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It is increasingly common for discussions about exotic felids occurring in the United States to include the claim that that there are 10, - 20, privately owned big cats hidden within the country. Variations on this claim have persisted for decades and are repeated frequently by legislators, animal advocacy groups, and the sanctuary industry.

However, there is very little data to support that conclusion, and that what data does exist indicates that the population of privately owned big cats in the in the U. The idea that there might be tens of thousands of hidden or secret big cats kept as pets in the United states appears to have originated from a paper about the potential dangers posed by captive tiger populations published in Nyhus et al.

Nyhus et al. Indeed, by the end of the s, it was common for media publications to repeat tiger population numbers as high as 20, animals without referencing specific sources Indian Express, ; Glausiusz, ; publications that sourced their tiger population claims generally reiterated the lower claims, suggesting there were to 10, tigers in the country Garner, a. There was known to be a large population of big cats in private hands in the country during the s and s. In the early s, when it was common to read that there were upwards of 10, privately owned tigers, it must have seemed reasonable to many people to assume that there could be as many again, if not more, of all the other species combined.

One sanctuary claims that there are cougars in pet homes alone Big Cat Rescue, Estimates of 10, - 20, privately owned big cats of all species started appearing in the narratives presented to the public around , originally from major animal advocacy groups such as the Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals Whitaker, ; Shabner, Most of the recent repetitions of those claims either come from reporters sourcing those old statements or quotes given by the sanctuary industry.

The United States Department of Fish and Wildlife once confirmed to a reporter that the agency estimates the existence of 10, privately owned big cats Loria, , but there is no public information about where their information is sourced from, nor has any similar statement been repeated since.

While it is true that there is no registry recording all the captive big cats in the United States, nor is any government agency responsible for tracking the ownership and sale of privately owned exotic animals, there are still many sources from which to draw information that can inform a broad estimate of the entire captive big cat population in the country. These records include all big cats used for exhibition, breeding programs, and entertainment, and are accessible through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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While it is not possible to acquire official records of big cats or other exotic pets that live in states with no registration requirements, there are instances in which many owners have chosen to self-report for the purpose of contributing to captive big cat population studies. It is that self-reported data that is most important for getting an accurate sense of the number of big cats under private ownership, as according to most claims the private felid population is many times larger than the exhibited felid population in the United States.

The Feline Conservation Federation FCF has been involved in completing three difference censuses of captive big cat populations in the United States over the past 30 years; they collaborated with Brian Werner on his census, and undertook their own follow-up studies independently in and Culver, ; Chambers, As the longest-running organization in the country that supports and educates people about private exotic felid ownership, the FCF is trusted by the private exotic animal ownership community and is therefore able to request information about their animals from members who might be unwilling to share any data with outside researchers.

The most recent FCF captive big cat census, which utilized both federal and state records as well as self-reported data from private ownership settings reported that there were a little over big cats in the United States in Chambers, That total included all big cat species that reached over pounds at adulthood e.

This number is incredibly low compared to the commonly repeated estimates of big cat populations, indicating that the entire U. Since the numbers held in licensed settings are verifiable, if the FCF number were to be incorrect, an error would have to exist in their survey of big cats held in the private sector. If a population of big cats exists in the United States even at the lowest bounds of the common estimates 10, animals , the organization that is best positioned to have knowledge about people who own pet exotic felids would have had to be unaware of the existence of another 5, big cats - literally as many again as their data showed them were known to exist in the entire country.

While no study has been undertaken yet that could prove without a doubt the accuracy of any of these numbers, there are also a number of other factors suggesting that the higher big cat population claims are unlikely to be accurate. Reports from credible sources indicate that big cat populations have been decreasing in the United States during the last decade. The Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which was passed in , prohibited the transport of big cats across state lines without a federal permit Captive Wildlife Safety Act, : when fully implemented in , the law lead to an immediate outpouring of big cats in need of rescue and, longer-term, a drop in the number of people breeding big cats with the expectation of interstate commerce Baskin, The number of states with laws limiting or entirely prohibiting private ownership of big cats has continued to rise since then, with only four states Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin without any big cat related laws at the end of Turpentine Creek, Reports from specific sanctuaries as well as trends pulled from social media indicate that the number of big cats in need of rescue or confiscated from from private-ownership situations has drastically decreased in the past decade Baskin, , suggesting that the restrictive nature of these federal and state laws have been highly successful at reducing the number of big cats in pet homes.

