Archive for January 2010

Close Mountain Lion Encounter

January 29, 2010

I’ve lived in Idaho 8 years without seeing a mountain lion. This week, my colleague had one in her backyard, and had a rather-too-close encounter. It seems to be attacking pets in the area of Bellevue, Idaho, near the resort of Sun Valley and Ketchum.

Read the story of her lion experience.

Bear Problems in Bhutan

January 29, 2010

This is a funny story from Kuensel Online, the Bhutanese newspaper. Its the drama between some disgruntled cattle herders, a couple of not very useful policeman and a Himalayan Black Bear.. very Bhutanese

Dhur bear now attacking yaks
Honey combs also go missing in Khersumphai near Jakar town
27 January, 2010 – The Himalayan black bear, which had been tormenting Dhur farmers by attacking their cattle has moved north to attack yaks, according to Dhur villagers.

The bear, which had killed six cattle and injured two in the village about a month ago, has killed two yaks, according to the Tshogpa (village representative) of Dhur, Pem Tshering.

“I received yet another complaint from the Yak herders and they said two yaks were killed,” he said.

Pem Tshering said that the villagers were losing confidence in the two policemen who were sent to help villagers hunt down the bear in December last year. He said that they could not kill the bear and were rather a burden on the villagers since they had to take care of them.

“They play dice during the day and ask people to light a camp fire, stay in group and herd the cattle together,” he said. “It’s like we are guarding the cattle rather than hunting the bear,” he said.

The Tshogpa said the two policemen were not skilled in hunting and missed two good chances of killing the bear. “I think the government should grant permission to the villagers to hunt down the bear or soldiers from the royal Bhutan army could be sent for a week to kill the predator,” he said.

It is not only the cattle in Bumthang that has to be guarded from bears. The Bee keeping house in Khersumphai, few kilometers away from Jakar town, also guards the area every night since a bear took away a honeycomb box earlier this year.

A friend of the owner of Khersumphai Bee keeping house, who helps the owner to guard the combs of another bee house, was attacked recently in Jakar but it was not reported to authorities.

By Samten Yeshi

Solenodons in the Dominican Republic

January 27, 2010

The DOminican Republic is hardly known for its mammals, but it is home to the fascinating and very rare and venomous Solenodon. Murray Lord was birding there from Ausralia and told me that “the local guide I used, a fellow called Miguel Landestoy, knew of someone who could take you out looking for Solenedons (see for a picture taken in the same area) . Unfortunately he didn’t mention that until after we’d decided not to visit the relevant area. The guy apparently uses dogs to help find them. If you are in the area, Miguel (whose contact details are in various bird trip reports) may be able to put you in contact with the bloke.”

Coke Smith’s Trip Reports and Website

January 26, 2010

Coke Smith – my mate from Washington State who lives in my memory as the man who caught me an Aplodontia and can drink more red wine than even I can – has started a new website with fabulous photos and accounts of lots of his mammal trips around the world. Links to his reports on Madagascar, South Africa, Borneo etc are on the relevant pages in . But the entire site is worth getting stuck into.

New Trip Report – Bioko Island

January 26, 2010

Bioko Island: 96-2000: Bob Berghaier’s report of mammals seen during 4 research trips to this interesting area between 1996 and 2000. He recorded 26 species including Drill, Ogilby’s Duiker and 4 species of Guenon’s. He also provided some notes on the natural history of the island and travel advice. See here for the links.

Introducing 2011 – The Big Mammal Year

January 20, 2010

South African mammal watchers and photographers par excellence – Rich Lindie and Hayley Wood – have had a brilliant idea to promote mammalian conservation and ecotourism and have a lot of fun too. They are going to spend all of 2011 travelling the world to try and see as
many – and as impressive – a bunch of mammals as they can. I met them in South Korea last year and can vouch for their motives and company. More details are on their new website

Its a great idea and I wish I was going! But if this is going to work they need support in as many ways as possible so if you’d like to sponsor them (or know others who might), can raise publicity by contacting the media or linking to their site from your own or your blog, can offer them a place to stay or help on where to find stuff then I know they’d be grateful. Details of their route will be coming soon but in the meantime you can contact them at For the timebeing please spread the word.

How cool is that!


A Pygmy Hippo in…Australia?

January 19, 2010

It’s true. Feral hog hunters recently shot a pygmy hippo in Australia.

The animal was apparently roaming free for several years.

Get the details on this pygmy hippo incident.

And, just for fun: Would sighting this pygmy hippo “count” for life lists? 🙂