Category Archives: tigers

Your Favorite Big Mammals Are in Deeper Danger Than You Thought

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A report in the journal BioScience recently revealed that some of the world’s most beloved large mammals could disappear forever if action isn’t taken soon to protect their habitats. Threatened megafauna, which typically inspire more public sympathy and concern than similarly endangered species of plants, bacteria, or smaller animals, in this case include bears, rhinos, and gorillas. In the report, titled “Saving the World’ Terrestrial Megafauna,” a global team of conservation scientists laid out issues of particular concern to these animals’ well-being, including vast deforestation, the expansion of land used for livestock and farming, illegal hunting, and rapid human population growth.

“The more I look at the trends facing the world’s largest terrestrial mammals, the more concerned I am we could lose these animals just as science is discovering how important they are to ecosystems and to the services they provide to people,” said William Ripple, an ecology professor at the College of Forestry at Oregon State University and the report’s lead author. “It’s time to really think about conserving them because declines in their numbers and habitats are happening quickly.”

The 43 scientists note that large mammals have widespread impacts on their ecosystems, and affect everything from regulating disease risks for humans and maintaining healthy populations of animals lower down in the food chain, to preventing wildfires and spreading seeds. The experts examined global trends confronting lions, rhinos, wolves, zebras, tigers, elephants, and other animals, concluding that “Most mammalian megafauna face dramatic range contractions and population declines.In fact, 59 percent of the world’s largest carnivores and 60 percent of the world’s largest herbivores are classified as threatened with extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List. This situation is particularly dire in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, home to the greatest diversity of extant megafauna.”

The scientists finished the report with a call to action for world leaders: “We must not go quietly into this impoverished future. Rather, we believe it is our collective responsibility, as scientists who study megafauna, to act to prevent their decline. We therefore present a call to the broader international community to join together in conserving the remaining terrestrial megafauna.” Hopefully their voices and research will not fall on dull ears, but will help leaders and the public come together to take measures to save these large creatures, beautiful and vital for our planet’s health.

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Source: Silva, Christina. “Humans Cause Animal Extinction: Large Mammals Including Elephants And Gorillas Are Under Threat, Study Finds.” International Business Times. 27 July 2016.

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Frightened Baby Tiger Caged at Football Game

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The dumbing of  America is never more present when “traditions” at High school football game in Ohio wheeled a baby tiger in a cage to thousands of screaming fans.

For 44 years, ignorance and stupidity have been the norm at Massillon Washington High School. The new “Obie,” a baby tiger is kept in a cage and wheeled around a loud stadium. He is the latest victim of a cruel tradition that violates animal cruelty and ethics. The cub stands up and puts his paws on the bars of his enclosure as ignorant people scream, shout and take pictures.

Every year Massillon Washington High School acquires a new tiger cubs and has been accused multiple times of discarding the tiger cubs after the season is over.  It is believed that after the football season is over, these “Obie” tigers are sold to private owners, wind up as caged roadside attraction, become breeding animals, pets or sold to canned hunting operations. Animal conservationists have questioned about the legal loophole for educational institutions that allows them to have exotic animals, and a number of petitions protested the tradition.

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Despite this, the Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club unveiled a new cub mascot, called an “Obie”and is keeping facts about this recent appearance private, they refuse to disclose where the tiger comes from. IS THIS LEGAL?

One fans interviewed at the football game stated “We’re really glad he’s here. He’s been around forever,” (Perhaps too stupid to comprehend that each Obie has been a different tiger cub). “For people that live and breathe football, he’s a huge deal.”

Matt Keller, president of the booster club, told the CantonRep.com. “It’s a tradition we were able to continue, even if just for one game.

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There is an estimated 5,000 tigers are held in captivity throughout the United States; 95% of these animals are privately owned.

* To stop this act of animal cruelty, sign the petition to end the cruel “Obie” Cycle. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/807/480/353/stop-the-yearly-tiger-cub-purchase-by-ohios-massillon-washington-high-school/

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Tigers forced to Perform at State Fair

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A “show”, called the Amazing Rainforest Experience, is run by Robert Mullen of the Orlando, Florida–based PM Productions Entertainment Inc., a production group that features traveling shows with a host of exotic animals.

Hundreds of visitors have complained the tigers appear severely emaciated, with prominent spines and hip bones. The cats also appeared lethargic, or even drugged. One described them as “skeletons.”

Julie Hanan, of the Minnesota-based Wildcat Sanctuary, told The Dodo that her group has been flooded with “desperate pleas” from people who’ve visited the fair and were shocked by the state of the animals.

