The US Senate passed the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act in September which is intended to protect increasingly vulnerable predators by provided financial aid to projects conserving such species as lions, leopards, jaguars and African wild dogs. The fund will be managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The bill was passed by the House after a considerable outpouring of public support.
Scientists flying over the Chukchi Sea in August as part of a survey for oil exploration observed nine bears swimming far from shore. One bear was swimming sixty miles out. Although strong swimmers, bears do drown as a result of exhaustion or starvation. The loss of ice cap is forcing them to forage for food over greater distances. Satellite data showed the ice pack this summer at the second lowest extent on record set in 2005.
Indonesia has agreed to expand the Tesso Nilo National Park created in 2004 from 94,000 acres to 200,000 acres (81,000 hectares). Sumatra's rainforests are being destroyed by unsustainable logging. The Tesso Nilo region has incredibly high plant diversity and is one of the last remaining blocks of rainforest large enough to support endangered Sumatran elephants and tigers. Ten individual Sumatran tigers have been spotted in the park.
Russia has created three national parks in the Far East to protect wild Amur tiger populations. The parks, the first to be designated such as opposed to the restricted zapovedniks, cover almost a million and half acres (607,000 hectares). In 1940 there were only about 40 Amur tigers in the wild, today there are around 400 because of conservation efforts. However, tigers are at a tipping point in the wild. India's tiger population has dwindled to 1400 due to habitat loss and poaching by organized crime syndicates. Tigers occupy less than 7% of their former range. Conservationists estimate only 4,000 remain in the wild. These magnificent felines face a very uncertain future unless drastic measures are taken to wipe out the despicable trade in tiger parts, and establish large enough protected areas for the big cats to breed successfully.
Florida is the home of the only big feline more threatened with extinction than the tiger. The Florida panther is making its last stand in the southern tip of the state where the last breeding population exists. The cougar was found throughout the deep south at one time. Today, only an estimated 100 animals remain in the wild. In 2007, fifteen panthers were tragically killed by autos. These beautiful felines do not deserve being treated as mere "road kill".
source: WWF, Defenders of Wildlife