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Found 38 results

  1. Wild China Wild Sichuan This will be a trip report in almost the same way as I did with my Mongolia trip report: Where I am going to list some animals and where/when you can see them rather than doing a day by day report. Okey, let´s go. I started and ended this trip in Chengdu in the Sichuan province of China. I started my trip 4th October and was out in the field for 10 nights + 2 nights in Chengdu before and after the tour. My original plan was to spend all the time in 3 locations in Sichuan but I ended up in Shaanxi province as well. What to do when the animals don´t cooperate More about that later. This is my 3 locations for this trip and my target species: * Zoige grassland At the very edge of the Tibetan plateau towards Qinghai province. This is quite high altitude with elevation between 3000-3500 meters. My targets here is two rarely seen cats, Pallas cat and Chinese mountain cat. I have seen Pallas cat before in Mongolia but this time I was looking for better pictures of this elusive cat. Also Tibetan gazelle, Tibetan fox and Tibetan Wolf was at the very top of my wish-list. * Tangijiahe This is a protected reserve and it is in a much lower altitude. A forest mountain area where you can look for animals along the roads who follow the valleys and gorges. My target here is Golden Takin and Golden Snub nosed monkey. This endemic beautiful colored monkey can be a hard one here but we will try. I also very much hoped for Asiatic black bear who is seen very irregular but there is a chance. * Labahe A private protected area who have been closed for some time for construction work but now reopened. Same habitat as in Tangijiahe with forest mountains and valleys. This is the place to see Red panda. At least that was my goal... My guide for this trip is Roland Zeidler. Originally a birder but nowdays doing alot of mammalwatching trips as well. He is from Germany but lives outside Chengdu since long time ago and he speaks fluent chinese which is a huge benefit in this country where people still can´t say "hello" in English... So... we start with... Zoige grasslands I stayed 3 nights in the dusty Zoige town which is the place to stay if you want to explore these grasslands. The main area where we spent most of our time was 1-1½ hour drive from the town. So it´s a quite long drive there and back. Therefore we spent all of our time on the grassland, from early morning until almost midnight. All time out in the field or spotlighting from the car. Breakfast we had in the car and lunch/early dinner in local restaurant on the grassland. The first thing you will see when you enter this plateau is unfortunateley wolf skins... This is Zoige grassland, this is how it looks like. Some areas are a bit more mountainous than others. This is the area where we searched for the Chinese mountain cat. Me, looking for... I don´t know. The sunset maybe Time to jump to the exciting part, what is lurking around in these grasslands. What did I see during my time here. 1. Plateau Pika (or black-lipped Pika) is by far the most common mammal you see here. Probably also the first and last you will see. These guys are the heart of the grassland. This is the reason why this area has so much biodiversity. They are eaten by almost everyone and everything from mammals to birds and without them this area would be almost like a desert. Their numbers are incredible and they running around everywhere. Not that easy to come close though. They probably know that they are on everyone´s meny 2. Pallas cat Already on our first morning here we went to a quarry where my guide used to see this elusive cat. HUGE disappointment when we found out that they just started a railroad construction work!! straight thru the grassland and of course straight over this quarry... no more quarry and of course no more Pallas cat. He did knew another quarry, which is a good place to look for Pallas cat as they can hide among the rocks but still hunt very easy on the grassland. We made some distance to the quarry and set up our scope and start to scan the quarry. The top of the stones. The Pallas cat use to come out in the morning sun to warm up. It didn´t take long for Roland to find one! No... he found two actually! A mother and a almost fully grown kitten. Can you see him? So what to do to come closer? Hmm... rememeber this is a very elusive cat and if it´s run away into the rocks it will be gone for a couple of hours at least. My plan was to sneak closer and use the rocks as shelter and hiding behind. Just like the Pallas cat, I tried to become one A little closer... the cat is still unaware about me. I knew that the cat could be gone in any second but I still wasn´t very pleased with the distance and tried to sneak even closer... Oh shit... I have been discovered. The cat was now very aware of me and stared at me. But still not moving. This is the almost fully grown kitten and maybe he/she was a little curious about me as well. I took a chance and more or less crawled behind some rocks and I could only keep my fingers crossed that the cat would still be there when I peeked up with my camera. YES! The Pallas cat was still there and I got the shots i wanted! Such a cool looking cat with flat ears for more easy sneaking on Pikas. The next second it was gone. Obviously I have intruded to it´s comfort territory We returned to this quarry two more times and we saw the small family everytime. Couldn´t get this close anymore but amazing to watch them thru binoculars as well. Here is the mother from another angle another day. Tried to sneak on them from behind but a pair of Pallas cat eyes dedecting everything If you look really close you can also see the head from the kitten just above the mother. The huge dissapointment with the railroad work and the first quarry who were gone... turned into a big success. Very pleased with this sighting from one of my main targets of this trip. This grasslands are a really stronghold for them. The question is for how long? Until next post...
