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Tourists Banned From Nature Park After Hurling Stones At A Panda

Horses Latest Threat To Panda Habitat

A number of tourists who visited a nature reserve in China threw stones at a panda in an attempt to get the bear to move have been blacklisted as a result. The panda was lying motionless beneath a tree where it had been resting in the panda enclosure of the Foping National Nature Reserve in Hanzhong North-East China. A group of approximately 20 individuals got together and began to shout at the bear and when it did not respond, one man began hurling stones at the animal.

Footage posted on social media

Footage of the incident which was posted on social media shows a man throwing objects according to a report in the South China Morning Post. Yan Xihai, the nature reserve marketing manager said a number of people participated by throwing stone and staff members were forced to strep in and prevent them from disturbing the male panda who is aged seven.

Park will improve security

In his interview with the SCMP, Mr Yan said the incident took place at a location where the pandas do not generally spend time, so unfortunately there are no surveillance cameras installed in the area. One visitor did manage to record footage showing the tourist group shouting at the panda in a bid to get his attention and force him to move. Zhen Xihai the nature reserve manager says there will be improvements made to the management of the panda park, and fines will be imposed on the tourists and the agency responsible for the tour.

Enclosure home to rare black & brown panda

If the tourist agency is found guilty of its customers engaging in similar kind of behaviour again, both the company and its guide will be blacklisted by the park according to media reports. The panda enclosure is spread out across 22 acres and serves as home to a nine-year old bear name Qizai whom experts believe is the only living panda in the world to have a coat that is white and brown in colour. Qizai was two months old when he was discovered by conservationists in the Quinling Mountains after his mother disappeared.

Pandas are a national symbol in China

Pandas are revered in China, the Chinese government has spent an awful lot of resources to ensure the species is protected and conserved. Those efforts have paid off and the species is no longer considered to be endangered. There are an estimated 2,000 pandas in the world. According to media reports US First Lady Melania Trump toured the Beijing Zoo during her final days in the country and paid extra attention to a panda named Gu Gu.

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Unusual Leopard Mating Behaviour Spotted At Game Reserve In South Africa

leopard 2

Leopards are solitary animals and are not known to share things with other members of their species, whether that be territory, food or a mate. Therefore, experts were extremely surprised to learn that South African park guides had captured footage of a male leopard mating with two females. Experts says they have seen two males attempting to mate with a female in heat but have never seen a situation where the roles were reversed.

Sister leopards

The unusual behaviour was filmed by guides a Londolzi Game Reserve. The guides are familiar with leopards in the park and know that the two females in question are sisters that were born three years apart. Experts say that probably because the two females are related and know one another, they probably tolerate sharing a mate. However, if two unrelated females were to come across one another, the experts say, the claws would definitely come out.

Real coincidence

Richard Laburn, one of the guides said he had seen the male mating with the younger of the two females on the edge of her older sister’s territory. Leopards mating is not a quiet affair and the sounds probably drew the attention of the older female who arrived at the scene. Leopards do not usually come in to heat the same way lions do, so it is a real coincidence that both females were receptive to mating at the same time.

Older sister became pregnant

As leopards become adults, they leave their parents territory to stake out their own and once their private space has been carved out, they tend to stick to it and interact with other members of their species at the boundaries of their territories. The strange behaviour was witnessed at the end of last year and it is quite likely that the older female probably became pregnant because she is currently raising a litter of cubs. The younger female aged just two and a half years old at the time was probably too young to conceive. Leopards do not usually get pregnant until they have reached the age of four.

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Wild Mountain Gorilla Population On The Rise

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There is some good news coming out of the mountains of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The population of gorillas rose from 480 in 2010 to 604 in 2016. When you add that population to the couple hundred other apes that live in scattered habitats to the south, it is estimated that more than 1,000 mountain gorillas live in the wild, making it the only subspecies of the great ape that is rising in number. Whilst 1,000 may seem a small number one should remember the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the mountain gorillas as critically endangered.

The outlook used to be extremely grim

Poaching and habitat destruction still represent major threats to the species but in order to understand what the figure means one would need to go back in time by about fifty years. In the 1960’s the mountain gorilla population was in complete free fall. Livestock shepherds were driving their herds into gorilla habitat and humans were razing the forest for agriculture and charcoal as well as setting traps that would doom not only the prey they hunted but any great ape that had the misfortune of becoming snagged in one.  Add to all of that poachers targeting gorillas for their meat or for trophies and even as exotic pets. By 1981 there were only 242 mountain gorillas left in the wild and it was expected the subspecies would be extinct by the millennium.

