Wednesday, September 30, 2009

'African Serval' cat found in Tucson neighborhood

Posted: Sep 24, 2009 9:09 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 24, 2009 10:15 PM EDT

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - People outside a Catalina Foothills home couldn't believe their eyes.

They thought the big cat looked like an ocelot, which is unheard of in the wild in Arizona.

It turns out, they did see something downright rare.

A serval that's native to Africa.

A man was driving through a Catalina Foothills neighborhood, Wednesday night, and suddenly he spotted it.

Fred Thomas says he knew immediately it was not indigenous to Arizona.

Thomas says it had beautiful spots and looked like a cheetah.

The animal ended up near a mailbox.

Thomas says he thought was sick or hurt.

He called 911.

The serval is at the Tucson Wildlife Center, a non-profit sanctuary and rehabilitation center.

One of the center's rehabilitators got the call to go out to the neighborhood.

Lisa Bates-Lininger is founding president of the Tucson Wildlife Center.

She says they had to tranquilize the big cat

"She could still move and attack and she was really upset with the people around her. So we did tranquilize her and we found nothing wrong with her major," Bates-Lininger says.

But the serval was in bad shape.

"She was dehydrated and tired and just ready to give up. She may have died last night, but luckily we got her in. We got her emergency treatment, fluids for shock," Bates-Lininger says.

The animal's feet were very sore.

She's also missing a rear leg.

It had been surgically removed.

"This is obviously an escaped pet because it's an exotic cat. She was in really good condition. Whoever had her loved her and took good care of her," Bates-Lininger says.

If it is a purebred serval, the owner would need a permit to have it in Arizona.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department says servals are brought into the United States to breed with domestic cats, and create the Savannah cat.

In Arizona you don't need a permit for a hybrid, even if it's first generation.

"So we hope that the owner can find us and we can get this cat back to the owner," Bates-Lininger.

If the owner can't be found, the serval's future is uncertain.

Bates-Lininger says the Tucson Wildlife Center can't keep it.

She says the center keeps only native species of animals that cannot be released back into the wild.

Bates-Lininger says she believes people should not keep exotic pets, that they belong in the wild.

But she also says sanctuary-type homes that care for an animal can be a good thing.

Game and Fish Game Ranger Mike Pastirik says, like Bates-Lininger, the department prefers people not own exotic animals.

He says it's primarily out of concern for public safety and for humane reasons.

He says the department is concerned about the welfare of the animals.


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Teens let tigers out of zoo enclosure

Teens let tigers out of zoo enclosure

Romanian Times
28. 09. 09. - 09:00

Two tigers prowled around a western Romanian zoo for seven hours after teeangers let them out of their cages.

Hunedoara zoo was evacuated after keepers spotted the animals' open enclosures last Friday.

The two tigers - a pregnant female and its mate – were finally shot with tranquiliser darts by zoo keepers who feared they may break out of the zoo and get into the nearby town.

The animals are now back in their enclosures and zoo bosses said they believe teenagers had opened the doors to their cages.

Tigers take a Romanian holiday

Tigers take a Romanian holiday

Updated: 05:23, Sunday September 27, 2009

A full investigation has been launched after two tigers managed to escape from a zoo enclosure in Romania.

Tigers Dorinel and Silvia literally leapt at the opportunity to escape from their cage and explore the grounds they'd only ever seen from behind bars.

Both zoo keepers and visitors weren't as excited.

Their disappearance sparked a full-scale emergency, with all visitors evacuated and firemen police, and even a local hunting squad called in to search for and recapture the wiley felines.

It wasn't until nightfall when a pair of bright green eyes was spotted in bushes nearby and zoo keepers were able to manhandle the tranquilised tigers back to their enclosure.

No one was injured during the big cats' big day out and authorities are thankful the tigers strayed no further than the three hectare zoo park.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Zoo’s tiger exhibit closed after tiger kills worker

Zoo’s tiger exhibit closed after tiger kills worker

A zoo in Binh Duong Province has been asked to shut down and strengthen its tiger enclosures after a tiger killed a worker Thursday. Experts had warned the cages were unsafe two years ago.
Duong Thanh Phi, director of Dai Nam Zoo, told inspectors at the zoo on Friday that the tiger had jumped over a 2.5 meter wall between its cage to another where some workers were planting trees.

The tiger mauled and killed one worker.

Phi said he was so confused when the accident happened on Thursday that he incorrectly stated that the wall was five meters tall.

The tiger area will be closed for at least one week starting Friday and iron fences five meters tall will be built surrounding the tiger cages, the zoo has noticed.

During the inspection, officers from the province Forest Management Department said the wall was two low for the tiger, a five-year-old male weighing 180 kilos.

There were several artificial stones around the wall that the officers posited that the tiger may have used as a platform to jump off.

