Sunday, January 22, 2017

Imagine dreaming up a super cat...


The far west of Nepal is often called the wild west.  For good reason. As far as leopards are concerned, man eaters here and in neighboring Uttarakhand make for tense times.  A burgeoning skin trade makes life difficult for the spotted cat...

I'll bring more on our efforts to improve human-leopard coexistence in the months leading up to monsoon.  For now I want you to dream of a super cat.  Imagine a wild big cat which can live anywhere, from steamy lowland jungles right up to high Himalayan locales.  A cat such as this can live in forests, adapt to snow filled winters, it can survive in deserts and will even live incredibly close to human settlements without being detected.

This super cat, if it existed, could climb trees as fast as monkeys, could run at speeds second only to a cheetah,  be a strong swimmer and be without peer as a hunter in the way it silently stalks its prey.  This cat, if left alone and was able to live in sustainable numbers would be without peer as a predator because of adaptability, speed, stealth and cunning.  This cat would have an intelligence and a knowledge of habitat we would never fully understand but if we saw this super cat for what it was, we would protect it with all our energy... and I have no doubt, if this cat existed, it would look magnificent...

This super cat does exist, it is called the leopard.

I feel sorry for anyone who does not truly understand how incredible these animals are.  But that's the problem, most don't.  The obsession with tiger, the emphasis on snow leopard, the age of the "hero wildlife photographer" and scientists/conservationists looking for accolades by any way they can (who actually invented the "like" on Facebook?) has meant the leopard, despite its superiority and importance in so many ways, is largely ignored.

This has been to the detriment of this big cat... and also to the people living with leopards. Those of you who have followed my blogs over the years will know why.  The coexistence is uneasy because the cat is not taken seriously, lives are lost on both sides and the low protection status for the leopard does not help.  There is a myth the leopard abounds in good numbers yet my sources tell me of places where there has been no sign for too long.  And I have been to such places, a part of the soul has vanished...  And where the leopard does exist along with poverty, conflict ensues, retaliation takes place, fear and misunderstanding dominate.

We can improve coexistence, we have to and I'm determined we do.  Despite the vast majority not understanding or caring about this situation there is a small group of people, a critical mass, trying really hard.  Soon we'll be announcing a major development as a well resourced stakeholder comes on board but all this takes so much time and effort so I'm very focused that the profile and understanding of the leopard improves as well.  Maybe then, there will be better support.

This will be to all our benefit.  The leopard is the ultimate ecosystem engineer.  We don't have to dream up a super cat... it already exists...

I'm spending a lot of time before monsoon in highly affected areas where too many lives have been lost, lives of leopards, livestock and people.  I thank those who do understand and support.  You make a difference and the effort to improve coexistence will not stop.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Just too many dying...


I'll blog tomorrow before I leave for a highly affected area both for serious conflict and illegal trade but 10 leopard skin seizures in Uttarakhand/West Nepal region in about a week indicates the tip of the iceberg re the carnage of the leopard. My frustration is high as apathy and pseudo conservation kills this vital species, the most wild, adaptable and far reaching of the big cats. There are several reasons this is happening but there is one commonality... us. All the PhDs, conferences, promises, festivals etc ... well, fuck it... for every seizure it's estimated another three to five deaths. Do the maths, if you care...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

#TigerHoney - The power of the social structure...


While the right wing cuts down trees we plant them...
While the right wing digs for coal we develop low cost, environment friendly solar technology...
While the right wing breeds division and poverty we join together for what is right... like bees do...

TIGER HONEY PRODUCTION - 1) biological fences, a natural barrier for elephants thus #HumanWildlifeConflict mitigation.  2) Increased pollination - we need bees, we really, really need them. 3) Income generation in struggling regions, yes, I bang on about the link between human-wildlife coexistence issues and poverty, well this is a way to make positive progress.  4) Health benefits for all, real food, STOP EATING CRAP.

More soon on #TigerHoney but in our hypocritical world where we vote in presidents whose families kill leopards, the power of the social structure can win.  Keep environmental footprints low, join together for what is natural and right... like bees do...

Sunday, January 8, 2017

#TigerHoney #HumanWildlifeCoexistence #OnePlanet

A belated Happy New Year to all and good luck for 2017.  My latest blog has been posted at Facebook.