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FLORA AND FAUNA
Indonesian orangutan brutally killed and eaten
by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) Feb 16, 2017


Scientists find surprising harmony among cats and dogs in India
Karnataka, India (UPI) Feb 16, 2017 - Large cats and wild dogs don't typically get along. When possible, they keep their distance, operating in their own ecological niches.

But in India, ecologists have found tigers, leopards, and Asian wild dogs, called dholes, successfully coexisting in tight quarters -- all while competing for the same natural resources and prey, including sambar deer, chital and pigs.

To study the secrets of dog-and-cat coexistence, researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society set up dozens of camera traps in three small reserves in India's Western Ghats region. The film footage allowed scientists to observe predator populations more broadly, instead of tracking individuals over an extended time period.

The researchers found each population used unique strategies to manage coexistence and avoid encroaching upon each other's domains. However, their analysis suggests coexistence strategies are influenced by the abundance of prey in each preserve.

In Bhadra Reserve, where prey is less abundant, periods of predator activity were more likely to overlap. As wild habitat becomes increasingly scarce, understanding how vulnerable species -- tigers and dholes are both officially endangered -- coexist and share space is important to conservation.

"Tigers, leopards, and dholes are doing a delicate dance in these protected areas, and all are manging to survive," lead study author Ullas Karanth, director for science in Asia at WCS, said in a news release.

"We were surprised to see how each species has remarkably different adaptations to prey on different prey sizes, use different habitat types and be active at different times. Because of small and isolated nature of these high prey densities in these reserves, such adaptions are helpful for conservationists trying to save all three."

Karanth and his colleagues published their findings in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

A critically endangered Bornean orangutan has been shot dead, hacked to pieces and eaten by workers after straying onto an Indonesian palm oil plantation, police and activists said Thursday.

Police have formally named three male suspects in the brutal killing in Kapuas Hulu district, in the Indonesian part of Borneo island, while another seven are being questioned as witnesses to the crime.

Authorities launched an investigation after media ran stories showing gruesome pictures of the slaughtered ape.

The workers were detained after police found orangutan bones and dried meat in a cupboard at a plantation workers' camp, in a remote part of the jungle-clad island, local police chief Jukiman Situmorang told AFP.

He said the three workers named as suspects stand accused of "shooting, hacking, chopping, cooking and eating the orangutan" on January 27. The men could be jailed for up to five years if found guilty of breaking laws that protect the animals.

Environmental group the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) condemned the killing and urged police to target the company that runs the plantation as well as the workers.

The head of COP, Hardi Baktiantoro, criticised palm oil companies for introducing rules that see workers punished if there is any damage to plants.

This means they view orangutans, who often stray onto plantations accidentally and cause damage, as pests and attack them.

He also said authorities should never have given permission for a plantation in the area: "Why would they give a permit in an area that is an orangutan habitat?"

The rapid expansion of palm oil plantations on Borneo has been blamed for destroying orangutans' natural jungle habitat. They are also attacked by villagers who view them as pests and targeted by poachers to be sold as pets.

The habitat of Bornean orangutans has dwindled by over 50 percent in the past 20 years, and its population has fallen by more than 50 percent over the past 60 years, according to the WWF.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the animal as critically endangered.


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