From the World Conservation Union IUCN : The world’s 25 most endangered primates have been revealed in a new report released today at the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity COP11. Primates in Peril: The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2012–2014 has been compiled by the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the International Primatological Society (IPS), in collaboration with Conservation International (CI) and the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF).
Mankind’s closest living relatives – the world’s apes, monkeys, lemurs and other primates – are on the brink of extinction and in need of urgent conservation measures. The report, announced by some of the world’s leading primate experts every two years, reveals those species most in danger of becoming extinct from destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade and commercial bush meat hunting.
The list features nine primate species from Asia, six from Madagascar, five from Africa and five from the Neotropics. In terms of individual countries, Madagascar tops the list with six of the 25 most endangered species. Vietnam has five, Indonesia three, Brazil two, and China, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Peru, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Venezuela each have one.
With this report, conservationists want to highlight the plight of species such as the Pygmy Tarsier (Tarsius pumilus) of southern and central Sulawesi, which was only known from three museum specimens until 2008, when three individuals were captured inside the Lore Lindu National Park and one more was observed in the wild. The few remaining fragmented and isolated populations of this species are threatened by human encroachment and armed conflict.
Madagascar’s lemurs are severely threatened by habitat destruction and illegal hunting, which has accelerated dramatically since the change of power in the country in 2009. The rarest lemur, the Northern Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur septentrionalis), is now down to 19 known individuals in the wild. A red-listing workshop on lemurs, held by the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist group in July this year, revealed that 91% of the 103 species and subspecies were threatened with extinction. This is one of the highest levels of threat ever recorded for a group of vertebrates.
The list of the world’s 25 most endangered primates has been drawn up by primatologists working in the field who have first-hand knowledge of the causes of threats to primates.
“Once again, this report shows that the world’s primates are under increasing threat from human activities. Whilst we haven’t lost any primate species yet during this century, some of them are in very dire straits,” says Dr Christoph Schwitzer, Head of Research at the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF). “In particular the lemurs are now one of the world’s most endangered groups of mammals, after more than three years of political crisis and a lack of effective enforcement in their home country, Madagascar. A similar crisis is happening in South-East Asia, where trade in wildlife is bringing many primates very close to extinction.”
More than half (54%) of the world’s 633 primate species and subspecies with known conservation status are classified as threatened with extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. The main threats are habitat destruction, particularly from the burning and clearing of tropical forests the hunting of primates for food, and the illegal wildlife trade.
“Primates are our closest living relatives and probably the best flagship species for tropical rain forests, since more than 90 percent of all known primates occur in this endangered biome,” says Dr. Russell Mittermeier, Chair of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group and President of Conservation International. “Amazingly, we continue to discover new species every year since 2000. What is more, primates are increasingly becoming a major ecotourism attraction, and primate-watching is growing in interest and serving as a key source of livelihood in many local communities living around protected areas in which these species occur.”
“It’s also important to note that primates are a key element in their tropical forest homes”, adds Dr Mittermeier. “They often serve as seed dispersers and help to maintain forest diversity. It is increasingly being recognized that forests make a major contribution in terms of ecosystem services for people, providing drinking water, food and medicines.”
Despite the gloomy assessment, conservationists point to the success in helping targeted species recover. Due largely to the efforts of dedicated primate conservationists, and underpinned by considerable public and media interest in the plight of our closest relatives, the world has not lost a single primate species to extinction in the 20th century, and no primate had yet to be declared extinct in the 21st century either, although some are very close to total extirpation. This is a better record than for most other groups of larger vertebrates that have lost at least one, often more, species.
Several species have been removed from the list — now in its seventh edition — because of improved status, among them India’sLion-Tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus) and Madagascar’s Greater Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus), which appeared on the first six lists, but has now been taken off thanks to the great increase of interest generated by its appearance as a top 25 species
For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
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- World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates List Released (planetsave.com)
- Primates in peril: Conservationists reveal the world’s 25 most endangered primates (sciencedaily.com)
- Primates in peril – conservationists reveal the world’s 25 most endangered primates (yubanet.com)
- Top 25 Most Endangered Primate Species Revealed (livescience.com)
- Primates of the World Heading Towards Extinction, says UN | Common Dreams (spiritandanimal.wordpress.com)
- Lion-tailed macaque no longer in ‘top 25′ endangered list (thehindu.com)
- Lion-tailed macaque taken off ‘top 25′ endangered list (thehindu.com)
- Twenty-five primates on brink of extinction, study says (reuters.com)
- Globally primates go downhill, India has reason to cheer (ndtv.com)
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In 2011, green sea turtles laid a staggering 1.44 million eggs on just one island in the Philippines thanks to conservation efforts, breaking all previous records.
