Overblog
Suivre ce blog Administration + Créer mon blog
30 janvier 2013 3 30 /01 /janvier /2013 20:41

EN UTTAR PRADESH COMME AU NEPAL, DES TIGRES ATTAQUENT DES RHINOCEROS ADULTES ET LES DEVORENT (source : Hindustan Times, ce jour).

A tiger sneaked into the Rhino rehabilitation area in Dudhwa tiger reserve (DTR) on Monday and killed a 34-year female rhino. The partially eaten carcass of “Pavitri” was discovered on Tuesday.
This was the fifth Rhino attacked in 14 months. All the attacks took place in winter. Over November and December 2011 and January 2012, four rhinos were attacked. Two were injured, two died. This was the first attack this winter.

Similar incidents have been reported from Nepal’s Chitwan Park, said Shailesh Prasad, chief conservator of forest and field director of DTR.

“Tigers do attack rhinos, as has been reported from Assam’s Kaziranga Park, but the attacks were on young calves. Attacking adult rhinos is somewhat against the normal hunting pattern,” said Ganesh Bhat, deputy director of DDR.

Dr SP Sinha, an expert on rhinos, felt a shrinking prey base could be a reason for the attacks. But Dudhwa has ample prey base, said Bhat.

“The number of rhino attacks in Dudhwa is high because the rhinos there are kept in an enclosed area,” said PK Sen, former director of Project Tiger. “It provides the tigers with easy prey in winters, when catching other animals in the wild become difficult.”

Tigers attack sub-adult rhinos but not the adult ones because of their size. “Full grown and active rhinos and elephants are able to defend themselves because of their size and strength,” Sen added. “One needs to find out whether this particular rhino was incapacitated, which restricted her ability to defend herself.”

The dead Rhino, Pavitri, was among the five brought from Assam in 1984 to start the rhino rehabilitation project in Dudhwa. At the time, she was six years old. She was named Pavitri as she was brought from Pavitara park.

 

01 CainRhinoceros

Réalisation d'Auguste Nicolas Cain, sculpteur français de la deuxième moitié du 19ème siècle. Ce combat du rhinocéros et des deux tigres est au Jardin des Tuileries.

 

Voir aussi le suivi dans le Times of India du 1er février.

LUCKNOW: Have Dudhwa tigers shunned their preferred prey - the cheetals and sambhars - to hunt the mighty rhinos? The killing of a 35-year-old female rhino by a tiger in Dudhwa national park and the subsequent eating of the carcass has raised a doubt if the behaviour of Dudhwa tigers is changing. The experts are not ready to buy the argument that the declining prey base is the reason why tigers are hunting and eating rhinos.

"If tiger population in the park is increasing, prey base can not decline," said Tito Joseph from the wildlife protection society of India ( WPSI). The tiger sneaked into the rhino rehabilitation area to kill the 35-year-old female rhino Pavitri, brought to Dudhwa in 1984 under the rhino rehabilitation programme. This was the fifth attack since November last year on rhinos by tigers in Dudhwa. In the past one year, two rhinos have been killed by tigers and one has rescued by the park administration in Dudhwa. The feline attacks on rhinos aren't rare. But, in most of the incidents, it's the cubs which are killed.

Contrary to this, it was an adult female rhino killed this time. Is it the same tiger which is killing rhinos? Is the attacking feline old? Bibhav Taluqdar, who chairs International Union for Conservation of Nature Asian rhino specialist group, said Dudhwa authorities should try to find answers to such questions in case the attacks are rampant. "It's not rare that tigers kill and eat rhino. Rhino comes as an easy hunt for a tiger who can not chase a deer," he said.

Assam's Kaziranga National Park, which shelters the biggest population of rhinos, has about 15 to 20 rhino cubs getting killed in tiger attacks every year. The killing of an adult rhino is not common. "A tigress rearing its cubs can kill a rhino as the feline need not go far from its cubs," said Taluqdar. Though rhinos are mighty, a single adult tiger can kill a rhino. In Corbett there have been incidents where elephants have been killed by tigers. Compared to this rhino is an easier kill, he said.

Tigers eating rhino, experts feel, is not bewildering. "Rhino is not a preferred prey for tigers but once killed, tigers can eat it," said Joseph. Deputy director, Dudhwa Ganesh Bhatt said, "we have informed central government about the rhino mortalities". In Dudhwa, rhinos were re-introduced in 1984 under state's rhino rehabilitation programme. At present, 29 rhinos are present in the Kakraha range of the park. Existing in maximum numbers in Kaziranga national park, rhinos exist in Dudhwa tiger reserve in UP and Valimiki Reserve in Bihar.

Partager cet article
Repost0
30 janvier 2013 3 30 /01 /janvier /2013 20:32

L'ETAT DU KARNATAKA PROTEGE MOINS MAL SES TIGRES QUE D'AUTRES REGIONS D'INDE DU NORD, SELON DES SPECIALISTES COMME ULLAS KARANTH (source : Times of India, ce jour).

 

MYSORE: It seems to be a never ending war of wits between conservationists and poachers as far as protection of tigers in country's sanctuaries is concerned. Poisoning of tiger in Nagarhole tiger reserve (see detail below) also called as Rajiv Gandhi National park has brought to fore the complications involved in protection of tigers especially in Karnataka where tigers are thriving .

According to official sources both Bandipur and Nagarahole tiger reserves are well managed and protected tiger reserves in the country in addition to having a healthy population of tigers . " These are the two sanctuaries in the country where tiger population is maximum and well shielded from poachers" claims project tiger director B J Hosmath refusing to give heed to theory of any foul play in the poisoning of tiger. Incident has happened by accident and there is no chance of any gang's involvement in it , he added. Neither the habitats are sinking nor there is decline in prey population which is forcing tigers to invade live stocks in human habitats, he clarified, adding that predator -prey ratio is well maintained.

However the wild life experts have a gut feeling that incident is the handiwork of poachers . " Poisoning of the left over livestock is the handiwork of gangsters as they only know the tiger behavior of returning to eat the remaining carcass" Tiger expert Ullas Karanth pointed out , disclosing techniques adopted by gangsters to poach tigers. " It is a chain of people and locals being at the lowest in the poachers rung with middlemen and 'big gun' remaining anonymous at the top of this chain" he disclosed, adding that only thorough investigation will bring out the truth as poisoning of tigers is common in north Indian sanctuaries.

Asked whether shrinking habitat and decline in prey population has made the tigers to invade human habitats and kill livestock, Karanth said as far as Karnataka is concerned neither the habitat has shrunk nor the prey population has dwindled. "Tigers attack the livestock as they are easy food for them compared to other preys" he pointed out adding that tigers killing livestock is not a new phenomenon. Another wild life activist Krupakar said the protection level in tiger sanctuaries of Karnataka is very high compared to other sanctuaries in North India. " In both Bandipur and Nagarahole there is a tiger for every 10 to 11 sq. kms of forest territory which is very high compared to other tiger reserves .

 

"Poisoning of tiger in Nagarhole tiger reserve" : detail (source : The Hindu, ce jour).

A tiger, which was found dead in the Kakanakote forests (D.B. Kuppe range) of the Nagarahole National Park early this month, was poisoned in what is suspected to be an act of revenge.

The post-mortem report and visceral analysis indicate the presence of zinc phosphide, which is rat poison. This has sent shockwaves among conservationists and Forest Department officials.

This is said to be the first case of a tiger being poisoned in the national park, which is a major tiger reserve and home to about 70 of them.

R. Gokul, Director, Conservator of Forests and Director, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, confirmed that the tiger, which was found dead on January 13 near the Kabini backwaters was poisoned. Its carcass, discovered two weeks ago, was intact, with no sign of external injuries, putting a question mark on cause of death.

