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Announcements / Re: Site Closure
« Last post by Adminstrator on May 09, 2017, 12:08:16 PM »
UPDATE: The site will be reborn under new management.

I have made arrangements that the domain name will be transferred, along with the images and videos from the Galleries in order for them to build a new version of the site.

However, no forum data, usernames or passwords will be transferred due to data privacy restrictions.

I appreciate that the closure of the site was sad news for many of you and I am glad to be able to arrange for the gallery content to be brought back online after my hosting run has passed.
Announcements / Site Closure
« Last post by Adminstrator on April 24, 2017, 09:35:37 PM »
Dear all,

Due to a lack of time to maintain the software which supports this site, I have made the hard decision that the site will soon be taken offline. I have tried to find someone suitable to take over the site but have not been able to so, this decision is now final and not open to negotiation. 

It's been a good run, but all things must come to an end.

Big Cat News / Tiger possibly crushed by a excavator
« Last post by Crosis on April 10, 2017, 05:01:44 PM »
Summary: A deadly encounter in India has sparked a government investigation into what killed one of the country's most endangered animals.
When humans and animals fight for territory, it's often the animals that lose. This conflict is highlighted in a new video that shows a tiger being possibly crushed by a large excavator.

The tiger was caught in the Ramnagar Forest, where it may have strayed from the Corbett Tiger Reserve, which lies at the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India.

The Times of India reported that the tiger had killed two people the day before in the town of Bailpadav. The tiger had allegedly been tranquilized before faltering under the weight of the excavator's arm. This could account for why the big cat seemed to have difficulty escaping the slow moving machinery.

The animal was later taken to nearby Nainital zoo where a post-mortem report lists the causes of death as asphyxiation, injuries inflicted from territorial disputes with other tigers, and septicaemia (blood poisoning).

A report from the Hindustan Times claimed that the tiger broke its tooth on the machine, causing it to choke on blood.

In response, the state has formed a four-person team, comprised of a forest official, a veterinarian, and two wildlife experts, to investigate the tiger's death and the use of large machinery in corralling such animals.

A 2011 study performed in part with the World Wildlife Fund in India found that the Corbett Tiger Reserve has the highest density of wild tigers in India, and by default, likely the world. This population density makes it more plausible that the tiger sustained injuries during a territorial battle; however, the timing of its death, hours after being crushed by a steel scoop, had led to outrage online.


Population counts from 2015 estimated the wild tiger population to be 2,226, but an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 once roamed India. In the Terai region of India, which contains the Corbett Tiger Reserve, populations have increased. At least 79 adults were counted in the park last year.


You can watch the video there. It's not really disturbing, because you cannot see that much.
Big Cat News / Wild Thai tiger cub footage sparks hope for endangered species
« Last post by Crosis on April 10, 2017, 04:45:11 PM »

BANGKOK (AFP) - Conservationists on Tuesday hailed the discovery of a new breeding population of tigers in Thailand as a "miraculous" victory for a sub-species feared wiped out by poaching.

Images of four mothers and six cubs, captured by camera traps in an eastern Thai jungle throughout 2016, confirm the presence of what is only the world's second known breeding population of the endangered Indochinese tiger.

The last such tiger family was seen 15 years ago in a western forest corridor along Thailand's border with Myanmar.

"The extraordinary rebound of eastern Thailand's tigers is nothing short of miraculous," said John Goodrich, the tiger program director at Panthera, a wild cat preservation group that backed the survey.

The camera trap footage, which shows female tigers and their cubs traipsing through the leafy jungle, was captured with help from the anti-trafficking group Freeland and Thai park authorities.

Indochinese tigers, which are generally smaller than their Bengal and Siberian counterparts, once roamed across much of Asia.

But today only an estimated 221 remain in two countries, Thailand and Myanmar.

Aggressive poaching, weak law enforcement and habitat loss has rendered them all but extinct in southern China, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, according to scientists.

Tiger farms in places like Thailand and Laos have also boosted the trafficking trade by propping up demand for tiger parts, which are treasured as talismans and used in traditional medicines popular in China.

Conservationists applauded Thailand's counter-poaching efforts and warned that a commitment to tough law enforcement would be crucial to ensuing the new breeding population will thrive.

The hilly Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai forest complex, where two dozen cats have now been caught on some of the 156 cameras, still hosts a only modest tiger density of 0.63 tigers per 100 square kilometres.

It is a ratio on par with some of the most threatened tiger habitats in the world, according to Freeland, but still could mean there is a population of 23 of the big beasts roaming wild.

"It's crucial to continue the great progress made by the Thai government to bolster protection for tigers at the frontlines," said Kraisak Choonhavan, the group's board chairman.

"As long as the illegal trade in tigers continues, they will need protection."

