Playground/Animal Park Tallahassee
In 2000, CLaRF helped
transport the "Mozart Kittens" to their new home at The
Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science.
Now, of course, the kittens are no kittens anymore, they have become
adult Panthers. Nacoche, which means "Little Girl", is the female's
name. Choachobee, meaning "Panther", is the male Panther's name. Since
they are native Floridians they received Indian names, of course.
Visit To Germany
They also received a playground! The first part of it, that is. In time
we shall add more pieces to turn it into a full enrichment playground.
Cat Life paid for the materials and the welding.
And everybody pitched in to set it up:
Nacoche and Chobee are secured in their holding cages - we sure did not
like for them to "help" us...and the rest is teamwork...
After several hours of work in the Florida heat ...
...the play structure was ready to go...
...so were the Panthers! After some initial uncertainty...
...Nacochee declared the tube to be HER napping place!
Munich and Dresden
In areas with many
farmers big cats have a hard time all over the world. When we visited
Africa in 2001 we learned about the trapping and relocating of Cheetahs
and Leopards who had started killing livestock.
The same problems exists for jaguars in South America - namely in
Venezuela. Dr. Henning Wiesner, the director of the Zoo Munich,
has traveled to Venezuela several times to try to establish a
functioning program for anaethesizing and relocating the big cats. He
enlists the help of the local people, farmers and hunters alike, to
educate them about this alternative for dealing with the cats. After
all, all the cats in South America are protected by law. The local
cooperation is of course crucial for success. Unfortunately, the
political landscape in Venezuela is not very stable. Dr. Wiesner said
he had run into major problems trying to set up a functioning program.
We hope that the future will bring good news. CLaRF offered a grant if
a working program can be put together.
The Zoo Dresden
was almost completely destroyed during World War II. It was partially
rebuilt during the following years. However, when Dr. H. Luecker took
over in 1991 he had a lot of work to do: all the exhibits were done
with concrete and iron bars - just like the old times. Since then, Dr.
Luecker has done an exceptional job in modernizing the entire zoo. He
establishes enrichment programs for all the animals. He took us on a
tour through the zoo where we noticed that all the animals recognized
him by lifting their heads of even coming up to greet him! His efforts
are well appreciated. CLaRF expressed an interest in another program
Dr. Luecker mentioned. He wants to help a small zoo in Kirgistan to
establish a snow leopard research program. They want to take care of
injured and orphaned cats as well as leading outdoor studies to collect
data about the snow leopard population. However, it seems there have
been problems since we haven't heard back from Dr. Luecker.
European wildcats are
somewhat plumper than the average housecat: Their
legs and paws are wider, the hairs are longer and the coat itself is
thicker. They have a thick, bushy tail with a blunt tip. The dark rings
are clearly visible.
CLaRF talked with Karsten Hupe from the University of
Goettingen/Germany. In one of the German magazines there was an article
about the wildcat project he works on for his doctoral thesis. He uses
blowdarts (just iike Dr. Wiesner does for the jaguars) to immobilize
the cats. Examinations are performed, measurements are taken, and the
cats are outfitted with a radiotransmitting collar (it disintegrates
after a while) to collect data.
The European Wildcats are an endangered species, in fact their behavior
is less known than that of lions! The wildcats live mostly in the
mountain ranges of Northern Germany. Outdoor studies in this area are
time consuming and work intensive, involving a lot of driving around
and then tracking the cats on foot. Karsten's project is awaited with
excitement by all the experts. It will be one of the first thorough
studies of the elusive wildcats wih new and interesting data. CLaRF
offered a grant for the travel expenses involved. The Niedersachsen
Government Agency for Environment and Ecology finances the rest of the
Our official cooperation did not start until 2003. On the following
page there is some initial information about the wildcat behavior.
The female cats,
the queens, occupy a territory of about 200 to 2000 ha
(appr. 500 to 5000 acres), the male cats command a range of about 3500
to 5000 ha (appr. 2000 to 8750 acres). The cats avoid people, and since
they are strictly nocturnal it is very challenging to collect
information about them. Interestingly, a blood test revealed that there
has not been any crossbreeding between wildcats and housecats during
the last 25 to 30 years.
The queen has a litter of about two to three kittens, mostly in January
to March. The kittens live with their mothers for about 10 months.
After that - in time for the new breeding season - mom chases them away.
So far, Cat Life and
has not given a grant to Africat. There have been changes in their
board of directors (Lise Hansen left) - we don't know yet if there will
be contact in the future.
To all friends of Cat Life
Foundation a big THANK YOU for your interest and your help. May the
coming year be a good one for all of us.
We are still working on setting up
the by-laws in the States. There already has been an initial contact
and visit with a big cat sanctuary in Texas - we are waiting to hear
The cooperation on the Wildcat Project has, of course, started. There
will be results in the next CLaRF report!
And - as usual - we are always open for new contacts and
recommendations! If you want further information about the programs
mentioned please let us know.
This year the CLaRF report will be available on our website only. The
tax return for the year 2002 can be obtained from us upon request (see
Cat Life Foundation
P.O. Box 16126
Tallahassee, FL 32317-6126
Phone: (850) 491-1300
Web Site: www.catlifefoundation.org