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Brown 2004

Created By: Brooke Adams
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2004/jan/08/biodiversity.sciencenews 


An unnatural disaster 

[1] Climate change over the next 50 years is expected to drive a quarter of land animals and plants into extinction, according to the first comprehensive study into the effect of higher temperatures on the natural world.

The sheer scale of the disaster facing the planet shocked those involved in the research. They estimate that more than 1 million species will be lost by 2050.


The results are described as "terrifying" by Chris Thomas, professor of conservation biology at Leeds University, who is lead author of the research from four continents published today in the magazine Nature.

Much of that loss - more than one in 10 of all plants and animals - is already irreversible because of the extra global warming gases already discharged into the atmosphere. But the scientists say that action to curb greenhouse gases now could save many more from the same fate.

It took two years for the largest global collaboration of experts to make the first major assessment of the effect of climate change on six biologically rich regions of the world taking in 20% of the land surface.

The research in Europe, Australia, Central and South America, and South Africa, showed that species living in mountainous areas had a greater chance of survival because they could simply move uphill to get cooler.

Those in flatter areas such as Brazil, Mexico and Australia, were more vulnerable, faced with the impossible task of moving thousands of miles to find suitable conditions.

Birds, which had the greatest chance of escape, could in theory move to a more suitable climate but the trees and other habitat they needed for survival could not keep pace and all would die.

Professor Thomas said: "When scientists set about research they hope to come up with definite results, but what we found we wish we had not. It was far, far worse than we thought, and what we have discovered may even be an underestimate."

Among the more startling findings of the scientists was that of 24 species of butterfly studied in Australia, all but three would disappear in much of their current range, and half would become extinct.

In South Africa major conservation areas such as Kruger national park risked losing up to 60% of the species under their protection.

In the Cerrado region of Brazil - also known as the Brazilian Savannah - which covers one fifth of the country, a study of 163 tree species showed that up to 70 would become extinct. Many of the plants and trees that exist in this savannah occur nowhere else in the world. The scientists concluded that 1,700 to 2,100 of these species - between 39% and 48% of the total - would disappear.

In Europe, the continent least affected by climate change, survival rates were better, but even here under the higher estimates of climate change a quarter of the birds could become extinct, and between 11% and 17% of plant species.

One British example is the Scottish crossbill which is found nowhere else. The future climate in Scotland will be different and the birds will be unable to survive, especially with rivals from warmer climes moving in.

The crossbill would need to move to Iceland, but currently there are virtually no trees and suitable food. The scientists conclude: "It seems unlikely that the species will manage to move to Iceland."

In Mexico, studies in the Chihuahuan desert confirmed that on flatter land extinction was more likely because a small change in climate would require migrations over vast distances for survival. One third of 1,870 species examined would be in trouble and three small rodents, the smokey pocket gopher, Alcorn's pocket gopher, jico deer mouse would go the way of the dodo.

In South Africa, where many popular garden plants originate, 300 plant species were studied and more than one third were expected to die out, including South Africa's national flower, the king protea.

Commenting on the findings in Nature, two other scientists, J Alan Pounds and Robert Puschendorf, who has studied the extinction of frogs in the mountains of Costa Rica since the 1980s as a result of climate change, say their colleagues have been "optimistic".

When other factors as well as increased temperatures were taken into account the extinctions would probably be greater.

"The risk of extinction increases as global warming interacts with other factors - such as landscape modification, species invasions and build-up of carbon dioxide - to disrupt communities and ecological interactions."

So many species are already destined for extinction because it takes at least 25 years for the greenhouse effect - or the trapping of the sun's rays by the carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide already added to the air - to have its full effect on the planet. Deserts, grasslands and forests are already changing to make survival impossible.

The continuous discharging of more greenhouse gases, particularly by the USA, is making matters considerably worse. The research says if mankind continues to burn oil, coal and gas at the current rate, up to one third of all life forms will be doomed by 2050.

Prof Thomas said it was urgent to switch from fossil fuels to a non-carbon economy as quickly as possible. "It is possible to drastically reduce the output of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and this research makes it imperative we do it as soon as possible. If we can stabilise the climate and even reverse the warming we could save these species, but we must start to act now."

If conservation groups wanted to save species they should devote at least half their energies to political campaigning to reduce global warming because that was the greatest single threat to survival of the species.

John Lanchbery, climate change campaigner for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, agreed: "This is a deeply depressing paper. President Bush risks having the biggest impact on wildlife since the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs.