Tran Van Nguyen, deputy head of the department, said the incident should be considered a big lesson for all owners of wild animals, especially tigers.

Nguyen said the police would handle the death of the worker while his agency could only ask the zoo to improve its facilities. “We’ve got no laws or regulations about managing wild animals by which to penalize the zoo.”

He added that raising wild animals in captivity was not encouraged and thus authorities had not issued requirements for such cages.

Risks were known

Dai Nam Zoo was one of three Binh Duong Province facilities licensed by the government in 2006 to raise wild tigers under a pilot project.

But in 2007, a joint inspection team from the provincial Forest Management Department, the Vietnam Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) came to check the three units and found they did not guarantee safety.

The team warned that it would be easy for the tigers to escape from these places, including Thanh Canh Company and the Pacific Beer Company.

A plan submitted by Dai Nam Zoo in June asking for permission to raise wild tigers on a more open space was found to lack effective measures to protect visitors. It was thus returned for revision and scheduled to be submitted again by the end of this year.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Zoo tiger kills one in Vietnam: official

Zoo tiger kills one in Vietnam: official

(AFP) – 9.11.2009

HANOI — A tiger leaped out of its enclosure in Vietnam and killed a zoo worker, the park's manager said Friday.

Another worker was injured in Thursday's attack when the cat jumped over a 2.5-metre (8.3 feet) electric fence to attack the men while they planted trees, said Duong Thanh Phi, manager of the private Dai Nam zoo in southern Binh Duong province.

Phi said the animal apparently became disturbed by noise from a crane the workers were using.

They sought safety in a water-filled tunnel but for some reason one of them crawled out of it onto the soil and was killed, he said, adding the victim was 47 years old.

Other staff captured the male tiger and caged it while the injured employee was taken to hospital where he was in a stable condition, Phi said.

It is the first incident of its kind at the Dai Nam zoo, which keeps nine adult and seven infant tigers, the manager said.

Environmental groups have said habitat destruction, hunting and the illegal wildlife trade have pushed tigers close to extinction in Vietnam, a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which lists tigers as a protected species.

In 2007, the communist government allowed some private tiger farms in southern Vietnam to keep dozens of the endangered animals as they were better equipped than state zoos.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Crab collector lifted by tiger

Crab collector lifted by tiger

8 Sep 2009, 2207 hrs IST, PTI

CANNING (WB): A 50-year-old man was lifted by a tiger while he was collecting crabs from Pirkhali forest in the Sundarbans on Tuesday, the police said.

Yadav Gayen, a resident of Satyanarayanpur village under Gosaba police station, was in a group of three persons collecting crabs.

Gayen was lifted by a tiger and his companions raised an alarm and gave the animal a chase. However, the tiger managed to run away taking Gayen with him, the sources said.

The body was not found. Forest department sources said the three did not have the pass required for collecting crabs.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Fisherman injured by tiger

Fisherman injured by tiger


Canning (WB), Sep 4 (PTI) A fisherman was today seriously injured when a tiger tried to drag him away at Pirkhali VII area of the Sunderbans in South 24 Parganas district, forest department sources said.

The fisherman, Adhir Haldar, had gone to a canal of the river Bidya with four of his friends for fishing when a tiger pounced on him tried to drag him away.

Haldar's friends scared the tiger away, which left his victim behind and fled.

The fisherman was admitted to Kultali hospital with serious injuries.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Possible Tiger On The Loose Near Uniontown

Possible Tiger On The Loose Near Uniontown

Posted: 2:39 pm EDT September 2, 2009
Updated: 2:49 pm EDT September 2, 2009

UNIONTOWN, Pa. -- State police and community members are on the lookout for a big cat near Uniontown.

Initial reports from Fayette County 911 said there was a tiger on the loose near Route 119, but authorities aren't releasing details, only describing the animal as a big, golden-colored cat.

Dr. Shepard's Wildlife Sanctuary was first assumed to have lost the tiger, but officials with the business said it does not belong to them.

However, an expert from the sanctuary did say the cat could be a cougar.

State troopers have been instructed to dart the tiger if it is found.

Officials continue to look for the cat and ask for any information regarding anyone who may have an unaccounted for tiger. Anyone with information is asked to contact police.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Fires Threaten Wildlife Waystation in CA

Wildlife Waystation has been evacuating all night, still evacuating. Needs huge cat and bear cages immediately. If you can help, please call Mitchell Willis  at Wildlife Waystation at 1-818-899-5201. Please spread the word to anyone who might be able to help. They are at 14831 Little Tujunga Canyon Road, Angeles National Forest, CA 91342.

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:

Free ways to join us and help the big cats:

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This message contains information from Big Cat Rescue that may be confidential or privileged. The information contained herein is intended
only for the eyes of the individual or entity named above.  You are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, disclosure, and/or copying of the information contained in this communication is strictly prohibited. The recipient should check this e-mail and any attachments for the presence of viruses. Big Cat Rescue accepts no liability for any damage or loss caused by any virus transmitted by this e-mail.

