Displaying items by tag: wild

In Ultimate Survival Alaska, National Geographic Channel Presents
an Epic Competition Series
Where the Only Prize Is Survival
“No watch, no GPS, no phone. Nothin'.
Just the wits and the gear on my back.
And that's the way it should be done.”
–Tyler, Survival Expert
Ultimate Survival Alaska Premieres Sunday, May 12, at 10 PM ET/PT
(WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 17, 2013) They are some the toughest, most extreme survivalists that Alaska has to offer. Going head to head, eight men of a rare breed are about to take the ultimate test of survival in Arctic conditions that only National Geographic could inspire. No tent, phone, watch or GPS. Three thousand miles across Alaska’s wild. This is hardcore. This is old school adventure. Now bring it on.
Starting Sunday, May 12, at 10 p.m. ET/PT (before moving to its regular time, Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT beginning May 19), go off the grid with Ultimate Survival Alaska, an epic new series that follows these survival experts on a 10-leg expedition in the brutal and dangerous Alaska terrain. The opponents’ only goal is to make it out alive using just the gear they can carry in their packs. (For more information, see www.natgeotv.com and twitter.com/NGC_PR.)
Dropped in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness by bush plane, they have 72 hours to make their way to the finish point for that leg of the expedition. Using raw, mountain-man ingenuity, they’ll navigate through treacherous glaciated river valleys, barren ridgelines and high mountain peaks, battling hunger, hostile predators and perilous weather conditions along the way.
Says Willi, one of the eight explorers, “I've done so many big peaks on basically all the world's continents. I've done six Everest expeditions. All of us that do this sort of thing. At some fundamental level, we’re not normal, well-adjusted, modern civilized human beings. We're all throwbacks. Because modern life is not enough of a test for us.”
Navigating risky routes that traverse some of the most hostile territory on the planet, they’ll rely on hard survival skills passed down through generations. Like the original National Geographic explorers, for those who succeed there is no grand prize, just the well-fought pride of having conquered the grueling challenges that a beastly Mother Nature can throw at them.
Now, meet Alaska’s most formidable challengers:

Dallas Seavey, 26 years old: The youngest person to ever to win the Iditarod, a grueling thousand-mile race across the state of Alaska through some of the world's toughest conditions.
Tyrell Seavey, 28 years old: Like his brother Dallas, he hails from a legendary family, known by many as Alaskan royalty. He has run the Iditarod twice and won the Jr. Iditarod.
Marty Raney, 56 years old: A veteran mountain guide who has led more than 20 expeditions on and around Denali, the highest peak in North America.
Matt Raney, 30 years old: Marty’s son and an expert in survival. He helped build his family home with Marty with nothing but a chainsaw and the logs on their property.
Austin Manelick, 24 years old: Since the age of 5, he has practiced subsistence hunting under the watchful eye of his Alaskan wilderness guide father.
Willi Prittie, 57 years old: A professional mountain guide for almost 38 years, Willi is considered to be one of the leading climbing and logistical experts in the region.
Tyler Johnson, 36 years old: From exploring Kathmandu to climbing 27,000 feet with no oxygen in Nepal, Tyler is fearless.
Brent Sass, 32 years old: He’s done six 1,000-mile dog sledding expeditions for the Yukon Quest, and has guided excursions through any and all of Alaska’s many landscapes.
Missions include:
Arctic Hell: Sunday, May 12, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Mission: Travel nearly 50 miles in 72 hours from the Brooks Mountain Range, a remote chain that stretches 600 miles from east to west, reaching elevations of nearly 9,000 feet, to Takahula Lake.
The men pick their route: some take the higher land, some follow the river. Expert climber Willi Prittie leads Brent Sass and Tyler Johnson into the high mountains. The bearing they're traveling navigates through rugged peaks, reaching elevations over 4,000 feet. Right from the start, Willi blazes a trail through the high mountains, which exposes them to rugged topography … and wolves. Veteran mountain man Marty Raney is leading his son Matt and survival expert Austin Manelick through the river valley — a direct but treacherous route to the finish — facing 35-degree waters and 15 mile per hour current. Drama ensues when the crew separates in deadly swamp land. Brothers Dallas and Tyrell Seavey navigate a route along the barren ridgeline, traversing wide open terrain with little cover. These born racers are determined to be the first to arrive.
River of No Return: Sunday, May 19, at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Mission: Travel nearly 200 miles in 72 hours down the Yukon River, including a treacherous stretch of rapids.
The men are divided into two groups, building two competing rafts. Mountain man Marty Raney is ready to take charge, building a colossal raft weighing in at nearly 2 tons which he hopes will be sturdy enough to beat the rapids. After spending five hours on construction, the five-man crew get on their way, but hunger starts to take its toll. Dallas Seavey, his brother Tyrell and survival expert Austin Manelick are meticulously engineering a smaller raft that’s speedy and maneuverable to tackle the turbulent Yukon. Tyrell makes a homemade fishing net to get some food. But a partially submerged sandbar and water and rocks tearing at their raft make the crew struggle.

