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The Jungle Book — As Never Before

Zenescope Entertainment, the home of Grimm Fairy Tales, are now presenting their own unique take on Rudyard Kipling’s famous story The Jungle Book.  Here’s their write up on it: “The new five-issue miniseries will follow Mowglii, a young girl raised by wolves who finds herself in the middle of what the animals call The Great Animal Battle. Mowglii must learn her place in the jungle and fight for survival against many exotic beasts. But she is not the only human in this jungle island. Three other children have been raised by different animal tribes: Bomani grows up in the tiger tribe that is led by the conniving Shere Kahn, Akili learned the ways of the jungle from the mischievous Tavi mongoose tribe, and Dewan comes of age within the unpredictable Monkeys of Bandar Log, which is led by the insane King Bandar Louis. Mowglii and the rest of the human cubs play key roles in the ongoing Great Animal Battle of Kipling Isle as they approach adulthood.” The series is written by Mark L. Miller and illustrated in full color by Carles Granda, with variant wraparound covers available from Ale Garza and Mike DeBalfo. Look for it in March.

Review: 'Tiger's Curse' and 'Tiger's Quest', by Colleen Houck

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Tiger's Curse

Tiger's Quest

It all started with Buffy, the Vampire Slayer in 1992. Or did it? It presumably took a few years for the popularity of the movie, the 1997 Buffy TV series, its spinoff Angel, and all of their authorized merchandising calendars, CD soundtracks, cell phones, clothing, comic books, etc., to reach pop culture critical mass.

In 2007, I was asked to review the first four paperback novels in a series about Kitty Norville, a midnight radio talk hostess who is also a werewolf; and the various handsome vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, and “normal” human assassins [!] who come into her life.

This was my introduction to the paranormal romance genre. It seemed like around 2005, every paperback publishing company had started an annual series by a female author about a mid- or late-twenties woman who gets involved with sexy male supernaturals, usually vampires. Undead and Unwed; Tall, Dark & Dead; Bitten & Smitten; Love Bites; Sex and the Single Vampire; Magic and the Modern Girl, and How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire are some typical titles.

A couple of years ago, the paranormal romance spread to novels for adolescent girls. The difference is that the protagonists are teenagers or young-twenties with raging hormones, who either are or get involved with shapeshifters who turn into superficially ferocious but really gentle (to them) fuzzy animals. Cases in point: the Kindle-published Serengeti Shifters series, by Vivi Andrews, featuring hot young lion shapeshifters (“Warning: This book contains sizzling heat, adult language, no-holds-barred cat fights, and hot shifter lovin’ with an alpha male who takes inspired leadership all the way to the bedroom.” -- four novels so far), and the Granite Lake Wolves, by Vivian Arend, starring lusty young werewolves (also four books).

The brand-new Tiger’s Curse series of four novels, by Colleen Houck, is unique only in that it is more demure than most, and is designed to conclude in the last novel rather than being open-ended.

Tiger’s Curse (January 2011, hardcover $17.95 (402 [+ 31] pages); audio CD $18.24)
Tiger’s Quest (June 2011, hardcover $17.95 (479 [+ 5] pages), audio CD $18.99)
Covers by Katrina Damkoehler; art by Cliff Nielsen. NYC, Sterling Publishing Co./Splinter.

Are snow leopards more populous than tigers?

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A photoarticle in Wired.com says there are an estimated 4,500 to 7,500 wild snow leopards left in the Central Asian mountains. This is more than the number of tigers left in the wild, which is estimated to be only about 3,200.

See also: BBC tracks down tigers in the Himalayas - Chinese wineries farm tigers for bones

Two liger cubs nursed by dog

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BBC News reports that two liger cubs, the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger, are being nursed by a dog at the Xixiakou Wildlife Zoo in China after the cubs' mother stopped feeding them. The ligers are very rare and are believed to only result from matings in captivity.

'White tiger' puts police on alert in southern England

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Residents of the village of Hedge End, in southern England, called police after spotting a white tiger in a field near a local golf course. Armed officers and a police helicopter responded, along with staff from nearby Marwell Zoo.

As the police on the ground approached the tiger, they saw that it was not moving, and themal imaging equipment in the helicopter showed no body heat. At that point, the downdraft from the 'copter caused the tiger to roll over, and police realised they were stalking a life-size plush toy.

Police later commented, "It is being treated as lost property but we don't know how it came to be in the field and whether it may have been a hoax."