Update on Shambala Fire

Acton sanctuaries Shambala and Animal Acres have different strategies for dealing with Station fire

August 31, 2009 | 11:32 am


Although the Station fire, which doubled in size to 85,000 acres overnight, has reached the doorstep of the Shambala big cat sanctuary in Acton, the resident lions, tigers and other animals are (hopefully) staying put.  Chris Gallucci, Shambala's vice president of operations, told our colleagues at L.A. Now that the staff at the sanctuary "have everything to fight fires on this property" and that they even perform elaborate fire drills every six weeks to ready themselves for an event like the Station fire.  From L.A. Now:

The preserve has dozens of steel evacuation crates ready to go in case the 64 big cats need to be moved. It also has equipment to beat back flames: A 22,000-gallon water tank, a lake and a complete fire road around the 80-acre site, Gallucci said.

Evacuating 64 big cats could clog Soledad Canyon Road, the only road that runs through the canyon area, Gallucci said.

"If you just panic and run, you're not being too professional," he said. "Dealing with exotic animals is completely different. You can't put the public at risk. We don't want to have the fire department and police department aiding us when they're trying to protect other people."

Shambala was founded by actress Tippi Hedren and is home to two of Michael Jackson's former pet tigers, Thriller and Sabu.  Hedren remained at the preserve throughout the weekend and this morning was talking with firefighters working nearby and monitoring the fire, Gallucci said.  

Interestingly, Gallucci noted that the cats aren't frightened of the flames and smoke, adding that one lion was even sunning itself as he spoke.

Elsewhere in Acton, the Animal Acres sanctuary, which is home to more than 150 rescued farm animals, has opted to evacuate, according to an e-mail sent to supporters.  In the e-mail, Animal Acres founder Lorri Houston wrote that the sanctuary had taken measures to facilitate a speedy removal of their resident cows, pigs, turkeys and other animals following wildfires that threatened Southern California in 2007.  Since then, staff have secured an emergency evacuation center for the animals, an additional livestock trailer and other materials needed to get the animals out quickly.  

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Alexander, a 450-pound Bengal tiger, at the Shambala Preserve in Acton.  Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A massive fire in the Angeles National Forest nearly doubled in size overnight, threatening 12,000 homes Monday in a 20-mile-long swath of flame and smoke and surging toward a mountaintop broadcasting complex and historic observatory.

The fire was the largest of at least eight burning up and down California after days of triple-digit temperatures and low humidity. The Los Angeles-area blaze had burned at least 21 homes and was moving north, south and east through the rugged foothills northeast of the city.

Despite a lack of wind, the fire surged without letup by running through steep granite canyons and feeding on brush that had not burned for 40 years, fire officials said.

"It's burning everywhere," U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Dianne Cahir said. "When it gets into canyons that haven't burned in numerous years, it takes off. If you have any insight into the good Lord upstairs, put in a request."

The fire had burned 134 square miles of brush and trees by early Monday and was just 5 percent contained.

About 12,000 homes, as well as communications and astronomy centers atop Mount Wilson, were threatened by fire. At least 6,600 homes were under mandatory evacuation orders and more than 2,500 firefighters were battling the flames.

But the lack of wind kept the fires burning mainly in canyonlands rather than racing downhill and roaring explosively through the dense suburbs that cluster at the base of the foothills.

On the blaze's northwestern front, two firefighters were killed Sunday when their truck drove off the side of a road on Mount Gleason near the city of Acton.

More than 20 helicopters and air tankers were preparing to dump water and retardant over the flames. Two Canadian Super Scoopers, giant craft that can pull thousands of gallons of water from lakes and reservoirs, were expected to join the fight later in the day.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday issued emergency declarations for the counties of Placer, Monterey, Los Angeles and Mariposa.

On the blaze's northwestern front, two firefighters were killed Sunday when their truck drove off the side of a road on Mount Gleason near the city of Acton. Killed were Capt. Tedmund Hall, 47, of San Bernardino County, and firefighter Specialist Arnaldo "Arnie" Quinones, 35, of Palmdale. Hall was a 26-year veteran, and Quinones had been a county firefighter for eight years.

"Our hearts are heavy as we are tragically reminded of the sacrifices our firefighters and their families make daily to keep us safe," Schwarzenegger said.

With flames about a half-mile away from the communications and astronomy centers on Mount Wilson, crews planned to set more backfires and planes dropped fire retardant around the mountaintop complex, which hold transmitters for more than 20 television stations, many radio stations and cell phone providers.

Television stations said if the antennas burn, broadcast signals would be affected but satellite and cable transmissions would not be.