The sanctuary was contacted about more than cats in need of rescue in , and were expecting to be asked to help place or more felids in , but instead, a year after the law passed, were only contacted about cats. Their annual reports since then show a steady decline in requests for rescuing cats from private ownership situations.

By , when the Captive Wildlife Safety Act was fully implemented, that number was down to 67; in , it was down to 15 Baskin, b. Indeed, the numbers of cats being removed from private ownership situations appears to have dropped so sharply that many sanctuaries are now finding themselves free to focus on the rescuing big cats from other countries and importing them to be housed in U. Another indicator of the decreasing privately owned big cat population is the sharp drop in attacks and escapes that has occurred after the Captive Wildlife Safety Act passed.

Big cats are one of the most dangerous exotic animals to keep in a captive setting, due to their size, pre-equipped weaponry, intelligence, and predatory natures. Since the year , over incidents in which a captive big cat in the United States jeopardized human safety have occurred; more than people were injured in these incidents and 14 were killed Garner, b. While the majority of these incidents involved animals kept in private hands during the early part of the s, the frequency with which pet exotic felids escaped or attacked people dropped drastically towards the end of the decade, and there have been less than 5 total incidents recorded yearly involving big cats in private ownership settings since No incidents caused by privately owned big cats were documented by any of the major organizations tracking big cat public safety risks in Garner, b.

These numbers are especially relevant because of their implications about the number of big cats assumed to be in private hands. Zoos in the United States, which currently house fewer than big cats Chambers, , have had incidents over the past 18 years Garner, b. According to a compilation of the big cat incidents recorded by major organizations that track them Garner, b , private ownership situations have only had over the same period of time, presumably with a population of big cats in private hands that has previously been assumed to be five times the size of the zoo population.

It makes very little sense that so few safety issues would occur in a private setting if there are so many more cats and relatively fewer safety features in place to prevent incidents. Keeping a privately owned big cat secret, much less hiding an escape or an injury caused by one, is incredibly challenging in a world where everyone carries a smartphone with an internet connection. Additionally, the resources required to support keeping big cats are not things that are easy to keep secret; they require a steady supply of hundreds of pounds of meat each month and specialized veterinary care, and their enclosures must be well constructed and require frequent maintenance.

As soon as one person knows about privately owned exotic big cats, those animals are no longer off the radar and are often identifiable. Every big cat not bred by its current owner had to come from somewhere originally, which means at least one person already knows where it is and that it is in private hands. The larger number of big cats in private hands in the US would by all indications lead to more reported attacks, escapes, and sightings than are currently documented every year.

Nobody knows for sure how many because no government agency tracks the animals. The exact number is a mystery because there are insufficient record keeping requirements. That means that there are more than 10, big cats out there that no authority is keeping close tabs on. Barylak, from IFAW, says that the 10, number is a conservative estimate. Baskin, C. Law Enforcement. Big Cat Rescue. Circus Rey Gitano. Butzer, S. Keenesburg's Wild Animal Sanctuary takes in lion, tiger from Saipan zoo after typhoon. The Denver Channel. Brulliard, K. Territories of males may overlap with the territories of many females so that the male has access to them in breeding season.

As we have mentioned earlier this is also valid for tigers. According to Russell , male home ranges usually are a minimum of 40 sq km and female ranges are 8—32 sq km. It was recorded during the study in southern Utah by Hemker and his colleagues that males occupied areas of up to square miles and females up to square miles. Sitton and Wallen studied cougars in Big Sur, California, and documented the average home ranges, which varied from 25 to 35 square miles for males and from 18 to 25 square miles for females.

