Kali is probably our most energetic cat. She’s firing on all cylinders far more often than any of our other cats. What one friend of mine termed, “kitty chaos hour,” is a regular occurrence with her; she tears through the … Continue reading →
Gizmo is our oldest cat. At 15 years old, she’s still sleek, svelte, and full of kittenish behavior. She has most definitely slowed down in recent years, but she still loves to play as much as she loves to sleep. … Continue reading →
I love taking pictures of my cats in boxes. Gizmo, in the first picture below, especially loves boxes, I think because she feels safe in there. I’ve written about cats in boxes before; specifically, about why cats like boxes. I … Continue reading →
Tigers, and other big cats, are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate. So are other species. It’s so bad, in fact, that scientists at Stanford have warned that we’ve entered another mass extinction event, with species disappearing at a rate 100 times that which is normally seen between mass extinctions. It’s virtually impossible to work to conserve all these species, but scientists and non-profits are trying anyway. Now, some scientists think they have a better way for saving wild tigers, and help them bounce back from the brink of extinction.
Saving wild tigers, or any endangered cat species, requires understanding that species
A Jun. 26, 2015 article in the Washington Post says research shows that tigers are actually one of the least diverse big cat species we’ve got on the planet. Their paper, which the Post says is published in Science Advances, says reclassifying tigers from the currently accepted number of nine subspecies, to two, can help conservation efforts greatly, because it simplifies things.
Researchers looked at tigers’ mitochondrial DNA, along with skulls, markings, habitats, and prey of all nine accepted subspecies and found a very, very high degree of overlap. Researchers found that the two distinct tiger subspecies are on continental Asia, and in Indonesia.
This wouldn’t be an accounting gimmick, either. It’s not like simplifying tigers’ taxonomy will somehow result in more tigers on paper, the way reclassifying something in an accounting book might create the illusion of more money, or less debt. What it would do is make it easier for conservationists to possibly move tigers into different areas to create new breeding populations or strengthen existing ones, and cut down on inbreeding. All of this makes saving wild tigers much easier. In fact, A strategy like this is part of what helped the Florida panther, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
A simpler taxonomy, which allows for more flexibility in conservation strategies, could help preserve the South China tiger, which is one of the most endangered cats in the world. A breeding program in South Africa, which aims to raise South China tiger cubs in a wild setting, and then release them into their natural habitat, could help. However, that kind of a program is uncertain, and very slow, and saving wild tigers requires action now. The South China tiger really has very little hope of survival right now.
Convincing other people that this is important to saving wild tigers may be hard
The Post’s story says that convincing other people that tigers aren’t as diverse as we thought is going to be difficult. One of the goals of conservation is to preserve diversity, not dilute subspecies. Simplifying tigers’ taxonomy is likely to be met with strong resistance, and possibly accusations that researchers are looking for an excuse to dilute the gene pools of each subspecies.
Ideally, researchers will come together on an idea that will work for saving wild tigers that are actually left here, and grow their populations again. The last thing we need is infighting and bickering on such urgent issues.
The two babies, Chase and Kali, absolutely LOVE my computer. They love the one I’ve currently got, and they loved my old one. It’s likely because it’s warm and comfy, and a laptop, so it’s frequently on me. They get all the warmth of the computer, plus the joys of cuddling “on” me.
Big cats are returning to Illinois, after decades of decline due to hunting and habitat loss. Illinois is currently home to a few cougars, and a growing bobcat population, which the state general assembly considers to be good enough news that they’re working on lifting our bobcat hunting ban.
Illinois banned bobcat hunting back in the 1970s, when they ended up on the threatened species list due to habitat loss and overhunting. Downstate, people are supposedly upset about bobcats threatening livestock and pets, as the cats apparently grow out of control. In the northern part of the state, people are worried that lifting the bobcat hunting ban will return them to the threatened species list, or worse, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Illinois lawmakers used scare tactics to convince others to vote for lifting the bobcat hunting ban
The bill to lift the bobcat hunting ban went to Governor Rauner’s desk three days ago, with groups petitioning him to veto it, just as Governor Quinn did five months ago. An editorial in the Chicago Tribune talked about just how the general assembly pushed the bill through, with various lawmakers using scare tactics to make their arguments. Representative Ed Sullivan (D-Mundelein) said:
“Imagine a bobcat that’s 60 pounds that could attack and kill something 10 times its weight. Think of a small child or a small woman or a small boy that could be attacked and carried away. That’s why we kill these things. That’s why we hunt them.”
This is utter nonsense, as bobcats are not nearly that big. The average northern bobcat, which is what we have here in Illinois, is 20 to 30 pounds, max. They’re not that much bigger than the domestic house cat. They’re able to hunt animals as big as deer, but their preferred prey is rabbits, rodents and birds.
Rep. Sullivan was not only fear-mongering, he either got his facts wrong, or he was outright lying to scare people into voting to lift the bobcat hunting ban. The op-ed in the Tribune rightly mentions that bobcats are shy of humans, which is quite true. When they have the option, they will avoid us, rather than confront us, let alone hunt us. They do not stalk humans; not even children.
Clayton Nielsen, a wildlife biologist from Southern Illinois University, in Carbondale, says that bobcats are no threat to people.
“Bobcats are active mainly at dawn and dusk, and have no desire for a fight. The bobcat’s story is the same as for most wildlife: if they can flee, they will.”
The real reasons hunters want the bobcat hunting ban lifted
The biggest reasons that people want to hunt bobcats are because they make good trophies, and because their pelts are valuable. The state’s bobcat population is 3,000 to 5,000 now, which is what lawmakers have decided is a good number to warrant lifting our bobcat hunting ban.
Let Governor Rauner know he should veto this bill
Many groups have filed petitions to pressure Governor Rauner to veto the bill. The Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club has asked people to write to Rauner and tell him to veto the bill. The Humane Society of Illinois has a form you can fill out and send directly to the Governor’s office, asking him to veto it. He has not yet signed it, so there’s still time to tell him to veto the bill. Click here to sign the Humane Society’s letter and let Bruce Rauner know that you stand with Illinois bobcats, and against people who want to hunt these creatures back onto the endangered list.
**Please note: You may have to be a resident of Illinois to send this letter, so if you can’t sign it and send it yourself, please pass it on to people who can.**
A brand-new set of Feline Commandments! Do your cats have commandments you must keep? Do you keep them? Obviously, from the pics below, we have trouble with it. However, in our defense (if it can be called that), they have a lot of commandments.
We know that cats are the true rulers of their houses. They graciously let us live with them, and we feed them and care for them and pamper them. Cats do what they want, when they want, and how they want, and have plenty of cattitude while doing it, too. Here are images of my cats doing what they want.