"At best, in 50 years, a host of wildlife will be committed to extinction because of human-induced climate change. At worst, the outcome does not bear thinking about. Drastic action to cut emissions is clearly needed by everyone, but especially the USA."
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Kipling 1902

Created By: Brooke Adams
http://www.sff.net/people//karawynn/justso/leopard.htp 

How the Leopard Got its Spots- Rudyard Kipling


n the days when everybody started fair, Best Beloved, the Leopard lived in a place called the High Veldt. 'Member it wasn't the Low Veldt, or the Bush Veldt, or the Sour Veldt, but the 'sclusively bare, hot shiny High Veldt, where there was sand and sandy-coloured rock and 'sclusively tufts of sandy-yellowish grass. The Giraffe and the Zebra and the Eland and the Koodoo and the Hartebeest lived there: and they were 'sclusively sandy-yellow-brownish all over; but the Leopard, he was the 'sclusivest sandiest-yellowest-brownest of them all -- a greyish-yellowish catty-shaped kind of beast, and he matched the 'sclusively yellowish-greyish-brownish colour of the High Veldt to one hair. This was very bad for the Giraffe and the Zebra and the rest of them: for he would lie down by a 'sclusively yellowish-greyish-brownish stone or clump of grass, and when the Giraffe or the Zebra or the Eland or the Koodoo or the Bush-Buck or the Bonte-Buck came by he would surprise them out of their jumpsome lives. He would indeed! And, also, there was an Ethiopian with bows and arrows (a 'sclusively greyish-brownish-yellowish man he was then), who lived on the High Veldt with the Leopard: and the two used to hunt together -- the Ethiopian with his bows and arrows, and the Leopard 'sclusively with his teeth and claws -- till the Giraffe and the Eland and the Koodoo and the Quagga and all the rest of them didn't know which way to jump, Best Beloved. They didn't indeed!

After a long time -- things lived for ever so long in those days -- they learned to avoid anything that looked like a Leopard or an Ethiopian: and bit by bit -- the Giraffe began it, because his legs were the longest -- they went away from the High Veldt. They scuttled for days and days till they came to a great forest, 'sclusively full of trees and bushes and stripy, speckly, patchy-blatchy shadows, and there they hid: and after another long time, what with standing half in the shade and half out of it, and what with the slippery-slidy shadows of the trees falling on them, the Giraffe grew blotchy, and the Zebra grew stripy, and the Eland and the Koodoo grew darker, with little wavy grey lines on their backs like bark on a tree-trunk: and so, though you could hear them and smell them, you could very seldom see them, and then only when you knew precisely where to look. They had a beautiful time in the 'sclusively speckly-spickly shadows of the forest, while the Leopard and the Ethiopian ran about over the 'sclusively greyish-yellowish-reddish High Veldt outside, wondering where all their breakfasts and their dinners and their teas had gone. At last they were so hungry that they ate rats and beetles and rock-rabbits, the Leopard and the Ethiopian, and then they had the Big Tummy-ache, both together: and then they met Baviaan -- the dog-headed, barking baboon, who is Quite the Wisest Animal in All South Africa.

Said the Leopard to Baviaan (and it was a very hot day), 'Where has all the game gone?'

And Baviaan winked. He knew.

Said Ethiopian to Baviaan, 'Can you tell me the present habitat of the aboriginal Fauna?' (That meant just the same thing, but the Ethiopian always used long words. He was a grown-up.)

And Baviaan winked. He knew.

Then said Baviaan, 'The game has gone into other spots: and my advice to you, Leopard, is to go into other spots as soon as you can.'

And the Ethiopian said, 'That is all very fine, but I wish to know whither the aboriginal Fauna has migrated.'

Then said Baviaan, 'The aboriginal Fauna has joined the aboriginal Flora because it was high time for a change; and my advice to you, Ethiopian, is to change as soon as you can.'

That puzzled the Leopard and the Ethiopian, but they set off to look for the aboriginal Flora, and presently, after ever so many days, they saw a great, high, tall forest full of tree-trunks all 'sclusively speckled and sprottled and spottled, dotted and splashed and slashed and hatched and cross-hatched with shadows. (Say that quickly aloud, and you will see how very shadowy the forest must have been.)

'What is this,' said the Leopard, 'that is so 'sclusively dark, and yet so full of little pieces of light?'

'I don't know,' said the Ethiopian, 'but it ought to be the aboriginal Flora. I can smell Giraffe, and I can hear Giraffe, but I can't see Giraffe.'

'That's curious,' said the Leopard. 'I suppose it is because we have just come in out of the sunshine. I can smell Zebra, and I can hear Zebra, but I can't see Zebra.'

