Daniel Richards, the president of the California Fish and Wildlife Commission, has been pictured happily posing with a dead mountain lion (Puma concolor), enraging many around the world.
Mr Richards is believed to have shot the mountain lion in Idaho where hunting big cats is legal. However, the state where his jurisdiction applies, California, has protected the mountain lion from hunters since 1990.
Many in California are now calling for Mr Richards to resign, as the general public feels someone who is meant to be protecting their wildlife, has betrayed them. Not only is the mountain lion protected in California, $30 million of state funding has been set aside to purchase important habitats shared by mountain lions and many other species. This clearly demonstrates a degree of hypocorism to what Mr Richards has done by hunting a species that he has used millions to protect.
This story highlights the sad fact that not everybody at the top of wildlife organizations are as passionate as others when it comes to the wildlife they are meant to be protecting. Not only this, Mr Richards has betrayed the trust of those that employed him and that of the public.
Posted by haleydolton on February 23, 2012
Thanks to a revised photograph identification technique, developed originally for tigers, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WSC) are able to better recognise individual jaguars in Bolivia than previously possible.
Coat patterns are as unique as our fingerprints, allowing researchers to accurately log data about individuals. The technique involves creating a digital map of an individual’s coat pattern by stitching a series of photographs together which have been taken by camera traps or even tourist photographs. The use of this method has spread throughout the animal kingdom to include species such as grey seals, cheetahs, whale sharks and now, jaguars.
The technique is also proving to be useful for persecuting those involved in the illegal fur trade. Animals can now be traced back to their natural habitat through the development of ‘maps’ created by digital imaging. This drives the direction of investigative enquiries by establishing the location of the population in the wild.
WSC researchers using the photograph identification technique have been able to recognise 19 individual jaguars from a total of 975 photographs taken by only one camera. The number of photos taken during this study is at record high due to digital cameras being used rather than the normal traps that use film. The practice of using spot patterns to identify individual jaguars has been made possible due to the high resolution offered by digital cameras.
The ability to accurately identify individuals at such a high resolution will allow researchers to gain an intimate insight into the lives of these secretive animals and how best to protect them against the dangers of poaching.
Posted by haleydolton on October 28, 2011