Saturday 28 June 2014

Polícia investiga morte de onça que causou pavor na zona rural de Goiás, Brazil

Foto: Reprodução / TV Anhanguera
Polícia investiga morte de onça que causou pavor na zona rural de Goiás

27-06-2014   Portal - G1
Apuração começou após fotos de felino morto circularem na web, diz delegado.
Bicho já teria atacado o gado e até um cavalo de fazendeiros, em Anápolis.

A Polícia Civil investiga a morte de uma onça-pintada na zona rural de Anápolis, a 55 km de Goiânia. Depois que produtores da região tiveram animais atacados e mortos, a foto de um felino da mesma espécie morto, que está circulando em uma rede social da internet motivou a apuração.

Segundo Carlos Antônio da Silveira, delegado do Meio Ambiente de Anápolis e responsável pelo caso, o intuito do inquérito é descobrir se o animal que aparece na foto é o mesmo que tem espalhado medo nas fazendas e chácaras da cidade.
"Se realmente esse animal foi executado, os responsáveis deverão responder sim por crime ambiental, por se tratar de animal silvestre", explica o delegado.

O fazendeiro Luciano Carvalho já perdeu uma novilha e mudou o gado de pasto para tentar não correm mais perigo. A propriedade dele fica próximo ao local onde moradores da região dizem ter visto a onça em meio a árvores, próximo a área urbana.

Ele afirma que até uma equipe do Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Ibama) esteve no local, mas não conseguiu encontrar o bicho. "Disseram que iam pegá-la e colocar um chip nela. Como não encontraram, devem voltar de novo", estima. O órgão afirmou que também está fazendo uma investigação para identificar os responsáveis pela morte da onça.

Um cavalo do produtor rural Gilson de Araújo também foi vítima do ataque do animal. Após o acontecido, ele confessa que está com medo de morar na região. "Sempre venho sozinho até esse ponto onde o cavalo foi encontrado. Se um animal pega um cavalo desses, imagina um ser humano", salienta.

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Thursday 12 June 2014

Rapid response units help mitigate conflicts over wildcat attacks on farm animals: Costa Rica

Rapid response units help mitigate conflicts over wildcat attacks on farm animals 

José Manuel Quirós, left, head of a wildcat conflict unit in Huetar Norte, helps a farmer affix a cowbell in Guatuso. (Courtesy José Manuel Quirós)

Costa Rican conservation officials often receive calls from local farmers that sound something like this: “They killed two of my calves. Come trap this cat.” Wildcat attacks on livestock are a recurring problem in rural Costa Rica, and they often lead to the death of endangered wildcat species.

In January, The Tico Times reported on the problem in the story, “To save a predator: A history of human-jaguar conflict in Costa Rica.”

Pumas and jaguars are killing farmers’ cattle, sheep, horses and dogs. Landowners often retaliate by either poaching the cats or allowing other hunters on their forested property.

To address the conflict and help reduce wildcat and livestock killings, the National System of Conservation Areas, or SINAC, began a new program last September that created specialized units to respond to the conflicts. The units, called Unidades de Atención de Conflictos con Felinos in Spanish, or UACFel, are the result of an agreement between SINAC and the conservation group Panthera. In less than a year, the units have helped prevent attacks on at least 20 farms, officials said.
Under the program, SINAC officials immediately respond to reports of wildcat attacks on farms. They determine if pumas or jaguars were involved, then fill out a report with suggested corrective measures.

Those measures primarily focus on livestock management, construction and repair of corrals and water troughs, installation of electric fences, the use of cowbells, and the addition of donkeys or water buffalos – animals that frighten wildcats and help keep them away.

José Manuel Quirós, right, head of a wildcat response unit in Huetar Norte, chats with a farmer in Guatuso.
(Courtesy José Manuel Quirós)
According to SINAC, in the Huetar Norte Conservation Area, 20 wildcat attacks were reported from 2008 to 2013 in La Palma de Fortuna, La Castelmare de Pital, El Concho de Pocosol, El Trapiche en Caño Negro, Pueblo Nuevo de Zarcero, Bajos del Toro Amarillo, Buena Vista en Guatuso and Finca Costa Ana.

In the La Amistad-Pacífico Conservation Area, eight attacks were reported from 2010 to 2013 at Hotel Paraíso del Quetzal, Páramo, Pérez Zeledón, Durika and Canaan de Rivas.

Panthera has different data than SINAC showing that from 2009 to 2012, Huetar Norte reported 11 attacks, the Cordillera Volcánica Central reported 17, La Amistad-Pacífico 13 and Tortuguero 10.
Roberto Salom Pérez, Panthera’s Costa Rica director, said that before the UACFel agreement, SINAC officials had difficulty responding to attacks, due to a lack of time, resources and specialized training. Panthera now offers training to conservation officers.

“What was happening is that ranchers were taking matters into their own hands, and it usually ended with the killing of a wildcat,” Salom said.

UACFel units currently operate in nine of Costa Rica’s 10 conservation areas. Only the Tempisque region does not yet have units, but there are plans to create them, Yocelin Ríos Montero, who works in SINAC’s wildlife management directorate, told The Tico Times.

SINAC officials have received two training workshops so far, the most recent in May in Sarapiquí, during the International Symposium for the Conservation of Wildcats in America.

