Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekly Round-Up at In-Sync Exotics

Well, we started with the week with some rather sad news--Raja passed away on Sunday, October 23, 2011.  Raja is survived by his cage mate and sister, Jasmine, and his offspring, Samu. 

Jasmine is slowly coming to grips with the loss of her beloved Raja and we are very working to help her through her grieving process.  Jasmine is slowly spending more time outside her den, but we can still hear her crying for her Raja at night.  We pray time will heal her broken heart.

On Tuesday, we announced the winners of the "Roar Off" competition, Round 2.  With 85.2% of the vote, the White Boys won, paws down, this round of the competition.  While the Poetry Girls gave it their best, they just didn't have the lung power of Jazz and Shazam!

Our Who Am I -- Mystery Birthday Serval was such a mystery that no one posted the correct answer on the blog!  We did notice, however an accurate response on our Facebook page.  Congratulations to Michella K Ballard's response:  "Nefertiti. Happy birthday sweetheart!"  If you have an opportunity to visit us during this much cooler weather weekend, be sure to wish Nefertiti a Happy Birthday!  Nefertiti is now 3 years old!

Yesterday, we posted an educational article about the plight of the wild tiger and provided some information about our white tigers, Harley, Kazuri, and Kiro.  Sadly, no one was adventurous enough to post guesses to the three questions posed at the end of the blog article, so here are the questions again, and their answers:

Question 1:  Which tiger above has crossed-eyes?

Answer 1:  If you look real closely, to Harley's picture, you will see that he is cross-eyed!

Question 2: Which tiger is going to Texas A&M Veterinarian Medicine to check on his palate?

Answer 2:  Harley!  Harley's appointment was rescheduled due to the A&M's dentist out on a family emergency.  His new appointment date is November 2, 2011.  

Question 3:  Where are the three tigers from?

Answer 3:  Leona, Texas!

Well, this ends another busy week at In-Sync Exotics!  We hope you can attend our Pumpkin Bash scheduled for October 30th from 11AM - 3PM!  Come out and watch our cats receive pumpkins plus each child under 13 years of age will receive a free goody bag.  Treats for the cats and the kids! 

So come on out for a tiger-smashing-pumpkins good time!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Species Under Threat of Extinction

The tiger (Panthera Tigris) is the world’s largest cat, and it is also the most threatened with extinction. Six subspecies of tigers continue to persist, but three have gone extinct in the last 80 years.

The number of tigers in the 1900's --over 100,000 -- dropped to 4,000 in the 1970's.  Interesting to note, scientists believe there may be more tigers living in captivity than in the wild.  There are around 3,000 wild tigers in the world, of which around half live in India.  In the 1970s, the Indian tiger population dropped to near 1,000. A major effort to establish reserves and increase protection of the animals was instrumental in saving the tigers from extinction. 

Ironically, tigers are a major draw for tourists in India, and attempts are currently being made to repopulate national parks that have seen all their tigers die, many through poaching to supply the growing demand for traditional medicines in China.

There are six existing subspecies:  Bengal, Indochinese, Sumatran, Amur, Malayan, and the South-China subspecies (although no signs of the South-China subspecies have been recorded in the wild in the last 10 years and are feared to be extinct).

The three extinct subspecies include:  Javan (last recorded in the 1970's), Caspian (lost in the 1950's) and the Bali subspecies (lost in the 1930's).  These subspecies of tigers are considered extinct as the last reported sighting of the subspecies was made more than 50 years ago.

At this time, wild tigers can be found in 13 countries in Asia: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia (Sumatra), Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam, China and Eastern Russia. Sadly, tigers are extinct in 11 countries and no longer live in 93% of their historic range.

Not surprisingly, tigers are listed “Endangered” on the International Union of the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
So what are the tigers’ primary threats causing the reduction in their numbers?  Well, here are few:

1.     Wild tigers are being directly hunted to meet the demands of the illegal wildlife trade market. Tiger parts are consumed for traditional medicinal purposes across Asia, with a heavy demand in China. The international illegal trade in wildlife products is a booming business, and is estimated to yield more than $6 billion a year.   Sadly, local farmers can earn a year’s wages by killing and selling just one tiger’s parts than farming.

