Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A species under siege... and a quick shout out to people fighting that...

This post is also at Facebook (in two sections along with other updates not on this blog page) if you wish to comment.



As I dig deeper into the leopard skin trade, both legal and illegal, the lines become blurred because yes, under the guise of trophy hunting you can legally shoot a leopard in certain countries, import the "trophy" at which point it attains value. China has always been the whipping boy re illegal trade but considering the amount of skins that go into the US alone, "legally", it's fair to say there is global complicity. The findings are ending up in a document to help get the leopard added to the Protected Species List here, the web of trade links Nepal, where the animal is being poached, it spreads everywhere. I'm not backward in coming forward on this issue and the 10,000 dead leopards reference I've used in recent posts, at the request of a literary agent who has become fascinated in my struggle for this species as well as the global apathy, well, that tells it's own story. I'm unable to get food for the leopard Dipnani today, I pray I can tomorrow, this thing is a battle on many levels. So it's going to be laptop catch up day, replying to overdue messages, my answers will be direct, there's no time any more for it to be any other way for a species under siege...

I'll have a proper project update in a few days but just some quick shout outs. Bernd is pictured here back in Germany, he and his wife Monica have been working tirelessly to get equipment to help mitigate problems in the continual challenge of human-wildlife coexistence. This includes these torches which are being distributed in highly affected areas re elephant and leopard issues. Bernd is putting wildleopard.net stickers on the torches, I'll explain soon how wildleopard.net, an offshoot of WildTiger, is progressing. Also a big thanks to Ian at ProsChoice for his help as we develop LeopardEye, I'm putting a lot of hours into this type of monitoring of wildlife and people in hotspot areas, Ian has kindly provided equipment for testing. And also to Shelly from Australia who has been a fantastic courier of gear here while continuing to do her own work helping this country. Every effort counts, thank you...

Monday, November 20, 2017

10 thousand dead leopards and barely an eyebrow raised...



There's a hell of lot of hypocrisy within the trophy hunting debate. I'm collecting a lot of data at the moment, for the document I'm producing here regarding why the leopard should have full protection status. A couple of days ago (at the behest of the guy who is helping me write my book) I posted (on Facebook) the figure of 10,000 leopards trophy hunted (over the decade of 2004-14) and as usual it barely raised a eyebrow. Meanwhile there is huge noise about the elephant situation, about the same amount were trophy hunted during the same period. You all know the story now, Trump has been forced to a back down and now his spin doctors are wriggling.
As a leopard conservationist this makes me grimace. Public support for leopard conservation is very low compared to other species and the battle for government and big org support is just as frustrating, many of my peers are tearing their hair out. There's so much hypocrisy with the big org situation, very rarely do they speak out against trophy hunting, there's too much donor connection, too much politics. At least I don't have that problem, I say what I feel and I will again, I am completely against trophy hunting, there is no proven scientific, conservation or economic justification that it helps saves a species. A lot of people are... but herein lies the hypocrisy. Sure, I accept that elephants have a lot more emotional pull for people than leopards but if there was a greater understanding of the ecological impact of decreasing populations of panthera pardus (leopard), a species that has taken 3 and a half million years to evolve, then maybe there would be more equality in support, less "selectionism" ... a new word I've just invented for this blog.
My book is going into this big time under the theme of marginalization... and I won't be holding back.
But right now I've got a leopard enclosure to design... and I have to sell a hell of lot of photos to pay for it... the next stage in what we are trying to achieve here to protect a marginalized species which only a few seem to understand but every one is precious...




The first image of these two above is taken with my phone from the wonderful document WAGHOBA TALES: ADVENTURES IN LEOPARD LAND (link HERE) sent to me by Vidya Athreya, it gives a different more personal take on the study done in Akole by Vidya and team.  The image accompanies the story of how a drunk man got caught in a leopard trap age.  Strangely, and I wasn't trapped or drunk, but I know what it is like to be in a cage with a leopard prowling outside (second image), more on that another day.
The journal published accompanied the study has helped me a lot (link HERE) in my own work and references SOCIAL CARING CAPACITY.  There's more on that in a post just made at Living with Leopards for those interested but it extends beyond the elements of spiritual beliefs and tolerance.  I'm about to walk a few collars to place cameras on a path where a leopard walks very close to houses.  I need to identify the cat but just as importantly I need to understand what the people living there think of the situation, how they are coping.  Coexistence is very much about balance and fairness to both parties.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Something that never ceases to amaze me is how silent leopards are...


Something that never ceases to amaze me is how silent leopards are, they even eat quietly compared to other predators, their sense of surroundings is constant. 
The leopard's awareness of habitat, its territory, is remarkable, something honed in over 3 and half million years. As I increase my own understanding of their strategies to coexist with other beings in a modern world (right now my focus is their relationship with an increasing tiger population... and us), my respect for them grows. Being quite a private animal myself, perhaps I empathize with these cats, and when I am sharing space with these incredible creatures, the sound of the jungle, silent, soft but sometimes chaotic when the hunt succeeds, is enough to connect me with my true primal being and always remind me why we must protect the leopard...

Friday, November 17, 2017

LeopardEye - Non invasive wildlife and human image capture...


I'll bring more info on LeopardEye in the new year, testing is ongoing but it has already brought valuable data. Non-invasive cameras "talking" to each other, daisy chaining images to base is the way forward and has application in a wide scope of wildlife conservation needs. I'm enthusiastic as to how this can evolve, the tracking of conflict animals and anti-poaching are two areas I'm developing the system for. So far, so good, all part of busy days.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Quick update Yeti style...

Way behind in replies, will get there, always do, just takes time. The leopard Dipnani is doing well, a long way to go in the process but reintroduction still on the cards. A shout out to the team at Proschoice for their help with LeopardEye, more on this development down the track.
More than ever I understand why the leopard being added to the Protected Species List here is crucial, it needs to happen, dialogue continues on this and I'm flat out prepping a document, am hopeful but at the same time every day there are losses for this cat, that is not easy, I hate apathy and I hate promises that aren't kept, it affects what can be done... the daisy chain affect with weak links.
In different places I've picked up the nickname Yeti, I can't think why but then going through some video for a presentation, I found this...oh.
#MountainTimes ... I love the lowland jungles I'm in now but heart is always in the mountains...


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Pre dawn, two big cats, one protected, one not, waiting for their stories of the night...


Pre dawn, no light yet, waiting. Working while I wait. Soon, after wildlife settles, the "night shift" ending, it's onto trails where stories of the dark unfold, two big cats, one protected, one not, have hunted in our darkness yet to them it is simply the hours that they do what they do, hopefully undisturbed by the noise that is us.
Yes, one protected with numbers rising, one not protected with numbers decreasing. Most people have care factor zero with regards to that sentence, I thank those who are different and support with meaning... it's not easy fighting for the underdog but somebody bloody has to...

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Silent gold, this morning's pug marks give more vital clues...


The pug marks this morning were exactly where I hoped they would be, further checking and data giving more info on tiger and leopard coexistence, which individuals are more tolerant. A lot to do but vital in understanding the dynamics as tiger population increases and how leopards will manage territory accordingly. Re my post yesterday, please, real conservation is so much more than just the charismatic, tourist bringing species like tiger. The leopard is not getting a fair deal despite its importance as an ecosystem engineer over vast territories way beyond the so called "umbrella species" habitats...

A species under siege... and a quick shout out to people fighting that...

This post is also at Facebook (in two sections along with other updates not on this blog page) if you wish to comment. As I di...