Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

World's Rarest Big Cat Gets a Check-Up

03.11.2008
The world’s rarest big cat is alive and well. At least one of them, that is, according to researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) who captured and released a female Far Eastern leopard in Russia last week.

The capture was made in Primorsky Krai along the Russian-Chinese border by a team of scientists from WCS and the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biology and Soils (IBS).

The team is evaluating the health and potential effects of inbreeding for this tiny population, which experts believe contains no more than 10-15 females. Other collaborators include: Wildlife Vets International, National Cancer Institute, and the Zoological Society of London.

The Far Eastern leopard is perhaps the world’s most endangered big cat, with an estimated 25-40 individuals inhabiting a narrow strip of land in the far southeastern corner of the Russian Federation.

The leopardess, nicknamed “Alyona” by the researchers who captured her, was in good physical condition, weighing a healthy 85 pounds (39 kilograms). A preliminary health analysis revealed that she is he is believed to be between 8-10 years old. The animal has since been released unharmed.

Specialists are continuing to analyze blood samples as well as an electrocardiogram, which will reveal genetic information to assess levels of inbreeding. Three leopards captured previously (2 males and 1 female) in 2006 and 2007 all exhibited significant heart murmurs, which may reflect genetic disorders.

“We are excited by the capture, and are hopeful that ongoing analysis of biomedical information will confirm that this individual is in good health,” said Alexey Kostyria, Ph.D., senior scientist at IBS and manager for the WCS-IBS project. “This research is critical for conservation of the Far Eastern leopard, as it will help us to determine the risks posed by inbreeding and what we can do to mitigate them.”

One of the options scientists are considering is trans-locating leopards from other areas to increase genetic diversity -- similar to what happened with Florida panthers when animals from Texas were brought in to supplement the remaining population. Today, Florida panthers have risen from less than ten individuals to a population of approximately 100.

The leopard capture and release was overseen by representatives of the Russian federal agency “Inspection Tiger,” a special department of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

“This project has been ongoing for just over two years, and scientific work to capture Amur tigers and Far Eastern leopards in this part of Primorsky Krai has always been distinguished by the participation of world-class specialists and use of the best equipment and methodologies,” said Sergei Zubtsov, the head of Inspection Tiger. “I want to note that the leopard captured for medical analysis and released represents another achievement for this highly-qualified team, and that one of the most important things is that she was not harmed at any point in the capture process. I hope that such fruitful collaboration will continue in the future.”

Over the last 100 years, Far Eastern leopard numbers have been reduced by poaching combined with habitat loss. However, both camera-trapping and snow-tracking surveys indicate that the population has been stable for the last 30 years, but with a high rate of turnover of individuals. If inbreeding or disease can be kept in check, WCS and its partners believe there is great potential for increasing survival rates and habitat recovery in both Russia and Northeast China.

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s work to protect Far Eastern leopards receives funding by the following U.S. government agencies: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Save the Tiger Fund, and U.S. Forest Service International Program.

The Far Eastern leopard is listed under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which protects it against illegal trade for fur and medicinal purposes.

Around the world, large carnivores are faced with a variety of threats including habitat loss, depletion of prey, conflicts with people, poaching, and disease. The U.S. Congress is currently considering legislation called the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act, which would directly benefit the Far Eastern leopard and over a dozen big cat and rare dog species by creating a fund for research and monitoring, law enforcement training, and other conservation efforts. This bill has received support from several leaders in the U.S. Congress – notably Senators Joe Lieberman (CT-I), Barbara Boxer (CA-D) and Sam Brownback (KS-R) and Representatives Tom Udall (NM-D), John Tanner (TN-D), Hal Rogers (KY-R) and Ed Royce (CA-R). Timely action by the U.S. Senate would ensure passage of this important legislation.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

Stephen Sautner | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.wcs.org
http://www.wcs.org/donation

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>