Actually, the density of the socially tolerant cougar depends on home range size and degree of overlap. Rabinowitz and Nottingham proposed that there is a dynamic equilibrium in the relatively dense population of jaguars when they observed this elusive big cat in Cockscomb Basin, Belize. But territory and home range size depends on habitat and density of prey. Besides vocalization, backward urine spraying on prominent locations, claw scratching and cheek-rubbing are also very common in the jaguar Baker We recorded the data on the ontogeny of different physiological phenomena by rearing a tiger cub Stud book no.

The cub was closely observed daily for 5 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. The cub was observed to sniff various objects lying here and there within the enclosure and sometimes showed a flehmen gesture, mostly on sniffing his own urine. In three female cubs in another Indian zoo the appearance of the first flehmen was observed at the beginning of the fourth month Brahmachary, Walker and Mallya , unpublished.

The initiation of squirting by raising the tail was noticed in Dora III at the age of 7 months. He tried to eject MF in small burst with very small quantity. This happened very infrequently. The animal made its first regular squirting when it reached the age of 1 year. The pet tigress Khairi did so at the age of 1 year, too Choudhury Chemical analysis of the urine of a tiger cub revealed traces of free fatty acids in the urine at 3 months of age.

The presence of monoamine, diamine, and polyamines were detected in the urine of 5-month-old cub. The characteristic aroma was faintly perceptible in the urine sample collected at 7 months while a good musky aroma was detectable at the age of 1 year Brahmachary ; Poddar-Sarkar It is worth noting that the amount of lipids in the urine increases with age, though even at 1 year of age, it is much less than that of the adult MF. In the leopard cubs the aroma appears only at about the age of 3 months Brahmachary , , unpublished.

As mentioned earlier, in three lion cubs of George Adamson, Brahmachary , unpublished observed the first appearance of the flehmen gesture in the sixth month correlated with the sudden incidence of sniffing and flehmening. The collection of MF was very easy in the case of a pet tigress Khairi and a pet cheetah, but generally, for chemical analysis of MF of the tiger, leopard, lion, and cheetah we adopted a devise for collection by walking with a clean tray behind the chain-link mesh and waited patiently for ejection by the animal and ultimately collected a part of it while in air. We have utilized these two innate behavioral aspects for collection.

After collection we added hexane in the field to prevent bacterial infection and the sample was kept under refrigeration for future analysis. In a similar manner leopard MF Poddar-Sarkar and Brahmachary and lion MF Brahmachary and Singh were collected by placing cotton wads impregnated with MF or urine of another leopard or lion in the interstices of the chain-link mesh. The Asiatic lion MF, unlike that of the tiger, is not always ejected upward and backward; sometimes the jet is aimed horizontally backward and sometimes even downward, in which case the MF cannot be collected [ Brahmachary and Singh, ].

In the case of the cheetah, as the animal was tame and had a free run in a very large enclosure in Namibia, MF could be collected in a wide-mouthed beaker as the spray was aimed against a tree Poddar-Sarkar and Brahmachary All the samples were collected during daytime hours. Of all these big cats, the cheetah is most diurnal. Van den Hurk sums up in tabular form much of the findings on pheromones of the small cats and big cats including our results.

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During the late s, s, and s we primarily isolated different chemical groups on the basis of pH difference during steam distillation from MF, such as free fatty acids FFAs in the acidic fraction, 2AP, aldehydes and ketones in neutral fraction, and amines in basic fractions.

The fractions were rendered into salt or derivatized according to their functional groups and then subjected to different chromatographic techniques. Most of the compounds were identified by following classical methods and using modern-day instruments Table The important point to note is that in the tiger volatile free fatty acids FFAs ; C2-C10 , which are known to be pheromones in many mammals, comprise only branched and unbranched FFAs; no unsaturated and antiso FFAs have been identified in tiger MF Figures Primary, secondary, and tertiary amines as well as carbonyl compounds were identified in MF of tigers.

Gas chromatogram of free fatty acids identified from MF of tiger M1. Peak No. Gas chromatogram of amines present in MF of the cheetah. Aldehydes and ketones have not been detected in cheetah MF although these have been identified in the tiger and leopard Figure In the context of genomics and metabolomics, we also mention the findings on cheetah MF.