A record for the roaming reptiles
The graceful and enigmatic green turtle faces a variety of threats globally, and as a result is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Yet there is some good news for this marine reptile, as Conservation International (CI) announces that the species has laid a record number of eggs on a small island in the Philippines.
Since 1984, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has kept records of nesting activity on Baguan Island in the southern Philippines, one of nine islands forming the Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area(TIHPA), a unique sanctuary jointly managed by Malaysia and the Philippines. The DENR has reported that a grand total of 14,220 green turtle nests were counted in 2011, breaking the previous record of 12,311 set in 1995.
Country Executive Director for CI in the Philippines, Romeo Trono, was astonished at the news, “1.44 million eggs is an astounding number for a nesting beach that’s only a little over 1 kilometre in length. This presents great hope for boosting green turtle populations. With an average of 90% hatching success and 1% survival rate up to sexual maturity, Baguan in 2011 alone could contribute up to 13,000 to the adult turtle population.”
Not always so rosy
The latest nesting figures provide some good news for conservationists, as the situation on Baguan Island hasn’t always been so positive. Nest numbers have been declining in recent years, and dropped to an all-time low in 2003 with a total of just 4,000 nests counted that year.
These declines have been attributed to a variety of factors including harvesting by local communities for food and trade, the disturbance and destruction of habitat through the use of illegal fishing methods such as cyanide fishing, and poaching by foreign fishermen. With a lack of court on the Turtle Islands, law enforcement has also been blamed for the decline in turtle numbers and egg production.
CI has been working with the Philippines’ DENR, the local government and the Malaysian Sabah Parks since 2007, and has advised on the implementation of marine conservation strategies in the region. This collaboration has resulted in the creation of a strict protection zone and no take areas, as well as strengthened law enforcement through training schemes for law enforcers and volunteers.
The results have been pleasing, “The increasing nest numbers show that when turtles are protected on their nesting beaches and in the water for long enough, they will recover,” says Dr Bryan Wallace, Director of Science for the Marine Flagship Species Program at CI. “The Turtle Islands are a globally important area for green turtles, especially for the West Pacific population, because of the relatively high abundance present and because of increasing protections for turtles in the area.”
With other beaches in the region being lost to coastal development, Dr Nicolas Pilcher, director of Sabah-based Marine Research Foundation and Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group, acknowledged the huge role that the recent bold protection measures have played in improving population numbers.
The close links between marine life in the area mean that the protection being afforded to the green turtles on Baguan Island could have a positive effect on the turtle population of the entire region, as well as securing the future of the marine ecosystem which they inhabit.
Mr Trono remains positive about the futures of the green turtles which visit Baguan Island, “The hatchlings that emerge from the Turtle Islands still face great risks throughout their lives as they journey through the ocean, but at least here in the Turtle Islands, we are determined to provide them with a good start.”
Read more on this story at Conservation International – Sea turtle baby boom on Turtle Islands breaks 28-year record.
Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Species Text Author
- Sea Turtle Nesting Follow-up (dschuldenfrei.wordpress.com)
- Sea Turtle Baby Boom Smashes Record (livescience.com)
- Wildlife and tourism : The reality of turtles in Kenya’s blue waters (environmentaleducationuk.wordpress.com)
- Green sea turtle hatchlings from Delaware released into Gulf Stream in North Carolina (obxcommonground.org)
- Turtle-watching on Australia’s Heron Island (guardian.co.uk)
- RP adopts Southeast Asia action plan for marine conservation (globalnation.inquirer.net)
- Cute: ‘Extinct’ Galapagos turtle discovered on islands (bazaardaily.com)
- Loggerhead Marinelife Center releases first sea turtle of 2012 (tcpalm.com)
- Turtles’ mating habits protect against effects of climate change (eurekalert.org)
- Charmers aplenty at turtle central (theage.com.au)
- What is largest reef in the world? (greenanswers.com)
- Are all turtle species slow? (greenanswers.com)
- World’s rarest turtles was up on Britain’s beaches (dailymail.co.uk)
- Magical Apo Island, Philippines - (filipinofestival.wordpress.com)
Study puts economic value on the indirect ecosystem services provided by the world’s poorest people. The Guardian Environment reports | https://twitter.com/#!/guardianeco and https://twitter.com/#!/LearnFromNature
Some of the world’s poorest people would be half a trillion dollars a year better off if the services they provide to the rest of the planet indirectly – through conserving natural habitats – was given an economic value, a new study has found.
