Showing posts with label wild cat habitat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wild cat habitat. Show all posts

Sunday 19 December 2021

Dams are damaging the conservation of the tiger

It is ironic that hydroelectric power through the building of dams is seen as ecologically friendly as they ostensibly help prevent global warming but at the same time they are ecologically damaging. This is because huge areas of tiger habitat are flooded. This removes habitat from the tiger. Habitat loss is the biggest problem in the conservation of the tiger. 

Dam on the Narmada River in India. Photo in public domain. You can see the tiger habitat around it.
Dam on the Narmada River in India. Photo in public domain. You can see the tiger habitat around it.

There is constant pressure on tiger habitat which is being gradually destroyed. It is all about increased human activity including deforestation, the building of settlements, mining, the removal of forests to build plantations to create products to sell on the international market. The building of dams adds to that problem.

A study found that 164 dams affect the habitat of the jaguar and 421 dams have eroded tiger habitats. They say that one in five tigers are affected by dams. Tiger numbers are already precariously low at around 3500 total in the world, in the wild.

And as dams destroy forest, they are contributing to global warming because forests remove carbon dioxide from the air, a global warming gas. There are other issues. 

RELATED: 5 reasons why the tiger is endangered

Rivers pass through many countries. If the country at the top of the river, at the source, builds a dam countries further down don't get their water. And as human settlements increase there is more demand for water. Industrialisation creates an increased demand for water. 

There is a big problem building up along the Nile. There is a long-running dispute between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over a massive hydroelectric dam which is at the heart of Ethiopia's manufacturing and industrial dreams.

RELATED: Indian Bengal Tiger Reserves

Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Tigers and jaguars need large areas in which to live. Their home ranges are enormous. Adult males in India can have home ranges 15 times larger than those of females. An female home ranges can be up to around 50 km². Arguably, India's reserves are already too small and they're being gradually eroded because of a continually increasing human population in India.

As human population grows there is a commensurate need for more energy, more power which puts pressure on governments to build more dams which in turn destroys tiger habitat at least potentially. It's a vicious cycle. It starts with human population growth. That is the root cause of pretty well all conservation problems.

Conservationists are going to have to try and compensate tigers for the loss of their habitat by providing additional protected areas. This is highly unlikely. Dams are contributing to the gradual and almost inevitable extinction of the tiger in the wild.

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Human destruction of animals versus cat destruction of animals

This is going to be short because I don't have a lot of reference material on it but I would like to remind people that when humans criticise the feral and to a lesser extent the domestic cat for the destruction of native animal species, they are forgetting that humans destroy far more through their activities.

Humans destroy animals through habitat destruction and on a much lesser scale through the destruction of prey animals which support native species. There are three ways that humans destroy habitat. For the sake of clarity, I'm referring to the habitat in which wild animals live and without which they cannot live. The three ways are (1) exploitation of resources and (2) pollution and (3) the introduction of exotic species. Habitat destruction by humans is considered to be the most important cause of species extinctions in many studies.

Habitat destruction includes deforestation primarily. Many wild cat species live in forests and depend upon the forests. Across the globe there is massive deforestation. The island of Borneo was pretty much covered in forests but thousands of square miles have been erased over the last 50 years. The Borneo Bay cat lives in this forest. An elusive cat which is highly endangered now because of deforestation. That is just one example.

Bornean Bay Cat. Photograph copyright Jim Sanderson, Ph.D – Please respect copyright.
Bornean Bay Cat. Photograph copyright Jim Sanderson, Ph.D – Please respect copyright.

Other ways that humans have destroyed habitat is through water quality deterioration, drainage of wetlands, mining, agricultural use of prairies, and fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides all change the environment of a variety of bird habitat which led to declines in populations. I don't have hard data but these environmental changes negatively impact birds far more than feral cat predation.

And the experts say that it is "crucial to view cat predation within the context of habitat destruction, since cats have not been shown to be the primary cause of the loss of native species on mainland continents (Mead 1982; Mitchell and Beck 1992). MR Slater says that "unfortunately, evidence regarding extinction is often anecdotal, circumstantial or historical."

I am quoting from MR Slater's section in the book The Welfare of Cats. This section deals with the extinction of native species. It is highly relevant today because global warming is putting pressure on nature and the animals that live within it. Global warming is due to human activity but humans in reaction to that knowledge are reluctant to curb activities which create global warming and instead they criticise the feral cat in Australia for decimating wildlife species.  Humankind is myopic in respect of endangering wild species. Humankind wants to deflect attention away from their anti-conservation behavior.

And MR Slater states something which I like to read, and I'll say it again; habitat destruction by humans is the most important cause of species extinctions. It was and it is and it will be the major cause of the extinction of species because the world relies on economic growth. In relying on growth, you have to rely on increased population size and inevitably economic growth leads to the destruction of habitat.

Until politicians and economists totally adjust their ideal model for society which as stated is economic growth there will be more wild animal extinctions.

Monday 14 June 2021

What is the African lion's habitat?

Often people see the African lion ambling across the well-known Serengeti plains of East Africa. The Serengeti has wooded grasslands and rolling short grass plains which is quite different from the lion's habitat over much of its distribution in Africa. In general, lions live in "woodlands, dry forest, scrub, and even deserts. Visibility is the common factor throughout the various habitat types; compared with tigers, jaguars, and leopards, lions are at home in more open areas". I have taken the liberty of quoting directly from the best book on the wild cat species: Wild Cats of the World.

This is Cecil the lion. He was famous as a Walter Palmer, an America dentist tried to kill him with a bow and arrow. He failed and hie guide finished the job. There was international uproar. It is etched in the minds of millions even today as a senseless act of mindless bloodlust. Photo in public domain. The background shows you the kind of habitat the lion enjoys.

Lions are adequate climbers but less good than some other wild cat species and they are primarily terrestrial in comparison to some wild cat species such as the margay which is very much an arboreal cat i.e. it lives in trees.

It may interest readers to know that the male lions of the Gir Forest in India patrol ranges of 100-400 km² while lionesses have home ranges of about 50 km². The size of the home range depends largely on the biomass of prey available during lean times. In the prey-rich Serengeti woodlands lion prides have home territories of about 65 km² whereas prides living on the planes require over 184 km² during lean times. To be clear, this is approximately a 30 km x 60 km area of land. You can see how large the required habitat is for an African lion.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Americans falling out of love with the car. Good for some cats.

We are told today that Americans don't find car driving sexy anymore. Young Americans prefer an iPad app to a Mustang. For 2014 70% of 19 year-old Americans have driving licenses down from 87% 20 years ago.

The sprawling American suburbs will no longer continue to sprawl.  Suburbs were built around the car.

In San Francisco, Google is planning to move its suburban HQ to the city where it can integrate more with others, meet face to face, bounce of ideas. The coffee shop mentality.

This is a reshaping of the urban environment. If more people live in cities in the future it might be good for the wild cats and bad for the domestic cats.

There should be a reduction in the increased erosion of wild cat species' habitat so a slow down in the interference from people. As for the domestic cat, it means more apartment cats or full-time indoor cats. For me this is not good because I believe that domestic cats should smell the grass sometimes. It makes them happier and connects with their wild cat roots.

Source: Justin Webb -- The Times.

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