Two giant telescopes and several multimillion-dollar university programs are housed in the century-old Mount Wilson Observatory. The complex of buildings is both a historic landmark and a thriving modern center for astronomy.

The sheer length of the fire meant that it threatened homes ranging from scattered ranches to multimillion-dollar estates in luxury enclaves.

Mandatory evacuations were in effect for neighborhoods in Glendale, Pasadena and other smoke-choked cities and towns north of Los Angeles.

In La Crescenta, where the San Gabriel Mountains descend steeply to suburban neighborhoods, streets were nearly deserted Monday morning as smoke rose up some flanks of the towering peaks.

The fire generally appeared to be well up the mountains, but a pall of white haze burned eyes and throats, and some flames could be seen.

Schools were closed and police cars guarded some streets in the city's upper reaches so that only firefighters could get through.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Pedro Castillo guarded a yellow police tape across Briggs Avenue, waving off residents who wanted to get through to check on their homes.

"You help us a lot by staying out of the area," Castillo to an anxious man.

"I want to help myself," he replied before walking away.

At a corner house just below the restricted line, Rick Drobner stood in his driveway and watched plumes of smoke. He wore a heavy-duty filter mask.

Drobner, an artist and ceramist, said he and his wife and their cat had spent the previous night at a motel.

"We've been here almost 30 years. Every time we drive up Briggs, I look at these mountains, and every time there's a fire somewhere, I think … what would happen if it happened here?"

"Well, here we are," Drobner said.

He glanced up at tall pine trees that surround his home.

"These trees normally keep us shaded and cooler in hot weather and keep the dust out of the house," he said. "Right now, they are not necessarily a good thing."

An animal sanctuary called the Roar Foundation Shambala Preserve, six miles east of Acton, was in the mandatory evacuation zone, but fire officials decided removing the animals would be "a logistical nightmare," said Chris Gallucci, vice president of operations.

"We have 64 big cats, leopards, lions, tigers, cougars. … The animals are just walking around, not being affected by this at all," Gallucci said. "But if we panic, they panic. But we are not in panic mode yet."

The preserve had a 22,000-gallon water tank, a lake and firefighting pumps, he said.

The National Weather Service said a red flag warning for extreme fire conditions remained in effect for the mountains of Central and Southern California.

Another 2,000 homes were threatened in San Bernardino County and a mandatory evacuation was under way in Oak Glen, an unincorporated scenic community of apple orchards near Yucaipa and about 90 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

A 1.4-square-mile wildfire that began Sunday afternoon tripled in size overnight and was burning out of control in oak and conifer woodlands, said Norma Bailey, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman.

Flames dozens of feet high burned like huge candles near the farms.

"We know what's coming this afternoon, just the sheer heat and the low humidity," Bill Peters, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in San Bernardino County, told KTLA-TV.

Some of the brush and trees had not burned for a century, he said.

The blaze was in rolling terrain and steeper foothills.

"The fire makes its own path," Peters said. "It just flows with the terrain. It'll run very quickly uphill and because of the dynamics and the decadent vegetation being so dry, it will drive itself downhill, where normally you need a wind to do that."

Meanwhile, a 3.8-square-mile blaze that began Thursday near the San Bernardino County town of Hemet was 95 percent contained and was expected to be fully surrounded Monday evening, Bailey said.

Northeast of Sacramento, a fire destroyed 60 structures, many of them homes in the town of Auburn. The fire had wiped out an entire cul-de-sac, leaving only smoldering ruins, a handful of chimneys and burnt cars.

Rick Lund, whose house is nearby but escaped the fire, stood at the end of the cul-de-sac of about 10 homes, watching firefighters attend to what once were the homes of friends and neighbors.

"It's right there," he said, pointing to a house of his 11-year-old daughter's close friend. "Or it was."

The fire began Sunday and had blackened 275 acres amid high winds and was 50 percent contained Sunday night, CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

About 30 people waited anxiously at an evacuation center in the Rock Creek Elementary School, including Pam and Stephen Incerty.

"If there's nothing there when we get back, we won't rebuild," Stephen Incerty said of their home on 5 tree-covered acres of rolling hills. "There'd be no trees, just dirt."

In Mariposa County, a nearly 7-square-mile fire burned in Yosemite National Park and forced the evacuation of about 50 homes. The blaze was 50 percent contained Sunday, said park spokeswoman Vickie Mates. Two people suffered minor injuries, she said.

Hot, dry and windy conditions also helped fan a monthlong wildfire in rural Utah, where residents in the town of New Harmony were told to leave their homes as the blaze flared up over the weekend. The lightning-sparked fire has already destroyed three houses and blackened more than 12 square miles in the Pine Valley Wilderness area.

Associated Press writers Juliet Williams in Auburn and Solvej Schou in Los Angeles contributed to this report.