Into the Void: Sunday, May 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT
Mission: Travel 25 miles through the snow-capped peaks of the Tordrillo Mountains, over 72 hours.
Helicopters leave the eight explorers on a snow-capped summit. The men split into three groups and approach a 300-foot cliff one team at a time, rappelling down in high winds and low visibility. The men must descend a ravine, and then traverse eight miles of the Triumvirate Glacier. Austin and Tyler circumvent the glacier, traveling along the mountain ridgeline. Mountain man Marty Raney, his son Matt and Brent Sass take a low elevation route and are the first to cross the glacier. Expert climber Willi Prittie and the Seavey brothers navigate far from the icebergs, fighting across 33-degree river water. In Strandline Lake, with 11 miles to go, Tyler and Austin are the last crew to arrive, and Austin's showing signs of hypothermia.
Ultimate Survival Alaska is produced by Brian Catalina Productions for the National Geographic Channel. For Brian Catalina Productions, Brian Catalina is executive producer. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Robert Palumbo; Senior Vice President of Programming and Development is Alan Eyres. Executive vice president of programming is Michael Cascio; and president is Howard T. Owens.
# # #
National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society’s commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 84 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com.

(Washington, D.C., April 30, 2013) An international team of scientists from Chile, the United States, and Canada are mapping and timing the travels and activities of the imperiled Pink-footed Shearwater (PFSH) to better understand the habits and habitats of this species during their transequatorial migrations. This research will help shape conservation actions to help this species rebound from population declines resulting from a suite of impacts, both on the breeding colonies and at sea.
The project is a collaborative effort of individuals from the conservation organization Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, Chile’s Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF), Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Hawai’i Pacific University, American Bird Conservancy, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The project involves the real-time satellite tracking of six breeding shearwaters. Four of these are still foraging near the Chilean mainland during the day and returning at night to feed chicks waiting in their burrows on Isla Mocha; two have already begun their long migration to spend the austral winter off Peru or off the west coast of North America. The transmitters are expected to continue functioning through this fall, when the birds return to Chile to begin the next breeding season. USGS, with support from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and collaborators, plan to deploy 10 more units this summer off California.

“The satellite tracking technology allows us to map, within a few kilometers, the locations of the birds,” said Josh Adams, a biologist with the USGS Western Ecological Research Center, who specializes in tracking seabirds at sea. “We are gathering data about where the birds go and about how long they spend in key foraging areas.”
When integrated with oceanographic conditions and wind patterns, these data can provide information about the birds’ preferred foraging habitats and the dynamics of their movements. In addition, this information may be evaluated in the context of defined ocean zones, such as sovereign Exclusive Economic Zones, marine protected areas, or active fishery zones, to elucidate where shearwaters may be most at risk of mortality or injury from interactions with human activities.

