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Bold Tigers of Malenad: BPT-222 Strikes Again!

By K. Ullas Karanth, Director for Science-Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society The Malenad Tiger Landscape in southwestern India, located in Karnataka and covering adjacent areas of neighboring Kerala and Tamil Nadu, today harbors what is possibly the largest wild tiger population in the world, about 400 animals or so. Camera trap research supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society…

5 Countries Putting All Their Money on Species

Nations throughout Africa have The Big Five (the little five too), Australia has Koalas and Kangaroos, the United States has the Bald Eagle, and Canada has the noble Beaver. Every corner of the world has its species that help to define cultures, geographies, and national identity. However, these five nations have taken their pride in…

Big Cats at a Tipping Point in the Wild, Jouberts Warn

With lions, leopards, and other big cat species on a downward spiral, we sit at a tipping point when it comes to the conservation of some of the world’s most iconic animals. That’s the perspective of Dereck and Beverly Joubert, distinguished wildlife documentarians and conservationists. The pair have spent decades in the wilds of Africa, following lions…

On World Lion Day, Let’s Celebrate the Lions That Made Us Who We Are

August 10 is designated as World Lion Day, and as with other allocated “Days,” the origin of such an event is to celebrate something globally, and think about how the day, and how the individual or entity being celebrated, influences our lives. I can see a World Dhali Lama Day, or World Peace Day because it has real meaning to the way we live our lives, and our meditations on this affects the way we change course. So at first I wondered if lions actually deserve a day and whether we should really be contemplating the impact that lions have on our lives. (By Dereck Joubert)

Your Favorite Species

For three years I taught Animal Biology labs to undergraduate students at George Mason University. Extra credit assignments were not permitted, so I liked to build in a few intermittent low-ball quiz questions to provide some levity to an otherwise strict and challenging syllabus. My favorite question to ask was “what is your favorite species?”…

Ask Your Weird Animal Questions: “Stiletto” Snakes, Cat Purrs

Why does your cat purr? What’s a stiletto snake? Check out this week’s Ask Your Weird Animal Questions.

Ask Your Weird Animal Questions: Animal Eyes

From cats to clams, the animal kingdom literally has many different ways of seeing things. This week on Ask Your Weird Animal Questions, we’re taking a visionary look at nature.

Private Reserves Support National Parks in Big Cat Conservation

National parks offer large core habitat that is critical for conserving large cats, but national parks alone are not sufficient to sustain a connected and genetically healthy population. Smaller adjacent private reserves improve connectivity and increase habitat extent in areas outside these parks. Sustainable, low-impact ecotourism often incorporates private nature reserves, which can serve to…

Ask Your Weird Animal Questions: The Truth About Your Cats

Why do cats like stinky shoes? Can clipping a cat’s claws stop it from scratching? Our weekly column examines feline mysteries.

Q&A: What Animal Mental Illness Tells Us About Humans

Mental illness doesn’t only affect humans: Animals like dogs and cats suffer from anxiety, dementia, and even phobias, according to a new book.

Changing Attitudes of Maasai Steppe Pastoralists Offer Hope to Lions

For the Maasai, the lion hunt is a celebration of bravery reflecting their reverence and respect for the big cat as a primary foe. However, their relationship with the lion has become increasingly turbulent as the pastoralists confront an ever more populated landscape where conflicts between people and wildlife are on the rise. Warriors often put down their spears, replacing them with poison and guns. With lion populations plummeting across many parts of the continent, one spot on Tanzania’s Maasai Steppe shows refreshing signs of a recovering lion population and a Maasai community in a locally-motivated transition. Deirdre Leowinata reports.

Philanthropists Pledge $80 Million for Wild Cat Conservation

Environmental philanthropists from China, India, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have together committed U.S. $80 million over ten years to help fund conservation of all 38 species of wild cats.

Build a Boma, Protect a Cow, Save a Lion

Good fences make good neighbors, the saying goes, and this is particularly true in rural Africa, where herders face daily challenges to protect livestock from lions and other predators. Build a Boma is a fundraising campaign by the National Geographic Society’s Big Cat Initiative that helps build the sturdy enclosures to protect cattle and goats from nocturnal raiders. By building traditional enclosures known as bomas, predators and domestic animals are kept apart, saving lions and other marauders from being killed by people anxious to protect their livestock. It’s an African solution funded in part by small donations from people of goodwill across the world, people in countries where sleeping safely at night has been taken for granted. Build a Boma is a win-win for people and wildlife.

Video: Tigers Draw Tourists and Support for India’s Parks

Tigers are symbols of power and beauty, the “King of the Cats”. Everyone wants to see one in the wild. But are hordes of visitors hoping for the thrill of getting up close to the lord of the jungle good or bad for India’s wildlife sanctuaries?

Counting Tigers by Their Stripes

Tigers are secretive by nature, making it difficult to estimate their populations in the wild. But Dr. K. Ullas Karanth of the Wildlife Conservation Society employs an ingenious solution: he uses remote “camera traps” to photograph unsuspecting tigers and identifies them later by their unique stripe patterns. As a result, he has helped develop a more reliable way to count — and protect — tigers in India’s Western Ghats.