If poor people were paid for the services they provide in preserving some of the world’s key biodiversity hotspots, they could reap $500bn. There are some fledgling schemes that could help to raise this cash – for instance, the United Nations-backed system called Redd (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), which uses carbon trading to generate cash to preserve trees – but so far they are small in scale.
The benefits of safeguarding these habitats, such as providing valuable services from food, medicines and clean water to absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, are more than triple the costs of conserving them, the researchers found.
Will Turner, vice–president of Conservation International and lead author of the study, said: “Developed and developing economies cannot continue to ask the world’s poor to shoulder the burden of protecting these globally important ecosystem services for the rest of the world’s benefit, without compensation in return. This is exactly what we mean when we talk about valuing natural capital. Nature may not send us a bill, but its essential services and flows, both direct and indirect, have concrete economic value.”
He said that preserving areas of highest biodiversity should be the priority. “What the research clearly tells us is that conserving the world’s remaining biodiversity isn’t just a moral imperative – it is a necessary investment for lasting economic development. But in many places where the poor depend on these natural services, we are dangerously close to exhausting them, resulting in lasting poverty,” said Turner.
Many of the benefits of conservation, so-called “ecosystem services”, are invisible – for instance, maintaining wooded land can help to prevent mudslides during heavy rainfall, and provides valuable watersheds that keep rivers healthy and provide clean drinking water, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. These benefits are not assigned an economic value, however, so that chopping down trees or destroying habitats appears to deliver an instant economic return, when in fact it is leading to economic losses that are only obvious when it is too late.
The study, entitled Global Biodiversity Conservation and the Alleviation of Poverty, was led by a team from Conservation International, and co-authored by scientists at NatureServe, the US National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They looked in particular at 17 of the world’s most important areas for biodiversity.
They found that some of the ecosystem services accrued to the local people themselves – for instance, using forests as sources of food, medicines and shelter – while the rest are regional or global.
The study follows on a growing body of work from the past decade that has sought to place a value on ecosystem services, as a way of ensuring that they are accounted for in economic policy. If nature is not economically valued, many scientists have argued, it is more prone to being destroyed.
Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International and a co-author, said: “We have always known that biodiversity is foundational to human wellbeing, but we now have a strong case that ecosystems specifically located in the world’s biodiversity hotspots and high-biodiversity wilderness areas also provide a vital safety net for people living in poverty. Protecting these places is essential not only to safeguard life on earth but also to support the impoverished, ensure continued broad access to nature’s services, and meet the UN millennium development goals.”
He called on governments to integrate the conservation of nature into economic and poverty-alleviation policies, in order to value these services better.
- Conserving biodiversity could benefit the world’s poor (yubanet.com)
- Conserving biodiversity could benefit the world’s poor (eurekalert.org)
- Valuing Nature: Incorporating Ecosystem Services into Decision-Making (socialactions.net)
- Conserving biodiversity could benefit the world’s poor (physorg.com)
- Latin America and Caribbean are ‘Biodiversity Superpower’, says UNDP Report (prweb.com)
- Mekong Forum Summary Presentation (slideshare.net)
- Virginia-Based Environmental Firm Marstel-Day, LLC Announced Today that Mr. Peter Hoar has Joined Marstel-Day as its Ecosystem Services Program Manager (prweb.com)
- You: The true value of ecosystem services (ourworld.unu.edu)
- Bringing biodiversity to market – Green development certification (forbes.com)
- [In the news] COMMENTARY: A Country Deprived of the Ecosystem Services of the Forests- www.mindanews.com (hronlineph.com)
Climate change, increasing population, land degradation, and increasing affluence are combing to create a serious threat to the world’s food supply. Lots of strategies have been suggested including increased water efficiency and a renewed emphasis on small-scale production.
One possibility that is seldom considered, however, is using conservation programs to rebuild food security in areas most threatened.
