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Paws a little

  • POSTED ON: 6 Oct, 2018
  • TOTAL VIEWS: 132 Views
  • POSTED BY: Archana Subramanian
  • ARTICLE POINTS: 150 Points

The big cats….what’s that? Well, it’s the lion, tiger, leopard, snow leopard and the jaguar. Ironically the big cats, predators by nature, are under threat today. World Wildlife Week 2018 hopes to raise global awareness on their plight and increase their chances of survival.

In danger

Big cats face innumerable threats in the wild. From poaching, habitat loss, human-animal conflicts, to illegal wildlife trade, these predators are the victims today. These cats are found throughout the wild areas of Asia, Africa, and the U.S.

A quick look at how they are doing reveals that the tiger population has plummeted by 95% over the past 100 years, while the African lion population dropped by 40% in just 20 years. Did you know that these lions once roamed freely across Africa, the West and South Asia but have now vanished completely except in eight African countries?

In Africa, many big cats are hunted by Problem Animal Control Agents. PAC agents are licensed individuals that act on your behalf to solve wildlife problems. They are allowed to harass, destroy, or release non-domesticated reptiles, birds, and mammals that are endangering the life and health of humans or domestic animals and damaging property. Though these predators are safe in certain conservation zones, those outside of these face threats.

In Asia, poachers design snares using wires and cables from bicycles killing the animals. Deforestation is a major issue for tigers in India and for the jaguars in the Amazon. Agricultural expansion including the explosion of palm oil plantations in Indonesia has also added to loss of habitat. Man-animal conflict arises as livestock is attacked. The angry herder poisons his cattle, which the cat eats.

Poaching and selling body parts and fur is a thriving business. Global warming has also added to their woes as they need to change their habitat. Snow leopards are especially vulnerable to global warming as increasing temperatures melt snow at higher altitudes. These animals go higher up and their prey decreases. While lions are affected by disease outbreaks, coastal erosion due to rising ocean levels is reducing tiger habitat in India’s Sundarbans.

Seven days

Wildlife Week is celebrated in India from October 2 to 8 with the view to preserving animal life. It started in 1952 to create awareness on the need to protect wildlife. The Indian Government has established an Indian Board of Wildlife which frames policies and takes measures to conserve the wildlife in the country.

What you can do

Go to a zoo. While you get to see animals, you could also read up about them and the threats they face.

Volunteer at an animal rescue centre.

Find out about endangered animals. Create awareness by raising slogans, writing about them and informing people on why these animals are essential to the environment.

Discuss with your friends at school and in your neighbourhood what you could do to save these “paws”. From organising local clean-ups to buying reusable products to planting trees, there’s a lot you can do.

Furry situation:

Here’s a game for you to try, can you identify all the big cats just by their fur? Try this memory game and find out…

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