Saturday, February 27, 2016

The #Leopard: We can co-exist but it's not going to be easy...


The tragic news a couple of days ago that a two year old boy died after he was snatched from his mother's lap by a leopard has once again put this fragile relationship in the spotlight.  The incident, which happened near Rishikesh, has people who live in the area in an outrage.  It has people in other conflict areas very wary.  I've spent the last two days getting a lot of worried thoughts and they'll be going through my mind as I head off into the jungle in a few minutes to check cameras.

The whole situation is becoming more and more complex.  I try to sit calmly in the middle as different viewpoints come in, viewpoints often driven by deep emotion.  I've written of late how perceptions have to change to better manage the co-existence between leopards and us and there have been times when I've felt very caught in the middle, it can be quite a lonely place I'm going to admit.  Livelihoods, safety of family and wildlife conservation in places where dangerous animals exist, well it's a heated cocktail.

Human/leopard conflict mitigation is very much my focus right now with leopard behaviour understanding a major part of that.  A busy time is about to get even busier so I wont be able to answer messages quickly and I just ask that people who comment do so with sensitivity to the issues involved. It's very important to understand that the reality for people living in high conflict areas where poverty can be a major issue, is a reality that is far different than for most of the world.

A lot to be done...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A persecuted species... so let's cut the bullshit...


This blog is at Facebook (along with other updates) if you wish to comment.

I don't do this work to make friends, I gave up worrying what people think a long time ago. As time goes by you discover who your real friends are, who you can truly trust. I do this work because I am deeply concerned about wildlife and our relationship to it.  It just so happens that in my case it's about big cats and the realization that in the Search for the Mountain Tiger I in fact discovered the leopard.  More on how that worked at a later date but yeah, a mysterious kill of a large animal, it must have been a tiger?...no, it was a leopard...

There is no doubt we have a strong spiritual connection to big cats, they move us to many emotions, including fear for those who live among them. But at the same time if I don't hear words like reverence and totem ever again it won't be too soon.  Many faiths, cultural beliefs and individualistic rantings expound tolerance but the reality is far from that.  We need to cut through the bullshit and understand that the leopard is persecuted, we are in an uneasy relationship with the most adaptable and widespread of the big cats.  Moreover, there is more and more evidence being gained that the leopard is becoming the most important of these cats with regard to being ecosystem engineers, the fragmentation of tiger habitat to form "wilderness zoos" has seen to that.

The leopard lives from sea level to upwards of 4500m in altitude.  It has shown itself to live among us taking dogs and livestock as we take its forests and natural prey.

And the years now have taught me just how persecuted this animal is.  So many perceptions, so many inaccuracies... and a lot of dishonesty.  It doesn't take long to understand who really cares as against those who are involved for personal gain, even within conservation circles.  The value of leopard skins creeps up as that market force known as "supply and demand" takes hold.  The beauty of the leopard, its mystique, our love and our fear drive these forces.  Retaliatory killings when livestock is taken are the result of an overall lack of care from those who could ease this situation.  Our perceptions are killing the leopard.  Our spiritual connection which should be simple and with an easy meaningfulness has manufactured a whole belief system which is, and I'll use the word again... bullshit.

Because if it was based on respect we wouldn't be persecuting this animal the way we are.

I'm in leopard habitat and there are moments when I'm in the jungle I get an incredible sense of the presence of these great cats. It's not just the visible signs they give although they are vital as we utilize science for understanding.  It's more of a sense of their belonging, their place in our world.  It's such a strong feeling I refuse to shallow it by applying faith based thinking.  It's a simple feeling of nature.  It's a simple feeling of it being right.

So much to do in the weeks before monsoon.  We're at a critical juncture in our relationship with wildlife.  My personal connection to this particular animal, and yes, living with one did reinforce that, drives me to understand more and with better knowledge implement measures to improve our relationship with the leopard.  It's never going to be an easy relationship but it can be a lot better than it is.

But we have to cut the bullshit...