As simple as it sounds, the link between food security and conservation only emerged after years of work. A prime example is the Tonle Sap Program in a lake region of Cambodia. Leading a team for Conservation International, David Emmett began working in the region to protect critical otter habitat that had become degraded and was threatened by a hydroelectric dam proposal.
“The project grew from conserving species by protecting their flooded forest habitat,”Emmett explains, it “is grounded in freshwater conservation with clear links to food security and human health.”
Those links emerged once protections for the habitat had been secured and restoration began. Emmett’s team worked to rebuild local fishstocks—critical to nurturing a sustainable otter population—which led to improved yields for local fisherman.
The primary dilemma in many areas already struggling with food insecurity, is that those most severely impacted resort to farming practices that worsen the situation out of desperation.
“The rural poor are often the most directly dependent upon natural resources, and they can get stuck in a real dilemma,” John Buchanan, Conservation International’s Senior Director of Food Security, explains, “immediate needs for food and income can lead to unsustainable production practices or over-harvest of resources, which undermines the long-term viability of those same resources. Furthermore, (the rural poor) often don’t have control of those resources, making them even more vulnerable.”
Clearly, there is no one conservation plan that can be applied to every area and, Conservation International’s work has shown, there is no single solution to food insecurity. Improved health and access to food provides incentive for local people to participate in relevant conservation projects, however, and serves as another reminder that protecting and restoring habitats help people in addition to endangered species.
- World’s Largest Camera Trap Study Reveals Declining Mammal Populations (Photos) (treehugger.com)
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International Herald Tribune Green Blog…
A new global study that uses remote camera traps to take photographs of wild mammals in their habitats suggests that fragmented habitat and the declining size of preserves worldwide are having a negative impact on mammal populations.
Researchers from Conservation International, a group based in Arlington, Va., set up 60 remote cameras during the dry season in reserves in Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Suriname, Tanzania, Laos and Uganda. Researchers later sifted through 52,000 photos of 105 species.
It’s a unique window onto what’s happening on the ground. The data shows that the breakdown in natural habitat is causing a decline in the diversity of mammals, in the variety of their sizes and in variations in their diets.
The problem of fragmentation is well known, the study’s lead author, the ecologist Jorge Ahumada, acknowledged. “But this is the first time it’s been studied like this at a global scale,” he said. “No matter where you are in the world, you see these problems.”
Insectivores like anteaters, armadillos and small primates fare the worst, perhaps because they are more specialized, he said.
There is good news as well from the study, which was published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. In Braulio Carillo, a park in Costa Rica, cameras snapped photos of a mountain tapir. “It’s very rare and has not been reported in the park for some time,” Dr. Ahumada said. “And some of the images even had babies. “
There was a wide range of species in the study, from the mouse opossum to the African elephant. Cameras also captured tourists who wandered by, and in two cases in Laos and Uganda, poachers. “People in Laos hunt pretty much everything that moves,” Dr. Ahumada said.
M. Sanjayan, the lead scientist for the Nature Conservancy, who was not part of the research but once captured the first image of a pygmy hippo with a camera trap, said the study was important. “I wish I’d done it,” he joked.
“I bet those cameras cost $200 apiece, and all told, that’s under a hundred grand,” he said. “It’s a relatively cheap way of sampling a big area. Five years ago you couldn’t have done it because of the cost.”
While seven sites were included in the original study, 10 more are now also being monitored.
Dr. Ahumada said that taking “specific target action” to protect these species was vital. “Without a systematic global approach to monitoring these animals and making sure the data gets to people making decisions, we are only recording their extinctions, not actually saving them,” he said.
The value of the project in terms of data will increase as long-term trends emerge, Mr. Sanjayan predicted.
Perhaps the chief value of the project for now, he said, is that it’s so visually striking. “It’s a great tool for getting the public’s attention,” he said. “It’s like candid camera.”
- 420 hidden cameras capture the secret lives of wild animals (digitaltrends.com)
- Cameratraps take global snapshot of declining tropical mammals (edmortimer.wordpress.com)
- Smile, Jaguar: You’re on Candid Camera! (foxnews.com)
- Poachers are caught by £300,000 wildlife cameras (thesun.co.uk)
- Wild world caught on camera (photoblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- Camera-Trap Photos Reveal Secret Lives of Mammals (livescience.com)
- Hey tapir, jaguar, smile! You’re on Candid Camera (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- PHOTOS: Rare mammals captured by hidden cameras (cbc.ca)