“The threats faced by this species at sea are poorly known,” said Valentina Colodro, a biologist with Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge who attached the transmitters to the birds in early April, with assistance from CONAF park rangers on Isla Mocha. “Satellite tracking data will shed light not only on current at-sea threats but also provide preliminary information about the relationship of these birds with conditions at sea that may respond to variation in marine climate.”

The range of the Pink-footed Shearwater outside the breeding season extends along the length of the Western Hemisphere and traverses the territorial waters of 13 countries, from Chile to Canada. In contrast, the breeding range of the Pink-footed Shearwater includes only three Chilean islands: Isla Mocha, Robinson Crusoe, and Santa Clara in the Juan Fernández Islands. The species’ total breeding population is estimated at only about 28,000 pairs, more than half of which nest on Isla Mocha. Their diet consists of fish, squid, and crustaceans.

The species is threatened by predation by non-native mammals, such as feral domestic cats and rats, hooking or entanglement in fishing gear, habitat destruction at breeding colonies, and the illegal harvesting of the chicks by human inhabitants of Isla Mocha. The Pink-footed Shearwater is designated as globally “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, is a focal marine species of common conservation concern for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, and is listed as Endangered in Chile and Threatened in Canada. In addition, the species is a candidate for inclusion in the international Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels.

Visit the tracking website to see where the birds are now.
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.



How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans

By John Marzluff and Tony Angell


In the depths of winter 2012, this compulsively watchable video of a crow sledding down a roof in Russia on jar tops http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dWw9GLcOeA&sns=fb went viral, sparking debate among its almost 700,000 viewers around the world.  Crow expert and author John Marzluff received it from enthusiastic viewers from across the United States and several different countries around the world.

In GIFTS OF THE CROW: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans (Free Press, June 5, 2012, $25.00), Marzluff, the preeminent researcher on crows, teams up with artist and fellow naturalist Tony Angell to offer an astonishing look at the little-known and largely underappreciated intelligence of the birds of the amazing corvid family, which includes crows, ravens, and jays. Showing that these “bird brains” are actually quite sophisticated, Marzluff and Angell tell fascinating, true stories of surprising crow behavior, such as crows using tree bark to wind surf along ridge tops, tools to get food from hard-to-reach places that human babies can’t figure out, and, most surprising of all, giving gifts to people who help or feed them. Along with these and other amazing stories, the authors explain the engrossing, breakthrough science that accounts for this behavior, as well as arresting illustrations of the crow’s antics and anatomy.

In GIFTS OF THE CROW, Marzluff and Angell prove that crows are highly intelligent, undeniably emotional, and much more similar to humans than we ever imagined. In fact, Marzluff and Angell reveal, crows have taken on seven key human characteristics: language, delinquency, insight, frolic, passion & wrath, risk-taking, and awareness. Their unusually large and complex brains, long lives, social lifestyles, and shared habitat with humans have led to crows evolving these human traits. With surprises on every page, Marzluff and

Angell recount mindboggling, riveting stories of crows who, like humans, acknowledge their recently deceased, bestow gifts, seek revenge, warn of impending danger, recognize people’s and other creatures’ faces, commit murder, dream, play tricks, design and use tools, and work together to accomplish tasks.

Exciting and conversation-changing, GIFTS OF THE CROW reveals new discoveries about crows’ intelligence, behavior, and relations with people and other animals, as it provides a fresh theory about how crows have assumed human traits—and what their behavior tells us about ourselves.

In an interview about GIFTS OF THE CROW, John Marzluff and Tony Angell can discuss:

· What makes corvids so much more like humans than other species, such as the eagle, whale, or bear

· The symbiotic relationship between crows and humans: how they adapt to us and learn from us and what we can learn from them

· Why crows over the years have been considered clever, from Aesop to Dickens to Poe to today, and why the term “bird brain” is not an insult but a compliment

· Why it is important and valuable to study the sophistication of crows from both a scientific and artistic perspective

· Their most surprising and poignant astonishing discoveries about crows

· How these findings about the amazing abilities of crows should influence the way we, as humans, go about protecting and preserving these and other sentient beings.