Unfortunately we could work only on a single cheetah, a subadult almost attaining the adult stage, but if this is indeed a characteristic chemical feature of the cheetah as opposed to that of the tiger, lion, and leopard , then we face a question that is intriguing per se. Moreover, it has a bearing on the problem of metabolomics. This fact might be exploited while studying the genomics of the different cat species—and the cheetah is an unusual member of the cat family—and furthermore, while considering the putative differences in MF at the species level see Section Mass fragments of acetaldehyde-2,4 dinitrophenyl-hydrazone derivatized from the neutral fraction of steam distillate MF of the tiger.

After derivatization the sample was purified through thin-layer chromatography before subjected to gas chromatography. In this aroma molecule 2AP was identified in boiled Basmati rice Buttery et al. This plant was long known as producing a smell equivalent to that of fragrant rice and in Bengal it was locally known as Payes leaf. In Brahmachary and Dutta detected this aroma from MF of the pet tigress Khairi and noticed that on acidification of MF, fragrant rice water, and P.

In the s and s a large number of experiments with paper chromatography PC and gas chromatography GC , using two solvents and two GC columns and cochromatography of GC, indicated the closely similar nature of rice aroma and tiger aroma Brahmachary et al. Later comparisons with a synthetic sample gifted by Schieberle revealed that the tiger aroma is in fact 2AP Brahmachary The biosynthesis of 2AP in rice may be enzymatic by a metabolic process within the system and not by MR.

Stable isotope labeling C 13 and C 15 shows that the nitrogen of 2AP is derived from proline but the carbon source of the acetyl group is some other molecule and that the reaction occurs at a lower temperature than required for MR Yoshihashi et al. However, Burger et al. Apps reports no 2AP smell in African leopard Brahmachary , personal communication. The Asiatic adult lions in captivity in the heart of the forest in Gir, India, and an almost adult cheetah free-ranging in about 10, square meter in Namibia were observed.

Our findings on the presence of 2AP, the most uncommon compound among many candidates for pheromones present in both MF and urine of both the sexes of tiger and Indian leopard but not in lion and cheetah , might project a new line of thought for understanding the two distinct phylogenetic clades of the cat family. The tiger and the leopard, rather than the lion, might be near neighbors because of the metabolite 2AP.

This aspect of metabolomics can indirectly shed light on the relevance of genomics to tiger pheromone. As already mentioned we have recently traced 2AP in the Siberian tiger Soso et al. In that case the presence of 2AP in the marsh tiger, a recent adaptation in the Sundarban mangrove swamp is not surprising Figure Tranquillized mangrove—marsh Bengal tiger of Sundarban being released back to nature after collection of sample for GCMS for the analysis of chemical compounds of body odor. Photo courtesy of Subroto Pal Chowdhury. It would be of interest to investigate the presence of 2AP in the Chinese and Sumatran races.

In our views, the origin of this significant aroma molecule may be helpful for tracing the tiger lineage. For the leopard and cheetah the corresponding values are 1. As was found long ago Brahmachary and Choudhuri , unpublished , on steam distillation the volatile molecules separated from the larger lipids disperse very rapidly in minutes whereas MF dried on a leaf bears a perceptible smell even after 10 days Brahmachary , unpublished.

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The lipid fraction of MF of the tiger is comprised of cholesterol ester, wax ester, triglyceride, FFAs, diglycerides, monoglycerides, free sterol, and phospholipids Table Nonvolatile lipid fraction contains saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids of mostly 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22 carbon number. Such a composition might be the basis of fixative action Poddar-Sarkar and can further be correlated with the wax coating of a leaf for sustenance of aroma. The wildlifers in the Sunderbans are divided on the issue of MF smell surviving twice-daily tidal inundations; some hold the view that marking does not last at all, while others are of the opinion that tigers spray MF only on trees above the high-water mark Montgomery The findings on the mangrove leaves immersed in estuarine water mentioned previously, are however, relevant in this context.