2.     As tigers compete with humans and industry for land, they find less and less to eat. Local people hunt the same prey as tigers do, pressing tigers to resort to domestic animals and, on rarer occasions, even humans. Due to an increasing human population, humans and tigers are living in close proximity in many places across their range, which far too often results in human-tiger conflict situations. Wild tigers are frequently persecuted when villagers take retaliatory measures to protect their livestock.

3.     Agricultural expansion, timber cutting, new roads, human settlement, industrial expansion and hydroelectric dams push tigers into smaller and smaller areas of land. These forest fragments are surrounded by rapidly growing and relatively poor human populations, including increasing numbers of illegal hunters. Tigers are continually forced out of their natural habitats to find food elsewhere.  Sadly, without wilderness devoid of humans, the wild tiger will not survive.

The largest concentration of tigers can be found in India.  In March 2011, the number of tigers living in India reportedly rose, for the first time in a decade, according to a new official census published in Delhi.

Campaigners and officials hailed the news as proving that the big cat – which suffered a 97% population decline in the past century – could still be saved from extinction.

In India, many tigers continue to be killed by poachers or die as a result of pressure on their natural habitats from the rapidly growing human population or environmental damaging caused by a lack of governance and the booming economy.

The census, published in March 2011, reported the total number of wild tigers in India at around 1,550 – 10% more than in 2008.

However, like any census, there are some disagreements as to the accuracy of the census report.  Conservationists are uncertain about the accuracy of the latest figures, claiming methods used allowed the same tiger to be counted several times!  Therefore, it is hard to know if India’s conservation methods are truly successful or not.

So what kinds of tigers live at In-Sync Exotics?

The majority of tigers living at In-Sync Exotics are Bengals.  Five of our tigers are of Siberian lineage:  Emma, Eric, Kiro, and Sultan.

What’s the story on your white tigers, Harley, Kazuri, and Kiro?  Can you tell us why their coats are white and not orange?  

Well, our three white tigers have a gene mutation that produces the white tiger coats, which is rarely found in the wild.  White tigers born in the wild tend not to survive into adulthood, and therefore white tigers are mainly found in captivity due to its popularity.  According to Kailash Sankhala, the last adult white tiger ever seen in the wild was shot in 1958. The captive white tiger is not a pure bred tiger, or a separate subspecies, but a color variation. 

All white tigers are at least part Bengal; mainly a Bangel/Siberian mix, making them ineligible for the Survival Species Program.  It is thought that the recessive gene responsible for the white coat color is carried only by Bengal tigers, but no one has discovered why.

Breeding white tigers often leads to inbreeding in order to obtain a higher percentage of white cubs born to two tigers that carry this recessive gene. That means breeding brother to sister or father to daughter; generation after generation after generation in order to produce white tiger cubs. Sadly, this inbreeding increases the probability that many white tigers are born with cleft palates, crossed eyes, and scoliosis.  Even relatively healthy white tigers generally do not live as long as their orange-furred counterparts.

Harley, Kazuri, and Kiro are the products of breeding two orange tigers that carry the recessive gene necessary for the white coat coloring—Brooks, their father, was mated with his sister in order to produce the three white cubs.  You may recall, Harley, Kazuri, Kiro, and Brooks were rescued from private owners/breeders who could no longer care for them due to their age and declining health.

To read more about our tigers’ history prior to their arrival at In-Sync Exotics, please visit Our Resident’s page. 

We hope that you will have an opportunity to visit our tigers, as they are truly magnificent (if we may say so proudly)! 

Test your knowledge of our white tigers:

Question 1:  Which tiger above has crossed eyes?
Question 2: Which tiger is going to Texas A&M Veterinarian Medicine to check on his palate?
Questions:  Where are the three tigers from?

Post your answers below in the comment box!  The answers will be posted on Friday's blog posting.  Good luck!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Who Am I? I'm A Mystery Birthday Serval!