John Marzluff, Ph.D., is Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. The author of four books and more than one hundred scientific papers on various aspects of bird behavior, his research has been the focus of articles in the New York Times, National Geographic, Audubon, Boys Life, The Seattle Times, and National Wildlife. PBS’s NATURE featured his raven research in its 2001 production “Ravens,” and featured his crow research in 2010 with the documentary film, “A Murder of Crows.” John has been a guest on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, the Jay Thomas Show, and Morning Edition.

Tony Angell has authored and/or illustrated a dozen award-winning books related to natural history. Most recently, his drawings in the coauthored book, In the Company of Crows and Ravens, received the prestigious Victoria/Albert prize. His works are continuously available at galleries in Seattle and Santa Fe and are in several museums and corporate collections across the country.

Thank You Summer Monkey Buddies!
Jackie and Chi Chi buddy
Thank you Jackie Driscoll for becoming Chi Chi's Summer Monkey Buddy!
Kim Wallace and dogs buddy
Kim Wallace's "Silly Little Monkees" are also Chi Chi Buddies! Is your dog a Summer Monkey Buddy?
Renee Falitz, Udi's Summer Monkey Buddy, at Jungle Friends is volunteering for a few days. Renee was Nim Chimpsky's sign language instructor.
Madison raised over $300 from her "Monkey Party"! She and her father, Danny, also volunteered at the sanctuary for two days.
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August 10, 2012
Dear Jon,
Kari and Kuciniches
Kari with Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich at Animal Rights 2012.

I returned from the AnimalRights Conference Monday night and wow! I met so many compassionate animal activists who are making an enormous difference in the lives of so many animals.

It was really great meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. If you have never been to the Animal Rights Conference, I highly recommend you go next year. And if you do, let me know, we can always use help at our booth. We will be carpooling with Animal Warriors again next year.

On the drive home from the conference I got a call from a lab wanting to retire a capuchin monkey to Jungle Friends. I will know more in a few weeks, but we are going to get started on his habitat right now. Animal Warriors will be out to help Claude build the habitat, so please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let me know if you would like to help in any way. Thank you to Patricia, our new friend from the conference, for your generous $500 donation to our Laboratory Monkey Retirement Fund! You're the best!

Please become a Summer Monkey Buddy before the end of September so your donation will be included in our matching grant!

If you are more of a party animal, have a "Monkey Party" fundraiser at your home with your friends and family. What's more fun than a barrel of monkeys? A "Monkey Party!"
Lots of monkey love from Kari

P.S. A special thank you for all of you who donated, sent cards and came out to the sanctuary for Chi Chi - she sends monkey love!

Monkey Movie: Romance at Jungle Friends
Watch "Romance at Jungle Friends" It was love at first sight for Fiona...she knew what she wanted and she wanted Goober! Goober was in research and Fio was at a roadside zoo, these two were worlds apart - until they met.
Monkey Movie: Chi Chi and Wendell Playing
We are so happy Chi Chi is getting back to her old self. She is doing really great and we expect a full recovery! Thank you everyone for your donations to cover Chi Chi's medical expenses.
Monkey Movie: Painting is Deliciously Fun
See the magic behind the creation of our acclaimed monkey art! Monkey Art donations raised nearly $4000 at our Animal Rights Conference Booth this year.
Donate button Sponsor a Monkey
Progress Report on Chi Chi
Chi Chi with biscuit
Chi Chi is enjoying her monkey biscuits again!

Chi Chi continues to make progress in her recovery from surgery. She's eating regularly now, playing with Puchi and Wendell, and even occasionally doing one of her famous dances. Most important, she has stopped refusing her medication so her antibiotics can do their work!

At more than 50 years old, this dear monkey seems to be beating the cancer odds. Only time will tell whether Dr. Schirmer was able to remove all of the cancerous tissue, but we believe in monkey miracles!

Please give to the Memorial Medical Fund to support ongoing and critical care for our monkeys with health issues.

