Monthly Wild Cat News
A Voice For The Wild Cats of the World
Sometimes you just have to shake your head (or bang in on the table) about the way things work in the world.
A couple of years ago, the government of India announced an ambitious plan to reintroduce cheetahs to India. Cheetahs there had been been hunted to extinction centuries ago, and tiger numbers in that country continue to plummet. The plan sharply divided the wild cat conservation community, but is apparently going ahead. See our previous posts on the subject here and here.
Over the course of the reintroduction, or translocation as the plan should be called, 60 cheetahs will be moved from Africa to three sites in India.
One of the sites choosen is the Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Predesh. This also the site that the government has chosen for the translocation of Asiatic lions from Gujurat. The sanctuary already contains tigers and leopards.
In Africa, lions and leopards are direct threats to the cheetah population, killing and eating cubs whenever they find them. Tigers can now be added to the list of predators on cheetahs.
The idea of moving cheetahs to India was bad enough in the first place, a politically motivated plan with more thought towards publicity than cheetah survival. Now they choose to move them into an area where they’re putting lions, snuggling them in next to the existing tigers and leopards.
India also has six small cat species – caracal, jungle cat, Asian wildcat, leopard cat, clouded leopard and rusty-spotted cat – the latter two very endangered. Has anyone thought about looking after the conservation of the cats they’ve already got, before adding the already endangered cheetah to the mix?
You can read more on the Indian cheetah reintroduction here. Let us know what you think of the whole idea.
Wild cats can’t be saved without knowing what they need to survive in their natural habitat. What kind of habitat do they use? What are their activity patterns & social organizations? Without data collected by field biologists, conservation programs can’t be put in place. To further our educational efforts, we are posting regular Monday summaries of a paper written by wild cat field biologists, which briefly outlines their findings.
The clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa which is reported from countries of Southeast Asia is a rare felid and very little information is available from its geographic range. We present here the first instance of photo-capturing clouded leopard by camera traps in Assam Valley tropical semi-evergreen forest of Pakke Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh, India. Habitat destruction and hunting are the main threats that these animals face and strict regulations are needed to save these beautiful felids.
Jimmy Borah, Tridip Sharma, Salvador Lyngdoh, TanaTapi
IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group Cat News newsletter