’s Far East created to protect Amur leopards began operating this week, presidential chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said.

“Five days ago, on April 5, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a long-awaited order establishing the Land of the Leopard National Park. This is the first Russian national park created expressly to protect wildlife,” said Ivanov, who is chairman of the supervisory council of the Eurasian Center for Leopard Population Research, Preservation and Recovery.

Ivanov expressed optimism that the Amur leopard would avoid extinction. “Scientists do not think so and now we have everything to save it,” he said.

The Amur leopard population has steadily declined since the end of the 19th century and had reached a critical level. The main causes of the decline are “human activity, loss of habitat, illegal housing construction,” he said.

Establishment of the new park will give the leopard the required living space, he said, adding eight cubs have been born in the short time since the park’s establishment.

Source: http://en.rian.ru/Environment/20120410/172733627.html

Tallinn Zoo is celebrating the arrival of three newborn Amur leopard cubs.

Animal lovers around the world watched the births live online. The cameras are still on if you want to catch streaming footage of the young leopard family. 

The cubs are just a few days old, but they already know how to growl and fight for their mother’s milk. The leopard mum is called Darla, and this was her fourth delivery. 

Amur leopards are a critically endangered species. Currently there are just a few dozen living in the wild, mostly in Far Eastern Russia.

Source: http://rt.com/news/prime-time/amur-leopards-born-estonia-184/

Keep spreading word about them people! 🙂

JV.

Tolstyi. El’duga. Narva.

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Yes, it’s leopards again today!

First off, I would just like to rectify a mistake I made with regards to the official classification of Amur Leopards as Critically Endangered that I made in my second blog entry. It was classified as such since 1996 and not February 2012.The original article can be read at https://jonvoo.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/the-amur-leopard/

That aside, I finally received my long-awaited pack from WWF!

I have got to say that I have never felt so fulfilled and content with anything that I’ve ever done.

I have never really felt as captivated as most with big cats, so I find it somewhat ironic how what I’ve done so far in terms of raising awareness and such has revolved largely around them, and particularly, the Amur Leopard.

Oh, and apparently, I have just adopted (sort-of since they are not exclusively mine) 3 Amur Leopards by the name of Tolstyi, El’duga and Narva! 

🙂

JV.

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It’s Showtime!

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Magnifique! Marvellous! Fantastic! A Standing Ovation! A Final Bow!

That is what one would expect of a circus performance with tigers and lions jumping through fire hoops, elephants begging for a treat or two, monkeys walking on a tight rope, horses prancing around and bears juggling. At least that is how I, who have never been to a circus performance before, would like to think it’d be.

However, what happens when the lights go out?

How exactly are the ‘Stars’ treated?

This question, like so many of the other issues I’ve touched on, has been and will be forever trapped in a never-ending debate.

Are there actually circuses and other animal-related shows that treat their animals correctly? Probably.  Apassionata, a world-renowned equestrian show, might be a suitable answer to this. Breeds such as Andalusians, Friesians and Shetland Ponies play prominent roles in the show and seem to be in perfect condition and treated with respect. Furthermore, the success garnered by Apassionata should ensure that they will have sufficient funds to feed their stars.

However, it cannot be denied that not all animals are as lucky. This may be explained through a declining popularity of circuses due to ever-increasing awareness on animal rights. This would have an indirect effect on the treatment of the animal performers as without sufficient funds and profits, it is quite the task to afford these animals. An average tiger can eat up to 40 pounds of meat a day, which is equivalent to 18kg per animal. Multiply that with a few animals plus other costs like vaccination and maintenance and we’d get quite the sum!

Those of you who read my blog will know that I have recently watched ‘Two Brothers’ by Jean-Jacques Annaud. I was profoundly affected by the movie when it showed how dispensable circus animals were when money was in the question. An old tiger was shot in exchange for its hide because it could not perform up to the standards anymore. After so many years of performing, did it not deserve a better way to end its life? Yeah, there was and always will be the counter-argument that the money received can be used to feed the other animals in the circus. This, however, will not be sustainable and then what? Kill another animal?

Another important issue is the type of animal used in performances; wild or domesticated. Yes, one can argue that he has been able to ‘tame’ a tiger or taught the bear a few tricks. But what of the process in doing so? These are wild animals. I am not saying or implying that ALL circus trainers are cruel. Or are they not, albeit in an unintentional manner? Doesn’t the fact that training WILD animals to please us already suggest cruelty?

Steps are being taken to ban wild animals performing in circuses, following discovery of evidence of animals being ill-treated by their trainers. In this light, I am happy to know that those with power are taking into consideration the welfare of animals. However, the effectiveness of these policies will have to depend on the collective efforts of the majority. As usual of my entries, I do hope that such efforts would encourage more to adopt a more active role in safeguarding the welfare of these animals.

Have a good weekend!

JV.

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