Leaders from government and non-government organisations as well as celebrities and scientists have converged on Barcelona, Spain, for a meeting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Yesterday at the Congress a new study assessing the status of the world’s mammals was released showing:
“188 mammals are in the highest threat category of Critically Endangered, including the Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus), which has a population of just 84-143 adults and has continued to decline due to a shortage of its primary prey, the European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
China’s Père David’s Deer (Elaphurus davidianus), is listed as Extinct in the Wild. However, the captive and semi-captive populations have increased in recent years and it is possible that truly wild populations could be re-established soon. It may be too late, however, to save the additional 29 species that have been flagged as Critically Endangered Possibly Extinct, including Cuba’s Little Earth Hutia (Mesocapromys sanfelipensis), which has not been seen in nearly 40 years.
Nearly 450 mammals have been listed as Endangered, including the Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), which moved from Least Concern to Endangered after the global population declined by more than 60 percent in the last 10 years due to a fatal infectious facial cancer.
The Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), found in Southeast Asia, moved from Vulnerable to Endangered due to habitat loss in wetlands. Similarly, the Caspian Seal (Pusa caspica) moved from Vulnerable to Endangered. Its population has declined by 90 percent in the last 100 years due to unsustainable hunting and habitat degradation and is still decreasing.”
The report states that habitat loss is the biggest issue for the world’s mammals especially in Southeast Asia.
The Sumatran tiger falls under this category and continues to lose habitat including to palm oil plantations and then there is also the issue of poaching.
The IUCN lists the tiger, Panthera tigris, as Endangered with less than 2,500 mature individuals in the wild.
This picture of a Sumatran tiger was taken by a camera trap set by Neil Franklin and provided by Richard Ness. Richard Ness has commented that “I am not sure the cutting of primary forest for logging or plantations is a real issue for them. They may do just as well in secondary growth. The main problem is humans hunting them for parts… same goes for orangutans.”
Dr Brendan Moyle, a zoologist and senior lecturer at Massey University, New Zealand, wrote on the issue of tigers and poaching in a note entitled ‘Tigers and Endangered Species’ at this blog in July last year. ‘
According to Wikipedia, the IUCN was founded in 1948 and brings together 83 states, 108 government agencies, 766 non-governmental organizations and 81 international organizations and about 10,000 experts and scientists from countries around the world.