All of the above suggest the role of fixative lipids in the tiger. The lipid content of the cheetah is higher than that of the tiger Table Proteins as fixatives of pheromones in rodents Pelosi , as enzymes for synthesis of pheromone precursor Miyazaki et al. In the tiger and other big cats the protein content of MF is slight but of course various proteins are likely to occur in small concentrations. In the big cats, lipids as fixative agents are probably more important than proteins.

The study of pheromones of big cats is undoubtedly one of the more difficult or less tractable propositions but as we have endeavored to show, since , we have made considerable headway. The lacunae in the field have also been discussed. The question of pheromone-based individual recognition is a formidable one in any mammal and it is compounded by the practical difficulties implicit in investigations on big cats. But nonetheless, we feel we can answer some of the basic questions. It transpires from our attempts that the major source of pheromones in big cats is the MF and this is an ensemble of various chemical compounds.

As concluding remarks we may sum up the process of understanding MF chronologically. Around the concept of pheromones in big cats emerged apparently in the widely read popular accounts of Joy Adamson on Elsa the lioness and later on Pippa the cheetah. During the late s Schaller brought it to the attention of scientists and hinted at the possibility of decoding the information encoded in this message. For a long time after Schaller described MF spray as a mixture of urine and anal gland secretion, this misconception continued to persist in the scientific literature, even as late as Thapar We have described a mass of evidence from the early s to suggesting that MF has evolved to meet a purpose—to communicate with conspecific neighbors—for otherwise, this loss of energy including, in particular, throwing away a large amount of lipids that are metabolically costly would have been selected against through the evolutionary time scale.

However, compared to the tigress and female serval all other female cats spray rarely, only during pro- or early estrous but all urinate significantly more during or before estrous. In addition, the related facts of different modalities of MF spray and urination in different big cat families like the tiger, lion, cheetah, and leopard were reported during the s in several papers Brahmachary and Dutta , , An analogy in the plant world can be drawn if we consider root exudates, the plant equivalent of excretory products like urine, MF, and feces of the big cats or other animals.

Likewise certain leaf volatiles are the equivalent of animal body odor. Around the s and s, in a number of papers Brahmachary, Dutta, and Poddar-Sarkar detected 30—40 compounds in the tiger, and similar types of compounds in the cheetah, leopard, and lion MF and an unusual molecule 2AP in the tiger and leopard only Brahmachary et al. Andersen and Vulpius identified several volatile compounds from zoo lions.

We have meanwhile detected 2AP in the marsh-mangrove tiger of the Sunderbans, India Poddar-Sarkar and Brahmachary , unpublished and also in the Siberian tiger in Soso et al. Chemical analysis of MF of the cheetah and leopard have been reported as mentioned earlier. Proteomics- and genomics-related work for tracing the phylogeny of big cats was carried out by several schools in recent years.

In Section Preliminary findings on the body odor of three tranquilized mangrove-marsh Bengal tigers of Sundarban were reported in Poddar-Sarkar et al. Most or all mammals rely on olfactory signals and this ability must have evolved early in the evolutionary history. Even an E. What exactly is the survival value of the instinct of spraying MF by big cats? This was the first query of Tinbergen. Materials like scats, urine, or MF rejected by the body are not necessarily wasted true, some of these substances may be utilized as food by other organisms ranging from bacteria but here we are concerned only with the benefit to the big cats themselves.

MF, as we have seen, plays a vital role in attracting the opposite sex, thereby ensuring reproduction, a vital issue, and proclaiming a territory. In a sense this material ejected from the body may be considered as an extended phenotype and have a great survival value.

Likewise, the second and third questions of Tinbergen namely, how has MF developed over time and how has it developed in the individual? This would be equally valid for the females and their olfactory abilities. This might answer both the second and third questions.

The fourth question What is the physiological causation? We do not know exactly how the lipid is generated in the urine of MF and by which metabolic pathway, or how an unusual molecule like 2AP arises. But production of these metabolites and their excretion is not against the laws of physiology. Amte and their colleagues, and many zoo authorities, private reserves, and keepers who have been associated with the big cats for many years in India and Africa. We are grateful to the-then Prime Minister of India Mrs.

