Pumas are among the least seen of earth’s big cats. Though they’re widely distributed from the Canadian Rockies to the southernmost Andes (and known alternatively as cougars or mountain lions), pumas have historically been thought of as too elusive for any sort of commercial tourism.
That changed when a company called Quasar Expeditions, in partnership with Explora Patagonia, launched its first puma trekking safaris earlier this year in Chile’s famed Torres Del Paine National Park.
The idea was to give wildlife enthusiasts the same opportunity to see pumas as they’d have with jaguars in Brazil, lions in Africa or tigers in India.
Source: Puma safari in Chile – CNN.com
Other Puma Watching Options
A “black panther” is not its own species—it’s an umbrella term that refers to any big cat with a black coat.
The condition is caused by the agouti gene, which regulates the distribution of black pigment within the hair shaft, according to the University of California, Davis. It’s most well known in leopards, which live in Asia and Africa, and jaguars, inhabitants of South America. (Domestic cat lovers might be interested to know the agouti gene doesn’t cause black fur in house cats.)
Read more… Whats a Black Panther, Really?.
The rise of jaguar watching tours in Brazil has brought a sea-change in the attitudes of ranchers. The cats, once seen as a threat to livestock, are now seen as a big money draw.
But the recent discovery of a dead jaguar has raised an unexpected new threat: drug smugglers. The fear is that drug smugglers who favour the quiet backwaters of the Pantanal are now shooting jaguars to deter the unwanted attention of tourists.
Read more… In Brazil’s wetlands, jaguars face a new threat: Drug traffickers | Al Jazeera America.
A pair of Amur leopards, which are said to be the rarest big cats in the world, have been born in Leicestershire.
Twycross Zoo said its new cubs were born in June and could one day be reintroduced into the wild.
There are about 50 wild Amur leopards in China and south-eastern Russia but they are close to extinction because of poaching and illegal logging.
Read more… BBC News – Two rare Amur leopards born at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire.
This hair-raising picture shows brave tourists risking their lives for pictures as they strayed close to fighting jaguars.
Seasoned wildlife photographer Paul Williams was overjoyed to finally find elusive jaguars in their natural habitat, the Brazilian Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland area.
But Paul, 34, who works for the BBC Natural History Unit, soon found his joy turn to terror as he watched foolhardy tour boats jostling to see which could get the closest.
“Sadly it’s a scene that’s too common in natural parks around the world, but it’s important to remember that without tourism many of these areas would be under threat. Everyone has the right to experience nature and wildlife, but the organisations and companies who manage this have a responsibility to ensure that the welfare of the wildlife is paramount.”
Read more… Tourists risk lives for pictures of rare jaguars fighting in Brazil – AOL Travel UK.
Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, near Milnthorpe, said the cubs were born on 24 May and mum Tara had been “fiercely maternal” since their arrival.
The birth has only just been announced for fear the pair would not survive after a cub born last year lived for only 24 hours.
Director Jo Marsden said the baby leopards were “growing very well” and would be on public view in a few weeks.
Mrs Marsden said they did not yet know the sex of the cubs as the keepers and their father Pavan, had not yet met the young.
Read more: BBC News – Rare snow leopards born at Lakeland Wildlife Oasis.
We’ve just been sent this photo of six tigers taken at one of our favourite Tiger Lodges, Tiger Trails in Tadoba National Park. This is a family group consisting of Scarface (Father), Madhuri (Mother), and the four cubs Mona , Geeta, Lara, Sonam (click on the photo for the lodge website).
For the best safari experience in South America head to Brazil’s Pantanal for superb chances of seeing big mammals such as tapirs, giant river otters and capybara. There are now excellent opportunities to spot one of the worlds largest and most beautiful big cats: the jaguar. This superb documentary gives a wonderful introduction to South America’s safari hot spot.