Coexistence and Rehabilitation Progress but Wildlife Crime a massive issue for the Leopard

Namaste, Jack here.   We’re streamlining our online platforms including here at wildleopard.net as well as at wildtiger.org, hopefully this will be finished soon.  Many thanks to those who care about these issues and take the time to read these blogs and updates.  You can contact me directly at jk@wildtiger.org

As leopard skin (and other leopard body parts) seizures continue from West Africa to South and South East Asia, poaching remains a huge problem throughout most areas of the leopard’s range.  Although it’s good to be able to report progress in rehabilitation and coexistence (however still many challenges), the wildlife crime aspect does not make good reading for one of the world’s most persecuted and marginalized animals.

We’ll have a more detailed project update soon (as we finish streamlining our online platforms) including progress on LeopardEye, the technology testing that keeps me in the forest a lot but doesn’t hide me from the plight of the leopard as case analysis and database building continues the rest of the time.  Don’t forget to follow @WildTigerNews and the WildTiger site as Pragati continues her investigations.  We collaborate with several orgs and agencies, both gov and non gov, on wildlife crime issues, it truly has become a massive challenge.

 

Coexistence Strategy – The Quest for Peace with the Leopard

Namaste, Jack here.  I’ve had a few people message me saying they want to read my blog but not at Facebook (fully understand many people don’t like to use Facebook) where I do have some posts that are not here.  We’re streamlining our online platforms including here at wildleopard.net as well as at wildtiger.org, hopefully this will be finished soon.  Many thanks to those who care about these issues and take the time to read these blogs and updates.  You can contact me directly at jk@wildtiger.org

Once when Ridem and I were talking about leopards she rose to her full height (not very high), looked me in the eye (I was sitting on the ground) and said with the full ferocity a tiny Tharu girl can muster, “I am Ridem Tharu Ghatghuri!”
 
I was impressed. Ghatghuri is a Tharu word for leopard.
Now when Ridem’s mum, Sita, and I talk about Ridem we refer to her as RTG.In yesterday’s post I referred to Nirajan‘s (Babu) role keeping in keeping things safe for communities and leopards. With the motorbike, camera equipment and training we’ve supplied he can effectively monitor situations… and it’s working. Effectively Babu is now a leopard monitor. I’m back in high country areas now and terrain is far more difficult to move round on than on the Terai where Babu and RTG live. But we’re developing strategies to cope with that and as time goes by I’ll be announcing more leopard monitors.  I’m in constant contact with Babu and others getting updates.
 
RTG doesn’t use the outside toilet at night. I’ve found leopard pug marks within 50 metres of their house. Sita and her husband built a small concrete house, this means they are much safer from wandering wild elephants. All this is basic safety although sadly there are many people without the economic capacity to improve their infrastructure. This is where the monitoring role of people like Babu becomes crucial, it adds the awareness and education elements and I’ve written before about the early warning SMS systems we’ve implemented particularly re elephants but applicable for leopards.
 
And that education element? This is where RTG is going to become a poster girl for the strategy. The more she understands conflict mitigation strategy, the more it becomes part of her being, the more likely we can avert tragedy.
 
It’s not rocket science but it does take time, effort and resources. All totally worth it to save lives, on both sides, and foster peaceful coexistence.
 
A big thanks Dan for the beautiful image of my little buddy. And RTG, I miss you lots, hope to see you soon…

A conservation champion in the making, thank you Babu for your total dedication

Namaste, Jack here.  I’ve had a few people message me saying they want to read my blog but not at Facebook (fully understand many people don’t like to use Facebook) where I do have some posts that are not here.  We’re streamlining our online platforms including here at wildleopard.net as well as at wildtiger.org, hopefully this will be finished soon.  Many thanks to those who care about these issues and take the time to read these blogs and updates.  You can contact me directly at jk@wildtiger.org

