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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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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Ohio Killings.

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The sheriff who issued a shoot-to-kill order after dozens of exotic animals — including Bengal tigers, mountain lions and bears — escaped from an Ohio farm defended his decision Wednesday, saying “we were not going to have animals running loose.”

Sheriff Matt Lutz said the owner of Muskingum County Animal Farm near Zanesville, Terry Thompson, appeared to have set the animals free and then taken his own life.

“It is still, still not a completely secure area,” he said.

The sheriff told an afternoon press conference that as many as 56 animals on the farm may have been set loose. Authorities tracked down and killed 48 of them: 18 rare Bengal tigers, 17 lions, six black bears, three mountain lions, two grizzlies, one wolf and one baboon.

The animals were buried on the Thompson’s property at the request of his wife, the sheriff said.

By Wednesday afternoon, only two animals were unaccounted for — a wolf and a monkey who may be carrying herpes B virus, Lutz said.

Four deputies with assault rifles in a pickup truck went to the 40-acre farm after the first calls came in at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Later Tuesday, there were more than 50 law enforcement officials — including sheriff’s deputies, highway patrol officers, police officers and officers from the state Division of Wildlife — involved in the search of the farm and surrounding area, often in heavy downpours.

Lutz said that when the deputies arrived, there was about an hour and a half of daylight left. He said officers had to shoot some animals at close range with their sidearms.

“These are 300-pound Bengal tigers that we had to put down,” he said.

Image: A dead lion lays by the fence on Terry Thompson's farm near Zanesville, Ohio

“I gave the order on the way here that if animals looked like they were going out, they went down … We could not have animals running loose in this county, we were not going to have that,” Lutz added. 

He said that shortly before the press conference they had tried to tranquilize a “huge,” “very aggressive” adult tiger, but it “just went crazy” and so officers “put it down.”

Lutz added that when they first arrived on the scene, his officers did not have tranquilizers with them as they are not normally carried.

He also said one large cat was hit by a vehicle on a nearby highway.

Flashing signs along area highways told motorists, “Caution exotic animals” and “Stay in vehicle.”

Three school districts in the region and some private and special schools canceled classes after the news broke.

The preserve in Zanesville, about 55 miles east of Columbus, also had cheetahs, wolves, giraffes, camels, orangutans and chimps.

Earlier, Lutz said a caretaker told authorities the animals had been fed on Monday.

Neighbor Danielle White, whose father’s property abuts the animal preserve, said she didn’t see loose animals this time but did in 2006, when a lion escaped.

“It’s always been a fear of mine knowing (the preserve’s owner) had all those animals,” she said. “I have kids. I’ve heard a male lion roar all night.” 

Tom Stalf, senior vice president of the nearby Columbus Zoo, told NBC’s TODAY show that people should be careful, particularly because the animals themselves would be afraid.

“These are all adult carnivores, so when we talk about the lions and tigers as well as bears, they are all dangerous, especially that they are now out of their area, their enclosures that they were normally in, so they are panicking as well,” he told the show.

“They’re definitely going to not be used to where they are at, so they are going to be scared, they’re panicking, trying to figure out what is going on. They’re going to be searching for a place to settle down and trying to, you know, just to calm down a little bit,” Stalf added.

The Humane Society of the United States on Wednesday urged Ohio to immediately issue emergency restrictions on the sale and possession of dangerous wild animals.

“How many incidents must we catalogue before the state takes action to crack down on private ownership of dangerous exotic animals,” the Humane Society’s Wayne Pacelle said in a statement.

Article taken from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44953925/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/sheriff-defends-order-shoot-bears-tigers/#.T4QS6Pun9IE

Personally, I understand why the sheriff took that decision and I respect his decision. It was his job to take precautions and ensure the safety and welfare of the people. 

However, that doesn’t stop me from feeling a deep sense of loss and disappointment that so many of the animals had to be killed. 

I think Tom Stalf, VP of the Columbus Zoo, really summed up how the animals were feeling at that moment. They did not have idea what to do and like lost children, they could either defend themselves or try to get away. Unfortunately,  both options just weren’t feasible. What was even more pitiful is that some of these animals curled up in confusion next to their dead friends, in hopes of seeking company and protection.

I think this incident should drive home (if it hasn’t already before) the fact that wild animals and humans are not meant to be together. There is a fine difference between conservation of wild animals and treating them as exotic pets.

It is a wonder indeed why there are still people out there who find this so hard to comprehend! 

JV.

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Two Brothers

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I do not usually do synopses for movies simply because there are always so many things I want to say that I fear I’d be doing the movie injustice by leaving out certain details.  

However, I do want to give my 2 cents on the movie “Two Brothers” by Jean-Jacques Annaud. This movie follows the lives of two tiger cubs, Sangha and Kumal, which were separated when young and finally reunited after more than a year.

I have to say that this is one of the best animal-themed movies for a long time because it was able to convey a relevant and powerful message, and at the same time, remain appealing to a casual viewer. I am not an expert in graphics and movie production, but when I see something of quality, I do recognise it. The fact that they could film this movie in such a surreal environment with wild animals (I know the tigers are trained, but they are still wild at heart) as well as expose the harsh realities of human-animal relationship was simply, for the lack of a better word, amazing!

First and foremost, I want to point out that the tigers, cubs and adults alike are superb actors! They say ‘eyes are the window to a soul’ and these tigers have proven just that! I’m not sure whether there are award shows for animals, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one! Each and every one of them was truly worthy of an Oscar (at least in my opinion)!

Another thing I’d like to say is kudos to the director for keeping it real (except some minor details, like male tigers staying around to protect cubs). I appreciate how he brought two very controversial issues to light with regards to animals. Circus animals and sport hunting. The former highlighted how animals are ill-treated and dispensable. The latter shows just how easily the balance of life can be disrupted to satisfy the egos of the wealthy. A whole family of tigers could be wiped out just like that. Of course, there’s the also issue of animal fighting, but since it was for a happier moment in the movie, I’ll skip that (for now).

Finally, I also liked how the tigers were portrayed as more than brutal, bloodthirsty beasts. Sangha and Kumal had personalities as different as black and white. I think it was this that made it really easy for viewers to relate and connect with them. They seemed to have minds of their own and when they were up to mischief, it really wasn’t very different from seeing two teenagers mess about.

I strongly recommend this movie to everyone who’s reading this since the full movie can be found on Youtube.

JV.

And here’s the trailer.Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvRZIAwkTvQ

It Was Worth It!

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🙂

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