Indira Gandhi for her kind help for sanctioning a special grant for tiger research from the Department of Environment, the Government of India at Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, and also to other funding agencies of the Government of India like the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and University Grant Commission. We are grateful to Prof. Muller Schwarze and Prof. We extend our sincere thanks to Prof. Barbara Sommerville of Cambridge University and Prof. Waterhouse of Anglia Polytechnic, Cambridge, for their help with sniff GC in and valuable suggestions and critical review from time to time.

MPS is thankful to her cofield worker Prof. Sarkar her geologist husband and her photographer friend Dr. Das during many field sessions. We acknowledge the kind help from our many collaborators and many reviewers for giving a definite shape to our findings. Surendranath College, Calcutta, University of Calcutta are gratefully acknowledged for extending infrastructural facilities. We appreciate the continuous inspiration and criticism coming from our research scholars including our American guest student Simone Soso, who participated in many constructive and stimulating discussions.

We thank Dilip Bhattacherya from whose collection we obtained the photograph of Khairi, the pet tigress of Simlipal, who initiated scientific research on tiger pheromones and other behavioral aspects Figure We express our sincere gratitude to the late Mr. Saroj Raj Choudhuri and Ms. Nihar Nalini-who tamed Khairi- S. We thank Dr. Ali, Dr. Asish Sen, and the late Dr.

Nihar Nalini and Mr. From the collection of Mrs. Susmita Ghosh, Salt Lake, Calcutta. The male African elephant also utilizes the temporal pheromone as studied by Rasmussen and others. The African females and, more rarely, the Indian she elephants are known to secrete a watery less viscous fluid from the temporal gland, which is a sign of agitation rather than of pheromonal function. Turn recording back on. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Show details Mucignat-Caretta C, editor. Search term.

U nknown S pray In about a century and a half of numerous blood sport literature, the behavior pattern of the tiger, originally called the unknown spray and now known as scent marking, was conspicuous by its absence. P rimary S ource of F eline P heromone A Confusion Lasting Over Decades Descriptions of the scent-marking behavioral trait have been confusing.

S ignificance of MF in the S ocial L ife of the T iger A mass of data collected by us while studying 12 tigers in an open air zoo Brahmachary et al. O lfactory S ense of B ig C ats: A n A bility D enied E arlier We point out that even in the s and early s the idea of pheromonal communication in the world of tigers was met with stiff resistance in the wildlife circle, largely due to the dead weight of Jim Corbett, the celebrated hunter naturalist who strongly maintained the opinion that tigers have no sense of smell Corbett , F lehmen, the C haracteristic G rimace Many animals carry out a grimacing gesture with protruded tongue while encountering certain types of smell.

T erritoriality in the T iger Baker wrote that the tiger is not the unsociable creature it is commonly understood to be; on the contrary it is fond of consorting with others Baker Detailed answers to the following questions will be attempted: 1. Whether marking is preferential or random. Whether there is any differential approach for marking by females and males due to the presence or absence of same or opposite sex in the neighborhood. Whether the territorial demarcation of one individual overlaps with another when they inhabit the same territorial zone. What the relative difference between the frequency of ordinary urination and MF spray and the respective difference between male and female is.

Whether frequency of MF spraying has any correlation with the reproductive status of the female and male. Spatial distribution of marking at different locations of the enclosures by considering a the frequency of marking on each specific location and b MF spray per unit length of the boundary.

By considering location-wise tree-marking to conceptualize a miniature home range under this captive condition and thus to extrapolate the basic strategy of MF spray for maintaining the territory and home range in the Bengal tiger. TABLE Overview on Marking Patterns Test Hypothesis I To address questions 1, 2, 3, and 4 above, we considered five locations shelter S , common boundary C , no-member boundary A , boundary in Annex part D , and trees [T] for recording data. The answers to the above questions are as follows: 1. The frequency of MF spray is differential i.

The very first conclusion that emerges is that tigers prefer to mark maximally at the shelter where they get food and retire during inclement weather in all cases. The boundary beyond which there is no neighbor was less important for the resident members. Under restricted captive condition the combination of sexes of coinhabitant members and neighboring members exert a direct influence on frequency of marking. When the combination of sexes in a neighborhood has been altered the spatial distribution pattern of MF spray changes.

