Puma watching in Chile’s Torres Del Paine National Park

Pumas are among the least seen of earth’s big cats. Though they’re widely distributed from the Canadian Rockies to the southernmost Andes (and known alternatively as cougars or mountain lions), pumas have historically been thought of as too elusive for any sort of commercial tourism.

That changed when a company called Quasar Expeditions, in partnership with Explora Patagonia, launched its first puma trekking safaris earlier this year in Chile’s famed Torres Del Paine National Park.

The idea was to give wildlife enthusiasts the same opportunity to see pumas as they’d have with jaguars in Brazil, lions in Africa or tigers in India.

Source: Puma safari in Chile – CNN.com

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The endangered Jaguar makes a comeback in Brazil

Goias, Brazil is known as the heartland of the country’s agriculture. With thousands of acres designated to sugar cane, soy and cattle, it might not be the typical environment for the endangered Jaguar. According to a research conducted by Leandro Silveira of the Jaguar Conservation Fund, this magnificent predator continues to adapt to a changing ecosystem.

“Before we started this study there was no knowledge that jaguars would inhabit this kind of environment,“ Silveira said.

The study used GPS technology and trail cameras to track the movement of the big cats. His data concluded jaguars can in fact survive within an agricultural landscape.

Read more… The endangered Jaguar makes a comeback in Brazil | CCTV America.

Whats a Black Panther, Really?

Whats a Black Panther, Really?

A “black panther” is not its own species—it’s an umbrella term that refers to any big cat with a black coat.

The condition is caused by the agouti gene, which regulates the distribution of black pigment within the hair shaft, according to the University of California, Davis. It’s most well known in leopards, which live in Asia and Africa, and jaguars, inhabitants of South America. (Domestic cat lovers might be interested to know the agouti gene doesn’t cause black fur in house cats.)

Read more… Whats a Black Panther, Really?.

Galápagos Islands wildlife threatened by battle between locals and scientists.

Galápagos Islands wildlife threatened by battle between locals and scientists | World news | The Observer

Wildlife on the Galápagos is under a new threat. The scientific group that has helped to preserve the islands’ giant tortoises and other unique creatures is on the brink of closure – because of a row about a gift shop.

Local traders have objected to the Charles Darwin Foundation running a souvenir shop at its research station at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island. They claim it was siphoning business from their own shops and in July local officials, backed by the government of Ecuador which owns the Galápagos, ordered the station’s shops to be shut.

The impact for the foundation – which carries out wildlife research in the Galápagos and provides key scientific advice on protecting wildlife there – has been devastating.

Read more… Galápagos Islands wildlife threatened by battle between locals and scientists | World news | The Observer.

In Brazil’s wetlands, jaguars face a new threat: Drug traffickers

The rise of jaguar watching tours in Brazil has brought a sea-change in the attitudes of ranchers.  The cats, once seen as a threat to livestock, are now seen as a big money draw.

But the recent discovery of a dead jaguar has raised an unexpected new threat: drug smugglers.  The fear is that drug smugglers who favour the quiet backwaters of the Pantanal are now shooting jaguars to deter the unwanted attention of tourists.

Read more… In Brazil’s wetlands, jaguars face a new threat: Drug traffickers | Al Jazeera America.

Tourists risk lives for pictures of rare jaguars fighting in Brazil

This hair-raising picture shows brave tourists risking their lives for pictures as they strayed close to fighting jaguars.

Seasoned wildlife photographer Paul Williams was overjoyed to finally find elusive jaguars in their natural habitat, the Brazilian Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland area.

But Paul, 34, who works for the BBC Natural History Unit, soon found his joy turn to terror as he watched foolhardy tour boats jostling to see which could get the closest.

“Sadly it’s a scene that’s too common in natural parks around the world, but it’s important to remember that without tourism many of these areas would be under threat. Everyone has the right to experience nature and wildlife, but the organisations and companies who manage this have a responsibility to ensure that the welfare of the wildlife is paramount.”

Read more… Tourists risk lives for pictures of rare jaguars fighting in Brazil – AOL Travel UK.

Florida panthers rebound as wildlife service offers ranchers payment plan

The endangered Florida panther, running out of room to prowl as its numbers rebound, may find its best chance at survival is a program to pay distrustful ranchers to protect what remains of its habitat.

The payment plan proposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has never been tried before on a large scale with a wide-ranging predator, officials say.

Landowners could receive $22 per acre to maintain the cattle pastures and wooded scrub increasingly critical as panther terrain.

Outside Florida, the cats are known as pumas, cougars or mountain lions.

Read more… Florida panthers rebound as wildlife service offers ranchers payment plan | Environment | theguardian.com.