We can co-exist...


The sites at wildtiger.org and wildleopard.net will be updated in the second week of March 2016 to reflect our new initiatives and strategies.

Other updates are at my Facebook page.

Thanks for your support, cheers Jack.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Understanding leopard behaviour... and the tragedy that can go with it...

This blog is at Facebook (with other updates) if you wish to comment.



Just over a week ago a leopard entered a hut in Gujarat.  The cat snatched a sleeping four year old girl.   Forest Officers found the partially eaten body several hours later and while there was a fleeting sign of the leopard not far from where it left its kill, there was every indication it left the area not long after the officers removed the child's body.

This was a premeditated strike, a calculated hunt and as much as it is awful to write it, an easy kill for one of nature's supreme predators.  I wont go into further detail on this event but it is just one of many similar I have in my files.  It is sobering.  I remember the first time I spoke to a family who had lost a loved one to a tiger in Sumatra, the quiet tears as they recalled the horror.  I rarely share this type of information, it is in the main very private, a respect for those involved but it is of course something that needs to be discussed and examined among researchers with the outcome of improved mitigation the aim.

So far this year in India a disturbing amount of leopard skins have been seized.  As I've mentioned before, each seizure only represents a proportion of the loss.  In human - leopard conflict there is tragedy on both sides.   There is also major economic impact when goats, sheep, yaks, buffaloes or any livestock are taken.  As leopards adapt to an ever changing environment they will do what they need to do to survive.  In the main they will stay away from us, it is obvious they don't want to interact.  But the more we destroy their natural habitats and reduce natural prey, leopards and other top predators compensate and conflict is often the result.

There will always be conflict but we're now at a stage where our understanding of leopard behaviour has to be constantly improving so that we can put more preventative measures in place so as to minimize the amount of tragedies such as the recent one in Gujarat.

At the Owl Festival in Sikles I took time to talk to a few locals (thanks Naresh for the photo), get an overview of conflict in their area.  I will return to the area in a few weeks while traversing valleys from the point where I lived with the leopard Asa.  I'll do anything I can to increase my understanding.  I'm a conservationist but I'm also a father.

I wrote recently about the need for perceptions to change.  Conservation and conflict go hand in hand but it worries me the beliefs and misconceptions I hear and read, not just from people living in areas with potentially dangerous wildlife but also from the keyboards of those far away.  There needs to be more balanced perspective based on the understanding that yes, big cats are magnificent examples of wildlife, so important in many ways but they are also natural born killers that think differently to us.

Most of the last two days I have been immersed in getting information regarding recent serious conflicts.  I balanced myself by editing some photos of people at the Owl Festival (see posts at Facebook), a community living in leopard country.  It's all very linked as we try to find ways of living with wildlife in the world we are changing drastically.  Wildlife behaviour is changing alongside our environmental impact, we must do our best to keep evolving our understanding.

The second image I posted here represents our sometimes distorted thinking.  When I lived with the leopard Asa in the snow I realized how little I knew yet I devote my life to this.  It's impossible not to feel deeply for the family in Gujarat, tragedy can provide motivation to improve.

But it needs to be done properly.  So now I put my boots back on and go and do that...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

#Nepal #Earthquakes - The ground shakes again, a force of nature we have to accept...


As the rocks hit the ground during the throwing competition at the Nepal Owl Festival, I could not help but think it was symbolic of many events here lately, especially the earthquakes.  Since the first great quake on 25 April last year there have been hundreds more and last night there was another very sharp jolt.  It's impossible not to cast the mind back when this happens.

I see and hear of a lot of people praying, hoping it will all stop.  My own feeling is that this is the wrong approach.  The earth is going through a big transition. the Himalayan fault lines are major and they are realigning.  No one knows how long this will take, it could be hundreds of years, longer maybe.  We have to accept this force of nature will be with us and learn to cope accordingly, accept nature's supreme power.