The above behavioral pattern may project an insight in the breeding strategy of zoo tigers. From Tables When they are in combination they mutually select the location of preference for spraying MF depending on the combination of resident and nonresident members.

It is also explained through a contour map drawn on the basis of frequency of marking on trees Figure The synchronization in frequency of marking among the coinhabitant members during proestrous, estrous, and postestrous have been observed Figure It was also observed that the rate of marking by a tigress increases during proestrous and suddenly falls during estrous and again rises to normal at postestrous. The coinhabiting male also behaves in a similar way.

Synchronization in MF spray and flehmen incidence was also observed in some cases Figure Therefore, all the observations support the hypothesis that MF does act as a means of communication among tigers. Test Hypothesis II After getting a preferential overview on marking pattern we have undertaken the second experimental approach to map the location-wise distributional trend of marking on trees by each individual of Gr I tigers throughout the year in different seasons.

Theoretically, there are two possibilities: 1. Straight lines running through the locations of maximum value along contour lines of different tigers lie at different points along the common boundary in every case. That would indicate the view of a group behavior. In the case of group behavior, we would expect that every tiger would prefer to mark at the common boundary C, i. Contour maps having unique features signify uniqueness for individuality.

Figure T erritoriality in the L ion The first exhaustive study of the East African lion more specifically, the Serengeti lion was carried out by Schaller T erritoriality and the C heetah Caro and Collins pointed out that the male cheetah generally establishes territory by spraying very frequently depending on prey density and to attract females.

T erritoriality and the P uma C ougar Mountain lions, Puma concolor , have individual and apparently undefended territory because they mutually avoid each other Maser et al. T erritoriality and the J aguar Rabinowitz and Nottingham proposed that there is a dynamic equilibrium in the relatively dense population of jaguars when they observed this elusive big cat in Cockscomb Basin, Belize. O ntogeny of D ifferent P hysiological P henomena in C ubs of B ig C ats We recorded the data on the ontogeny of different physiological phenomena by rearing a tiger cub Stud book no.

C ollection of MF The collection of MF was very easy in the case of a pet tigress Khairi and a pet cheetah, but generally, for chemical analysis of MF of the tiger, leopard, lion, and cheetah we adopted a devise for collection by walking with a clean tray behind the chain-link mesh and waited patiently for ejection by the animal and ultimately collected a part of it while in air. C hemical A nalysis of MF Volatile and Nonvolatile Compounds Identified in MF Van den Hurk sums up in tabular form much of the findings on pheromones of the small cats and big cats including our results.

We have as yet no inkling of the natural chemicals that undoubtedly send signals to the VNO of the tiger. These must be relatively heavy molecules with little volatility. These might be proteins like aphrodisin, cauxin, or other, totally different molecules. That the VNO is very active in the big cats is well evident through frequent flehmen gestures and touching the nostril with the tongue, though in this respect the big cat tongue is far more ill-adapted than the bifurcated narrow tongue of snakes or Varanus monitor lizard.

We have to cross another hurdle regarding the recognition of an individual-specific set of pheromones s or osmic signals. Despite the possibility of individual recognition based on an ensemble of a number of chemical compounds that vary quantitatively in the different individuals, as explained earlier, a tricky question arises. All the currently known pheromones are chemically the same in both species and so despite quantitative differences a leopard may be perceived as another tiger. Observational results cannot answer the question because both intruders will be repelled by the resident tiger.

There should be species-specific ratios of chemical compounds or some other mechanism of which we have no insight at present. One may legitimately ask which of the many putative candidates for pheromones are actually functional as pheromones. Apps et al. They point out that many compounds such as carboxylic acids are common in sympatric species and so unlikely to be species-specific pheromones and therefore unique compounds should claim priority in this context.

On the other hand, the quantitative proportions of different carboxylic acids distinguish the individuality of the animal, as we have already noted. Might not such ratios and proportions characterize species as well? In a later personal communication by Apps, certain difficulties are evident. The data on the lion, leopard, and cheetah are still scant and his group detected no aldehyde or ketone even in the leopard or lion. Furthermore, they also did not detect 2AP in the African leopard.

