Sustainability: October 2009 Archives

The Indian Cheetah: Return From Extinction?

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indian cheetah 2.jpgAsiatic cheetahs once were the dominant inhabitants of the Indian grasslands. Today none are left anywhere but in Iran, where 100 are still surviving. Few Asiatic cheetahs are raised in captivity, and only one litter has been bred in India. They were called "hunting leopards" during Britain's colonialism of India because they were used by the royalty to hunt wild antelope until the cats themselves became hunters' trophies. Habitat loss to growing farmlands also led to the cheetah's eventual extinction.

But reintroducing them is not an easy task either. Iran refused India's requests for two Asiatic cheetahs and would not let them have samples from a captive cheetah that might enable scientists to clone the species. As a result, India is considering importing African cheetahs instead of the Asiatic ones. Because there are few differences between them scientists do not think there will be a problem with introducing the African subspecies.

Some environmentalists are concerned that the cheetahs will be living in a huge zoo-like environment and not truly in the wild. Other threats include poaching due to pecuniary causes or genetic similarities, which cause deficient immune systems and, in cheetahs, deformed tails. Another danger is farmers' concerns for their livestock, which may lead them to hunt the cats. However, cheetahs, preferring wild prey, do not actually kill domesticated animals if they can help it. The males, however, will include farmland as part of their territory, causing problems. (Females do not mark territories.)

Hopefully the Indian government will succeed in its efforts to import the cheetahs, because they are the only big cats not found in India, as their tiger and lion populations are growing. And - hopefully soon - the fastest land animal in the world will again prevail on the plains of India.

More Information:
India plans return of the cheetah
Asiatic Cheetah
India asks for roadmap for reintroduction of cheetahs

Top Ten Things To Do For The Environment

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1. Cut up 6-pack rings because animals can choke on these.
lbd.jpg2. Avoid balloons or other flimsy plastic items. Turtles can choke on these because they mistake them for jellyfish and eat them.
3. Recycle everything that can be recycled. Buy recycled paper or notebooks at the store.
4. Try to reduce use of heat or air conditioning. Instead, turn on the fan or don a handy sweater.
5. Try to get out of using your car. Instead you can buy a bike or, if it is a short distance, walk.  
6. Plant trees in your garden. That reduces pollution in the air and gives shade.   
7. Reduce usage of water by not turning it on full blast in the sink or turning it off while you wash in the shower.
8. Turn off lights or the television when you leave a room: it saves electricity.  
9. Don't throw any food out the car window. That teaches animals to hunt by the road and eventually they get run over.
10. If you don't need bags at the grocery store, say it. That reduces plastic usage (see above) and saves paper. Another option is reusable bags.   

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Sustainability category from October 2009.

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