Over 100 animals will begin transport from closed sanctuary in San Antonio, Texas to Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary in Dilley, Texas on July 25

Washington, D.C., July 23, 2012 – The happy ending of a two year saga for 106 macaques and one baboon is finally here. On July 25 the first group of these animals -- 10 Stump-tailed macaques – will be transported from their former home at the now closed Wild Animal Orphanage (WAO) in San Antonio, to their new home at the 186 acre Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, about an hour away.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “Last year, Born Free USA worked for months with The Wild Animal Orphanage and the Texas Attorney General to find a way to help these animals. If we didn’t step in with a plan, this large group of primates would likely have been euthanized. Since finalizing the details in November 2011, our sanctuary has spent the past eight months building proper facilities and preparing for our new residents. Their new home is ready and we are eager to get them here and help them in their transition.”

On August 31, 2010, WAO announced the decision to dissolve the sanctuary “due to overpopulation, underfunding and inadequate housing for the animals.” According to the WAO board, they were in a “do or die situation” and they had to find placement for over 100 macaques, 55 tigers, 14 African lions, 16 chimpanzees, six wolf hybrids, and 20 baboons. Sanctuaries were found for all of these animals, in part through the leadership of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), of which Born Free USA is a member.

But finding a home for the primates presented the biggest challenge. In addition to the number of macaques involved, there are other highly complicated issues including: their sensitive social groupings -- 12 different animal groupings with troops as small as three and as large as 28; the age range -- from under one year old to some in their 30s; many physical health conditions from cataracts to skin and age-related bone issues; and a multitude of mental health issues many still suffer from as a result of their captivity prior to their life at WAO. At the spacious Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, according to Tim Ajax, Director of the Sanctuary, “these animals will join the current 532 primate residents and live in the best enclosures we can provide.”

Now that they have all been thoroughly medically tested, sterilized, and identified, and the Born Free USA facility and staff are ready for their transition, the moves will start – initially in four groups – from July 25 through August 17.

Ajax, who is coordinating and overseeing the entire move adds, “This is a very delicate move with many challenges for the animals and our staff. We are excited about the opportunity to assist them and anxious to get our new residents acclimated and comfortable, while also taking great care of our existing 500 animals.”

Roberts added, “Every day wild animals need to be rescued from ‘pet owners,’ laboratories, roadside zoos, and other abusive circumstances, but this time it is about a large sanctuary having to shut down completely -- a place where these animals were already once saved. Wild animals belong in the wild and these scenarios should never exist at all. Sanctuaries are filled to capacity, costly to run, and are the only aid we can give these animals.”

Among the over 100 primates is Chappy, a crab-eating macaque, who was a biomedical research subject. The stress of life in the lab led him to pluck his body bald. Dex a stump-tail macaque, also utilized in research, has only his thumb and index finger on his right hand. Chappy and Dex, along with Maddie, Leo, Stiggy and dozens of others, all suffered at the hands of humans, before they found initial sanctuary at WAO.

The group of 10 stump-tailed macaques being transported to the Sanctuary on July 25, were originally retired from a large university research center.

***Note to editors: Photos and video of the transfer will be available at www.bornfreeusa.org/waofootage by Friday morning, July 27.***

To learn more about the sanctuary, make a donation, or “adopt a primate,” visit www.bornfreeusa.org/sanctuary.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Born Free USA offers critical advice for conflicts with bears, coyotes and other potential dangers encountered on camping trips, picnics, hikes

Washington D.C., June 27, 2012 - - Learning how to respect and respond to wildlife while camping, picnicking, and hiking can mean the difference between co-existing peacefully and being in serious danger.

Born Free USA, a leading animal welfare and wildlife conservation organization, reports that there is an increase in wildlife encounters this time of year because families are enjoying activities that take place in the home of these animals.

According to Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA, “People want to enjoy nature and spend time in the woods amongst wildlife hiking, camping or picnicking, yet many are surprised when they actually encounter a bear, coyote or other animal. People get scared or even angry when this happens, and seem to forget that wildlife belongs in the wild and we are enjoying recreation in their home.”

