Saturday, July 08, 2006

Big Cat Rescue Discusses Extinction of Exotic Cats

Why is the extinction rate so high?

Habitat destruction by man, such as in the case of the tiger.
Lack of genetic diversity such as is represented in the Cheetah.
Introduction of competing species and parasites by man. On islands, such as in Hawaii, we can get a clue as to why island species are so vulnerable to extinction by competition from non-native species.
The human species has overexploited resources.
As man encroaches on wild animal habitat he kills off the prey base that supports the predator and the animals turn to domestic livestock for food. Killing for competition for food is far more common than poaching for medicinal trade or for furs.

Of the cat species we are working with at Big Cat Rescue, these are all of the wild cats that are accounted for in captivity at Big Cat Rescue (WOES private sector) and the International Specie Information Service (ISIS mostly zoo populations). It is imperative with small numbers like these that the public and private sectors work together to increase genetic diversity and stronger bloodlines for future generations.