Perhaps if we do that we can even be more considerate to nature as a whole.  We can learn to live with her, with more respect. to her forests, rivers, oceans, her every part.  Personally I think we have no choice, our very existence as well as that of other species depends on this respect...

This blog is also at Facebook if you wish to comment.  I've also recently posted images of the very successful Nepal Owl Festival.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

We are changing wildlife behaviour, we must adapt with it...


This post is at Facebook (where there are also other updates) should you wish to comment.

I had to change plans quickly and drop down to do a few things before heading back into the mountains in a couple of days, to Asa territory.  As I mentioned in the previous posts (at Facebook) the Owl Festival was a great success, a lot of fun, very good tonic after testing times.  For me, one of the best things about it was getting the thoughts from a very passionate group of wildlife conservationists including excellent researcher Naresh Kusi looking owlsome in the image here.

I'll talk more about these people as time goes by but they are showing the right stuff, the understanding that effective conservation requires sacrifice and total commitment, the need to put the cause before self, away from politics, ego and game playing.  There was also in depth thinking on how humans have affected wildlife behaviour and that conflict issues are the result.  Everyone needs to look at themselves regarding this issue, it comes down to many aspects including respect for the space wildlife needs to operate in the way it has to so our planet keeps functioning.  Research techniques, the tourism industry (and tourists themselves) as well as communities in conflict areas  all have to adapt and change.

So it was back to work, so much to do and this morning more writing for the chapter - I WANT TO SEE A TIGER!...YES, BUT DOES THE TIGER WANT TO SEE YOU?

I'll get images of the excellent Owl Festival up soon.

Cheers Jack.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Into leopard country, for truth happy and sad... and the support of family and friends..


The posts are at Facebook (along with other updates) should you wish to comment.

Namaste from Nepal again, the quick blog has become a much more regular ritual lately, as I mentioned a few posts back, they are often a type of summary from adding to notes and journals in the mornings.

Lately I've been thinking deeply about families who have had children taken by leopards.  This barely makes the news and a link I posted yesterday to an article about the caste system was not without relevance.  Very complex situation.  As a father and a conservationist I'm highly motivated to improve mitigation in what is a serious, growing and ever changing problem.  The next few months involve a lot of leg work and talking to these families is part of that.

Yesterday evening a couple of people here said to me how happy they were to see my Facebook post with the image of my father.  They knew I've been really worried about dad's health and there was the understanding of how hard it is to not see family (for years sometimes) due to the nature of what I do.  That meant a lot to me and the words were timely along with the image of Dad.  Both my parents have strength, as a family we've been tested through loss and there is a bond largely unspoken that means a lot to me especially when so far away.

The updates at wildtiger.org and wildleopard.net are nearly complete, there'll be reference to the Leopard Task Force as well as a strong emphasis on the sale of images to fund our work which is including an increased level of anti-poaching support.  I've had to wade through a lot of legal stuff lately plus get a concept note finished.  I'm happy to be heading to the Owl Festival tomorrow in Sikles, here in the Kaski.  It's leopard territory so I'll be asking lots of questions to the locals but it's going to be great catching up with like minded people visiting the area.  I'm so busy I rarely get to festivals and Nepal is world champion at festivals.

Thank you for the support and caring about these issues.  It's in the testing times you find out who your real friends are.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Many thanks for following, reading, caring, supporting...


This blog is also at Facebook (with other updates) if you wish to comment.


Just a quick post, it won't hurt your head.  Many thanks to those who have read recent posts, yes heavy stuff I know but just the way it is.  Please don't fall into the trap of confusing the content with my own mental state, I'm fine, many years, many experiences have taught me coping mechanisms... I still find many things to laugh about but in the main what I write about are serious issues.

I usually start writing at between 4 and 5am.  There are journals, proposals, reports and countless emails.  I write for my book when I can as well.  These blogs are usually at the end of all that, a few hours later often a type of summary of what I've had to record before the practical stuff starts, camera work, meetings and often many hours of walking.  In Nepal ground level conservation, particularly in the mountains, means a lot of walking.