  2. ~ From Scroll: “As Long As China Has Its Tiger Farms, Wild Tigers in Asia Are on Borrowed Time”
  3. ~ This June, 2017 article published in China Daily was written by the Director of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland's Giant Panda Programme. He notes that giant panda conservation is holistic, with careful management of gene flow between captive and wild populations.
  4. ~ This June, 2017 article from Newsweek tells of the increasing demand in China for a form of traditional Chinese medicine called ‘ejiao’ which is marketed as offering anti-aging and libido-enhancing properties. The preparation of ‘ejiao’ calls for herbs blended with an extract of dried donkey hides. As with other traditional Chinese medicine nostrums there is increased demand for animal products from other countries, in this case donkeys from Africa.
  5. ~ This June, 2017 article from the U.K. Guardian explains the impact that traditional medicine is having in demand for elephant parts, leading to increased poaching within Myanmar. Inevitably much of the elephant trade is taken across the border to China, where the elephant trade continues to flourish.
  6. This program has been a long time in the making but I am so proud of what we've ultimately created here in collaboration with Alex Walker's Serian Camps. As you can see from the brochure below, these educational safaris are intended to provide a deeply immersive safari experience to middle and high school kids. In addition to young people from the rest of the world, we're also working hard to attract 12-18 year old youngsters from Asia - with the hope that after they have lived through an incredibly interactive and engaging experience in that ultimate classroom - the Masai Mara - they will go home with a deeper appreciation of wildlife and begin the long task of changing & challenging deep-rooted traditions and mindsets in their own communities. Each cohort at the camp is designed to have 18 participants, divided into 3 groups of 6 and the best case scenario for us would be groups of kids from different continents attending camp simultaneously for a truly enriching & global experience. Alex & Robyn at Serian were hugely supportive of this idea when we floated it to them and have offered their facilities (Serian Main Camp) and expertise to us at extremely discounted rates. Smita (my sister & partner at Chalo Africa, who was a science teacher & school head before we started CA) identified the core curriculum areas of the program and the Serian guide trainers then designed the safari along the lines of a simplified version of the FGASA. It's a lot of serious conservation education disguised as a lot of fun. Thank you @@Tom Kellie for your many insights into Asia and for introducing us to your ex-student Wenhui Qiu, a graduate of the prestigious Peking University, who also holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Education from the University of Oregon at Eugene (how serendipitous was that?). Wenhui is now on board helping Chalo Africa with this program & this will be his baby to launch in the Chinese speaking world in the months to come. Wenhui speaks fluent English and is passionate about both conservation & education - he will accompany each of the Asian school groups and be the perfect intermediary between the English speaking guides and the Mandarin-Chinese speaking children. He tells me that he has also joined ST. Nihao to Safaritalk @@Vanfei - & we look forward to reading your updates on this and other wildlife/wilderness news from China. If there are any teachers out there (@@Nature Traveler - calling you) or Scout leaders or Youth League people or others in charge of youth organizations or groups who are reading this & who would like their groups to participate in this program, please PM me and I'll send you all the info you require. As a SafariTalker, you already know that your children could not be in more capable hands than Serian's. For your reading pleasure, here is a brochure version of the program in English & Simplified Mandarin Chinese. @@Tom Kellie - could you please clone Wenhui into Vietnamese for me? And as always, thank you so much Hari (@madaboutcheetah), for the use of your fabulous cheetah photo (our cover photo for 2015). Sangeeta
  7. China is working to establish a new model of national park, with much higher standards that the current protected areas of the Chinese nation. The first national park would be Sanjiangyuan, one huge area located in Northern Tibet that would protect about a thousand of snow leopards, tibetan antilopes, wild yaks. The area is currently protected as a nature reserve. It is one site where the Panthera NGO is working to conserve the mighty cat. I have been really close to the area in 2011, I saw huge herds of chiru and tibetan gazelles, tibetan foxes and tibetan wolves.