Though there was a question of whether poachers had a hand in the death, this has been ruled out as neither the skin nor the claws had been removed. The needle of suspicion points to revenge killing and Mr. Gokul said the animal may have strayed out of its habitat and stalked livestock. Since tigers have a tendency to partially eat their prey and conceal it in bushes to consume over a period of time, the local community may have poisoned the carcass of the cattle, resulting in the tiger’s death, he said.

But the nearest human habitation is nearly 3 km from the spot where the tiger was found, casting doubt on that theory.

However, Mr. Gokul pointed out that tigers generally do not stray from their habitat in Nagarahole as the Kabini backwaters acts as a border between the national park and the adjoining human landscape. But due to severe drought, the backwaters has receded and turned into a grassland, with no demarcation separating the forestland from the outside landscape. “As a result, there is free movement of animals in the absence of a water barrier. We suspect the local community on the fringes may have driven their livestock inside the forests in search of fodder. The tiger may have killed one of the domestic animals and the village people may have subsequently poisoned the carcass as an act of revenge,” said Mr. Gokul.

There have been six incidents of tigers straying out of their habitat this season, which is unusually high. This is attributed to increase in tiger density inside the national park.

The authorities have deployed the Special Tiger Protection Force in the area to keep vigil on the movement of animals in the region. Apart from launching a full-fledged investigation into tiger poisoning, the Forest Department will also interact with the local community adjoining the forests and seek their help in wildlife conservation.

 

Partager cet article
Repost0
29 janvier 2013 2 29 /01 /janvier /2013 05:15

ET DU NEGOCE", ENIEME EPISODE...

Saisies de produits issus du tigre en grande quantité au Nepal ce mois ci : sept peaux et cent soixante sept kilogrammes d'os (source : 21st Century Tiger, hier).Dans le même temps, les conflits meurtriers entre animaux sauvages et communautés humaines s'accroissent (source : Prime News du 23 janvier).

 

Nepal police show off their confiscated items in January 2013 © Nepal Police

 

KATHMANDU, Nepal – Nepalese authorities seized seven tiger skins, hundreds of tiger bones and arrested seven people in connection with an alleged smuggling ring during recent operations in the country.

The Nepal Police and Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation of Nepal deployed forces on 11 and 12 January in different parts of the country. On 11 January, officers of Manaslu Conservation Area seized two tiger skins, 53 kg of tiger bones and arrested four people who were allegedly trying to smuggle the tiger parts into Tibet, China. The following day, police conducting road checks near the Chinese border seized 5 tiger skins and 114 kg of tiger bones that were concealed in bags of rice in a van also heading to China.

Evidence gathered by police led them to suspect that the attempted smuggling incidents were part of a tiger parts smuggling ring, and the investigation is ongoing. In all, seven people have been arrested and charged with the illegal trade of tiger parts.

The arrests and seizures followed an INTERPOL training session on the use of intelligence and information management in combating environmental crime held in Nepal in December. The training, organized by INTERPOL, its National Central Bureau (NCB) in Kathmandu and the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN), aimed to improve environmental law enforcement capacity in the region, with a specific focus on illegal poaching and the illicit trade in tigers and other Asian big cats.

“The success of these operations by the Nepal Police demonstrates the important role of capacity building programmes in giving police the skills necessary to fight all types of transnational crime more effectively,” said David Higgins, head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme.

“I applaud the Nepalese authorities for putting their training into practice, and for their strong commitment to protecting the world’s remaining wild tigers and bringing an end to illegal poaching and the illicit trade in tiger parts,” concluded Mr Higgins.

The training course and other initiatives to combat Asian big cat-related crimes occur under the auspices of INTERPOL’s Project Predator, which aims to reduce tiger crime by enhancing governance and law enforcement capacity in the tiger range countries. Partners include the US Agency for International Development (USAID), UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and SAWEN.

 

Kathmandu: Officials in Nepal have said they will now have to put a cap on the growth of wildlife including endangered species like tigers and rhinos.

They say it is a result of significant increase in loss of human lives from attacks by wild animals, reports BBC Online.

The problem is especially acute in buffer zones between human settlements and national parks.

In recent years, Nepal has developed a successful protection programme for many endangered species.

The Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal has more than 500 rhinos, up from half that figure few years ago, and more than 125 tigers.

The Bardiya National Park in the west now has more than 80 elephants, almost 10 times as many as there were in the 1990s.

In the Himalayas, the numbers of endangered species like snow leopards and red pandas have been growing as well.

And the country has nearly 24 percent of its land area as protected areas, including national parks, conservation areas and wildlife reserves.

With all these achievements in nature conservation, however, Nepal has also witnessed a rising number of human deaths and property losses because of wildlife.

In the last five years, more than 80 people have been killed by wild elephants while 17 of the animals died in retaliatory killings, according to forest ministry officials.

Elephant protest

Last month, local people in Chitwan, southern Nepal, staged a strike and demanded that a rogue elephant be killed after it had taken the lives of three people.

A few months ago, a leopard in western Nepal caused terror as it killed more than a dozen people within a matter of weeks.

In eastern Nepal, herds of wild elephants continue to rampage, demolishing human settlements and raiding crops.

Elephants in Chitwan National Park National, park boundaries are no barrier to animal movement.

Meanwhile, common leopards are increasingly attacking children and livestock in the hilly region.

Further north, in the trans-Himalayan region, locals continue to complain about snow leopards preying on their livestock.

Although forest ministry officials are yet to compile the latest data on these losses, they do admit that such incidents have gone up remarkably.

"Before, we used to record about 30 human deaths because of wildlife attacks annually but in the past few years the figure appears to have risen significantly," said Forest Ministry spokesman Krishna Acharya who, until recently, headed Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

He added: "The time has now come for us to determine how many such wildlife species we can have in our protected areas."

WWF's Nepal country director, Anil Manandhar, said the problem had become quite serious.

"This is now something that could become the biggest threat and setback for Nepal's success in wildlife conservation," he explained.

Buffer zones

Wildlife experts say human settlements known as buffer zones around national parks have become flashpoints for human-wildlife encounters.

"The numbers of rhinos and tigers are increasing in the national park and they are moving out in search of food and space. Meanwhile, the increasing human population needs more of the natural resources available, and that competition creates conflict," said Mr. Acharya.

Most of Nepal's national parks and protected areas are either in the Himalayan region or in the Tarai area, the southern plain land that border India.

Yet, wildlife-related loss of lives and properties are also increasingly being seen in the mid-hill region, geographically located between the Himalayas and Tarai plain land.

Rhino in Chitwan National Park Rhino numbers in Chitwan National Park have shot up in recent years

Conservationists point at the growing number of attacks on children and livestock by common leopards because this region has seen huge success in community forestry.

"We have been hearing complaints from farmers that community forests have more wildlife than in some national parks and therefore they are suffering losses of lives and properties," said Yam Bahadur Malla, country director for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Nepal.

He also suggested it was necessary to scientifically demarcate the boundaries of national parks, as some species involved in the attacks were sometimes found outside the existing boundaries.

Forest ministry officials, however, said the chances of expanding existing protected areas were very slim because Nepal had already made huge swathes of land available for nature conservation.

Acharya said the details of plans to limit wildlife growth were yet to be worked out but he added that one of the ideas would be to relocate some of the wildlife species.

"We have listed nine such species that can be trans-located from where there are quite many of them to where there are very few and such species include animals involved in conflicts with humans," he said.

Acharya also hinted that Nepal will now not commit to protect more wildlife than the amount its protected areas could sustain.

"For instance, we have said we will double the number of tigers to 250. But as we cannot expand our protected areas, we will not be able to commit more than that," he said.