TRULY WALKING THE WALK, A PASSION FOR HIS TASK, CARE ABOUT HIS COMMUNITY… As we update our online platforms, this guy will get a strong mention. Nirajan Chhetri (Babu) in an age where so many talk the talk, he truly walks the walk. Over the last year and a half it’s been a great pleasure to work with Babu, watch him learn, see him grow. Above all it is his dedication to the task which is something I can really rely on. He has been a tremendous aid in leopard rehabilitation work and I’m really confident in his ability now to understand how to keep communities understanding and safe when there are leopards in the area. We’ve supplied a motorcycle and camera trap equipment among other gear plus Babu has been a pleasure to deal with in hours of training and implementation often in testing and sometimes dangerous situations. He truly listens to every word, which in this day and age is a minor miracle. Many thanks to our gear guru and collaborator, Bernd Hirthe, for supplying Babu with a laptop. There’s a long way to go with this, much more to be developed, learnt, a lot of hard work ahead but this is progress. It does however require people with the right stuff (one hotspot at a time) and this guy has that in spades. Thank you Babu, keep going, we will win…

Quick follow up as leopard killing case gains media attention

The case that I was referring to in my post yesterday is now starting to gain media attention. I’ve mentioned before how the trophy hunting of leopards is a mechanism which drives illegal trade through the creation of “commodities” or items of value. This is becoming an ever present element in our fight to protect the leopard. Yet we have entities such as WWF, some members of the British Royal family and the US Government, to name a few, which give carefully worded endorsements of trophy hunting.  There’s link to a media article below.

Willits man who killed endangered leopard pleads guilty

International guidelines for protected species have to adhered to by all nations (but aren’t) for wildlife to have a chance

Namaste, Jack here.  I’ve had a few people message me saying they want to read my blog but not at Facebook (fully understand many people don’t like to use Facebook) where I do have some posts that are not here.  We’re streamlining our online platforms including here at wildleopard.net as well as at wildtiger.org, hopefully this will be finished soon.  Many thanks to those who care about these issues and take the time to read these blogs and updates.  You can contact me directly at jk@wildtiger.org

Just under 3 years ago my birth country, New Zealand, legally recognized animals as sentient beings, in that many species express “human like” emotions. The bill was introduced partly to enable more streamlined enforceability of animal welfare laws. Soon I’ll tie in how a colleague reasons some wildlife species especially big cats but specifically apex predators maintain a degree of intelligence far beyond others and this cognitive thought process ties in with sentience as well as their ecological role.
A case I’m following very closely at the moment, and I’m in communication with the prosecutors, involves a U.S. citizen falsifying records after killing a leopard in South Africa so he could import the cat’s skull and skin into the U.S. The man has pleaded guilty and the sentencing hearing begins on 25 June. Leopards are listed as a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The three countries involved in this particular case, the U.S., South Africa and Mozambique (used as a transit) are all signatories to the treaty. Trophy hunting of leopards in South Africa has been suspended due to concerns of plummeting population. Mozambique still issues trophy hunting licenses. The leopard is also a listed as endangered and protected under U.S. domestic law but leopard body parts (trophies) are still imported under legal framework.
In India the leopard is a protected species but there is disparity of sentencing across different states. In Nepal the leopard is not on the protected species list, those of you who follow these pages know we are working on that issue.
These two paragraphs give very briefly a hint of the inconsistencies involved for just one species, albeit a highly important one ecologically. Across our various online platforms we’ve been bringing recent news of three cases, the Premchai case in Thailand (a high profile businessman shot and ate a black leopard, as well as other wildlife), the Salman Khan case in India (just use google to see the chaos) and the Jagari case (tiger poacher) here in Nepal which Pragati will be updating on soon. There are of course thousands of cases before courts globally.
CITES is claiming they are making solid progress and in some ways I agree. However until there is greater adherence to international guidelines, those on the front lines in the battle against wildlife crime are really up against it. Stiffer and internationally CONSISTENT penalties for all involved in the wildlife trafficking thread (poachers, traders, kingpins and buyers) from ALL nations is ultimately the answer to this environmental crime which unfortunately. like climate change, is suffering from delayed reaction by the general public.
The sentencing on June 25 of the man who illegally killed and imported a leopard into the U.S. is another test piece. The upper limit fine is 250,000 dollars. Let’s see how close it gets to that…