A lot of personal sacrifice to save the species

A lot of people have made a great number of sacrifices to protect the species over the last two decades. Over 170 rangers have lost their lives and as recently as April five rangers were shot and killed in Virunga National Park by local militia. The charcoal industry continues to be a threat as are home made wire snares. These threats are the product of a local community who lack economic opportunity and rely on natural resources that are abundant in the national parks. This means it is important to include locals in the conservation efforts.

Co-opting the local community to help with conservation

As a result, conservationists are seeking to provide improved access to food, water and security for these people as well as provide education and job training. About 10 per cent of the of the park’s entry fee is used to fund initiatives that improve the lives of local communities so they understand that they directly benefit from the gorillas. The perseverance of the species may inspire greater conservation because it is an example of the difference people can make even when the outlook is grim.

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Lion Pride Kills Rhino Poachers In South African Game Reserve

lion 4

A lion pride killed and ate a group of poachers that had broken in to a South African game reserve last month attempting hunt rhinos. It is believed that all three men were eaten alive by the apex predators after entering the Sibuya Game Reserve according to Nick Fox who owns the reserve. After the attack authorities found three pairs of shoes, high powered rifles complete with silencers, wire cutters and an axe that poachers commonly use to hack off rhino horns.

Not sure how many people were killed

According to Mr Fox, there was so little left that no one is sure just how many people were killed. It is believed that the number was three because three pairs of shoes and gloves were found and typically poachers hunt in groups of three Mr Fox added. He says whilst the loss of human life is sad he hopes the attack sends a message to poachers that they risk their lives should they hunt in his game reserve.

Lions attacked in the early morning

Apparently at about 4.30 in the morning one of the reserve’s anti-poaching dogs gave her handler a warning that something seemed not quite right. The handler did hear a commotion coming from the lion pride but did not investigate because they tend to behave that way during the early hours of the morning. It is then that authorities believe the lion pride attacked and killed the poachers. A day later one of reserve’s rangers came across the remains and alerted the police.

Popular reserve with tourists

A spokesperson for the police said that detectives were investigating the incident in order to figure out exactly how many people had been killed and eaten. The spokesperson added that their identities are unknown, but the weapons have been taken and sent for analysis to see whether they have been used in other incidents of poaching. The search party looked for other survivors but so far none have been found. Sibuya game reserve is one of the most popular in South Africa, located on the Eastern Cape. It is home to all five of Africa’s big game animals including lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalos and leopards.

Lions will not be put down

The park has experienced multiple break-in’s by poachers over the last few years and in 2016 three rhinos were shot dead and had their horns hacked off by poachers. Mr Fox says he has received many phone calls from people worried about what would happen to the lions. He says they will not be put down and the status quo will continue. Mr Fox says lions consider tourists sitting in a viewing vehicle quite different to people walking around on the ground and his staff have checked whether there is any difference in the pride’s behaviour since the attack and so far, has found none.

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Snow Leopard Cub Born With Defects Receiving Treatment At Sacramento Zoo

snow leopard cub

An extremely cute snow leopard cub that was born recently with splayed legs is undertaking intense physical therapy so the little fella is able to learn to walk. The cub was born with a number of defects including ones which affected his eyes and chest as well as an obvious case of splayed rear legs. The disease which is known as swimmers syndrome and affects both cats and dogs means that the cub has problems with mobility. As a result the Sacramento Zoo where the cub was born, is providing therapy to correct the defect.

Providing therapy

The cub was born at the zoo in the beginning of May in a litter of five to mother Misha. His therapists are using a rubber harness which lifts the cub’s hips and provides support allowing him to position his rear legs behind him whilst he walks. The experts then place the cub on surfaces where he can gain good traction such as grass where he is able to get a good grip.  His handlers say they are very happy with his progress and continue to evaluate his needs so that he succeeds on his journey.

Collaborating with UC Davis

The treatment the cub is undergoing was devised by the zoo in collaboration with specialists from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The critter has quite an extensive regime which includes three therapy sessions each day. The treatment has been uniquely designed to make sure the cub continues to have a positive relationship with his mother. His handlers say it has been incredibly rewarding watching the cub gain confidence with every passing day.

Helping with snow leopard conservation

Aside from his mobility issues the cub was born as we said with a number of other defects. This includes problems with his eyelids which may require surgery as he grows older. These defects have been recorded by other snow leopards that are living under human care. According to examinations by veterinarians, it is expected that these defects are likely to be treatable. Sacramento Zoo is a participant in the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan and is helping by breeding these elusive big cats and raising awareness of the issues faced by this species. Snow leopards face challenges to their survival from hunting, loss of prey and habitat destruction.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the adopt an animal blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

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