Big Cat News / Re: How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
« Last post by Lionheart on April 06, 2017, 01:34:59 PM »
The cheetahs are hard up, but I always say, cheetahs never prosper. - Zazu, "The Lion King".
Big Cat News / How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
« Last post by Crosis on March 27, 2017, 08:41:55 PM »
Cheetahs have a stronger constitutive innate immunity than leopards

Summary: Cheetahs are categorized as vulnerable species, partly because they have been considered to be prone to diseases due to their supposed weak immune system. However, they are hardly ever sick in the wild. A research team from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) recently discovered that cheetahs have developed a very efficient innate "first line of defense" immunity to compensate potential deficiencies in other components of their immune system. The scientists have published their results in the open access journal Scientific Reports of the Nature Publishing Group.

Cheetahs have a relatively low genetic variability which means that, within a population, the individuals have a similar genetic makeup. This is also true for the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a genome region that regulates the so-called "adaptive" immune system and is typically highly variable in animal species. The adaptive immune system provides a rapid and specific defense against pathogens, if they have been encountered previously. A low MHC variability should therefore result in a weak adaptive immune system and thus a high vulnerability to diseases. This is often the case in species with low MHC variability, but there are some exceptions, the cheetah indeed being one of them. "During our long-term study that begun in 2002, we investigated more than 300 free-ranging cheetahs that live on farmland in Namibia. We did not encounter any cheetah with symptoms of acute infections, nor did we detect lesions in the examined dead animals," explains Bettina Wachter, head of the cheetah research project.

How can cheetahs cope so well with pathogens despite their supposedly weak adaptive immunity? The immune system is divided into three components:(1) the constitutive innate immune system, which provides a rapid first line of defense against intruders, (2) the induced innate immune system such as the local and systemic inflammatory response, which enhances recovery and decreases pathogen growth, and (3) the adaptive immune system.

"We decided to investigate all three components simultaneously, an approach that is rarely done although it is very promising. For every animal, a well-functioning immune system is associated with certain energetic costs. However, this does not imply that all immune components are equally strongly developed. If a species is not vulnerable to diseases, a good immune response must have evolved by strengthening other parts of the immune system," says Gábor Czirják, wildlife immunologist at the Leibniz-IZW.

To compare the results with another species, the scientists included leopards in the study. "Leopards live in the same habitat as cheetahs in Namibia, but they have a high variability in their MHC. Thus, leopards should have a strong adaptive immune system and might not invest that much energy in the other parts of the immune system," explains Wachter.

"We first needed to adapt six immunological tests from the toolbox of the wildlife immunology for the cheetah and leopard," explains Sonja Heinrich, first author of the study. "We conducted these tests at the laboratory of the Leibniz IZW, thus needed to transport the samples we collected in Namibia all the way to Germany, keeping the cooling chain uninterrupted from the captured animal in the field to the Leibniz IZW." The immunological tests confirmed that leopards have a stronger adaptive immune system than cheetahs, consistent with the differences in the MHC variability of both species. As expected, cheetahs had a stronger innate "first line of defense" immune system than leopards, thereby probably compensating their weak adaptive immune system.

The induced innate immune system reacts to pathogen intruders as well as to temporary stress. Therefore, the scientists also determined the concentration of the hormone cortisol, which activates catabolic processes and is increasingly released during stress. Although both species were exposed to the same capture and handling procedures leopards had significantly higher cortisol concentration in their blood than cheetahs, indicating that leopards reacted stronger to the examination methods. Thus, short-term stress might have stimulated the induced innate immune system, making it difficult to assess whether this immune part also helps to compensate the weak adaptive immune system of cheetahs, if the stress effect is not considered.

This is the first study in mammals demonstrating that different species spend varying efforts in the development of the different immune components. Cheetahs have apparently developed a way to successfully fight against pathogens despite their low genetic variability in their MHC. However, the future of this vulnerable species is highly uncertain because most of their habitat occurs in unprotected areas and they frequently come into conflicts with humans. Only if these conflicts can be mitigated, the cheetahs have a good chance to persist in the wild in the future.

Source: Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FVB). (2017, March 23). How cheetahs stay fit and healthy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2017 from
General Animal Discussion / Re: My future Maine Coons
« Last post by Lionheart on March 14, 2017, 04:35:59 AM »
Beautiful goldie kitties, Tambako! I like your photos, and hope the cats and you have many many happy times together.
General Animal Discussion / Re: One eyed Snowmeow
« Last post by Lionheart on March 14, 2017, 04:34:35 AM »
Ugas, a lion who starred in the 1966 movie "Born Free", had to have an eye removed while George adamson was rewilding him in Africa. According to George, Ugas wasn't troubled by the loss, and seemed to gain extra popularity with the lionesses. Lionesses like an older male with scars from fights they have won.
Big Cat News / Re: Where Have Zimbabwe’s Cheetahs Gone?
« Last post by Crosis on March 07, 2017, 11:45:30 PM »
Well, I doubt nationalgeographic dares to blame politics.
General Animal Discussion / Re: My future Maine Coons
« Last post by Tambako on March 05, 2017, 04:43:37 PM »
And also of Pablo!
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