March 9, 2021Lu Shegay & Zihao Yu

Gone Fishing: The Fight to Save One of the World's Most Elusive Wild Cats


February 17, 2021

The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is an endangered wild cat species. The Fishing Cat Project (TFCP) started in 2010 and has initiated several conservation projects in the local community to create awareness about the field. In 2020, fishing cat scientists, researchers, and conservationists from around the world came together to form the Fishing Cat Conservation Alliance. The nonprofit has declared the month of February Fishing Cat February to raise awareness of the mammal and support conservation efforts.

Commentaries of IALA

Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is vulnerable according to IUCN Redlist, which lives in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand and uncertain in Indonesia (Jawa) and Viet Nam. The survival of the species depends on the adequate protection of remaining wetlands in Asia, and the prevention of indiscriminate trapping, snaring, and poisoning.

“Fishing Cat is included in CITES Appendix II and protected by national legislation over most of its range. Hunting is prohibited in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Viet Nam. In Viet Nam Fishing Cat has the highest level of protection under the main species protection law (decree 32/2006/ND-CP) and is included in appendix I B. This completely prohibits any exploitation or commercial trade. There is no protection afforded outside protected areas in Nepal”.

EPS Inaugurates Asia’s Largest Livestock Research Centre in Salem


February 23, 2021

The Advanced Institute of Integrated Research in Livestock and Animal Science (AIIRLAS), the largest in Asia, was inaugurated on Monday, near Thalaivasal. The facility was constructed at Rs 1,023 crore and spans 1,100 acres.

“The government decided to promote cross-breeding of cows in order to increase milk production. Towards this, a research centre would be established at Karumandurai, in Salem, at a cost of Rs 100 crore soon. Cross-bred cows will give 35 to 45 litres of milk a day, which will boost the rural economy. A veterinary research centre will be established in Ooty at a cost of Rs 46 crore.”

Commentaries of IALA

White Revolution was one of the biggest dairy development movements, by the Indian Government, in India in 1970 and it helped increase milk productivity. The Advanced Institute of Integrated Research in Livestock and Animal Science (AIIRLAS) is a cross-breeding cattle research center. Animal Husbandry Minister Udumalai K Radhakrishnan said that research centers have been opened across Tamil Nadu to protect the native breeds of cattle.

People should know the basic facts in the dairy industry. Farmed animal welfare shall be protected and cruelty practices shall be prohibited in the general process.

Learn more on the fact behind the dairy industry here.

Massive Oil Spill off the Coast of Israel Covers Sea Turtles in Thick Tar


February 23, 2021

Israel is in an urgent race to save wildlife after an oil tanker leaked in the Mediterranean Sea. This is Israel’s most serious ecological disaster in recent years. As per a statement from Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, sticky, black tar began washing up and contaminating the beaches last Wednesday, as a result of the stormy weather. It is feared that another storm with high waves will begin this week.

Thousands of trained volunteers across Israel are helping with beach restoration efforts, which include rescuing marine animals. Israel Sea Turtle Rescue Center confirmed in a post on its Facebook page that it is treating multiple turtles covered in tar. Sadly, out of 190km of beach in Israel, 170km were hit by the oil spill, from Rosh Hanikra to Zikim. The nature reserves affected include Shakmona, Habonim, Rosh Hanikra, Tel Dor, Palmachim, Nitzanim, Zik Gedor, Hasharon Beach.

Commentaries of IALA

Oil spills are one of the major threats to the oceans, their inhabitants. Oil spills have happened lately and destroyed certain parts of the oceans with their living organisms. They usually occur due to the breakdown of the equipment or people’s recklessness. Oil spills are very harmful to lots of aquatic animals, especially sea turtles, marine birds, mammals, as well as fish and shellfish. A lot of birds and aquatic animals mistakenly consume and/or digest oil, thus, become poisoned, injured, or killed.

