Most of the world’s big predators are in decline, but there are some happy stories out there. This week, WWF announced that the Amur leopard population has grown to a total of 65-69 cats. This represents a more than doubling of the population in eight years. Still, the Critically Endangered subspecies remains perilously close to extinction.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done in order to secure a safe future for the Amur leopard, but these numbers demonstrate that things are moving in the right direction,” said Barney Long, the Director of Species Conservation for WWF-US.
Read more… Photos: Amur Leopard Population Hits At Least 65
Goias, Brazil is known as the heartland of the country’s agriculture. With thousands of acres designated to sugar cane, soy and cattle, it might not be the typical environment for the endangered Jaguar. According to a research conducted by Leandro Silveira of the Jaguar Conservation Fund, this magnificent predator continues to adapt to a changing ecosystem.
“Before we started this study there was no knowledge that jaguars would inhabit this kind of environment,“ Silveira said.
The study used GPS technology and trail cameras to track the movement of the big cats. His data concluded jaguars can in fact survive within an agricultural landscape.
Read more… The endangered Jaguar makes a comeback in Brazil | CCTV America.
Wildlife on the Galápagos is under a new threat. The scientific group that has helped to preserve the islands’ giant tortoises and other unique creatures is on the brink of closure – because of a row about a gift shop.
Local traders have objected to the Charles Darwin Foundation running a souvenir shop at its research station at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island. They claim it was siphoning business from their own shops and in July local officials, backed by the government of Ecuador which owns the Galápagos, ordered the station’s shops to be shut.
The impact for the foundation – which carries out wildlife research in the Galápagos and provides key scientific advice on protecting wildlife there – has been devastating.
Read more… Galápagos Islands wildlife threatened by battle between locals and scientists | World news | The Observer.
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.
Africa’s elephants have reached a tipping point: more are being killed each year than are being born, a study suggests.
Researchers believe that since 2010 an average of nearly 35,000 elephants have been killed annually on the continent. They warn that if the rate of poaching continues, the animals could be wiped out in 100 years.
Read more… BBC News – Elephant poaching deaths reach tipping point in Africa.
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.
An eye in the sky that can help catch wildlife poachers is the dream of many conservationists in Africa.
That dream is closer to becoming a reality thanks to rapid advances in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or drone, technology.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy, a Kenyan 90,000-acre reserve specialising in protecting white and black rhinos, has teamed up with San Francisco-based tech company Airware, which specialises in drone autopilot systems.
Read more… BBC News – Can drones help tackle Africas wildlife poaching crisis?.
Many of the Caribbean’s coral reefs could vanish in the next 20 years, according to a report published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Data from more than 35,000 surveys suggests that habitats have declined by more than 50% since the 1970s.
The report’s authors believe that over-fishing and disease is mainly to blame.
They say the trend could continue if nothing is done, but with protection the reefs could bounce back.
Read more… BBC News – Caribbean coral reefs could vanish in 20 years.
The Portland Bight protected area is home to the iconic Jamaican iguana and 20 other endangered species. It’s fragile coastal ecosystem and wildlife faces the risk of being lost forever as Jamaica approves a Chinese company to build a port.
The Jamaican iguaua, Cyclura collei, is a critically endangered species found in the Hellshire Hills of Portland Bight protected area, Jamaica. It was thought to have gone extinct in 1948, but in 1990, a hog hunter chanced upon a live individual in the limestone forests of Hellshire Hills. Further exploration revealed 50 survivors. Eggs and hatchlings brought from the wild were reared in captivity and released back into the wild once they are big enough to ward off predators.
Read more: Jamaicas rare wildlife – in pictures | Environment | theguardian.com.
Asian Pulp and Paper, one of the world’s biggest paper companies, is to support the conservation of 1m hectares of rainforest in Indonesia, as a way of reducing its impact on the habitats of endangered species such as orangutan, elephants and tigers.
However, green experts said the plans would be difficult to make work and would not solve the problem of loggers depleting the animals’ natural habitat.
APP’s project will involve creating and protecting “wildlife corridors” for species, allowing them to move between areas without having their habitats cut off by logging activities, and “buffer zones” so that habitats are less encroached on by loggers, in at least nine areas across Indonesia. The 1m hectare figure represents an area roughly equivalent to the area of land the company exploited for sourcing pulp last year alone.
Giant rainforest buffer zone planned to protect Indonesian wildlife | Environment | theguardian.com.