Learning how best to avoid a conflict, and manage any encounter properly, can save lives.

“Fed wildlife is dead wildlife,” explains Roberts. “Keep food out of reach of wildlife and never feed wild animals intentionally or unintentionally. Once a wild animal becomes accustomed to hand-outs by people, they eventually become regarded as ‘nuisance animals’ which opens the door to lethal control. In addition, fed animals will make a habit of expecting food from people -- anyone passing through, ultimately causing conflicts and danger. The number one rule is not to feed any wild animal, ever.”

Coyotes and Bobcats

Aggressive behavior toward people by coyotes and bobcats is most often a result of habituation due to feeding by humans. If approached by a coyote or bobcat, make loud noises (bang pots and pans; blow a horn or whistle; shake a can with rocks). Show dominance and re-instill their natural fear of humans. Do not run, as this may elicit a chase response. If hiking with dogs, in coyote country keep them on a leash. Small dogs may be especially tempting to a coyote.

Black Bears

Most negative black bear encounters are caused by surprising a bear or luring them with food. Bears have an exceptional sense of smell -- seven times more powerful than dogs - -and can detect odors over a mile away. Avoid packing odorous food and fragrant nonfoods (i.e. lotions), and use bear-proof, odor-proof containers (i.e. airtight canisters). Do not leave food or ice chests on decks or in vehicles.

Become familiar with techniques for hanging food out of bears' reach. Hang food and scented items at least 10 feet off the ground and five feet from a tree. Be sure tent, sleeping bags, and clothes are free of lingering food odors.

When hiking or in the back country, make plenty of noise to avoid surprising a bear. If you do encounter a black bear, do not run. This may elicit a chase response in the bear. Slowly back off and allow the bear room to pass or leave. Avoid direct eye contact and pick up small children to prevent them from running and screaming. Contain and restrain dogs.

Black bears may pounce forward on their front feet and bellow loudly, followed by clacking of their jaw. This is a sign of fear. Mothers with cubs sometimes make “bluff charges” -- short rushes, or a series of forward pounces, also a sign of nervousness and not intent to attack. If this happens, momentarily hold your ground. Then keep backing away and talking softly.

Porcupine and Skunk

Skunks always give warning to let their presence be known. They stamp their feet, then point their posterior. Skunks hold fire before spraying and only spray if attacked. If you encounter a skunk suddenly, stand still for a few seconds until the skunk senses that danger has passed and allow him to wander off. Or take two slow steps back and continue on your way.

Dogs are the most common recipients of skunk spray. If a dog is sprayed, mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda and 2 Tablespoons of dish soap. Lather the dog and leave mixture on for three to five minutes before rinsing.

Porcupines are also pacifists, preferring to avoid trouble unless threatened. They can be attracted to camp sites, not for food but in search of salt. They will chew on anything with salt, including sweaty hiking boots. In areas with porcupines, keep boots inside tents or cars.

Other Outdoor Dangers

Beware of hidden animal traps. While most people think steel-jawed leghold traps are banned in the US, they are not. These and other traps are widely used to brutally catch wild animals for their fur. Because they snap shut on any animal -- or person -- that triggers them, these traps frequently capture “non-targeted” animals including family pets. For every target animal caught in a trap, two non-target animals are trapped. Born Free USA has an online database of these non-target incidents at www.bornfreeusa.org/database. ;

Unsuspecting hikers and others go to trails or parks with their dogs and traps are located along the trails or paths but there is no sign or other warning. When this happens, dogs end up maimed or killed as the hikers struggle (unsuccessfully) to free their dogs in time.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.