Only 1 of 52 Pilot Whales Survives Mass Stranding in Indonesia


February 24, 2021

Just one of the 52 short-finned pilot whales that washed up on an Indonesian shore last week survived, an official said. Volunteers and local authorities on the island of Madura initially managed to save three whales, pushing them back out to sea. But the trio became stranded again at a different location, and two of them died, according to Permana Yudiarso, the head of the marine resources agency in neighboring Bali island.

Researchers are now trying to figure out why the whales ended up on land, just the latest mass beaching incident in the country with the world’s longest coastline. Observers cited water pollution, extreme weather, and shipping activity as among the possible causes of the stranding — though they cautioned they could only speculate.

Commentaries of IALA

The pilot whale is a species of dolphins, despite their name, and are highly social aquatic animals. There are two species of the pilot whale, which are long-finned pilot whales and short-finned pilot whales ranging all over the world. Although the conservation status of both species is not identified, they are threatened by a lot of factors, such as hunting, pollution, and use for food consumption in Japan and the Faroe Islands. Pilot whales have also been kept in captivity in various marine parks since the 1940s. Japanese whalers were hunting short-finned pilot whales and exploiting hundreds of these species in Hokkaido, Sanriku, Taiji, Izu, Okinawa. Short-finned pilot whales are currently listed in Appendix II of CITES.

Mystery Bird Not Seen in 172 Years Makes Surprise Reappearance in Borneo Forest


February 25, 2021

Three years ago, Panji Gusti Akbar was flipping through the pages of Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago when he came across a photo of a bird with brown wings and a black stripe across its brow, appropriately named the black-browed babbler (Malacocincla perspicillata). On the map beside the bird, there was a question mark, indicating that no one knew where the species lived. In fact, this bird hadn’t been sighted for the past 172 years.

Then, in October 2020, Akbar received a message from a colleague on WhatsApp with a picture of a living bird with brown wings, a gray breast, and a distinctive black stripe on its brow. Two men had accidentally caught it in South Kalimantan province, in Indonesian Borneo, and had taken photos of it before releasing it unharmed.

Akbar flipped through his entire field guide, but only found one bird that matched the picture on his phone: the black-browed babbler. But at first, he had trouble believing what he was seeing.

Akbar and several colleagues published a report on Feb. 25 in BirdingASIA about the rediscovery of the black-browed babbler. It offers new information about the physical appearance of the bird, which has slightly different colors on its iris, bill, and legs compared to the holotype. This is probably because the specimen had become discolored during the taxidermy process, Akbar says.

Commentaries of IALA

The black-browed babbler is a species of songbirds native to Indonesia. In 2006, these birds were classified as Vulnerable under the IUCN Red List, however, in 2016, they were assessed as Data Deficient. These songbirds are threatened by agricultural activities, logging, drought fires, etc. Currently, the population of this species remains unknown, and, according to some studies, birds have a limited range and may be threatened by poaching.

Dubai Cat Cafe Hopes Rescues Will Find Purr-fect New Homes


February 28, 2021

The Ailuromania Cat Cafe was the Middle East's first cat cafe when it opened in 2015 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. It also works as an adoption center. “The cafe's name Ailuromania is a play on the Greek-derived English word for a lover of cats: ailurophile.” Among the 25 cats of the Café, the original residents were strays taken in over the years, and most of the cats are from a government-run animal shelter in the neighboring emirate of Ras al Khaimah. The owner advises the visitors on the welfare of cats including “advising people not to hold them or wake them up.” Since Dubai began lifting coronavirus lockdown measures last summer in 2020, the cafe re-opened with capacity and sanitization restrictions.

Commentaries of IALA

Domestic cats shall be sterilized to control the number as well as protect their health and welfare. A large number of stray cats in Dubai are abandoned on the streets by their owner, but owners shall take responsibility for their cats and never abandon them. This café works as an adoption center to increase adoption, and at the same time find homes for cats in the public shelter.

Since 2018, it is illegal to abandon animals in UAE, and in August 2020, anyone caught feeding strays would be fined by Dubai to control the spread of diseases. Animal welfare activists in Dubai have been calling for “a large-scale trap-neuter-release scheme and feeding programs to bring numbers down humanely”.

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