Those who know me very best know I'm actually a very private person, a minimalist devoted to his work.   I often get stopped with greetings like "oh you're that tiger guy" but I quickly turn the conversation to the issues.  In many ways I'm not comfortable with any sort of public profile and while others are celebrating festivals and gatherings I'm far happier in the mountains setting cameras, learning.  I try to see the sunrise on my mountains whenever I can, watching the light hit the slopes fills me with joy and inspiration.  I love the lowland jungles but the mountains and those who live there, people and wildlife, draw me to my natural habitat.  My heart is in the mountains.

I need to sell images to make these projects work and as I've mentioned in the last few days, everything is getting updated at the moment and will evolve from there.  I'll rave like a lunatic in front of five hundred if I have to, my privacy forsaken for what I believe in.  I thank those who care and support.  Although many years have rolled by now, experiences have built up a thinking and belief I am committed to, in many ways it is just a beginning.  Every dawn is testament to that....

Sunday, February 14, 2016

THE GREAT CATS OF ASIA: Perceptions have to change or we will lose them...

This blog is also posted at Facebook (along with other updates) if you wish to comment.


Leopards are secretive, very hard to see in the wild. I've not sure how many leopards I've seen but because of the nature of what I do many of them have been dead.  There have been also been injured and orphaned individuals.  Wild tigers are more visible, still a captivating sight but not one I seek, I hate disturbing wildlife unnecessarily.  Snow leopards leave sign, I come across this when researching forest leopards at higher altitude and at a kill site it takes a bit of work to understand  which of these leopards has performed the hunt.

Writing a book gives the benefit of being even more thorough when working through information.  Running a conservation organization and trying to fund it through selling photographs is like working three jobs.  The book writing helps me though, it lets me seek perspective deeply.  As soon as I finish this first one I know I'll plunge straight into the next one because the process helps everything else.

Sleep? You're kidding right...

I'm continually been presented with information.  Not many people have my phone number, I prefer to converse through the several inboxes we all have now.  The phone is for the serious stuff and it beeps at me too often anyway.  Late last night it beeped again, another leopard case...

So I was up early this morning verifying information. It now means adjusting plans, dealing with the fluidity of the situation.  It's why I'm now posting a very brief version of a longer piece for my book.  The continual search for truth is not easy, there is the veneer of smiles and politeness to look at when you know you are being fed bullshit by way too many.  The years have taught me how to deal with these people.  Just get it over with and move on, try and find something, someone genuine.

As well as that there are many different perceptions from those who are genuine in their concern for the future of the great cats of Asia.  A tourist wants to see a tiger without understanding that it is often counter-productive to do so, that habituating that tiger to even more human presence may eventually endanger a villager.  A villager tells of a leopard living nearby, the man or woman is sure it is eating his or her goats and chickens yet investigations show it's not a leopard, it's a civet or a dog, something else but the leopard gets blamed... and yes, it is sometimes involved as well  An academic bases his presentations on sketchy research involving out of date methodology, yet the audience still buys the words, everyone goes home happy, job well done... once again I use the term, "yeah right".

Every day social media shows up thousands of endearing great cat images.  People go aaawwwwww, how beautiful.  The family that has just had livestock taken by these calculating killer cats thinks differently.  The family that has one of their own killed by a great cat, that family never stops crying.

We blame China.  China turns round and says you are hypocrites, look what you've done to your wildlife, clean up your own mess.  Every day hundreds and thousands of petitions get signed, they go nowhere.  The talk goes on, politicians pontificate, the outraged culture satisfies its hunger to be outraged and we verbalize our way through another day.  Humans, we talk a big game... but poaching and illegal wildlife trade feeding a global market continue to grow.

Thus at ground level the problems continue and get worse.  There are small gains but overall we're losing.  A young recently graduated wildlife biologist, top of her class, says to me with deep concern in her eyes, "Jack, so much is not working yet the world keeps repeating the mistakes"... my reply is simply that perceptions have to change or we will lose these great cats.

