In December, Panthera’s most impassioned supporters put $500,000 on the line and challenged us to match it by the end of 2016. Thanks to you, we did.
The news for lions out of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, is mixed. President and Chief Conservation Officer Dr. Luke Hunter breaks down what the outcomes mean for Africa’s lions.
The Sumatran rainforest is teeming with wildlife—and home to the largest population of tigers outside of India. Follow a Panthera biologist as he joins a law enforcement patrol in Sumatra’s Kerinci Seblat National Park, a hotspot for poaching.
Panthera’s Sanjay Gubbi Discusses India’s Human-Wildlife Conflict with The Guardian | Panthera
Press Release: New Protection for the Jaguar: Belize and Panthera Sign Critical Conservation Agreement | Panthera
Read Panthera’s latest press release on new strides that were made for the jaguar last week with the signing of a critical conservation agreement between the government of Belize, Panthera & the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) of the University of Belize @ http://bit.ly/Ns2yVs. As Panthera CEO & renowned jaguar scientist, Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, explained, “The signing of this historic agreement epitomizes conservation action & partnerships coming full circle. Nearly 30 years ago, I studied the jaguars of Belize, & today we return to the birthplace of jaguar research & conservation to reignite & strengthen the commitment, strategy & resources required to ensure this species lives on, for the next 30 years, & beyond. This MOU now represents Panthera’s sixth jaguar conservation agreement with a Latin American government, & our team will continue to work, country by country, to build partnerships with all nations home to the jaguar, connecting & protecting the entire 18 nation mosaic that is the jaguar’s range.”
In January, the Smithsonian Magazine released a video “The Jaguar Highway” of Panthera’s Media Director and National Geographic photographer, Steve Winter talking about jaguars, where they live, how they kill their prey, how the Mayan’s viewed them. Learn how Steve captured photos of one of the most rarely viewed cats and what Panthera is doing through the Jaguar Corridor Initiative to protect ‘America’s Tiger’.
It was one of those eerily beautiful winter mornings in Central Mozambique. Smoke hung thick in the air from the seasonal fires that had begun raging across the land, and Bob Poole and I hopped into his land rover and headed in to Gorongosa National Park towards a signal that had just come in. Helena (a mother lioness) was on a kill—the satellite data-pattern was pretty clear on that—and we wanted to document exactly what was going on.
Our route intersected with meandering elephant tracks as we drove out over the charred grasslands, edging closer to the signal’s origin on the high point of the Muzicadzi River.
There we stopped to watch and listen, and a herd of wildebeest did the same, peering out at us a few 100 meters away, but their attention shifted to some activity under the scrub close-by, until some limit of comfort was suddenly breached and they bolted off.
We moved forward slowly, scrutinizing every inch of land and anxiously realizing that Helena was already gone (no signal). Then we lay our eyes on the five Sungue cubs, hunkered down and feasting on a young bull sable. Helena had made her kill for sure, leaving a small feast for her cubs. (Later we learned that while leaving her cubs to eat she had headed North to meet up with her beau on another drainage.)
Now Gorongosa is an ecosystem under recovery and recent years have seen remarkable increases of a wide range of species. So how the big cats of this land make their living in this rapidly changing system is a question we are scrutinizing. The common belief was that Warthogs were their mainstay, but otherwise very little was known. And for sure, Warthogs in their high abundances are definitely an important part of their diets. But what about the Sable, Buffalo, and Wildebeest, and all the Waterbuck, Reedbuck and Oribi? How do lions relish (or not) this more diverse spectrum of prey? To understand this more deeply, we have to investigate more of these grisly scenes.
A few days later the team encountered a second Sable kill-site, but this time three taken down at once! A mother (with only a few bites removed), young bull (slightly eaten), and calf (fully eaten). There is a certain uneasiness with which we assimilate such grim scenes: These lionesses were on a killing spree.
A week or so before, it was a young male Waterbuck too; killed, guarded for a few hours, but then finally just left whole for the vultures. Just a few weeks later, it was a young Eland (Africa’s largest antelope), but this one was consumed. And in between the spates of Warthog-for-dinner, a few more of the rarer Wildebeest were taken, this to the horror of the park’s herbivore experts. I’ve been told more than a few times (jokingly, of course) to discipline our lions.
Through continued investigation we will be able to really understand how the diet of Gorongosa’s largest carnivore reflects the shifting ecology in a spectacularly recovering ecosystem. But right now, one thing’s for sure—Gorongosa’s lions are not going hungry.
More info: Bob Poole is on assignment (living and working in Gorongosa for 16 months) to document the recovery of the Park, its communities and wildlife (and especially its lions.) The PBS/National Geographic Int. series will air in 2015 – stay tuned!
Credits: Cat Watch