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Abbie Knudsen, a biologist with Missouri’s National Tiger Sanctuary, has heard similar concerns from the public. “I have heard tons of accounts from people that have seen the animals, and visited the animals firsthand, that they do not look in good body condition,” she said.

Despite concern from both the public and big cat conservation groups the Missouri State Fair said that the tigers were being regularly inspected, implying that the animals were in satisfactory condition: “In accordance with the State Fair’s Animal Care policy, all animals and livestock shown, housed or displayed, shall receive care that is healthful and consistent with accepted husbandry practices and the rules and regulations set forth by the Missouri State Fair. This policy applies to animals in entertainment acts, such as the Amazing Rainforest Experience, as well. The Missouri Department of Agriculture state veterinarians monitor the tigers twice per day. These practices reflect the care and concern that Missourians have for livestock, poultry, companion animals and wildlife. ”

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The state of the tigers raises concerns about food deprivation, a common method used by trainers at circuses to keep animals in line. “Of course we can’t speak to the exact issue with this exhibitor, but we have seen in the past that they will tend to keep cats hungry to perform,” Hanan said.

In an interview with a local outlet, Mullen said that he fed the tigers 13 to 14 pounds of chicken daily. Both Bass and Hanan said if this is all the tigers are getting, the diet is insufficient: They would need more food, as well as red meat, bones and organs, to thrive.

Whatever the reason, it’s evident from the photos that the animals aren’t healthy. In one photo that shows a tiger on his hind legs, the ratio between the animal’s waist and his hips is disturbing.

This mistreatment by the “Amazing Rainforest Experience”,  is not new. A 2013 video released by the International Fund for Animal Welfare appears to feature the same company and shows several disturbing interactions between a trainer and the cats.

When a tiger initially tries to exit the stage, the trainer deters him and the animal listlessly makes his way through his routine. When the trainer later tries to shut a door on him, the tiger takes a swipe at him.

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Another scene features a severely underweight cougar, his hip bones standing out like blades. When he’s reluctant to leave the stage, the trainer grabs him by his collar and literally drags him out as he resists.

YouTube/IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare

If you find these picture and video disturbing and you want to help, you can let the Missouri State Fair know how you feel, click here: https://www.facebook.com/MissouriStateFair?fref=ts

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Truck Stop Tiger

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“Tony” is a tiger imprisoned at a Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana. Signs posted on Tony’s cage, indicate he was born in July 2000, now making him 15-years old. It is reported that Tony was acquired by Michael Sandlin as a 6-month old cub from a Texas breeder.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund found the permit issued by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries was illegal and revoked; LDWF was blocked from issuing a new permit. Unfortunately Michael Sandlin, “Tony’s” captor, enlisted his state Senator, Rick Ward, to propose a bill, SB 250, to exempt himself from Louisiana state law banning private ownership of big cats. This outrageous bill passed both the Senate and House and was signed by Governor Jindal. Immediately the Animal Legal Defense issued a statement saying they would challenge the validity of SB 250. On June 25, 2014 ALDF filed suit against the State of Louisiana for violating the Louisiana Constitution by passing a law that exempts a single individual from existing state public safety and animal welfare laws. Defendants include the State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), the Tiger Truck Stop, and Michael Sandlin.

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Please go to Tony’s change.org petition asking the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to enforce the 2006 law banning private ownership of big cats remains open and is nearing 49,000 signatures.

There are an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 big cats kept captive by private owners. The exact number is a unknown because of insufficient record keeping requirements. These animals are kept as pets, exhibited in roadside zoos, perform in circuses and traveling exhibitions, and bred for profit. Cubs are used in “pay-for-play” schemes and photo ops.

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The forgotten Dhole

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The Dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a wild canid that are efficient predators and communal pack hunters. These rust-coloured carnivores roam the jungles and montane forests of Central and East Asia.  They are the only species in the Cuon genus.

According to the  IUCN Red List, there are only 949 to 2,215 breeding dholes left in the wild. This number is less than the world’s breeding tigers. Dholes have been mostly ignored by conservationists, researchers and the global public. They are a forgotten predator. Dhole’s are surprisingly small. At just 12-18 kilograms, dholes are 30 to 50% the size of your average wolf, making them smaller than many medium-sized dogs.

“Compared to a tiger, a dhole is not very ‘sexy,’” said Kate Jenks, a conservation biologist with the Minnesota Zoo who has spent nine years trapping, collaring and studying dholes in Thailand. “They tend to get overlooked by scientists and conservationists that are more interested in tigers and leopards that live in the same area.”

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The species roams regions inhabited by tigers, snow leopard, bears, wolves and leopards. Competition for prey and space can bring dholes into encounters with these other apex carnivores. Observers have captured videos of dholes harassing and holding their own against tigers. 

