On The Brink: Dama Gazelle

 

Dama-Gazelle-3-700x350.jpgThe Dama Gazelle (Nanger dama) is a critically endangered (CR) antelope living in Africa. They have been listed a CR since 2006 when they were upgraded from endangered due to having a population size below 250 mature individuals. There are currently 5 surviving subpopulations which are fragmented and are considered to contain less than 50 mature individuals.

Dama-Gazelle.jpgWhile the Dama Gazelle used to roam most of the Sahara and surrounding countries, it is now only native in Chad, Mali and Niger after going extinct in Mauritania, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia and the Western Sahara.

maxresdefault.jpgThe main threats that caused the decline in numbers of the Dama Gazelle was the introduction of firearms which lead to the uncontrolled hunting of the Dama Gazelle. They also have harm from habitat loss and degradation cause by the overpopulation of domestic animals and pastureland.

The biggest problem they are facing to their conservation is whether to isolate populations to reduce chances of external diseases and intraspecies competition or to allow them to integrate and breed within the different populations. The largest issue with isolating populations is that inbreeding will reduce genetic diversity and their ability to adapt to new diseases and habitat change.

To learn more about the Dama Gazelle and their conservation head over to the IUCN Red List.

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Lost Forever: Caribbean Monk Seal

Cms-newyorkzoologicalsociety1910.jpgIts time to look backwards at the animals of the past that couldn’t quite survive into our present. This week we will be looking into the Caribbean Monk Seal (Neomonachus tropcicalis) and what ultimately led to its extinction.
The Caribbean Monk Seal went extinct in 1952 with the last confirmed sighting off Serranilla Bank. These seals used to inhabit the Caribbean Sea and they were the first type of seal to go extinct from human causes.

HABITAT & DIET
220px-Caribbean_monk_seals_New_York.jpgThey could be found in the water around rocky or sandy coastline and islands which they used for resting and breeding. Their diet is unknown but was believed to be eels, lobsters, octopus and reef fish.

MAJOR THREATS
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The only known predators of the Caribbean Monk Seal were sharks and humans. They were hunted for their skins and oil and were also put in danger due to the fishing industry. It was ultimately the tough pressures from humans that led to their extinction.


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Animal Travels: New Zealand

New Zealand is probably less thought about than their big next door neighbours when it comes to wildlife; but with almost 103,500 square miles of land and a population of almost 5 million, this little island is no stranger to animals.

New Zealand is famous for its Kiwis and is home to 5 species of them:

  1. Southern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis) Vulnerable
  2. Great Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx haasti) Vulnerable 
  3. Northern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) Endangered
  4. Little Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx owenii) Near Threatened
  5. Okarito Brown Kiwi (Apteryx rowi) Endangered

OKARITO BROWN KIWI
(Apteryx rowi)
120048Birds online CD1 084.jpgAlthough these kiwis are endangered they have an increasing population trend with around 200-250 mature individuals remaining in the wild.

HABITAT
The native population of the Okarito Brown Kiwi has now been restricted to 10,000ha of forest between the Okarito River and the Waiho River.

MAJOR THREATS
These kiwis are affected by habitat loss and predation of introduced mammals. Chicks are predated by stoats and some adults are killed by dogs and in road traffic collisions.

CONSERVATION
Operation Nest Egg has been put in place to help reduce the affects of predation. Eggs are removed from nests and the chicks are hand reared until they are large enough that they are no longer the prey of stoats.

NORTHERN BROWN KIWI
(Apteryx mantelli)
TeTuatahianui.jpgAgain, these kiwis are endangered but they current have a stable population trend.

HABITAT
These kiwis can be found in dense, subtropical, and temperate forests but can also occasionally be found living in shrub lands.

MAJOR THREATS
These kiwis face threats from the predation of dogs and ferrets.

CONSERVATION
These kiwis are also a part of Operation Nest Egg.

KEA
(Nestor notabilis)
kea-for-kate.pngThese birds have a declining population trend with around 3300 mature individuals remaining in the wild. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.

HABITAT AND DIET
The Kea prefer high altitude forests and alpine basins, feeding on a diet of shoots and berries.

MAJOR THREATS
Climate change, deforestation and killings by farmers are the most current threats to the numbers of Kea.

CONSERVATION
Kea are listed on CITES Appendix II and there is a population census planned to take place soon to get a more accurate count of the remaining individuals.

HECTOR’S DOLPHIN
(Cephalorhynchus hectori)
hectorsjump_labelled_cropped_22629.jpgThese dolphins are Endangered with around 7500 mature individuals remaining in the wild and a decreasing population trend.

HABITAT AND DIET
Hector’s Dolphins inhabit the shallow coastal waters within 15km of the shore of New Zealand; feeding on squid and several species of small fish.

MAJOR THREATS
The largest threat to the Hector’s Dolphin is entanglement in gill nets. Around 60% of deaths were due to entrapment in gill nets.

