Posts Tagged ‘extinxtion’

Nature Ramble

I’m a day late. Yesterday was family BBQ day and I didn’t get all my posting done.

Two stories today. One in Spain and the other in Scotland, connected

Lynx and Scottish wildcats.

How Spain saved the lynx

Spain’s impressive effort to save the lynx is an example to follow, but the UK needs to act swiftly

An Iberian lynx at a nature reserve in Spain. Photograph: Victor Fraile/Reuters/Corbis

If Scotland needs a lesson on how to save an endangered feline, it need only look to the little town of Santa Elena, in Andalucía, Spain. Biologists there have overseen a remarkable conservation enterprise: the Olivilla captive breeding centre for the Iberian lynx. Dozens of these distinctive, beautiful creatures have been bred here, watched over by staff working in a control room that has enough television monitors to do justice to a particle accelerator. This is cat care at its most sophisticated.

Adult lynxes, which are about a metre long and weigh around 10kg – twice the size of a wildcat – have been reintroduced to the surrounding hills. Ten years ago, there were fewer than 100 Iberian lynxes left on the planet. Habitat destruction, loss of prey and indiscriminate trapping by landowners was propelling Lynx pardinus towards extinction. Today there are at least 300 of them, and their numbers continue to rise. Call it the Lynx effect.

The implication is clear. Endangered felines can be saved – although we should be under no illusions about the cost involved. As lynx conservationists explained during my visit to Santa Elena, around £30m was spent setting up the project, money raised mostly by the Andalucían regional government, and which funds captive breeding and also pays for teams of energetic young conservationists to trap and release animals in areas around the town.

Read more: The Guardian

Extinction by stealth: how long can the Scottish wildcat survive?

The Scottish government has launched a £2m drive to save a unique species – but the plan is mere camouflage, say experts who fear the pure-bred animal’s days are numbered

The Scottish wildcat. There may be just 35 pure-bred animals in the wild. Photograph: David Tipling/Alamy

Are these the final few days of the Scottish wildcat, currently numbering perhaps as few as 35 scattered beasts? That is the fear of some supporters of Scotland’s most vivid species, and it is leading to an almighty row over a creature that has graced the Highlands for around 10,000 years. The argument relates to a deceptively simple question: when is a wildcat not a wildcat?

The wildcat’s imminent extinction may have been camouflaged from our consciousness by the existence of a counterfeit cat – a feline facsimile that looks like a wildcat but whose genealogy is far from pure. Staring implacably from the midst of rock and heather it will do for the postcards and tea-towels. And if it looks like a wildcat, then why should the rest of us worry about its lineage?

Read more: The Guardian

 

 

 

Western black rhino declared extinct

Black rhino: For some species on the edge, captivity is the only hope

No wild black rhinos remain in West Africa, according to the latest global assessment of threatened species.

The Red List, drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has declared the subspecies extinct.

A subspecies of white rhino in central Africa is also listed as possibly extinct, the organisation says.

The annual update of the Red List now records more threatened species than ever before.

The IUCN reports that despite conservation efforts, 25% of the world’s mammals are at risk of extinction. As part of its latest work it has reassessed several rhinoceros groups.

Poaching vulnerability

As well as declaring the western black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) extinct, it records the northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni), a subspecies in central Africa, as being on the brink of extinction.

The last Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) outside Java is also believed to have disappeared. My post Man’ Finest Hour

Overall numbers of black and white rhinos have been rising, but some subspecies have been particularly vulnerable to poaching by criminal gangs who want to trade the animals’ valuable horns.

Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, told BBC News: “They had the misfortune of occurring in places where we simply weren’t able to get the necessary security in place.

“You’ve got to imagine an animal walking around with a gold horn; that’s what you’re looking at, that’s the value and that’s why you need incredibly high security.”

Another focus for this year’s list is Madagascar and its reptiles. The report found that 40% of terrestrial reptiles are threatened. But it also says that new areas have been designated for conservation.

Source: BBC News Read more

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