"Nor can we add new conservation areas."

Partager cet article
Repost0
28 janvier 2013 1 28 /01 /janvier /2013 10:29

TIGRES MANQUANTS DANS LA RESERVE DE PALAMU, IMPERATIF D'UNE POLITIQUE DE DEVELOPPEMENT DES POPULATIONS (source : Times of India, ce jour).

DALTINGANJ: Chief justice of the Jharkhand high court PrakashTatia has expressed concern over a few big cats in the Palamu Tiger Reserve.

"It appears that there is hardly any growth (in the number) of tigers here," said the chief justice, who arrived from Ranchi on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday at Betla, 27 km from here, Justice Tatia stressed the need for a tiger foundation in the state for an all-around development of the big cats.

DFO (buffer) A K Mishra said the chief justice was informed about image of a tigress trapped in camera in Ramandaag area.

Justice Tatia, however, had a word of praise for the elephant ride here which he took with his family in the morning. "The elephant ride of the Betla park is far impressive than that of Kaziranga. The elephant took us into deep forest here," he said asking for more animals to be added to the herd of elephants. At present, there are two elephants for the ride here. The chief justice wanted that entry of vehicular traffic inside the park be restricted and limited. He said the employees of the tiger reserve should get timely salary and their security be ensured.

"Jharkhand has immense potentialities and these need to be tapped, promoted and exploited for tourism," Justice Tatia said. "Jharkhand's violence gets widespread coverage but there are a plenty of beautiful things and if tourism is encouraged here, it will benefit the poor and the commoner."

Tourism can change the face of the economy of the area and earnings coming so from tourism will reach the people who will then be distracted from terrorism. He emphasized that people living outside the state be told of good things about Jharkhand.

On Saturday, Justice Tatia reached Palamu Qilla amid tight security. He spent about half an hour there. "This precious heritage of the past 300 years or so be retained in its antique form as far as possible and I am most surprised to find this qilla (fort) in such a dense forest," he said on the fort. Quoting the chief justice, DFO (core) Premjit Anand said, "The chief justice was so pained to see the Palamu Qilla in terrible ruins."

On justice-on-wheels, Justice Tatia said the state legal services authority would have one more facility soon. He showed keen interest when told that the facility travelled down to interior areas affected by Left wing extremism in Palamu. "The response of the people to this justice-on-wheels has been tremendous in the state," he said. About the second one, Justice Tatia said it would be fitted with more audio and visual facilities.
Partager cet article
Repost0
27 janvier 2013 7 27 /01 /janvier /2013 16:04

... LE PROBLEME N'EXISTERAIT PAS. Suite à l'article du 7 janvier 2013.

Source : Siberian Times, hier.

By The Siberian Times reporter
26 January 2013

The bison - or buffalo - are under special protection from hunters amid rising concern over wolf attacks.

Two bison calves born in 2012 are seen as particularly vulnerable to wolf attacks. Picture: Lenskie Stolby Nature Reserve, Yakutia 

 

The threatened animals were airlifted to the Sakha Republic - also known as Yakutia - from Alberta in Canada in recent years. 

'Local hunters are guarding two nurseries that are a home to about 100 animals,' said Andrei Popov, an official at the republic's Nature Protection Ministry.

The wood bison, anyway a threatened species, were brought to Siberia to boost the animal's long term chances of survival.  Some 10,000 years ago, the related steppe bison roamed this part of sub-Arctic Russia. But the 800 kilogram creatures are powerless against attacks by packs of wolves. 

Two bison calves born in 2012 are seen as particularly vulnerable to wolf attacks.

This region in Siberia - and others - have seen unprecedented attacks this winter by wolves on herds of both reindeer and horses. But it is clear the bison are also in jeopardy. A state of emergency was declared in the republic and teams of hunters are now engaged on a purge of the wolves with the government ordering a cull in the population from an estimated 3,500 to only 500. 

Hunters are on financial incentives to slaughter the wolves.

A fall in polar hare numbers has led to wolves switching to other food sources, say zoologists.

More than 16,000 reindeer and over 300 horses were lost last year. 

The bison were flown in to Sakha by a heavy Russian transport aircraft between 2006 and 2011.

The aim is for the population to become self-sustaining and then to release them to the wild. 

'Bison haven't been present in that part of the world for over 10,000 years', said Todd Shury, a Parks Canada wildlife veterinarian involved in the bison relocation in 2011.

Partager cet article
Repost0
27 janvier 2013 7 27 /01 /janvier /2013 14:23

 Barack Obama face au noeud gordien : "FABRIQUER DU SAUVAGE" OU "ASSAINIR LE MARCHE DOMESTIQUE"...

Le massacre de Zannesville a changé la donne dans l'esprit des pouvoirs publics. Une réponse simple à une situation complexe est à ce jour la plus vraisemblable. Il est de fait, hautement probable que beaucoup de félins (sans doute des milliers) seront abattus discrètement au cours des prochains mois. Il y a, en tout cas, tellement mieux à faire, sur tous les plans. Des tigres ayant subi un protocole de retour à l'état sauvage comparable à celui construit par Li Quan et son équipe en Afrique du Sud (voir le Document - Novembre 2012 -accessible sur la page d'accueil de "4 continents pour les tigres" puis un suivi progressif de "timidification" vis à vis des êtres humains et leur environnement immédiat ne seraient ils pas infiniment plus fonctionnels écologiquement, socialement et politiquement d'une part, et infiniment moins dangereux d'autre part que des tigres captifs impliqués dans des incidents mortels proportionnellement 360 à 720 fois plus que les chiens aux USA, selon une étude du début des années 2000 (voir ci - dessous, fin de page)?

Suite à l'article du 20 Octobre 2011 "An American Slaughter".

Voir pour une information détaillée le site "Tigers in america"

http://www.tigersinamerica.org/

RAPPEL : Les tigres sauvages n'existent pas actuellement sur le territoire des Etats Unis d'Amérique (contrairement, par exemple, à celui de l'Afrique du Sud, où deux petites populations sont en voie de pérennisation - voir "Li Quan n'est plus seule" du 6 Octobre 2012), alors que des dizaines de milliers d'animaux (au bas mot) sont nés dans ce pays depuis la loi de 1973 précisant les conditions d'autorisation de leur reproduction. Aucun d'entre eux n'a eu l'opportunité d'un apprentissage de la vie sauvage à ce jour.

Les fermes à tigres chinoises, plus récentes, ont lancé l'an dernier des projets dans ce sens, certes modestes, mais qui ont le mérite d'exister (voir mon article du 6 août 2012, et celui du Siberian Times du 18 Décembre 2012).

Les tigres captifs sont au moins plusieurs milliers, si ce n'est beaucoup plus : les chiffres officiels n'ont aucune valeur en la matière, les animaux présents chez les particuliers, qui ne font l'objet d'aucun contrôle, étant (au moins) 10 fois plus nombreux que ceux présents dans les parcs, souvent (mais non toujours) plus réglementés.

Ils alimentent une économie florissante (tourisme, commerce d'animaux de compagnie, cirques sur les aires d'autoroutes, safaris, chasse en boîte, trafic national et international de produits issus de l'animal).

Des lignées domestiques diversifiées, de pelage, d'apparence, de comportement, se développent (tigres blancs, tigres dorés...) Bientôt des tigres koï ?

Un durcissement de la législation sans mesures d'accompagnement pertinentes provoquera, dans un premier temps, un "dégagement du marché" pour mettre fin à la surproduction: de fait, des milliers de tigres vont disparaître du jour au lendemain. DETRUIRE LA RESSOURCE EST TOUJOURS ABSURDE, POLITIQUEMENT, ECONOMIQUEMENT, SOCIALEMENT. Son existence est une chance, qu'il faut intelligemment valoriser.

