Wild Cats: January 2009 Archives
I know the Florida Panthers haven't had the greatest season, but I sure hope Obama has better things to do than worry about hockey! Don't get me wrong, I'm up for a good hockey game, just like any other red blooded Canadian, but I'm talking about the actual animal that the Florida Panthers were named after. Yep, you guessed it, the Florida Panthers.
There are less than 80 Florida panthers left in the world and they all live in South Florida. The only hope for the panthers is to get Obama's support to designate a specific area that the remaining panthers can live in protected.
You see the problem is there has been controversy over where exactly the Florida Panther likes to live. They have been found living in forests, prairies, and swamps. So instead of conserving a little bit of every type of habitat, or setting aside a little bit of one type of habitat, only a small parcel of land has been conserved. Not enough has been done.
Authorities have argued and argued about it but no land has been designated to them. Because of the controversy, developers have stepped in and build indiscriminately and destroyed their habitat until there is no where left for them to go.
But they wouldn't be in this mess if Florida Panthers hadn't been hunted. Up until 30 years ago it was not uncommon to hear of panther hunting in Florida. Now, they are trying to do everything they can to save the once hunted panther.
And the really sad thing is the fact that vehicles kill more panthers now than any other cause of death. 3 panthers have already lost their lives in 2009 due to vehicles. Pretty sad.
I'm sure Obama has a few things to take care of now that he has taken office, but I hope he can help save the remaining panthers before it is too late.
The San Diego Wild Animal Park has a program that lets visitors meet a Cheetah named Majani and his dog Clifford. The Zoo paired the two up to help Majani feel more comfortable with the crowds of people and new situations.
I don't agree with using wild animals for human entertainment. It's an accident waiting to happen. No matter how tame a wild cat is, they are unpredictable and act on instinct which means that they can hurt people by accident. Then in most cases where humans are hurt, the cat is killed. The cat was acting like a cat but a human got hurt in the process so the cat suffers for what is usually the human's mistake. Anyway, that's a topic for another day.
But in this case, I think the San Diego Zoo is on to a good idea. What the San Diego Zoo has done is domesticated a Cheetah kitten named Majani and paired him with a dog named Clifford. Because Cheetahs are skittish and very unpredictable, having a dog who is more comfortable with people helps the cheetah feel more at ease.
The idea came to the cheetah trainer six years ago when they were walking to an event and Majani saw a big green garbage can for the first time and was afraid of it. Clifford ran right up to the garbage can and sniffed it, Majani saw this and immediately felt at ease and walked on fearlessly. Since then, Clifford has accompanied Majani on all of his appearances.
Some domestic cats love dogs and it seems quite logical that a wild cat would take to a dog too. When you think about it, their personality traits are well suited to one another. Cheetahs are cautious and worried about hunting and unusual things in their environment, and dogs generally are more relaxed and trusting. Opposites attract even in the animal world!
The World Wildlife Fund published their annual list of some of the most threatened species around the world. A list that keeps getting longer but is not a list an animal would want to be on. Sumatran tigers made the list of the 9 to Watch in 2009.
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A little while ago, Wendell posted an article about the 12 cats that will be extinct by 2020. Sumatran Tigers were on his list too. The population is estimated at 400 but the exact count is not known - hopefully it could be as many as 500, but even so, that's not enough.
Poaching is the biggest problem for these tigers. Poachers have already killed off the entire populations of Javan and Balinese Tigers in the same region and it looks like the Sumatran Tiger is next.
The tigers are killed for body parts used in traditional Chinese medicine and their skins are often sold to western buyers.
When people stop buying body parts and skins is the day that we can truly stop cruelty to animals. I mean, I understand that Eastern medicine is deeply rooted in tradition and spiritual healing but an animal shot and killed in cold blood is not in keeping with tradition.
Chinese medicine dates back 5000 years. But the use of tigers and other animals only dates back 300 years. Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioners have successfully used herbs and other treatments for millennia so the practice of using a tiger's penis for virility or bones for soup to cure a fever is completely unnecessary, according to Dr. Henry Lee a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner.
Another reason the Sumatran Tiger population is decreasing is shrinking habitat as the human population grows. In 2004, the Indonesian Government doubled the size of Tesso Nilo National Park to help save animals and forest, but this effort hasn't stopped poachers from entering the park and loggers from destroying the tiger's habitat.
The only way we can stop the hunting of these beautiful cats is to stop the market for their body parts. If people could find alternate ways to cure their illnesses through healthful living and herbal treatments instead of boiling up the bones of an endangered animal, the world would be in a much better place.
The thing I find interesting is the the Chinese and other religions believe in animal spirits. So if that's the case, why are they killing off these innocent creatures? It goes against their believe system which makes me think that eastern medicine is no better than our western "cutem up" and "drugem up" system. The only difference is, the animals we in the west kill are in labs and the animals those in the east kill are in the wild.
I'll get off my soap box now. But it really burns me up that all this killing happens so needlessly. True Traditional Chinese Medicine does not include killing animals, they're doing it wrong - and tigers have to pay the price. Help out if you can, by adopting a tiger, or make a donation to the WWF and get a gift.
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