We will discuss elsewhere the possible reasons for these results but at the moment, neither we nor they can state how the sympatric big cats might be distinguished at the pheromonal level. Voznessenskaya et al. Even if they can distinguish only 5—6 individual odors, the same faculty might help the animals to distinguish 5—6 sympatric species and that would suffice in most cases. A tiger overmarks the marking of an intruder and if the latter does not decamp immediately, the first tiger may sooner or later overmark the overmarking.

In the case of certain rodents there is some evidence that they can detect the difference between the top and bottom overmarking. There is evidence that the animal marking on top enjoys an advantage. It has been shown that a third animal can distinguish the two Ferkin and Pierce , Even in a mixture of urine of 6—7 mongoose individuality was distinguishable Jordan et al. Therefore, it is in the interest of the resident to overmark once again. How the rodent or mongoose or the tiger can perceive this is a well-nigh incredible phenomenon. My Pride and Joy. Collins; London: Adamson J.

Born Free. Albone E. Mammalian Semiochemicals. John Wiley; Chichester, United Kingdom: Andersen K. F, Vulpius T. Urinary volatile constituents of the lion. Anderson M. Sexual Selection. A reverse engineering approach to identifying which compounds to bioassay for signaling activity in the scent marks of African wild dogs Lycanon pictus. In: East M. L, Dehnhard M, editors. In Chemical Signals in Vertebrates Springer; New York: Asa C. Relative contributions of urine and anal-sac secretions in scent marks of large felids.

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Bertram B. Social system of lions. Bhattacharjee S, Mallik P. K, Shekhawat R. S, Anoop K. R, Sankar K. Tale of a travelling tiger. Sanctuary Asia.


  1. May 15 12222.
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  7. Bininda-Emonds O. P, Decker-Flum D. The utility of chemical signals as phylogenetic characters; an example from the felidae. Bland K. Tomcat odour and other pheromones. D, Fryxell J. Are there general mechanisms of animal home range behaviour? A review and prospects for future research. Brahmachari G. K, Brahmachary R. Mimeo note on olfaction in the tiger; Calcutta, India: Brahmachary R. L, Dutta J. Phenylethylamine as a biochemical marker of tiger. On the pheromones of tigers: Experiments and theory. Pheromones of leopards: Facts and theory.

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    Hemker T. P, Lindzey F. G, Ackerman B. Population characteristics and movement patterns of cougars in Southern Utah. Hemmer H. Untersuchungen zur Stammesgeschichte der Pantherkatzen Pantherinae. Teil III. Hendriks W. H, Moughan P.


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    4. J, Tarttelin M. F, Woolhouse A. Felinine: A urinary amino acid of Felidae. Hewer T. F, Matthews L. H, Malkin T. Lipuria in tigers. Horonecker M. An analysis of mountain lion predation upon mule deer and elk in the Idaho primitive area. Houser A, Somers M. J, Boast L. Home range use of free-ranging cheetah on farm and conservation land in Botswana.

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      Howard H. Territory in Bird Life. Hurst J. L, Payne C. E, Nevison C. M, Marie A. D, Humphire R. E, Robertson D. H, Cavaggioni A, Beynon R. Individual recognition in mice mediated by major urinary proteins. Ilany G. The leopard of the Judean desert. Israel Land. Inglis J. Sampson Low; Marston, and Co. Elm Tree Books; London: Jackson R, Ahlborn G. Snow leopards Panthera uncia , in Nepal-home-range and movements.

      How We Found the Oldest Big Cat

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      Lyddeker R, editor. The Royal Natural History. Frederick Warne; London: Manning A, Stamp Dawkins M. An Introduction to Animal Behaviour. Cambridge University Press; Cambridge: Maser C, Mate B. R, Franklin J. F, Dyrness C. Natural history of Oregon coast mammals. Mathews L. The Life of Mammals. Maynard Smith J, Harper D. The evolution of aggression: Can selection generate variability?

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