A little cat goes a long way

Jaguarundis have the second-greatest north-south distribution of any wild cat in the Americas. They have historically been known to range from Argentina all the way to Arizona. However, as no one has ever photographed a wild jaguarundi  in Arizona, the question remains – are they actually there?

“The jaguarundi, for me, represents a big mystery,” says Giordano. “In some areas, they’re more like ghosts.”  Although it has been assumed that they are common and widespread in certain areas, basic information on where they live is incomplete. In Arizona, for instance, jaguarundis are frequently identified, but no evidence has been shown of their existence in the state.

Read more about the hunt for the jaguarundi in Arizona, featuring S.P.E.C.I.E.S. founder and director Anthony Giordano, below:

A little cat goes a long way

A clouded future: Asia’s enigmatic clouded leopard threatened by palm oil

The clouded leopard is so elusive that we didn’t know there were two species of this cat until 2006. Its elusiveness has made conservation efforts very difficult. Although both species are listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, we know very little about their behavior or ecology. Because of this, they have been largely overlooked by both conservationists and the public.

It is known, however, that palm oil production is greatly affecting the clouded leopard. The clouded leopard’s habitat lies within three of the world’s top palm oil producing nations: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Palm oil production is destroying the natural habitat of this small big cat, and it is difficult to know how the cat will adapt to these huge changes. Along with palm oil, poaching, trapping, and a decline in prey have also negatively affected the clouded leopard.

Read more about the different challenges, solutions, and future predictions that palm oil production will have on the clouded leopard in Mongabay’s recent article, featuring S.P.E.C.I.E.S. director and founder Anthony Giordano, here.

Charcoal and cattle ranching tearing apart the Gran Chaco

Do you know where your charcoal comes from?

A recent investigation by the NGO Earthsight has found that the trees being cleared for cattle ranching in the South American Gran Chaco is ending up as charcoal on the shelves of grocery stores across Europe.

“The clearance of the Chaco forest is one of the largest and fastest losses of natural forest ever seen,” says Sam Lawson, director of Earthsight. At its current deforestation rate, Earthsight estimates that 200,000 hectares could be gone from the Chaco’s forest this year.

This report affirms what S.P.E.C.I.E.S. director Anthony Giordano has seen firsthand of the rapid and extensive clearing and conversion of land in the Gran Chaco. This is threatening the hundreds of bird, mammal, and reptile species that call the Gran Chaco home.

Read more about the impact of charcoal and forest clearing in the Gran Chaco in Mongabay’s recent article, featuring S.P.E.C.I.E.S., here.

Support for the Endangered Species Act

As part of the Endangered Species Coalition, S.P.E.C.I.E.S. is proud to join The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Earth Justice, Endangered Species Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, and WeAct in garnering support for the Endangered Species Act.

The ESA is essential for conserving and protecting species that are endangered or threatened. It has been fundamental to the survival and recovery of imperiled species such as the Grizzly bear, the Gray wolf, and the Florida panther.

Yet, many of our native species still need our help. There are currently over 1,200 species listed on the Endangered Species Act in the United States. S.P.E.C.I.E.S. has launched its first project in the United States, California Carnivores, in an effort to draw greater attention to the major threats facing carnivores and other wildlife in our backyard. The Endangered Species Act is a crucial aspect to conserving these carnivore communities.

It is paramount that we protect the integrity of this important Act. Without it, many of our native species will soon face extinction. If your organization wishes to support the Endangered Species Act, join us in signing this letter of support: http://www.endangered.org/organizational-support-for-the-e…/

Make for the Planet: S.P.E.C.I.E.S. partners with Conservation X Labs

This Earth Day weekend, the Smithsonian Institution’s Earth Optimism Summit is hosting Make for the Planet, a “hackathon”. At this event, 17 multidisciplinary teams composed of coders, engineers, designers, and creative thinkers will compete using software and other technology to develop innovative solutions to challenging conservation problems.

Make for the Planet is part of a 3 day summit that brings together leaders, scientists, environmentalists, artists, and international media to celebrate a shifting focus from conservation threats and problems to innovations and solutions. The Earth Optimism Summit will culminate with a science-fair style presentation and judging of each team’s unique conservation solution.

S.P.E.C.I.E.S. is partnering with Conservation X Labs for the event and Anthony Giordano, our founder and director, is attending the event on behalf of both organizations.

Follow the event on twitter at @EarthOptimism

Watch the live stream here.

Channel Island Foxes v Jaguars: A night of comedy with Santa Barbara Zoo

On Saturday, November 5, Channel Island Foxes will be pitted against Jaguars in a comedy face-off, presented by the Santa Barabara Zoo at the Discovery Pavilion.

S.P.E.C.I.E.S. founder and director, Anthony Giordano, goes up against Tim Connan, a biologist for the U.S. National Park Service at Channel Islands National Park. The two experts are paired up with a comedian from LA’s Improv theatre and “compete” against each other for points, with local celebrities judging.

So come along to the Discovery Pavilion this Saturday to find out whether Channel Island Foxes or Jaguars will come out on top!

Doors open at 7 p.m. for 7:30 p.m. performances. Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for Santa Barbara Zoo members. Purchase at the door or online at www.sbzoo.org. For more information, call 962-5339. Seating is first-come, first-served; early arrival suggested.

Student Conference on Conservation Science – New York

The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation is organizing its seventh annual Student Conference on Conservation Science in New York on 20-22 of October. Graduate students, post-docs and early-career professionals are invited to take part in the only international series of conservation conferences featuring students. The event provides an opportunity to network, gain experience, present and get feedback on their work.

Prizes are awarded for best talk, speed talk and poster.

S.P.E.C.I.E.S. founder and director, Anthony Giordano, will be attending the event as an advisor and mentor to international students.

For more information on how to attend please see the American Museum of Natural History website.