'Wait a bit,' said the Ethiopian. 'It's a long time since we've hunted 'em. Perhaps we've forgotten what they were like.'

'Fiddle!' said the Leopard. I remember them perfectly on the High Veldt, especially their marrow- bones. Giraffe is about seventeen feet high, of a 'sclusively fulvous golden-yellow from head to heel: and Zebra is about four and a half feet high, of a 'sclusively grey-fawn colour from head to heel.'

'Umm,' said the Ethiopian, looking into the speckly-spickly shadows of the aboriginal Flora-forest. 'Then they ought to show up in this dark place like ripe bananas in a smoke-house.'

But they didn't. The Leopard and the Ethiopian hunted all day; and though they could smell them and hear them, they never saw one of them.

'For goodness' sake,' said the Leopard at tea-time, 'let us wait till it gets dark. This daylight hunting is a perfect scandal.'

So they waited till dark, and then the Leopard heard something breathing sniffily in the starlight that fell all stripy through the branches, and he jumped at the noise, and it smelt like Zebra, and it felt like Zebra, and when he knocked it down it kicked like Zebra, but he couldn't see it. So he said, 'Be quiet, O you person without any form. I am going to sit on your head till morning, because there is something about you that I don't understand.'

Presently he heard a grunt and a crash and a scramble, and the Ethiopian called out, 'I've caught a thing that I can't see. It smells like Giraffe, and it kicks like Giraffe, but it hasn't any form.'

'Don't you trust it, said the Leopard. 'Sit on its head till the morning -- same as me. They haven't any form -- any of 'em.'

So they sat down on them hard till bright morning-time, and then Leopard said, 'What have you at your end of the table, Brother?'

The Ethiopian scratched his head and said, 'It ought to be 'sclusively a rich fulvous orange-tawny from head to heel, and it ought to be Giraffe; but it is covered all over with chestnut blotches. What have you at your end of the table, Brother?'

And the Leopard scratched his head and said, 'It ought to be 'sclusively a delicate greyish-fawn, and it ought to be Zebra; but it is covered all over with black and purple stripes. What in the world have you been doing to yourself, Zebra? Don't you know that if you were on the High Veldt I could see you ten miles off? You haven't any form.'

'Yes,' said the Zebra, 'but this isn't the High Veldt. Can't you see?'

'I can now,' said the Leopard, 'But I couldn't all yesterday. How is it done?'

'Let us up,' said the Zebra, 'and we will show you.'

They let the Zebra and the Giraffe get up; and Zebra moved away to some little thorn-bushes where the sunlight fell all stripy, and the Giraffe moved off to some tallish trees where the shadows fell all blotchy.



'Now watch,' said the Zebra and the Giraffe. 'This is the way it's done. One -- two -- three! And where's your breakfast?'

[1] Leopard stared, and Ethiopian stared, but all they could see were stripy shadows and blotched shadows in the forest, but never a sign of Zebra and Giraffe. They had just walked off and hidden themselves in the shadowy forest.

'Hi! Hi!' said the Ethiopian. 'That's a trick worth learning. Take a lesson by it, Leopard. You show up in this dark place like a bar of soap in a coal-scuttle.'

'Ho! Ho!' said the Leopard. 'Would it surprise you very much to know that you show up in this dark place like a mustard-plaster on a sack of coals?'

'Well, calling names won't catch dinner,' said the Ethiopian. 'The long and the little of it is that we don't match our backgrounds. I'm going to take Baviaan's advice. He told me I ought to change: and as I've nothing to change except my skin I'm going to change that.'

'What to?' said the Leopard, tremendously excited.

'To a nice working blackish-brownish colour, with a little purple in it, and touches of slaty-blue. It will be the very thing for hiding in hollows and behind trees.'

So he changed his skin then and there, and the Leopard was more excited than ever: he had never seen a man change his skin before.

'But what about me?' she said, when the Ethiopian had worked his last little finger into his fine new black skin.

'You take Baviaan's advice too. He told you to go into spots.'

'So I did,' said the Leopard. 'I went into other spots as fast as I could. I went into this spot with you, and a lot of good it has done me.'


'Oh,' said the Ethiopian. 'Baviaan didn't mean spots in South Africa. he meant spots on your skin.'

'What's the use of that?' said the Leopard.

'Think of Giraffe,' said the Ethiopian. 'Or if you prefer stripes, think of Zebra. They find their spots and stripes give them per-fect satisfaction.'

'Umm,' said the Leopard. 'I wouldn't look like Zebra -- not for ever so.'

'Well, make up your mind,' said the Ethiopian, 'because I'd hate to go hunting without you, but I must if you insist on looking like a sunflower against a tarred fence.'