Here in Nepal right now we're trying.  I'm going to launch a massive image selling campaign shortly to maintain our efforts.  Anti-poaching and human/wildlife conflict mitigation are the tasks with the leopard rewilding program an important emphasis within the Leopard Task Force about which information will be published in a couple of days at wildleopard.net as well as upcoming changes at wildtiger.org.  We need people to seriously examine their perceptions and support levels.  I'm going to use Asa, the Leopard of Hope, as a figurehead, that young leopard taught me so much and has strengthened my resolve even further.

But if perceptions aren't changed quickly, yes, as Bidhya and I mentioned the other day, we will lose these great cats.  We'll be confronting many more images like the one I posted here unless there is commitment by humanity followed by action, not just talk.  There is only one perception right now that is accurate, that is that the days of the great cats of Asia are numbered if things keep going the way they are.

This post (and other updates) are available at Facebook if you wish to comment.



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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Not in the mood for any Valentine's day crap, nor are tigers and leopards...


This blog is also posted at Facebook (along with other updates) should you wish to comment.

It's a serious situation.  The news that in the last couple of days two more tiger skins have been seized out west is really bloody alarming.  More information is coming through, I thank those who took the time to read my blog yesterday, it pointed to Pragati's piece in the Kathmandu Post, published before the latest seizures.

Yeah it's Valentine's Day.  Big bloody deal.  Six years ago I spent this day at the Namo Buddha stupa on the rim of the Kathmandu Valley, it was 14 February 2010, the first day of the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese calendar.  The stupa is where the story is told of an incarnation of the Buddha sacrificing his life to a starving tigress so that she could feed her cubs. It seemed the best place for me to be at the time as I made further commitments to my work.

So it's six years, halfway to the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.  A lot has happened but despite all the proclamations, promises and continual verbals (we humans are so good at that) the question has to be asked ...has the situation improved?

My own answer to that in a nutshell is... NO.  Sure there have been advances, changes and many, many more promises in that time but the wild tiger population, which looked promising and stable for a time (there was hope), is under attack again in a big way.

Consider this.  It's not exact science of course but for every tiger skin seizure we know about it can be estimated there are three to four tigers taken we don't know about.  So two skins may equal six, maybe eight skins.  For every tiger taken there are four to five leopards taken, I think more.  Do the maths.  It's bloody serious.

My blog about "perceptions" is upcoming as wildtiger.org and wildleopard.net get updated in next few days.  Hang onto your hats, we are all responsible for this mess.

While most of my work this year will be concentrating on human/leopard conflict mitigation using technological advances to help I'm also going to re immerse myself in the anti-poaching situation.  I'm going to raise a lot of money for Community Based Anti-Poaching, I'm going to continue to work my arse off.  The money will go where it's needed, straight to the ground... not to the verbalizers.

Happy Valentines Day.  Yeah right.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Good news, bad news, conservation needs people who can handle the truth...

Image courtesy Kathmandu Post

This blog is also posted at Facebook (along with other updates) should you wish to comment.

It was fantastic to watch the dawn expose the Annapurna Himalaya this morning, I love these mountains and now that we are hopefully in for a few weeks of less haze they will show themselves more and more, maybe a type of reward for what has been a difficult time here in Nepal.  As well as that, it's been really pleasing to see tourists trickle in.  There's a bit of a spring in the step for the locals, not just the business the tourists provide but that it's a showing Nepal has not been forgotten.

These are simple truths.  The shift in protest action on the Terai has meant more fuel and other goods are getting through to different parts of the nation, making life a little easier.  It is more than coincidence this has happened at the time of tourist season, a lot of behind the scenes political jostling taking place.  It's going to take a long time for Nepal to repair, that's a fact, the truth... but today the sun is shining, the mountains are clear, there is guarded optimism at least.

