Archive for November 2013

Why No More Panda Viewing

November 28, 2013

I was just catching up with my mammalwatching blogging and started to answer a question on why the Panda viewing had been close down on a pretty long and old thread, but thought this might be of interest to the larger community now so I decided to start a new thread….

So, why have the Panda trips stopped?

In a word, Weibo!  The Chinese version of Twitter, with just a hell of a lot more followers….obviously.

 Basically there were pictures of several foreignors’ expeditions to the region showing close up and intrusive viewing of the Pandas in the Qinlings.  BAsically people like myself published the expedition trip reports on their blogs and then the Weibo community found the reports and started going crazy with anti-foreignor rhetoric – “the foreignors are ecoterrorizing our pandas….”  They pointed out that rich foreignors were ecoterrorizing their national treasure and that viewing pandas was in fact illegal and the entire venture should have never been allowed in the first place.

It was pretty shocking to have one of my contacts in China send me a Weibo link a couple years back stating, “Coke, you are famous!” and then seeing my blog cut and pasted all over the Chinese internet ….

Here are the  links:


.And seeing several others from this website and others being used as evidence. There was one trip by a Bear Ecotour Operation out of Canada that evidently spent a lot of time with a new born panda in a cave that really pissed people off there.   The central government got wind of all of this and shut down the entire operation.  For good.  I can honestly say I had no idea that my amazing expedition to the region would be used to support closing it down….Truly sad, and actually a bit humiliating.  Overly ambitious trackers were the official reason, but I think some heads rolled for sure.  As a result many of the nature reserves were shut tight to foreingers – some have since opened up and some are still shut.  Very sad in deed.

Possible Oncilla Split, Brazil

November 28, 2013

I take no position on splitting / lumping here, but will just report a claim to split oncilla. Here is a link:

(Oh, great — a species that I’ll never see can now be considered two species that I’ll never see….)

/ Charles Hood, Palmdale, California

Wolves boost food for Yellowstone’s Grizzlies

November 25, 2013

Wolves and grizzlies aren’t best buddies. Burly bears can barge in on a feasting pack, making off with the wolves’ fresh kill. Wolves have been known to dig into bear dens and snag a cub.

But after gray wolves returned to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, grizzly bears ate more berries in the summer for a pre-hibernation nutritional boost, researchers reported Sept. 4 in the Journal of Animal Ecology.


New Trip Report – Svalbaard

November 24, 2013

Spitzerbergen, 2013: Pieter-Jan D’Hondt’s great photos and account of 5 months in Svalbaard, with species including Narwhal and Polar Bear.

Pieter’s trip was one of the more inventive uses of the EU’s Erasmus (aka Orgasmus) programme, that encourages university exchanges for students.


There’s a Snow Leopard on the roof

November 22, 2013

Wow .. if facebook is to be believed… then wow

A snow leopard cub climbed up a Ger, a traditional nomad-tent, in Western Mongolia. It was attracted to a bag of meat stored away on the roof. Later the herders captured the cat and released in the nearby mountains.


New Trip Report: Quebec and Ontario

November 22, 2013

A new report from Vladimir Dinets who took a road trip from Rhode Island to James Bay, Quebec.

Quebec, Ontario and a bit of New Hampshire, 2013: Vladimir Dinets, 1 week & 26 species including Star-nosed Mole, Red (Algonquin) Wolf, Marten and Northern & Southern Bog Lemmings.


New Trip Reports: Kashmir & Indonesia

November 19, 2013

Kashmir, 2013: Alain Guillemont, 8 days & 7 species including 11 Himalayan Black Bears in a morning!, Markhor and Goral.

Indonesia (Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Borneo and Bali), 2013: Dave Redfield and Richard White (INDRI tours), 22 days & 52 species including Pen-tail Treeshrew, Otter Civet and Mitred Langurs (all in Way Kambas, Sumatra). Man, I have to get to Way Kambas….