'I'll take spots, then,' said the Leopard; 'but don't make 'em too vulgar-big. I wouldn't look like Giraffe -- not for ever so.'

'I'll make 'em with the tips of my fingers,' said the Ethiopian. 'There's plenty of black left on my skin still. Stand over!'

[2] Then the Ethiopian put his five fingers close together (there was plenty of black left on his new skin still) and pressed them all over the Leopard, and wherever the five fingers touched they left five little black marks, all close together. You can see them on any Leopard's skin you like, Best Beloved. Sometimes the fingers slipped and the marks got a little blurred; but if you look closely at any Leopard now you will see that there are always five spots -- off five black finger-tips.

'Now you are a beauty!' said the Ethiopian. 'You can lie out on the bare ground and look like a heap of pebbles. You can lie out on the naked rocks and look like a piece of pudding-stone. You can lie out on a leafy branch and look like sunshine sifting through the leaves; and you can lie right across the centre of a path and look like nothing in particular. Think of that and purr!'

'But if I'm all this,' said the Leopard, 'why didn't you go spotty too?'

'Oh, plain black's best,' said the Ethiopian. 'Now come along and we'll see if we can't get even with Mr One-Two-Three-Where's-your-Breakfast!'

So they went away and lived happily ever afterwards, Best Beloved. That is all.

Oh, now and then you will hear grown-ups say, 'Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the Leopard his spots?' I don't think even grown-ups would keep on saying such a silly thing if the Leopard and the Ethiopian hadn't done it once -- do you? But they will never do it again, Best Beloved. They are quite contented as they are.
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Shorter 2006

Created By: Brooke Adams
http://www.tigerhomes.org/wild-cats/wc-history-wild-cats.cfm 

History of Wild Cats of the World
By: C.M.Shorter

By: C.M.Shorter
Scientific records have revealed the earliest fossil records of modern felid ancestors evolved from a time period lineage of less that 10 million years ago. Fossil discoveries for the [1] Small Cats (genus Felis) are very rare making it difficult to outline early genetic relationships between the feline species. The exception being those of the modern day Lynx. Descendants of the modern day Lynx first appeared around 4 million years ago.


Tigerhomes Animal Cams
Most scientists concur with the widely believed theory that the Jaguar and the Leopard share a [2] common ancestry from Eurasia a little over 2 million years ago. From their Eurasian origin the Leopard traveled west into Europe and the Jaguar traveled east, crossing the Bering land bridge into North America. Early Jaguars that inhabited the Americas were both larger and longer legged that our present day modern species.



Tigers were thought to have Asian descent originating from both Central Asia and China spreading out east and west to span territories covering most of Asia. They formerly ranged from the Caspian Sea to the far eastern Tundra of Russia. Three of our modern sub-species being the Bali, Caspian and Javan Tigers have now been officially declared extinct. Today's modern tiger found in northern China is believed to be the closest direct descendant of the earliest forms of their species.

The Lion appeared on the scene much more recently than other members of the genus Panthera with the earliest known records dating back only 750,000 years ago with origin from Western Africa. Lions evolved and spread northward into Europe and Asia, where the Cave Lion and Tuscany Lion were found in the Balkans and Northern Italy respectively. Our ancestral lion also crossed over from Asia into North America with the American Lion known to have spread as far south as Peru according to fossil records. Unfortunately, the Barbary Lion and Cape Lions have now become extinct.

The Cheetah was also believed to inhabit North America as far back as 2 1/2 million years ago where they remained until just as recently as 12,000 years ago. The early Cheetah, acinonyx pardinensis found in Europe resembled our modern day Cheetah with the exception of being quite noticeably larger.

Although our many Wild Cat species are found in similar habitats straddling several continents such as the Leopard with a range from the tip of Africa, across Asia and into China, the majority of these Wild Cat species are indigenous to only one continent. The great natural barrier of the Atlantic Ocean also serves to divide the ‘New World’ species from the ‘Old World’ - with the exception of the Lynx, which can be found as distinct sub-species in both North America and Eurasia.

Many interesting facts are being uncovered regarding the present day relationship of individual species separated by continents and oceans. Now a similarity in the 'New World' Jaguar and Leopard can be explained by common ancestry just as science has proven the ancient species of Lion and Cheetah once roamed the 'New World' continents.