Pragati Shahi's piece in the Kathmandu Post yesterday - POACHING STILL A MAJOR THREAT TO TIGERS - is telling (hopefully many of you would have read it linked from our twitter feed @WildTigerNews).  Pragati is establishing herself as a wildlife journalist who researches well, this article another example.  This news had already been out there many weeks and of course among the conservation community is a discussion hotbed.  There is a lot more to the story of course as anti-poaching strategy is stepped up and geneticists find more evidence of the extent of the problem.

Of course there are facts that are stupid to make public, for example the details of advanced technology being put in place to combat poaching as well as newly formed strategies.  There is as well the complicated issue of people losing face because of the problem.  In a country like Nepal where there is a system of social divide intertwined with religion there is a lot more scope for different versions of the "truth" and the unfortunate fact that corruption is rampant is tied to that.  Coming from a culture myself where there  is a pragmatic arse kicking if you step out of line, I find myself often caught between two worlds.  I guess the New Zealand brutal in your face honesty is perhaps why we do so well on the rugby field, if you get smashed in a bone breaking tackle there is no sympathy only a "you held onto the ball too long bro, you got greedy"... usually followed by howls of laughter.  It's the Kiwi way.

There are times though when that pragmatic approach means not making facts public is the best option in terms of safety, not just for oneself but for those close to you in the working environment. That's different, that's the nature of the beast and sometimes it is just sensible to bide time before exposing truths. There will always be those twisting facts along with a type of tactical blackmail.  The amount of times I've seen fund raising tactics using emotional chord pulling, blatantly ignoring the truth, well it's a lot, a bloody lot.  What surprises me though is the amount of people who buy into it.  I've been using social media for WildTiger just over four years now, yes a late starter, and it has been an eye opener while getting to grips with the "virtual reality" that has been created.  While I use Facebook (just an example) as an ongoing blog platform specifically I sometimes check out the medium further and I shake my head at some of the viciousness involved over issues which have strayed so far from the truth in their telling.

Yes, we live in the age of information but perhaps it's more the age of misinformation.

In a few days I venture back into those mountains I saw this morning.  I'll eventually get to the place where for a time I lived with a leopard.  It's a place where the rawness of nature can be brutal, where there is no getting away from the message it delivers.  It needs a lot of work to understand the inner workings of the message, a combination of science, passion and dedication but at least honesty can be unfolded.

There's a great line spoken by Jack Nicholson in the movie A FEW GOOD MEN.  Under intense questioning he delivers "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!"...

There's no doubt the truth can hurt.  There's also no doubt that there are issues that have to remain on a "need to know basis"... but for true conservationists to do their work effectively there has to be the ability the handle the truth effectively.  I guess time will tell if that happens or not but many species and our own existence depend on it...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

In the spotlight, a lot of leopard stuff going on...


Once again, I'm getting many messages, thank you for your support, I'm head down at the moment but I always do my best to reply.  So yeah, this is basically a thank you message and a lightning update.

In a few days I'll be back in the field but for now it seems to be about a lot of "R"s - Rescue, Rehabilitation, Rewilding, Resolution, Research, Reports... it goes on.

But there is one R word in particular... Reality.  The reality of the situation is that there are a lot of leopard issues that have to be dealt with, there is a growing urgency.  Many of you would have seen footage of the Bengaluru incident (follow news, updates etc on these types of issues at the WildTigerNews Twitter feed) a few days, just the tip of the iceberg and very similar to the supermarket incident we had here in the Kaski recently.  Human/Leopard conflict is on the rise and one of the man problems is the very misguided perceptions about these animals.  I'll be writing about this soon and as I've said many times before, the leopard does not have the rock star image like other larger wild cats such as the tiger and the snow leopard.  Perceptions have to change.  We can no longer "love" or "hate" them to death, there has to be much more balanced thinking along with ever evolving mitigation action.

Compassion and understanding for those living in conflict areas is key.  There are far too many pot shots taken by people a million miles away, from behind the safety of a keyboard.  I've become weary of that.  You'll read about that in my book but for now there is the reality to deal with.