PANTHERA tigris beringianus...Les américains ont l'immense mérite d'avoir su constituer, à partir de 1987, une banque génétique du tigre euro- sibérien à partir d'individus captifs, d'une diversité nettement supérieure à celle des populations sauvages russo - sino - coréens, assurant du même coup un filet de sécurité à celles - ci par delà l'époque présente. Ce qui peut aussi leur permettre, à terme, la constitution d'une population sauvage en Beringie orientale (Alaska occidental) face à la Yakoutie...

...Et PANTHERA tigris americanus. De plus, la vie sauvage étant la résultante d'un apprentissage comme tout mode de vie, les tigres actuellement captifs peuvent l'apprendre grâce à des protocoles définis par des zootechniciens (voir le dossier "sud africain" de Li Quan, publié en novembre 2012, téléchargeable à partir de la page d'accueil de mon site "4 continents pour les tigres"). L'objection selon laquelle leurs "hybridations" successives les rendent dangereux génétiquement ne tient pas la route une seconde s'il s'agit d'implantations "in situ", sur le sol américain. Ceci ouvrirait, au contraire, des opportunités scientifiques, politiques, économiques et diplomatiques consistantes pour les USA. Et l'expérience de la réintroduction des loups au Parc de yellowstone en 1972 puis de son suivi, unique au Monde, jusqu'à nos jours, a révélé des compétences hors de pair en zootechnie de terrain, qui pourraient être un atout majeur dans ce cas de figure. 

 

4 Year Study Shows Tigers 500 Times More Deadly Than Dogs in US
Dangerous Tigers in Captivity: Ex Situ

Tiger Conflict and Implications for Private Ownership of Exotic Animals

 

P.J. Nyhus,1n R.L. Tilson,2 and J.L. Tomlinson1 1Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 2Minnesota Zoological Gardens, Apple Valley, Minnesota

 

The risks associated with tiger attacks on people in the wild are well documented.

 

There may currently be more tigers in captivity than in the wild, but relatively little is known about the risks of injury or death associated with owning and managing captive tigers and other large carnivores. The purpose of this study was to conduct a global assessment of attacks by captive tigers on people, with particular emphasis on cases in the United States. Our analysis of 30 international media sources and additional documents uncovered 59 unique incidents in 1998–2001 in which people were reportedly injured or killed by captive tigers. In the United States, seven people were reportedly killed and at least 27 were injured—a rate of 1.75 fatal attacks and at least nine nonfatal attacks per year. All but one fatal attack in the United States occurred in situations where tigers were privately owned or held in private facilities.

 

Forty-two percent of the victims were classified as visitors, and almost one-quarter of the victims were under the age of 20. These results suggest that the victims underestimated the dangers posed by direct contact with these animals. In this work we review current legislation regarding captive ownership of tigers and other large exotic animals, and contradict claims by those who support private ownership of tigers and other large felids that the risks associated with owning and viewing these animals are insignificant. We conclude that the growing number of people who own tigers and other large exotic animals is cause for concern because of the danger to the animals, the handlers, and the public. The problem of private ownership of dangerous exotic animals has broad implications for tiger and large-carnivore conservation, public health, and animal welfare. We support the regulation of private ownership of dangerous exotic animals, and encourage scientific analysis of this contentious issue. Zoo Biol 22:573–586, 2003. c 2003

 

 

Key words: Panthera tigris; captive management; risk assessment; fatal attacks; exotic pets; ex situ conservation

 

nCorrespondence to: Philip J. Nyhus, Department of Earth and Environment, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA 17604-3003. E-mail: philip.nyhus@fandm.edu

Received for publication August 9, 2002; accepted March 10, 2003.

 

DOI 10.1002/zoo.10117 Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com).

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The tiger (Panthera tigris) is one of the world’s most endangered large carnivores. As few as 5,000–7,500 animals remain in the wild, spread among hundreds of small, disjunct populations across south, east, and southeast Asia [Nowell and Jackson, 1996; Seidensticker et al., 1999]. Captive breeding programs have been established to maintain viable populations of all five extant subspecies.

 

In North America, approximately 290 tigers are managed by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP). Altogether, some 800 tigers in captivity are coordinated through a global conservation strategy (GCS) among regional programs in North America, Europe, Australasia, and Asia.

 

In addition to the population of captive tigers in professionally managed zoos, an unknown number of these animals are kept as exotic pets by individuals, and in nonaccredited zoos, circuses, and safari parks. The population of tigers held in such conditions may actually exceed the number of tigers in the wild and in populations actively managed by the world zoological community combined. In the United States, newspapers and other sources have provided unsubstantiated reports that 7,000 [API, 2001] to 10,000 [Peterson, 2002] tigers may be in private hands. However, it is plausible that as few as 5,000 and as many as 12,000 of these animals exist, given the large number of animals that are kept illegally or are not recorded. It has been estimated that several thousand tigers reside in the state of Texas alone [Siderius, 2002]. Most of these tigers are of mixed origin and of unknown lineage [Green, 1999], and thus contribute little if anything to existing conservation programs, such as the AZA Tiger SSP.

 

The dangers of tigers in the wild are well known [Tilson and Nyhus, 1998]. Historically, thousands of people have been killed by wild tigers in Asia [McDougal, 1987; Boomgaard, 2001], and even today tens to hundreds of people are killed by wild tigers annually in tiger-range states. Little is known, however, about the number of people killed or injured by tigers and other large cats in captivity, and no central database tracks these attacks. When captive tigers do attack people, the most serious incidents are frequently reported by the local, national, and even international press.

 

The purpose of this study was to carry out a global assessment of attacks by captive tigers on people, with particular emphasis on attacks in the United States.

 

We began this study out of concern that little was known about the risks of owning large, dangerous carnivores in situations in which regulatory oversight, staff training, and management are often minimal. The issue has been raised by the mass media, and medical journals have described serious and fatal injuries resulting from tiger attacks on adults and children by privately-owned animals [Clark et al., 1991; Oller and Udekwu, 1996; Wiens and Harrison, 1996; Chapenoire et al., 2001].

 

However, much less has been published in the broader wildlife and conservation literature on this subject. We believe this problem of private ownership has serious implications for tiger and large-carnivore conservation, as well as for public health and the welfare of tigers and other large exotic animals in human care.

 

The tiger is the world’s largest cat, one of the most widely recognized species in the world, and an icon of dangerous animals in general. It provides an excellent case study, because a large number of attacks are noted by the media. We recorded data, when it was available, on 1) the number of attacks; 2) the date of the attacks, and the location and context in which they occurred; and 3) the characteristics (e.g., age and sex) of the victims. We concentrated on cases in the United States, and examined the implications of these findings for the management of tigers and large carnivores in

general, and for domestic legislation and policies regarding private ownership of exotic animals in particular. Although this study focuses on tigers, we hope it will initiate additional studies and contribute to broader discussions about the risks and implications of private ownership of all large exotic animals.

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS

 

We systematically collected articles about human injuries and deaths inflicted by captive tigers in 1998–2001 using several online search engines—most notably Lexis-Nexis, material collected by the Tiger Information Center (www.5tigers.org), and material sent to us in our professional capacity. Articles from 30 international media sources were used. Several additional internet sources, including sites sponsored by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA; www.circuses.com/cattacks.html) and the Feline Conservation Federation (FCF; www.lioc. org), provided additional information and cases.