The table on the following page represents the historic genetic links between today's felid species illustrating the links between the Neofelid and Palaeofelid ancestry. One of the best known historic species was the Sabre-Tooth known as the Smilodon. The Smilodon was probably about the size of an average Lion, equipped with canines of extreme length. The first conceived notion many people conjure up is assuming a killer "death bite" when viewing the skeleton of this Sabre-Tooth tiger. Actually scientists believe that the Smilodon inflicted multiple stabbing body wounds resulting in their prey victim bleeding to death rather than death by delivery of a throat or neck bite in order protect these immense canines. There is evidence that the Sabre-Toothed Tiger was a social animal, with a hunting style similar to the group method used by our modern day Lions. Modern day Tigers share a distant common ancestry with the Sabre-Toothed Tiger of prehistoric times but this Neofelid species became extinct long before the present day Tiger evolved.
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Butler 2006

Created By: Brooke Adams
http://myths.e2bn.org/mythsandlegends/view_user_myth.php?id=175 


How the Leopard Got it's Spots
A myth submitted to the site by Megan Butler

West Sussex, United

Long before you were born there were just animals back then. There was a [1] leopard that had no spots and that leopard was very upset that he had no spots, his mum and dad had spots but he kept on asking his mum and dad why he didn't have spots. His mum said "You have to roll in some wet soggy mud!" So he went out side and rolled in the mud all day long. His mum shouted "Why are you so muddy?" Leopard was so scared he ran upstairs and went and looked out of his window and fell back on to his bed.

Leopard had no friends because no-one liked him, and no-one lived around his area. Mum came in to his room and said "I am very sorry that I shouted at you" Leopard said "That is all right mum ," "I just took your advice on how to get spots". Mum sat down beside him and whispered "I know, I was just going to get your bath ready but I think I'll have to save it till tomorrow now."

[2] The next day Leopard woke up he looked at his fur he also touched it where he rolled in the mud, it didn't feel all crumbly it felt like all the rest of his fur. He got up and ran around his room till he fell over. He ran around his room twenty-three times and then he fell over and from that day forward that is how leopards got their spots.


By Megan Butler
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Anonymous 2006.

Created By: Brooke Adams
http://www.audioenglish.net/dictionary/genus_panthera.htm 


GENUS PANTHERA
Dictionary entry overview: What does genus Panthera mean?
• GENUS PANTHERA (noun)
The noun GENUS PANTHERA has 1 sense:
1. lions; leopards; snow leopards; jaguars; tigers; cheetahs; saber-toothed tigers
Familiarity information: GENUS PANTHERA used as a noun is very rare.

Dictionary entry details

• GENUS PANTHERA (noun)

Sense 1 genus Panthera [BACK TO TOP]
[1] Meaning:
Lions; leopards; snow leopards; jaguars; tigers; cheetahs; saber-toothed tigers

Classified under:
Nouns denoting animals
Synonyms:
genus Panthera; Panthera
Hypernyms ("genus Panthera" is a kind of...):
mammal genus (a genus of mammals)
Meronyms (members of "genus Panthera"):
leopard;  Panthera pardus (large feline of African and Asian forests usually having a tawny coat with black spots)
ounce; Panthera uncia; snow leopard (large feline of upland central Asia having long thick whitish fur)
Felis onca; jaguar; panther; Panthera onca (a large spotted feline of tropical America similar to the leopard; in some classifications considered a member of the genus Felis)
king of beasts; lion; Panthera leo (large gregarious predatory feline of Africa and India having a tawny coat with a shaggy mane in the male)
Panthera tigris; tiger (large feline of forests in most of Asia having a tawny coat with black stripes; endangered)
Holonyms ("genus Panthera" is a member of...):
[2] family Felidae; Felidae (cats; wildcats; lions; leopards; cheetahs; saber-toothed tigers)
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Bothma. 1984.

Created By: Brooke Adams

http://www.mendeley.com/research/aspects-of-the-ecology-and-the-behaviour-of-the-leopard-panthera-pardus-in-the-kalahari-desert/ 


Aspects of the ecology and the behaviour of the leopard Panthera pardus in the Kalahari Desert

by J D P BothmaE A N Le Riche

Abstract

In the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, medium-sized mammals featured prominently in the [1diet of all leopards, with prey influenced by habitat type. Leopards in the interior moved greater distances than those in the Nossob riverbed. Leopards rested frequently at the onset and end of activity and used dense vegetation and aardvark Orycteropus afer and porcupine Hystrix africaeaustralis burrows as daytime cover. Leopards are independent of water, and females apparently have no definite breeding season. Lions Panthera leo dominate leopards, but the outcome of leopard/spotted hyaena Crocuta crocuta encounters depend on size of leopard and number of hyaenas in the pack. Leopards in the Kalahari Desert are opportunists which occupy this harsh environment successfully.


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