Dholes inhabit some of the most threatened, degraded and disconnected forest landscapes on the planet. The rainforests of Southeast Asia have seen unprecedented destruction over the past fifty years for palm oil, paper, rubber, timber, mining and other commodities. Where forests haven’t been destroyed, they have been fragmented by booming human populations, roads and ever-expanding development projects.

In addition to forest loss, dholes have suffered from a decline in their prey. Because dholes are hyper-carnivores that need relatively high prey numbers to raise litters and sustain large pack sizes. Overhunting and snaring has decimated many prey species across southern Asia. In fact, the region is known for so-called empty forests syndrome. Here, forests are largely emptied of any large-to-medium-sized mammal or bird, wiped out by hunting both for food and the Traditional Chinese Medicine industry.

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There are very few conservation programmes focusing specifically on dholes, but one of them is Ambika Khatiwada’s in the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA). in Nepal. Khatiwada is working with locals to live more peaceably with wild canid neighbors.

Khatiwada is also working with the local council on implementing a community managed livestock insurance scheme. Under this program, herders pay to have their livestock insured against attacks by predators, in this case dholes and snow leopards.

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As one of the region’s top predators, dholes have a potent ecological influence all the way down the food chain. While this has been largely unstudied in regards to dholes, research on other top predators – like wolves – has shown how these animals actually create more biodiverse and productive ecosystems by keeping prey species in check and in hiding.

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Ohio High School Abuses Tiger Cubs

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In the state of Ohio, the Massillon Washington High School’s football boosters club has purchased or leased tiger cubs from a local private exotic animal breeder each year for the past 44 years.  dubbing each “Obie,”, these cubs are separated prematurely from their mothers and declawed, the young animals are forced to experience the stresses of human contact, paraded in front of thousands of screaming crowds.

The tigers’ tenure as mascots is brief. When football season’s over, they’re sent away to endure the rigors of captivity elsewhere, only to be replaced by a new “Obie.”

Critics say that generations of these “retired” tigers routinely wind up caged as roadside attractions, or are sold into private hands as breeding animals, pets or worse, targets for canned hunting operations.

A spokeswoman for Stump Hill Exotic Animal Farm, where boosters have acquired tiger cubs for the last few years, told Cleveland.com that it’s “no one’s business” where the “Obies” are sent, “except the Massillon Boosters Club, Stump Hill and the USDA.”

While the breeder can keep some details closely guarded, USDA reports are still a matter of public record — and they hint at a dismal life for the big cats. Stump Hill has been cited on numerous occasions for welfare violations, most recently on Dec. 5, when a routine inspection uncovered an unreported tiger cub who had been seriously injured after getting stuck in an enclosure fence. The inspector believes that the cub had chewed off part of her paw in an attempt to free herself.

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Stump Hill and Massillon Washington High School’s football boosters club have been the targets of multiple petitions in recent years, but none have been able to end the use of living mascots. In fact, when Ohio updated its laws regulating exotic animals in 2010, the new legislation was written in a way that allowed the school’s use of tigers to continue.

So far the schools boosters are not swayed by mounting pressure. “We talked about the petition but we really haven’t done anything as far as making a move to make any changes or do anything in the future,” said booster club historian Gary Vogt.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), estimates there are 5,000 tigers held in captivity throughout the United States “in backyards, urban apartments and sideshows, often by those untrained in handling tigers.” The WWF has called for a ban on private possession of big cats.

This article was written by Stephen Messenger and published by The Dodo.

Tiger cubs, recovered from poachers who had planned to smuggle the animals out of the country, are seen in an iron cage in the custody of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in Dhaka

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Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

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Come to New York, NY October 13-19 for a week of extraordinary films, workshops, international filmmakers, red carpet gala and to meet some of the world’s leading wildlife conservationists. Included are dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Patricia C. Wright, Dr. Birute Galdikas, Nan Hauser, Dr. Mireya Mayor. More than 15 international wildlife documentary filmmakers and from National Geographic filmmakers, Bob Poole and David Hamlin

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Elephants in the Room
produced by Peter Lamberti of Aquavision TV Productions in South Africa
will make its New York debut at the 2014 WCFF

Great Migrations: Episode 3: Survival of the Fastest NGC-US: Episode Code: 3592 NGCI: IBMS - 023560

Zebras On The Move
Produced by Oscar Portillo of Explora Films in Spain
will also make its New York debut

Get your tickets now for all 18 film series held at the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway during the week and the Red Carpet Gala & Awards Ceremony at 583 Park Avenue

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