 

All articles were summarized and coded. Duplicate articles from multiple sources were noted but not included in the final summaries. The locations where the incidents occurred were categorized as 1) zoos, animal parks, and sanctuaries; 2) non-zoo entertainment facilities; and 3) private residences and facilities. Victims were categorized as visitors or handlers (Table 1). Injuries were categorized as serious (requiring emergency medical care) or minor. We recognized from the outset that the number of human injuries reported by the media were likely lower (possibly much lower) than the actual number of injuries. However, we believe these media reports provided the best available data for these analyses.

 

RESULTS

 

In the 4 years covered by the study, the media reported a total of 59 incidents in which people were seriously injured or killed by captive tigers—an average of approximately 15 victims per year (Table 2). In the United States, 27 people were reportedly injured and seven were killed; two were listed as having been attacked, but it was unclear whether they were injured or killed. In 20 of these cases, the injured victims required emergency medical care, in three cases the injuries were minor, and in the rest the severity of the injuries was unclear. Internationally, nine people were reportedly injured, 12 were killed, and two more were either injured or killed by tigers. In six of these cases the injured victims required emergency medical attention; the remaining cases were unclear.

 

In the United States, attacks were reported in Florida (n1/48); Texas (n1/45); Kansas (n1/44); California, Nevada, and Ohio (n1/42 each); and Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota (n1/41 each). One death occurred in a zoo not accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), and the rest occurred where tigers were privately owned or in non-accredited private facilities (Table 2). Tigers in private ownership and non-zoo entertainment

facilities were responsible for 75% of all injuries. Three injuries occurred in facilities accredited by the AZA, including one of the three cases that did not require emergency care. In one of the other two incidents involving nonserious injuries, a man was slightly injured when he tried to remove his partner, who had been fatally attacked by a tiger. Injuries occurred equally between visitors and keepers in entertainment and private ownership situations, but less than half as many visitors as handlers were injured in zoos. Twice as many handlers as visitors were killed in private facilities. Victims ranged from the very young (3 years old) to adults. Seven children under age 10 were attacked by tigers. The two fatalities in this age group were killed by privately owned tigers. Victims were more frequently women in zoos and men in entertainment and private facilities. Attacks occurred most frequently when the victims came too close to the tigers when viewing them (n1/411 victims), handling or moving them (n1/48), being photographed with them (n1/47), or feeding them (n1/44), or the tiger escaped (n1/44).

 

Internationally, attacks by captive tigers were reported in India (n1/46); China (n1/43); Spain (n1/42); Australia and Russia (n1/42 each); and Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Poland, Yemen, the United Kingdom, and Canada (n1/41 each). Reported attacks were most frequent among visitors to zoos and animal parks. Visitors accounted for seven of the eight deaths reported in zoos and animal parks, and just over half of all reported deaths (Table 2). Only keepers were reportedly killed in entertainment and private ownership situations. Three times as many men were killed in zoos as women. Victims were commonly attacked when they came too close to the tigers when viewing them (n1/48 victims), feeding the animals (n1/44), or during a performance (n1/43), or the tiger escaped (n1/45).

 

Collectively, the ‘‘typical’’ victim was an adult male handler who was injured by a tiger in his care. However, everyone coming in contact with tigers was at risk.

 

Approximately 42% of all victims were classified as ‘‘visitors,’’ 24% of victims were under the age of 20, and 30% of the victims (when gender was identified) were females. Thirty-two percent of all victims, and 42% of victims killed were categorized as being too close to the tiger when viewing them. Risks associated with handling and moving tigers, dealing with escaped tigers, and feeding tigers were also high. One in five of the total reported injuries occurred when people were having their picture taken with tigers.

 

DISCUSSION

 

It is extremely difficult to gather accurate information about the risk of injury or death from captive tigers because there is no central database documenting such information. The mass media reports that form the basis of this study were considered to be the best available proxy for the true number of incidents. We consider the number of reported domestic deaths from tiger attacks to be fairly accurate, as such incidents are widely and repeatedly reported by different media sources when they occur. We suspect that the number of reported injuries is probably only a small fraction of the true number of incidents, based on a survey of owners of large cats conducted by the FCF (see Implications for Private Ownership below), and because most incidents (particularly minor ones) are not newsworthy, or it may be against the best interest of the owner/handler to publicize the information [Chapenoire et al., 2001]. This is particularly true in the summary of international reports, because only extreme cases involving visitors or dramatic cases of handlers being attacked would likely have been picked up by the international media.

 

Nevertheless, despite the inherent limitations of using media reports to document such attacks, several conclusions can still be drawn from these data.

 

First, it is clear that tigers in captivity are dangerous animals that can cause serious harm to visitors and handlers alike any time they come in direct contact with these animals. Despite the appearance of pseudo-domestication in some trained tigers, these animals retain their predatory instincts and neural-visceral reflexes, and they can inflict serious wounds using their teeth or claws suddenly and without forewarning [Wiens and Harrison, 1996; Chapenoire et al., 2001].

 

Tigers (and other large cats) have the ability to cause significant trauma and hidden injuries [Wiens and Harrison, 1996]. The most common location for these injuries is the nape of the neck—tigers and other large cats can realign their jaws so that they can bite down between a victim’s vertebrae and into the spinal cord [Oller and Udekwu, 1996]. Bite wounds can also result in significant bacterial infections [Goldstein, 1992].

 

It was apparent in the majority of attacks that the victims probably underestimated the dangers posed by direct contact with these animals. Safety precautions, such as cages or chains, were often not sufficiently robust, or people ignored basic safety precautions by circumventing the effectiveness of these barriers.

 

Most attacks occurred when the visitors or handlers approached the animals (e.g., they came too close to the cages, entered the cages to clean them or feed the animals, or were trying to move or otherwise handle the animals). Twelve people were harmed while getting their pictures taken with tigers or during tiger performances. In three cases, the victims left the safety of their vehicles in animal-park safaris and were mauled by tigers while they were exposed.

 

Second, in the United States the probability that fatal attacks or injuries will occur is highest in situations where tigers are kept as exotic pets, whether in households or in private ‘‘roadside zoos.’’ This may reflect in part the likelihood that facilities and training are less controlled and there may be a greater opportunity for people, particularly children, to come in contact with these animals through petting, feeding, photo opportunities, and other situations that are less likely to occur in accredited institutions.

 

The number of children killed and injured by privately-owned tigers is notable.

Children are at particular risk for several reasons. Young children are naturally curious and may not have the same inhibitions as adults when approaching a large carnivore inside or outside a cage. A child’s smaller body size increases the potential for serious or lethal injury. Size also appears to influence the attack response of tigers. Large cats instinctively strike the neck and shoulder of their prey to disable it, resulting in serious craniofacial and cervical spinal injuries [Leyhausen, 1979]. The small size of children may help to trigger this attack response [Oller and Udekwu, 1996].

 

Predatory behavior is also triggered by movement, making human children particularly stimulating as ‘‘prey’’ for big cats. For example, large cats, such as tigers and leopards, can frequently be seen stalking small children running and playing outside the animals’ enclosures at zoos. In the United States, the majority of attacks by mountain lions in the wild involve children, and 86% of fatal attacks are on children [Rollins and Spencer, 1995].

 

Third, people are at considerable risk when they visit international zoos. In part, this may reflect a lack of respect for the power of these animals by the victims.  In several instances the tigers were provoked by visitors (e.g., people threw stones at or urinated on the tiger) or the victims actually entered the tiger’s enclosure. At present, no international zoo associations have accreditation programs similar to those administered by AZA; however, accreditation programs are being developed by the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). It is likely that tigers seriously injure and kill their private owners in countries outside the United States as well, but this information is probably even less likely to be reported by the mainstream media than it is in the United States.