BBC covers Russian tiger response team, bat cull, Wombles

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The BBC celebrates the successes of the Russian Tiger Response Team, while noting that a cull is not likely to be successful in the case of the white-nosed bats.

Also recently covered was the death of Wombles creator Elisabeth Beresford.

Last known wild tigers estimated to last only 12 years

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According to the Associated Press, the World Wildlife Fund estimates no tigers will survive in the wild by 2022 – ironically, the next Chinese Zodiac year of the tiger.

The WWF estimates there are currently only approximately 3,200 tigers alive in the wild, compared to nearly 100,000 a century ago. Three tiger subspecies, the Bali, Javan, and Caspian, are already extinct.

The main reasons for the decline in wild tiger populations are poaching and habitat loss. The 2022 date is only for wild tigers; there are currently more tigers estimated to live in U.S. zoos than in their native, wild habitat.

Researchers link big cat habitat and coat patterns

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Creating a feline character? You might want to decide on their habitat before picking a coat.

Research by the University of Bristol's School of Experimental Psychology has found correlations between the complexity or irregularity of a cat's pattern and its habitat:

[...] cats living in dense habitats, in the trees, and active at low light levels, are the most likely to be patterned.

The researchers admitted that this rule did not explain the coat of cheetahs, who have evolved spots despite a preference for open plains.

The team discounted suggestions that coat patterns in big cats were linked to social hierarchy or gender, as they did not differ significantly between such individuals. Their paper, Why the leopard got its spots, was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

BBC tracks down tigers in the Himalayas

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The BBC's Natural History team has found evidence of breeding tigers in the Hymalayan mountains of Bhutan, over 4000m above sea level, using a set of remote cameras.

The discovery sparked hopes of extending a 'conservation corridor' through the mountains.

In other news, the woman who dumped a cat in a wheelie bin has been charged with causing unnecessary suffering and an unsuitable environment.

Tiger cub found in luggage

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When airport officials in Bangkok decided to X-ray a woman's luggage they were surprised to see a beating heart. It looked like the woman had a cat in her bag but in truth it was an endangered baby tiger. The 2-month-old cub had been drugged and put in her luggage with a number of toy tigers in an attempt to disguise it.

The cub is now in care of the department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation. The woman, who was bound for Iran, is being interrogated to discover their final destination.

See more: Pictures of the rescued cub at National Geographic

Panjo found; NSPCA says tigers 'belong in the wild'

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The hand-reared tiger, Panjo, who escaped on Monday was found by sniffer dogs today. He's now back at home waiting for the vet to visit.

No wildlife authorities have come to take him away and his owners have repeatedly said they posses the necessary paperwork to keep their four tigers. Regardless, the incident has raised criticism from the NSPCA over whether wild animals should be kept as pets.

Panjo sometimes even sleeps on his owner's bed, but the 140kg tiger is not fully mature and may become less suitable as a pet as he grows.

Pet tiger on the loose

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PanjoIt's probably been a dream of every fur to have a wild animal as a pet — but for Goosey Fernandes it's become a nightmare since his pet tiger, Panjo, has escaped.

Panjo was being driven to the veterinarian on the back of a bakkie between Groblersdal and Delmas when he escaped.

Although sniffer dogs are being brought in to find the tiger, so far it has been without success.

Chinese wineries farm tigers for bones

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The BBC reports on the spread of Chinese tiger-farms, now estimated to contain more tigers than currently in the wild. The farms are popular destinations for tourists, but allegedly contain wineries in which the bones of dead animals are steeped to produce tiger bone wine.

As international law forbids the sale of tiger products, lion bones are often used - their price has reportedly risen 30-fold in the past two years.

Suburban Jungle Begins Eighth Year

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John "The Gneech" Robey's popular furry webcomic, The Suburban Jungle (Starring Tiffany Tiger), turns seven in February, 2006. Billed as "the life, loves, and career of aspiring supermodel and ferocious predator, Tiffany Tiger," Suburban Jungle (or SJ as it's often called) begins its eighth year with the titular tiger hiring a pair of private investigators named Squash and Stretch (an otter and ferret, respectively) to find her missing roommate, Yin the Giant Panda, who has been kidnapped by aliens.

Suburban Jungle is romantic comedy with the occasional out-there twist; over the course of its seven-years-and-counting, it has received such recognition as "tasty biscuits" from Websnark, and artist/author/creator The Gneech was Guest of Honor at this past year's Mephit Furmeet in Memphis, Tennessee. The strip runs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with "Grab Bag Saturday," ... "except when it doesn't." It can be found at www.suburbanjungle.com.

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