Tracking Elusive Jungle Jaguars, Investigating Unprecedented Battles Between Big Cat Species, Pursuing Mountain Lions under Siege by Wolves and Rescuing Cubs So Rare They’ve Almost Never Been Filmed in the Wild


Big Cat Week Premieres Sunday, December 11, through

Saturday, December 17, 2011, on Nat Geo WILD

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 2, 2011) The beauty and agility of nature’s most majestic cats, including lions, tigers, cheetahs, jaguars and cougars from around the world, have enthralled us and captured our imaginations.  Their incredible strength and skill have amazed us for years, leaving us wanting to discover more.  Now, Nat Geo WILD gets closer than ever, studying big cats in their habitat as they kill prey for survival, mate and care for their cubs. 


Nat Geo WILD presents the SECOND ANNUAL BIG CAT WEEK to dramatically showcase the world’s most extraordinary big cat species premiering Sunday, December 11 through Saturday, December 17, 2011.  The seven-night television event features visually stunning and powerfully resonant stories of nature’s fiercest felines and the people working to save these majestic cats.  This year, BIG CAT WEEK premieres include programs from Dereck and Beverly Joubert, award-winning filmmakers and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence; wildlife naturalist Casey Anderson; and expert big cat wrangler Boone Smith, a fourth-generation tracker and houndsman.


More than a television event, BIG CAT WEEK is an extension of National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative (BCI), a long-term commitment to halt the decline of these iconic animals in the wild.  This year’s shows document some of the world’s most iconic and endangered predators. Did you know that Africa’s lion population has declined by more than 90 percent in the last 50 years? That there are now more tigers living in captivity than in the wild?  And that, cheetahs have disappeared from more than 75 percent of their range?


To address this critical situation, Nat Geo WILD is asking people to “Cause an Uproar” and support BCI.  This year’s BIG CAT WEEK follows a series of fall events, including the BCI Educator Conference, which brought together leading experts and teachers to bring information on big cats into classrooms around the country, and the first annual Trick-or-Treat for Big Cats Program, an initiative to encourage kids to collect change for BCI along with their candy.


Big Cat Week Premieres include:


Stalking the Mountain Lion with Casey Anderson

Sunday, December 11, 2011, at 8 p.m. ET/PT

Naturalist Casey Anderson sets out to track one of North America’s most elusive ghosts: the mountain lion.  Casey’s longtime friend and cat expert Tyler Johnerson is on hand to help him in his quest to witness “the ghost of the Rockies.”  Armed with specialized camera technology, they hope to capture never-before-seen footage of mountain lions and their cubs living in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.  A nearly impossible challenge given that this formidable and cunning predator is capable of jumping vertically nearly 20 feet in a single leap.



American Cougar

Sunday, December 11, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Cougars struggling to survive in the severe landscape of the northern Rocky Mountains have a new archenemy to contend with—reintroduced wolves competing for game and out to kill their cubs.  With data pointing to unprecedented deaths of cougar kittens, big cat wrangler Boone Smith mounts a grueling expedition to track, capture and radio-collar cougars to study how this species is adapting.  To gain insights, Boone will meet with Dr. Howard Quigley, a world-renowned expert on big cats.  On our journey, we’ll come face-to-face with a crafty young female preparing to deliver her unborn litter in the territory of wolves.  Then see how another resourceful cougar demonstrates her escape skills as Boone and team race the clock to replace her failing radio collar before the essential data she carries vanish into the rugged landscape forever. 


Cat Wars: Lion vs. Cheetah

Sunday, December 11, 2011, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Caught on tape in Africa’s wild Serengeti is a stunning act of violence between two top predators.  Three cheetahs are brutally attacked by two male lions — the first time an attack like this has ever been filmed.  Now, filmmaker Leo Kuenkel, who witnessed the attack, is trying to make sense of it.  Was this a once-in-a-lifetime “perfect storm” event?  Or do these iconic African cats have a deep-set, sinister reason to fight to the death?  Joining forces with world-renowned lion expert Craig Packer, they put the best scientific theories to the test, going frame by frame through the footage of this extraordinary fight.  Along the way, we’ll make stunning revelations about the dark relationship between lions and cheetahs, and perhaps finally explain this great wildlife mystery.