 

Implications for Private Ownership

 

The risk of a fatal attack by a tiger in the United States is low by absolute standards (1.75 deaths/year in the United States), but the risk of injury is at least nine attacks per year, and is almost certainly much greater given the large number of injuries that are not reported in the media. This level of risk is well within the range of risk that has resulted in ordinances and laws controlling some breeds of domestic dogs and other exotic animals.

 

The American Veterinary Medical Association [AVM, 2000], the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [APHIS, 2000], the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the AZA [Butler, 2001] oppose the possession of certain exotic animals, including tigers and other large cats, by individuals. APHIS notes that most people do not have the knowledge or experience to handle dangerous animals, such as tigers. Some owners take their animals to inappropriate locations, such as schools or shopping malls, and many may not understand that a large cat that is ‘‘playing’’ can be extremely dangerous [APHIS, 2000]. In addition to the risk of harm to owners and others coming in contact with them, the tigers themselves often do not receive adequate health care, nutrition, or freedom to exercise, and may be exposed to unnecessary surgical procedures, such as declawing [APHIS, 2000].

 

The AZA in particular has long opposed ownership of exotic animals as pets.

 

The AZA Felid Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) has stated that it strongly opposes private ownership of wild felids as exotic pets [Mellen et al., 2000]. The AZA Tiger SSP management group also does not endorse the private ownership of tigers in non-AZA-accredited institutions or in institutions that fail to meet the recommendations set forth by the AZA Roadside Zoo Task Force [Tilson et al., 2002]. Although one or two AZA member facilities still handle hand-raised tigers in public places or have staff who enter enclosures with tigers, the AZA is concerned that in addition to the risks to owners and animals, privately-owned tigers and other large felids do not contribute to scientifically-managed conservation programs established to maintain genetic variation and viability in captive populations. Moreover, few of these nonaccredited facilities conduct tiger field conservation and scientific research activities that are comparable to those of accredited zoos and their conservation partners. Furthermore, the consequences of tiger–human conflict are often tragic for the tiger, which is often euthanized or moved. During the 2002 Tiger SSP Master Plan meeting, there was a consensus among the participants that handling tigers in public places puts the public at risk of injury or death, promotes private ownership and a false sense of security in handling big cats, and results in the animal losing dignity as an ambassador of the wild [Tilson et al., 2002]. The AZA Animal Welfare Committee is currently drafting a policy statement on the use of animals in entertainment.

 

At present, 12 states ban the private possession of exotic animals (Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming), seven states have a partial ban (Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, and Virginia), and 15 states require a license or permit to possess exotic animals (Arizona, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Texas) [API, 2001; Duckett, 2001]. In addition, a growing number of counties and cities have passed ordinances that regulate or ban the private ownership of certain exotic animals.

 

A comparison of exotic-animal regulations in states with the most reported tiger attacks (Florida, Texas, and Kansas) is illustrative of the different laws in place in different areas. In Florida, tigers and other large cats (Panthera) can not be kept for personal use, but can be held by commercial exhibitors. Smaller ‘‘class II’’ animals can be kept as pets. All permits require adherence to structural cage requirements. In Texas, a state law passed in 2001 requires counties to regulate or prohibit the ownership of dangerous wild animals, including tigers. There had been little regulation in the state after the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department stopped regulating exotic animals in 1997 [Siderius, 2002]. Registration now requires a permit fee, compliance with caging requirements, $100,000 liability insurance coverage, and an acceptable veterinary care program. In Kansas, exotic felines may be kept, bred, sold, imported, and purchased, with no limits in time or number. Wildlife must be confined, and all activity is subject to federal or state rules and regulations. Overall, many state regulations regarding the ownership of exotic dangerous animals are limited in scope. To address this, the AZA Roadside Zoo Task Force has drafted and is currently distributing model state legislation for exotic animals [Baker, 2001], with the hope that it will result in stronger and more effective state regulations governing exotic animal ownership.

 

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulates the import, export, possession, taking, sale, and transport of endangered species, but does not regulate private possession [API, 2001]. Tigers and other large carnivores are widely available through paper and electronic outlets, such as the Animal Finders Guide (www.animalfindersguide.com), and other avenues [Green, 1999].

 

In 2000, the Shambala Wild Animal Protection Act (H.R. 5057) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in an attempt to amend the Animal Welfare Act to establish restrictions and controls on the killing, personal possession, care, breeding, import, export, transportation, and transfer of possession of protected wild animals, including tigers. The bill proposed that all owners of protected wildlife be required to obtain a permit. Federal, state, and local governments; research facilities; zoos; animal parks; and wildlife sanctuaries already regulated or licensed by federal or state governments would have been exempt.

 

Permits would be handled by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the Department of Agriculture, which would require information from applicants regarding age, experience, staff training, proof of liability insurance, proof of veterinary care, compliance with applicable state and local laws, proof of appropriate local license and surety bond information, and provisions for final disposition of the animal. The act would have enabled the Secretary of Agriculture to establish housing and care standards developed by zoo biologists and veterinarians, both to protect public safety and to ensure the proper care and welfare of the animal.  However, the bill died in the House Agricultural Committee and has not yet been reintroduced.

 

In January 2003 the ‘‘Captive Wildlife Safety Act’’ (H.R. 1006, S. 269), backed by the AZA, the Humane Society of the United States, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, was introduced. This bill would prohibit anyone from importing, exporting, transporting, selling, receiving, acquiring, or purchasing in interstate commerce prohibited wildlife species (defined as any live tiger, lion, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar) by amending the Lacey Act amendments of 1981. The Lacey Act already prohibits the import, export, selling, acquisition, or purchase of fish, wildlife, or plants taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of U.S. law or in interstate or foreign commerce involving fish, wildlife, and plants protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) or by state law. Zoos, circuses, and research facilities already inspected by a federal agency, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, would be exempt. Accredited sanctuaries and universities, licensed rehabilitators and veterinarians, incorporated human societies, and federally-licensed and inspected breeders or dealers would also be exempt. The bill was introduced in the House by Representative Howard ‘‘Buck’’ McKeon (R-CA). Senators Jeffords (D-VT), Ensign (R-NV), Wyden (D-OR), Levin (D-MI), and Smith (R-OR) introduced the Senate version. At the time this manuscript was submitted, the House bill had 16 cosponsors and the Senate bill had eight cosponsors.

 

Carole’s note:  The Captive Wildlife Safety Act did pass in Dec. 2003

 

Supporters of private ownership of tigers and other large cats, such as the Phoenix Exotic Wildlife Association, Inc. (phoenixexotics. org), and the FCF (www.lioc. org), present several arguments against restrictive legislation. They claim that many owners of exotic animals are law-abiding citizens who care for their animals and the safety of others, and should not be punished for the careless or unsafe actions of others. Supporters maintain that they have a constitutional right to keep exotic animals on their own land if they practice proper husbandry. Finally, it has been argued that the risk of injury or death by exotic animals is low compared to other activities that remain unregulated.

 

The first argument is similar to that used by owners of dangerous breeds of dogs. In the case of large cats, many states, counties, and municipalities have already found that the risk of public harm outweighs the interests of private individuals to own these animals. The second argument may be the most compelling, but considerable precedent already exists for regulating the possession of animals. For example, the ESA allows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prosecute individuals who illegally possess endangered species, and under the Lacey Act the federal government can prosecute people who have obtained animals from other countries or states illegally [API, 2001].

 

The risk of serious injury or death by a tiger in captivity is serious. Efforts to minimize these risks by comparing the total number of injuries or fatal attacks to the total number of other sources of injury or death, such as dog bites, fail to take into consideration that a relatively small number of animals are responsible for a relatively large number of attacks. Also, the harm a tiger or other large carnivore is capable of inflicting is tremendous.