Since last September, the units have received more than 40 reports of attacks, via telephone or social media networks, Daniel Corrales, a Panthera wildcat conflict management expert, said.
When an alert is received, a SINAC official immediately visits the area of the attack to gather information, take photos and talk with local residents. A report is filed that provides analysis and a suggested strategy for farmers.

“We negotiate with livestock owners. It’s not about imposing anything. We give farmers one or two options that can benefit them and help reduce the vulnerability of their animals,” Corrales said.
“If animals are kept by a forested area with a water source, they have to enter the forest to drink, and that’s where wildcats live,” he added.

One suggested change is to place water troughs inside the farm so that cattle and other animals don’t have to enter the forest to drink.

A camera trap in Barra del Pacuare captures the moment of a farm attack.

(Courtesy Earl Junier, Rolando Thompson and Ever Urbina)
Panthera and the SINAC units do not offer farmers financial compensation for lost animals. However, they do help pay for farm upgrades to prevent future attacks.

“The focus we’re trying to implement is an investment in improving farms. Farmers pay part of it and we pay another part. That helps guarantee that future attacks will be few or none,” Salom said.

Another improvement farmers can make is the building of nighttime stables for animals, Corrales said. Panthera often pays the cost of some building materials, such as nails, zinc laminates and wire, and farmers provide wood, usually already available on the property.

Other suggested additions include electric fences and stables for recently born calves with barbed wire and motion detectors. Cowbells, which help sound the alarm when other animals are nearby, cost only ¢4,500, or $9.

Panthera also has donated four camera traps for each conservation area, which help to determine what type of wildcat is in the area. Each camera costs approximately $220.
On average, a total of $254 is spent on improvements at each farm.

Corrales said that since 2010, Panthera’s efforts have helped prevent repeat attacks on 20 farms.
One of the primary causes of wildcat attacks on livestock is a lack of natural prey in the forest. According to Salom, reforestation efforts are underway to restore habitats, and Panthera signs agreements with farmers who promise not to allow hunting on their property.

“We know that [hunting] is one of the primary reasons that wildcats are hungry and look for anything they can find,” Salom said.

But for the units to continue functioning, SINAC and Panthera must secure long-term funding, Salom added.

July 4 is National Wildcat Day in Costa Rica, and according to Ríos, to mark the day this year, officials anticipate the signing of an executive decree that officially recognizes UACFel units and offers a long-term strategy to help save jaguars and pumas.

Monday 9 June 2014

Calls for big cat adverts to be taken off internet: United Arab Emirates

(Antonie Robertson, The National)
Calls for big cat adverts to be taken off internet

08-06-2014 Martin Croucher, The National, United Arab Emirates, Dubai

DUBAI // Animal rights activists are calling on internet regulators to block access to classified websites that host advertisements selling tigers, lions and cheetahs.The Middle East Animal Foundation has approached the Ministry of Environment and Water with a list of Dubai-based sites that host adverts selling anything from jaguars to Siberian tigers.

While it is illegal to buy or sell animals without the correct paperwork, it is not clear what the rules are with regards to hosting the adverts. Site owners have previously claimed they are not doing anything wrong.

“If there isn’t already a law, there certainly should be,” said Debbie Spalton, from the MEAF.

“If it’s illegal to sell without the correct documentation, surely the website that is hosting these adverts must, by definition, also be breaking laws. I don’t see how they can’t be.”

Last year, a survey carried out by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) showed 796 live animal advertisements posted on 11 websites.

None included documentary proof that those who placed them were complying with the law, while only 20.7 per cent of the ads said the necessary documents were available.

Certificates from Cites, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Specis, without which buying and selling animals is illegal, are issued by the Ministry of Environment and Water, and are issued only for legitimate breeding needs.

However, many adverts on sites claim that animals do have paperwork, although there are no photographs to prove it.

One advert on, was offering cheetah, jaguar, white lion and tiger cubs for Dh3,000 each. The cubs were said to be “home raised” and from the third generation in captivity.

“They are potty trained and have all papers,” the advert said. “They do love the company of kids and other pets.”

The site administrators did not respond to a request for comment.

Another site, Dubai Moon Souq, has only one advert for an endangered species, a white tiger cub, for sale for Dh9,000. The owner of that site told The National two years ago that he was not aware that hosting adverts was wrong.

“If this is not allowed to be sold, we need someone from the municipality or the police to come and tell us this,” he said at the time.

The local office of Cites has described the advertising of animals online as a legal “grey area”.

In February, the UAE ratified the London Declaration on Wildlife Trade, which was hoped would bring about tougher rules on the online sale of big cats.

The ministry was unavailable for comment on what specific steps it was planning to take.

However, Dr Elsayed Mohammed, the Middle East regional director of Ifaw, said earlier this year he was aware of the authority drafting new rules in this respect. Ms Spalton said animals such as tigers or lions currently being kept by private individuals should be rescued and given to a proper breeding programme.

“They belong in the wild,” she said. “They don’t belong in a cage to be let out on party night at the weekend and shown off to the neighbours.

“They’re not a gimmick, nor should they be ridden like a horse,” she said, referring to pictures of a Gulf national riding on the back of a lion that circulated on social media recently.

“It’s a death sentence for an animal. When they get older, they get out of control. Suddenly they’re not cute cubs to be put in the back of a Lamborghini.

“A lot of them end up in a sad situation and some of them get put down, because their owners can’t handle them any more.”