Hunt for the Shadow Cat

Monday, December 12, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

The jaguar — some call it the most mysterious and magnificent of all big cats.  Ancient cultures considered them gods for their power, beauty and speed.  But little is really known about this species that stalks the deepest jungles.  Researchers have collected information about male jaguars, but half of the picture is missing … we don’t know as much about females.  For the first time, Boone Smith brings his expertise to Central and South America as he teams up with Dr. Howard Quigley, who leads Panthera’s Jaguar Program.  They are on a mission to capture, film and attach sophisticated tracking collars on the cunning and elusive jaguars — including a female — in the jungles of Belize and the swamps of Brazil and finally enter the jaguar’s secret lair.


Night Stalkers: Jaguar Ambush

Monday, December 12, 2011, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Wildlife filmmaker Martin Dohrn leads an expert team of night-filming specialists into the jungles of Costa Rica on the hunt for Central America’s big cats.  Pumas, ocelots and the elusive jaguar all live in the dense tropical forest, but filming them is far from an easy task.  Starlight, thermal and infrared cameras are deployed throughout the forest, together with remotely operated cameras suspended above and on the forest floor.  With the forest wired for night vision, it’s only a matter of time before the team starts to discover mysterious big cats.


Swamp Lions

Tuesday, December 13, 2011, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

A pride of lions is on its knees.  Its mighty male was killed by poachers, leaving three mothers and their cubs vulnerable in one of the toughest landscapes in Africa.  Hunting in the shoulder-deep mud of Busanga Swamp is all but impossible, and deadly hippos and crocodiles patrol the ever-present waters.  Trying to hunt while protecting their cubs is a daunting challenge, but now the threats are even greater, as two massive male lions want to claim the females and the territory as their own.  To accomplish this they must kill its cubs, but the mothers are ready to fight tooth and claw to make sure that doesn’t happen.


Return of the Clouded Leopards

Wednesday, December 14, 2011, at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Two very rare 6-week-old clouded leopard cubs are rescued from poachers, giving conservationist and filmmaker Sandesh Kadur the opportunity of a lifetime.  For the next year, Sandesh attempts to raise the cubs, doing everything their mother would have to teach them how to survive.  No small tasks, given that these elusive cats occupy tree tops hundreds of feet high.  Then, when the cats are ready, they are radio-collared and released into the northern jungle in India.  Will his adopted family lead him into the secret lives of these mysterious big cats? 


The Last Lions

Friday, December 16, 2011, at 8 p.m. ET/PT (Two-Hour Premiere)

According to The New York Times, The Last Lions is “one of the most urgent and certainly among the most beautifully shot documentaries to hit the big screen in recent memory.”  Having just taken top honors at the Jackson Hole Film Festival film, this film now moves to TV to provide viewers a suspense-filled tale of a determined lioness ready to try anything — and willing to risk everything — to keep her family alive.  Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert follow the epic journey of a lioness named Ma di Tau (“Mother of Lions”) as she battles to protect her cubs against a daunting onslaught of enemies in a desperate attempt to ensure their survival. 


Nat Geo WILD’s Big Cat Week shows, apps and books are available on the iTunes store at iTunes.com/BigCats. For additional programming information, please visit www.natgeowild.com.  For Big Cats Initiative information, please visit www.causeanuproar.org.

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For more than 30 years, National Geographic has been the leader in wildlife programming.  Now the animal kingdom is taking center stage on a brand-new network, Nat Geo WILD.  Offering intimate encounters with nature’s ferocious fighters and gentle creatures of land, sea and air, Nat Geo WILD and Nat Geo WILD HD will draw upon the cutting-edge work of the many explorers, filmmakers and scientists who have long-standing relationships with the National Geographic Society.  Nat Geo WILD is a joint venture between Fox Cable Networks (FCN) and National Geographic Ventures (NGV) ― the same partnership behind the National Geographic Channel (NGC), which launched January 2001 and has since been one the most successful new networks on the landscape.  Nat Geo WILD launched globally more than three years ago and is the fastest growing channel among the international portfolio of National Geographic networks.

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