 

Data used to support the third argument comes from an internal survey carried out by the FCF in 1998–1999 (http:// legal.lioc.org/Risk. html). This study examined anonymous survey responses from 126 private owners of large felines (a total of 5,241 cat years of experience) and concluded that the risk of injury associated with private captive husbandry of wild felines is comparable to that associated with ownership of domestic dogs. The study reported 635 injuries, of which 573 required first aid (453 injuries to owners, 104 to family members and employees, 13 resulting from authorized contact by members of the public, and three resulting from unauthorized contact by members of the public), and 52 required professional care (38 injuries to owners, 16 to family members and employees, four resulting from authorized contact by members of the public, and four resulting from unauthorized contact by members of the public). Sixty-two escapes were reported.

 

These data and conclusions are interesting and deserve further scrutiny. First, they suggest that injuries, including those that require medical attention, are probably more common than would be suggested by our review of mass media reports. Second, while most injuries were to owners, a sizeable number of victims were family members or the public. Third, escapes clearly do happen, which implies a potential risk to the public of attack by large felids kept as pets.

 

Although the FCF study was not limited to tigers, it confirms our observations that private owners and keepers of large cats in captivity are most at risk of injury, but visitors and the public also face risks from contact with large felines.

 

The FCF study also had some serious limitations. For example, the data were not collected from a random sample of respondents and likely self-selects for individuals predisposed to answering such a survey—those private owners who take their responsibilities seriously, follow legal regulations, and have permits. The study recorded no fatal injuries, and thus the authors concluded that the risk of fatal injury from captive husbandry of nondomestic cats is less than 1.9E-4 per cat year exposure.

 

According to data available from the CDC, in 1995–1998, 401 deaths were reported for all types of animal bites and stings. Using aggregated population estimates, this is a crude rate of 0.04 bite and sting deaths per 100,000. As a comparison, from 1979 through 1988, dog attacks claimed at least 15 lives annually in the United States (pit bull breeds were responsible for 41.6% of these deaths) [Sacks et al., 1996]. From 1989 to 1994, dogs were responsible for 109 deaths, an estimated 7.1 deaths per 100 million people per year [Sacks et al., 1996]. While the total number of dog-related fatalities is greater than the number of fatal tiger attacks, these numbers hide the fact that an estimated 35% of American households owned an estimated 52 million dogs in 1994 [Sacks et al., 1996]. The CDC recently estimated that 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually, almost half of  whom are children under age 12 [Mitka, 2001]. Approximately 334,000 people are treated in emergency rooms, and another 466,000 are treated for dog bites in other medical settings [Mitka, 2001].

 

If the ratio of animals to fatal attacks is compared, tigers are considerably more dangerous than dogs. Using the 1994 figure of 52 million dogs in private ownership [Sacks et al., 1996], and an annualized rate of fatal attacks of 18 deaths per year, fatal dog attacks occur at a rate of 0.000000346 (3.46154E-07) fatal attacks/ year/total population of dogs. Fatal tiger attacks (1.75/year) occur at a rate of 0.00025 (assuming 7,000 tigers) to 0.000125 (assuming 14,000 tigers) fatal attacks/ year/total population of tigers, a rate that is orders of magnitude greater than that for dogs. In other words,

adjusting for the vastly greater number of dogs in private ownership, tigers are 360–720 times more likely to be involved in a fatal attack than dogs.

This is significant because dog attacks have already prompted widespread efforts to enact dangerous-dog laws and efforts to adopt restrictions on certain breeds.

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

1. Tigers are dangerous animals that retain their wild instincts, and they must be treated with extreme caution. The large (and possibly growing) number of people who own tigers is a cause for concern.

 

2. This study shows the significant danger posed by captive tigers, even when they are cared for by professionals and held in facilities that take all required safety precautions. The risk of tigers causing human injury or death is highest when this risk is underestimated, such as when tigers are kept as pets, used as a prop for photographs, or people come in direct contact with them to feed, clean cages, or pet them—with or without a cage separating people and tigers.

 

3. A growing number of states regulate the private possession of exotic animals. We suggest that effective federal legislation is needed to reduce the risks posed by tigers to people, and to encourage the safe and humane treatment of tigers and, ultimately, other dangerous exotic animals. As an alternative, individual states should be encouraged to take similar measures until such federal legislation can be enacted, but it is unclear whether such a fractured approach will lead to real change in many of the states with the greatest problems. We also support efforts by the AZA, APHIS, and other institutions to educate the public about why wild animals do not make good pets, and to encourage and enforce the highest ethical guidelines for animal care.

 

4. We are concerned that insufficient attention has been given to this matter. It is likely that more tigers live in captivity than in the wild, yet there is little discussion in the scientific literature regarding the implications of this trend for tiger conservation and welfare, and public health and safety. We hope this study will encourage additional studies and further discussion about the management of tigers, as well as other dangerous animals, in captivity.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

We gratefully acknowledge the generous assistance of Janet Tilson and Anne-Marie Alden (the Tiger Information Center), and Kathy Traylor-Holzer and Martha Caron (Minnesota Zoo) for their assistance in providing data and/or reviewing earlier drafts of this paper. Reference librarians Angie Norell (Minnesota Zoo) and Dale Riordan (Franklin and Marshall College) provided substantial support with literature reviews for this study. Maria Mensching, a student at Colby College, generously entered some of this information into a database. Michael Hutchins (American Zoo and Aquarium Association) and an anonymous reviewer provided valuable comments on an earlier version of this work.

 

REFERENCES

 

APHIS. 2000. Large wild and exotic cats make dangerous pets. Report 1560. Riverdale, MD: United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

 

API. 2001. The dangers of keeping exotic ‘‘pets.’’ Animal Protection Institute. Accessed February 2002 from /http://www.api4animals.org/doc.asp?ID1/4308S.

 

AVM. 2000. USDA warns against private ownership of exotic cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc News (April 1 2000). Accessed February 2002 from http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/apr00/s040100n.aspS.

 

Baker B. 2001. AZA Roadside Zoo Task Force. Communique: May 23–4.

 

Boomgaard P. 2001. Frontiers of fear: tigers and people in the Malay world, 1600–1950. New Haven: Yale University Press. 306 p. Butler S. 2001. Message from the executive director. Communique: May 2.

 

Chapenoire S, Camiade B, Legros M. 2001. Basic instinct in a feline. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 22:46–50.

 

Clark MA, Sandusky GE, Hawley DA, Pless JE, Fardal PM, Tate LR. 1991. Fatal and near-fatal animal bite injuries. J Forensic Sci 36:1256–61.

 

Duckett V. 2001. Call of the wild. Communique: May 17–8.

 

Goldstein EJ. 1992. Bite wounds and infection. Clin Infect Dis 14:633–8.

 

Green A. 1999. Animal underworld: inside America’s black market for rare and exotic species.

 

New York: Public Affairs. 286 p.

 

Leyhausen P. 1979. Cat behavior: the predatory and social behavior of domestic and wild cats.

 

New York: Garland STPM Press. 340 p.

 

McDougal C. 1987. The man-eating tiger in geographic and historical perspective. In: Tilson RL, Seal US, editors. Tigers of the world: the biology, biopolitics, management, and conservation of an endangered species. Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes Publications. p 435–48.

 

Mellen J, Wildt D, Shoemaker A. 2000. Felid Taxon Advisory Group North American regional collection plan 2000–2002. Orlando, FL: Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

 

Mitka M. 2001. Control ‘‘social carnivores’’ to prevent bites. JAMA Med News Perspect 286:153–4.

 

Nowell K, Jackson P, editors. 1996. Wild cats: status survey and conservation action plan. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 382 p.

 

Oller DW, Udekwu PO. 1996. Editorial comment to big cat attack: a case study. J Trauma 40: 829–31.