"I am incomplete without you--won't you adopt me?"

Our mystery serval was brought to us by her previous owners, who bought her from a breeder when she was only 2 pounds. She lived with them in the house for 15 months and only ventured outside when on a leash for walks.  The previous owners took very good care of our mystery cat, however the owners eventually decided to give up the cat when they realized they just didn't have time for the serval anymore.

Our mystery cat just had a birthday five days ago!  Sadly, we forgot to announce this cat's birthday last week, so we are hoping you can visit us this weekend and wish this serval a very "Happy Birthday!"

To learn more about our special cats, visit Our Resident's information page!

Okay, time's up!  Have you figured out who our mystery cat is yet? If so, then  then fill out the comment box below!  Don't be shy--all guesses are welcomed!  So sorry, no prize this time, just bragging rights!

Oh, and if you work or volunteer at In-Sync Exotics, please hold off from letting the "cat-out-of-the-bag," until Friday afternoon!  Good luck everyone! 


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Winners of the "Roar Off" Competition, Round 2

Folks, we have a winner!  Two lion groups vied for top honors as the "Loudest Roarers" at In-Sync Exotics last week.  Needless to say, this was a tough competition as both lion groups have terrific lung power. 

However, there was a clear winner in the competition!  So, with out further ado, we are pleased to announce the winner of the Roar Off competition, Round 2—The White Boys!

The White Boys captured 85.2% of the vote, making them the "Loudest Roarers" in Round 2 of the competition! 

Thank you everyone for your participation in this event!  Next week, in Round 3, Aramis vs. Kahn and Shiela. 

You don't want to miss this upcoming competition!

The Winners of Round 2, "Roar Off" Competition!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Raja Is At Peace

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Raja, 19 ½ year old Bengal tiger, on Sunday, October 23, 2011.

Raja is survived by Jasmine, his sister, and his offspring, Samu whom both live at In-Sync Exotics.  Jasmine and Raja came from the same drive-thru animal park that was subsequently closed years later due to inhumane living conditions for its animals.

For approximately 11 years, Raja and Jasmine were bred together at the animal park, having at least 2 litters of cubs every year for 7 years. Since both tigers carry the white recessive gene, the breeders were hoping they would produce many money-making white tigers.  Raja was also the father of Vicky's beloved Kenya (her first tiger) and Midas—both whom lived with us for many years before passing away.

Raja and Jasmine arrived at In-Sync Exotics on February 3, 2003, and for the next 9 years, both cats flourished under our care. 

Sadly, Raja was diagnosed December of last year as having renal failure.  Even though there is no known cure for this progressive disease, we were able to keep Raja comfortable by giving him subcutaneous fluid treatments every four days for about 10 months. 

Last week we noticed a change in Raja’s behavior, which was a sign to us that Raja was slowly slipping away.  He had stopped eating and refused to get up and move around his quarters.  We prayed his condition would improve, but sadly, his health condition continued to decline.

One of the hardest decisions we ever have to make is whether or not it’s time to let an animal quietly slip away from us or to continue administering treatments in the hope that the animal will resume eating, drinking and playing.  With the help of our veterinarian’s diagnosis, our own intuition, and our loving understanding of Raja’s wishes, the decision to let him go peacefully was made Sunday afternoon.  Before he left us, we shared with him our final words of love and admiration for this beautiful tiger—Raja was truly at peace. 

We will always have fond memories of Raja playing with his sister, Jasmine.  Both tigers loved their toys, and especially liked to play with their balls in their swimming pool. However, they spent most of their time cuddling or playing with each other (see video below).  We will do everything we can to ease Jasmine’s grief over the loss of her cage mate as truly she will feel the loss of Raja greater than anyone one of us here at In-Sync Exotics.  God bless Raja as he travels to this side of Heaven called the Rainbow Bridge.

Living with animals can be a wonderful experience, especially if we choose to learn the valuable lessons animals teach through their natural enthusiasm, grace, resourcefulness, affection and forgiveness.  — Richard H. Pitcairn

Lasting loving moments between Jasmine and Raja