Help Big Cats
Did you know that Big cats are in Danger?
Recently National Geographic hosted Big Cat Week. My son and I watch the programs that came on that week and I have to say I learned a lot that shocked me. A lot of these big cats are almost or nearly extinct. There numbers are dropping so fast its very likely that in another twenty years or less if something isn't done quickly that we will not see the animals in the wild anymore. These animals inspired me so much that I decided that I had to publish a lens because I think that us as human can actually learn from these majestic beasts. Each one has its own story and I hope that you enjoy this article as much as I enjoyed learning about with my son.
Image from bludragonanime.blogspot.com
Lions The Kings - Structured and Nomadic
Lions live in social groups known as prides. It consist of the 1-3 dominant males and usually around 15 lionesses and their offspring. Once the male offspring reach sexual maturity they will be removed from the pride and they will become nomads wondering on the borders of other prides until they become big and brave enough to challenge another male for its territory.
In the prides the lionesses do the hunting they hunt together using strategies that are just amazing.
They use a chasing and catching technique where some of the cats actually run the prey right into ambushes of other cats. Watching these animals hunt was so exciting. Even though the lionesses do the hunting it's the dominant males who eat first. The cubs will eat last. The social network in place here is iron clad and if the rules are broken retribution is handed out with fang and claw.
The pride protects the young
The lion protects the pride
Inside the pride structure the males protect the pride and the lionesses feed the pride. The cubs are cherished and protected by all. The female cubs will always remain in the pride but the males offspring will eventually have to leave the pride if the dominant male feels they are over stepping there place in the pride. Eventually these nomadic males will try to take over a pride when this happens the males will fight sometimes to the death. If the intruding male succeeds it is catastrophic to the pride. In order to end the genetic reign of the male before him and to get the females back into estrus the new male will kill the cubs.
"On taking over a pride the males usually kill all offspring under a year. Females may defend their cubs to the death, or leave the pride with them. Older juveniles may escape but their chances of survival are minimal if their mothers do not leave with them. Successful defence of cubs is usually only achieved when females gang together to ward off infanticidal males. Females whose cubs are in hiding are often prevented from going to them, resulting in the death through starvation of those cubs.
Larger male coalitions are more likely to kill all the cubs, including any born in the first few months after a pride takeover.
Infanticide is a necessary part of the lions' reproductive success. The average interval between the birth of a litter and the next oestrus is 530 days, about the same as the average tenure of a pride male, however, the loss of cubs will prompt the lioness to start cycling and mate within a few days or weeks. Therefore, by killing any progeny found in the pride taken over, the male can ensure that he has the opportunity to reproduce his own genes during his tenure of the pride.
Following the successful takeover of a pride, and the loss of cubs, females enter a period of heightened sexual activity, mating more often and with more partners than usual, however they fail to conceive for an average of 134 days. The reason for this period of infertility is likely to be that it ensures that the males taking over the pride are able to hold it against other immigrant males and to increase the bond between the females and the new pride masters reducing the chance that the new males will desert the pride."
read more at http://www.lionalert.org/pages/social.html
We have to help them
In the past 20 years, the population of African lions has decreased by perhaps as much as 50 percent. The population of Asiatic lions has dropped so much that they are listed as critically endangered
With 3,200 tigers left in the wild numbers are at an all time low. With conservations efforts in place for the last twenty years there doesn't seem to be alot of improvement. Tigers may be at the top of the food chain in their habitats but numbers are still dropping. Habitat takeover, poaching, and revenge killing is the tigers biggest threats and with the constant attacks on this cat it seems to be that we are loosing the battle
The tiger is a solitary cat that lives and hunts within its own territory. They only come together for mating and that means that a tiger is a single mother. Hunting and providing not only for themselves but for thier cubs as well. They protect their territory and their young with their lives.
Being a single mother also means that the cubs are left alone so that the mother can hunt.
"No Two Exactly Alike: Tigers are the largest members of the cat family. Their coat is orange with black stripes; however, color intensity and the pattern of markings can vary according to species. The Sumatran tiger is the smallest and darkest of the subspecies, and the Siberian is the largest and lightest in color. No two tigers are exactly alike.
Imminent Extinction: At one time, nine subspecies made up the tiger family, but since the 1950s three to four have gone extinct. The remaining species are endangered due to poaching, loss of habitat and loss of prey due to overhunting by humans.
A Night Hunter: The tiger is a night hunter and can easily take down large animals, such as deer, wild pigs and cattle. Small animals are also sometimes on the menu.
An Awesome Appetite: Tigers can eat up to 90 pounds in a single sitting. After a big meal, they don't have to eat again for up to two weeks."
read more at http://animal.discovery.com/mammals/tiger/
Did you know?
Tigers love to swim!!!
Tiger Alert Video
In one generation we could loose ALL of our tigers
"As a member of the cat family, leopards share many of the same characteristics as other cats, such as tigers, bobcats, lynx and even the family cat. Leopards, like other cats, have acute senses. Their large, funnel-shaped ears can easily detect the rustling sounds of prey. Their forward-looking eyes allow them to see for long distances, and the flexible pupil can contract to a pinhole in bright light and expand widely to see in the dark. Of all the cats, however, the leopard's fur color varies the most between individuals. Color usually is a reflection of geographic location. Leopards of the desert are pale yellow; those living among grasses take on a deeper shade of yellow; and in dense forests melanic leopards, known as black panthers, are comfortable hidden among the trees."
Leopards are Solitary cats as well. They raise their cubs, hunt, and protect their territory all on thier own. They hunt their prey and then drag it up a tree to feed. They are one of the strongest of the big cats in its ability to carry its prey.
"The jaguar is the New World's only large cat species. It looks like a leopard, but it has whorled spots with dark centers. It is a stout, powerful, big-headed animal that is found in watery habitats such as swampland and frequently flooded forests throughout central and northern South America. The jaguar is threatened by competition with domestic species, hunting and habitat loss."
a jaguars hunt within a tree they drop down unexpected onto there prey with a massive killing blow.
Jaguars dvds for kids
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As I watched each different cat with its own individual story I began to see a pattern
Do all males kill cubs that aren't theirs?
The answer is yes usually. The females will occasionally win the battle but more often then not a male will succeed. The reason behind it? They want to mate their taking over a territory to do it and if there are cubs are less than a year at least she won't breed. Nature is cruel sometimes but I think looking on it you see how hard they have to work to raise their young. These cubs parents are constantly on guard ready to do whatever necessary to protect their young and their territory.