  8. ~ This article from the U.K. Guardian explains how strong Chinese demand for the solid red beaks of Rhinoplax vigil, Helmeted Hornbill, is resulting in high levels of poaching. Carvers in China use the red casques to carve decorative trinkets for wealthy consumers. Poachers kill both juvenile and adult hornbills, decimating populations of the slow-breeding species.
  9. ~ This article from the U.K. Daily Mail describes the plight of a lone polar bear in the Grandview Aquarium, which is located within a shopping mall in humid Guangzhou, China. Animals Asia has called for release of the polar bear which experiences continuous disturbance from visitors rapping on the enclosure windows hoping to rouse it for selfie photography. The polar bear isn't alone in the shopping mall, as belugas, a walrus and a wolf are also on display there.
  10. ~ This article from the U.K. Daily Mail is an investigative report of the tiger bone aphrodisiac alcohol industry in China. Nouveau riche middle class consumers buy tiger bone wine to enhance their virility. The tigers whose bones are vital ingredients in the wine are kept in squalid conditions. A wildlife park near Guilin in southern China has 1,800 tigers, which are seriously maltreated before being killed for their bones.
  11. I found an article concerning the Wildcamel Association, who works to conserve the last wild camel herds from Asia. I quote some few information and let the link here:
  12. Even now, there seems to be a lot of speculation and denial about where the elephants are destined. read Christina Russo's article in National Geographic
  13. ~ This article, from the U.K. Guardian, describes the results of a Greenpeace survey of the Sichuan province giant panda sanctuaries. Greenpeace notes that China's regulations to protect the endangered species are ineffectual. A Sichuan forestry official notes that illegal deforestation is occurring, at a rate characterized by a local Greenpeace official as “shocking”. Other endangered forest species include the clouded leopard and the snow leopard and the red panda.
  14. Guinea's former wildlife director, who was also Guinea's representative to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), has been been arrested on wildlife trafficking charges. Many dozen chimpanzees and 10 gorillas were sent to safari parks in China “utilizing travel routes established by Chinese development companies.”
  15. This article from NewsDay Zimbabwe tells that Zimbabwe has exported 20 elephants to private game parks in China. It states that the elephants had been “destroying vegetation in Hwange National Park and damaging the crops and livelihoods of neighbouring communities”.
  16. This CNN report questions China's commitment to protection for such species as pangolins, river dolphins, tigers and elephants. Dr. Peter Li, China specialist of the Humane Society International says: "Panda conservation is not an accurate indicator of wildlife protection work in China". Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, notes that a disproportionate share of conservation funds have been allocated for giant pandas while such other species as pangolins are comparatively ignored.
  17. This research article from Biological Conservation presents results of a study of local perceptions of predator impacts on domestic flocks in Gansu Province, northwestern China. Herders typically favorably viewed snow leopards while having negative views of wolves, bears and lynx. The study emphasizes the necessity to avoid generalizing the results, as local perceptions vary according to contingent factors.
  18. They say the Taiwan extinct sub-specie was in fact not distinct tun the continental sub-specie. They state there is now really good habitat on Taiwan, deforestations and hunting are controlled. Preys are now overcrowding the forests of the islands. The country could hold a significant population of clouded leopard.
  19. One of the Eurasia’s most abundant bird species has declined by 90% and retracted its range by 5000km since 1980 a new study shows. Yellow-breasted Bunting was once distributed over vast areas of Europe and Asia, its range stretching from Finland to Japan. New research published in the journal Conservation Biology suggest that unsustainable rates of hunting principally in China have contributed to a catastrophic loss of numbers and also in the areas in which it can now be found. “The magnitude and speed of the decline is unprecedented among birds distributed over such a large area, with the exception of the Passenger Pigeon, which went extinct in 1914 due to industrial-scale hunting”, said Dr Johannes Kamp from the University of Münster, the lead author of the paper. Detail here: :(
  20. Great news coming from China. There are still some great victories in wildlife conservation: Some authors are even considering higher numbers as the oficial ones.
  21. Reports To read the full article click here. @@Tom Kellie are you aware of the above project?
  22. Reports To read the full article click here. When in some places deforestation takes place at such a rapid rate, what other unknown wildlife species are being lost?
  24. Reports To read the full article click here.
  25. a cause for optimism? or just cynical politics?

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