The sites at wildtiger.org and wildleopard.net will be updated in the next few days to reflect the way forward.  I thank those who support unconditionally, without judgement, you make a difference.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Relighting that mountain spirit...


Many interesting comments on posts in the last few days (Facebook).  Some comment publicly, some message privately, thank you for taking the time and caring about what is happening here.

I leave Nepal in a few months, at the start of monsoon, the end of a three year assignment.  I'll be back a few months later but I need to freshen up and prepare for the next stage.  My connection with Nepal goes back many years now and I've given a fair bit of blood to the place, there are those closest to me who understand how much.  I know it's worth the effort because as a conservationist I understand how important this nation is.  However, there is a frustration about what is happening here.

Nepal is incredibly wealthy in natural resources, incredibly wealthy.  It has nearly 28 million people, a strong intellectual property.  It shouldn't be in the state it's in now.  Natural disasters can be coped with by human spirit and there is an international community which cares.  The real test of a nation, of a people, is the will to care about each other and for individuals to truly love their country.

I know the situation here can be turned round, this has been evidenced in other countries with far less resources.  It requires will.  It worries me I don't see that.

The turn around  will takes courage, conviction and care.  It means hard work.  It requires strong leadership, of others, of self.

Nepal can do it.  The mountain spirit can relight... but there has to be the understanding that to succeed the hand that is held out to receive has to be in parallel with a hand that gives...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Leaping forward with raw truth... hang on to your hard hats...



This post is at Facebook (and other updates) if you wish to comment.

A big thanks to all supporters.  I'm in the middle of several laptop days before heading back to the mountains to check and relocate cameras.  I've been getting a lot of messages, thank you, I'm behind in replies.  Those of you who follow and support WildTiger know that the approach is one of bringing (with safety considered) raw truth in a challenging environment.  This is not a place for touchy feely, there's plenty using those tactics, that's not my gig, not the WildTiger way.  As we go forward I'm looking for supporters who really want to understand the real issues... issues I'm still learning so much about myself.

There'll be changes at wildtiger.org and wildleopard.net soon as well as the first WildTiger Journal in quite a while, followed by a mail out.  My own focus is very much on human/leopard conflict mitigation, as I've been saying a lot lately, far too much death on both sides lately.

So keep your rhino skin thick, hang on to your hard hats, it's going to be a wild ride, not for the faint hearted... but the raw truth is like that...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Every single one in the wild is precious...

This blog is also at Facebook if you wish to comment.


The image is Ram shortly after he and his brother Tika had been moved to the Stage 2 area of the rewilding process they are undergoing.  He climbed this dead tree to survey surroundings.  It was about six metres high and the young leopard was a little uncertain as to how to get down, it was a vertical trunk stripped bare of more climbable bark.  I posted an image a few days ago (29 January on Facebook) of him leaping to another tree.

The leopard adapted.

Leopards are remarkably adaptable.  In today's world with threatened and fragmented habitat, poaching and a profile that very unfairly doesn't match their rock star cousins such as the tiger and the snow leopard, the leopard will have to become even more adaptable if the species is to continue.

In an upcoming blog I'm using the theme of our perceptions of big cats.  The bottom line is we are getting it wrong because we are losing them.  There are different perceptions in different circumstances... how do you compare the view of a westerner behind the safety of a computer screen admiring a beautiful leopard cub to that of a struggling villager who has lost livestock to a leopard... or even worse, has lost a family member?

Somehow, if we are to live with these animals, we have to become better adaptable ourselves.  The leopard and other great cats, they are doing their best... are we doing ours?

I'm publish the blog when upcoming changes to wildtiger.org and wildleopard.net are completed.  The main issues are human/wildlife conflict, how the use of technology can help mitigate those conflicts but above all, our attitude towards big cats, how it has to change or yeah, we will lose them.

Every single one in the wild is precious.  It's up to every single one of us to recognize that...