 

Peterson I. 2002. Cuddly to some, deadly to others. New York Times; Late Edition, Section B, February 1, 1 p.

 

Rollins C, Spencer D. 1995. A fatality and the American mountain lion: bite mark analysis and profile of the offending lion. J Forensic Sci 40:486–9.

 

Sacks JJ, Lockwood R, Hornreich J, Sattin RW. 1996. Fatal dog attacks, 1989–1994. Pediatrics 97:891–5.

 

Seidensticker J, Christie S, Jackson P, editors. 1999. Riding the tiger: tiger conservation in human-dominated landscapes. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 383 p.

 

Siderius C. 2002. Catch those tigers: years of little or no regulation have made Texas a place where big cats prowl—and sometimes kill. Dallas Observer. February 28.

 

Tilson R, Nyhus P. 1998. Keeping problem tigers from becoming a problem species. Conserv Biol 12:261–2.

 

Tilson R, Brady G, Dulaney M, Traylor-Holzer K. 2002. AZA annual report of the tiger SSP. Apple Valley: Minnesota Zoo. 4 p.

 

Wiens MB, Harrison PB. 1996. Big cat attack: a case study. J Trauma 40:829–31.


Partager cet article
Repost0
25 janvier 2013 5 25 /01 /janvier /2013 04:57

LE PREMIER MINISTRE DU MAHARASHTRA PRESENTE SES PISTES POUR FAIRE RECULER LE BRACONNAGE DANS SON ETAT (Times of India, ce jour).

PUNE: The estimated tiger population in the state has increased from 169 (in 2010) to around 200 at present. While the population has increased, one of the major concerns for the government is poaching. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said that the government is taking strong steps to curb poaching of tigers and other wild animals.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting of the state wildlife board, Chavan said it has been found that tigers are being poached by electrocution. MSEDCL's 11 KW lines pass from four tiger sanctuaries. The poachers use wires attached with hooks to draw current from the overhead high tension lines and electrocute tigers.

To prevent poaching of tigers by electrocution, two proposals had come up before the state wildlife board. The first proposal was to consider whether the high tension lines can be laid underground, and the second proposal was about whether any rubber coating can be used for the lines passing through the sanctuaries.

While no decision has been taken about these proposals, Chavan said a coordination group will be set up between the MSEDCL and the forest department to work out a proposal whether any joint patrolling team can be deployed along the overhead power lines.

Last year, there were 14 tiger deaths, of which one died due to electrocution. This month, there have been three deaths of which one has died due to electrocution. The estimated tiger population in the state is around 200 at present, he said.

Another proposal for protection of tigers is to create passes over irrigation canals. Chavan said irrigation canals, constructed in Vidarbha region, pass through tiger sanctuaries. The canals obstruct their free movement. Some tigers also get killed in these canals. For preventing such deaths and to allow free movement of tigers, a proposal is on the cards to have some passes over canals. An expert team from the irrigation department will finalise the design.

Meanwhile, the state wildlife board has decided to increase the compensation to families of persons killed by tigers in buffer zones from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. The government has also decided to appoint special veterinary doctors who are willing to work in buffer zones around wildlife sanctuaries.

....box story 1:

Pune: Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday said that the state government has sent a recommendation to the central government to get clearance under the Forest Act for the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport (NMIA).

Speaking to reporters after the meeting of the Maharashtra Wildlife Board, Chavan said the eco-sensitive zone around the 14 sq km area of Karnala bird sanctuary has to be first demarcated by experts.

One end of the proposed airport overlaps the eco-sensitive zone around the bird sanctuary up to a distance of 9.5 kms, he said. "The eco-sensitive zone has not been defined. It varies from two to 10 kms depending on the local situation. This area has to be defined by experts. The government has sent a recommendation to the Centre for getting clearance under the Forest Act, mentioning that the eco-sensitive zone be demarcated," Chavan said, adding that the government has already received environmental clearance for NMIA.

The area of the Karnala bird sanctuary is a small area spread over just 14 sq kms, he said. The government is considering whether some additional area can be included in the sanctuary, he added. Chavan pointed out that the National Highway (NH17) from Mumbai to Goa passes from the sanctuary. There is also a proposal for six-laning of the highway. The government had earlier planned to create a bypass to avoid the sanctuary area. However, the estimated cost for the proposal is too high, he said.

Partager cet article
Repost0
25 janvier 2013 5 25 /01 /janvier /2013 04:44

2013 est "l'Année de l'Environnement" en Russie. A l'occasion de sa rencontre avec le Président Poutine du 22 janvier, le Ministre de l'Environnement et des Ressources naturelles, Sergeï Donskoï, a précisé que la Stratégie de préservation des espèces rares, en élaboration depuis l'automne dernier,  allait être présentée au Gouvernement le mois prochain selon toute probabilité. Voir site présidentiel.

http://programmes.putin.kremlin.ru/en/tiger/news/22484

Partager cet article
Repost0
24 janvier 2013 4 24 /01 /janvier /2013 05:56

Les opérations contre les coupes illégales dans le sud du district de Khabarovsk à la fin de l'année dernière ont prouvé leur efficacité. Le "bûcheronnage noir" n'est plus apparent sur la zone. Ces opérations se répèteront à tout moment, de façon inopinée. Le braconnage des arbres désorganise toute la vie économique et sociale des habitants, humains et animaux. Source : WWF Russie, ce jour.

Partager cet article
Repost0
23 janvier 2013 3 23 /01 /janvier /2013 09:17

UN RECENSEMENT DES TIGRES DANS LA FORÊT DE BUXA (REGION DE KASIRANGA, INDE DU NORD) SERA ORGANISEE LE MOIS PROCHAIN. AVEC PLUS DE PERSONNES ENGAGEES, UNE ORGANISATION ET UNE METHODOLOGIE PLUS STRICTES (Source : Times of India, ce jour).

JALPAIGURI: Nearly 100 teams - each comprising five men - of the forest department will conduct a tiger census in the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) next month. The volunteers will be trained in the first week of February and several NGOs are expected to join the exercise.

According to the last census, there are 19 tigers in the BTR. "There are 48 beats in the forest that is spread over 750 sq km. Nearly 100 teams will conduct the census," said BTR field director RP Saini. The volunteers will scan pug marks, collect tiger scat and look for other evidences to arrive at the number of tigers in the reserve.

In BTR, pug marks and tiger scat indicate that there has been an increase in their number in the past few years, claim forest officials. Once almost wiped out, the striped beauty has succeeded to turn around here and now regular sightings are reported in Jayanti, Rajabhatkhawa, Nimti, Sankosh and Kumargram areas of the forest.

"Our workers report sightings twice or thrice in a week. Tigers are mostly seen in core areas like Jayanti and Rajabhatkhawa. But recently, they were also sighted in other areas like Sankosh and Kumargram", said a senior forest official of BTR.

However, some contradict this claim as there hasn't been a single attack on cattle or any human being in the last 10 years though there are several villages in the core area.

Wild-life enthusiasts believe tiger sighting in north Bengal is low due to three reasons. Firstly, tiger is a nocturnal animal. Secondly, their number is very low to be seen in a huge forest like the BTR and finally, high density of forestland also works as a hindrance for sighting.

"Kaziranga has the highest number of tiger population in the country. Yet sighting is very low. This is because of the high density of the forest," said Animesh Bose of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation.

Partager cet article
Repost0

Présentation

  • : Le retour du tigre en Europe: le blog d'Alain Sennepin
  • : Les tigres et autres grands félins sauvages ont vécu en Europe pendant la période historique.Leur retour prochain est une nécessité politique et civilisationnelle.
  • Contact

Recherche

Liens