Tell the feds you want a Chicagoland NWR

Tell the FWS that Chicago and Milwaukee would like Hackmatack, a new wildlife refuge they could drive to. You might see whooping cranes, river otter, cougars, blandings turtles and all kinds of birds there. They take comments until April 27 and are set to decide this fall.

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NY wants to bring bobcat hunting close to NYC

NY wants to double the number of bobcats hunted by expanding when and where they can be shot or trapped–all the way the suburbs of New York City. The new hunting area will include the burbs around Cold Spring and Woodbury Commons outlet mall.

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Mexican ranch welcomes jaguars and animal tourists

Rancho El Aribabi, a conservation ranch about 30 miles into Mexico, is working with Sky Alliance to save local wildlife. They’ve caught pictures of rare and elusive jaguars. You can support them with a visit. Coatis possible.

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Belarus fox shoots hunter–but prosecutors doubt it; Rescued FL bobcat an online hit

Belarus fox shoots hunter–but prosecutors doubt it; Rescued FL bobcat an online hit

Keep reading Belarus fox shoots hunter–but prosecutors doubt it; Rescued FL bobcat an online hit

India has nearly half the world’s tigers

Russia is a strong tiger supporter, but India has nearly half of the endangered cats and promotes tiger tourism at a growing number of reserves.

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Can even Putin stop poaching for fun and tiger body parts?

Tiger summit yields $300 million in pledges to double the population by 2022.

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Arizona Gets its First Wild Ocelot

Sky Alliance 2008 ocelot pix

For the first time ever, an ocelot has been photographed living wild in Arizona, the Sky Island Alliance announced. This small, spotted cat was previously found only in the southern tip of Texas.

The picture was dates Nov. 9, but just physically picked up from a motion-activated wildlife camera last week in Cochise County. That’s in the southeast corner of Arizona. Geography buffs will notice that Arizona doesn’t even touch Texas. We’ve got 50 miles of New Mexico in between. “This record from Arizona places ocelots over 200 miles north in latitude from where they are found in Texas,” the Sky Alliance says. It looks like its also 200-plus miles west.

IUCN shows ocelots in NE Mexico only animalfiles show them in SE & NE Mexico

This ocelot may come from a population on the other coast of Mexico. Some rangemaps out there, like this one from theanimalfiles, show the ocelot living in both northeast and northwest, Mexico, but not in between. The preeminent international authority on animal species, the IUCN Red List, shows them only in the northeast and not even touching the United States. It would be a huge boon for diversity of the species if these two prongs of the population could meet up.

Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) are listed as endangered in both the U.S. and Mexico. They used to range up to Louisiana and Arkansas but were wiped out when farmers cleared out grasslands in the 1930s. Its other

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Jaguars, Extinct in US, Found Within 30 Miles of Border

A jaguar has been confirmed living–or at least roaming–within 30 miles of the U.S. border with Mexico. The Cougar Network, which tracks big cat sightings, sent out word that the Sky Island Alliance has two photos of jaguars eight days apart about 90 miles north of where everyone thought they lived in Sonora.

Conservation groups like the Northern Jaguar Project,  have worked for years to bring back the big, spotted cat that once ranged as far north as the Grand Canyon across California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and possibly Louisiana.

The find would be significant because last year the last known U.S. jaguar died under circumstances that increasingly look dodgy. Arizona Fish and Game caught Macho B in a trap they said was for bears or cougars. They tranquilized and collared him. Days later the then-sluggish cat was euthanized. The capture and drugs may have hastened his death. Just last month investigators found that the capture was intentional, a possible felony since the jaguar (Panthera onca) is endangered.

Just last month the Fish and Wildlife service reversed a 2006 decision and determined that the jaguar deserves a critical habitat. Even the known population in the Northern Jaguar Preserve, 135 miles south of the border, is cut off by hundreds of miles from the the main population.

The motion-activated game cameras showed the jaguars from different sides, so no one is sure if it’s the same cat, Sergio Avila, an alliance biologist in Tucson, told the Arizona Daily

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China Says It Has Only 50 Wild Tigers Left

China’s own wildlife officials estimate that only 50 tigers survive within its borders, Xinhua News reports. And those shockingly low numbers include four subspecies. The World Wildlife Fund figures they’ll go extinct within 30 years, an estimate which seems optimistic. The IUCN range maps show that tigers are doing much better outside China, sometimes just outside its borders.

China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA) says only 20 Siberian tigers remain in China’s northeast, 20 Bengal tigers in Tibet, and 10 Indochinese tigers in the southwest. And you can pretty much forget about the South China tiger. Zhu Chunquan, conservation director of biodiversity at WWF China, told AFP: “After the late 1970s, there has been no concrete evidence to show that there are any left.”

Siberian Tiger (Pantera tigris ssp. altaic) : endangered (20 in China)

What’s weird here is that there’s a Siberian Tiger Breeding Center in Harbin, capital of northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, that brags that it’s bred 1,000 cats (some pictured here).

The center combines breeding and tourism, but has come under fire for animal cruelty. Specifically, it got in trouble for feeding the tigers live cows and sheep. That wouldn’t be bad if they were training tigers to hunt in the wild, but the videos show it’s more to make a buck off tourists. The bigger the animal killed, the more the tourist pays. Tourists on this video paid $60 (1,500 renminbi) to see a sheep slaughtered, not splurging $180 to witness a cow

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For Sure It’s a Cougar in Kansas–Let the Cougar Hysteria Begin

Cougar caught in NM Camera Trap Photo courtesy of J.N. Stuart

A century after the cougar officially disappeared from Kansas, an alert hunter on a tree stand got several photos that for the first time since 1904 prove there’s a live mountain lion in the state since 1904. This may set off another round of what Jeff Beringer, a biologist with the state of Missouri, told the Wall Street Journal was “cougar hysteria.” As the population of mountain lions grows in the west and expands east, biologists at the Cougar Network are mapping the stunning number of confirmed sightings that now hit every state west of the Mississippi and eight states east of it, including Illinois, New York and Maine.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks made the confirmation just through the photo–they didn’t find any scat, hair, tracks or other traces. The hunter snapped seven pictures in the brief moments the cat examined bait corn–moments in which most big cat witnesses don’t think clearly enough to grab their camera. A Department spokesman Mark Shoup says the cougar never stopped walking and left the area after he looked up at the hunter. According to McClatchy newspapers, the hunter took the pictures on Oct. 12 in northwest WaKeeney in Trego County.

Many cougars have been seen by people in Kansas in the last couple decades, even though the closest established population is in Colorado, hundreds of miles away. Audubon of Kansas has been keeping track of

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