CONSERVATION
They are listed on CITES Appendix II and they occur mostly in protected areas (consisting of two sanctuaries).

NEW ZEALAND SEA LION
(Phocarctos hookeri)
sea-lion565.jpgThese Sea Lions are Endangered with a decreasing population trend and around 3000 mature individuals remaining in the wild.

MAJOR THREATS
Commercial sealing in the early 19th century until the mid-20th century depleted the population. They are also in danger from epizootic outbreaks.

CONSERVATION
The New Zealand government has protected these Sea Lions since 1881 and they are also covered under the Marine Mammal Protection Act 1978.

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Animal Travels: Holland

With 2119 square miles of space and a population of almost 6 and a half million, Holland has its own ‘Big Five’. The Red Deer, Wild Boar, Roe Deer, Badger and the Red Fox.

RED DEER
(Cervus elaphus)
Unknown.jpegThe Red Deer is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List and they have an increasing population trend.

HABITAT AND DIET
Red Deer can found in a range of habitats including: open deciduous woodland, mixed forests and coniferous woodland, upland moors and mountainous areas; but they prefer broadleaved woodland that is interspersed by large meadows. Red Deer feed mainly of shrub and tree shoots but they will sometimes dine on grasses, fruits and seeds.

MAJOR THREATS
Red Deer are facing trouble from habitat loss and overhunting. They are also susceptible to the spread of parasites and diseases from introduced species.

WILD BOAR
(Sus scrofa)
Wild-Boar-1_public-640x425.jpgThese mammals are classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List however, their current population trend is unknown.

HABITAT, DIET AND BEHAVIOUR
Again, Wild Boars can be found in a wide variety of habitats, whether that is temperate and tropical habitats such as semi-desert regions and tropical rainforests. They can also inhabit temperate woodlands and grasslands. Wild Boars are omnivorous, although vegetable matter makes up around 90% of their diet. These Boars are most active in early mornings and late afternoon and they spend around 4-8 per day foraging.

MAJOR THREATS
Globally, there are no major threats to Wild Boars; but locally, they can be susceptible to habitat destruction and hunting pressures.

ROE DEER
(Capreolus capreolus)
Roe-deer-buck-moulting-into-summer-coat%2c-Pigneys-Wood%2c-Julian-Thomas%2c-11-May-2015-(small).jpgAgain, the Roe Deer is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List with an increasing population trend. There are around 15 million mature individuals remaining in the wild.

HABITAT
These deer prefer landscapes with a mosaic of woodland and farmland.

MAJOR THREATS
There is an increased mixing of various genetic pools which could leave the Roe Deer susceptible to diseases and parasites. They also face danger from poaching, free-roaming dogs and collisions with vehicles.

CONSERVATION
There have been re-introductions of Roe Deer into depleted populations.

EURASIAN BADGER
(Meles meles)
140506.jpgThe Eurasian Badger is another species that is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. These Badgers currently have a stable population trend.

HABITAT AND DIET
Badgers prefer either deciduous woods with clearings, or open pastureland with patches of woodland. They are opportunistic foragers with an omnivorous diet, feeding on fruits, nuts, cereal crops, invertebrates and some vertebrates such as hedgehogs, moles and rabbits.

MAJOR THREATS
Land use changes have caused a loss of suitable habitat for the badgers. Badgers are also persecuted as a pest and in places like the UK they are believed to be associated with bovine TB and so this lead to a cull. Also, rabies reduced numbers of badgers throughout Europe.

RED FOX
(Vulpes vulpes)
150px-Red_fox.jpgThe final of Holland’s ‘Big Five’ is also classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List with a stable population trend.

HABITAT
The Red Fox can survive in extremely diverse habitats such as the tundra, deserts and forests as well as in city centres. Their natural habitat is a dry, mixed landscape with scrub and woodland. Foxes now appear to be closely associated with people and so can be found wherever there is human life.

MAJOR THREATS
Threats to Red Foxes are highly localised and include habitat degradation, loss and fragmentation. Globally, Red Foxes don’t face any major threats. The Red Fox is classed as a pest and so is unprotected throughout all its range. In the future, this could potentially cause problems.

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Big 5 Week – Rhinoceros

Black_Rhino_8.6.2012_Hero_and_Circle_HI_48366.jpg

The Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List. Luckily they currently have an increasing population trend.

HABITAT AND DIET
rhinocloseup_351196.jpgBlack Rhinos can be found in a wide variety of habitats from desert areas to wetter, forested areas. However, they tend to be found in the highest densities in savannahs. Black rhinos are browsers and spend the majority of their time eating vegetation.

MAJOR THREATS
Rhinos’ biggest threat comes in the form of poaching (illegal hunting) for the international rhino horn trade. Rhino horn has two main uses:

  1. Traditional use in Chinese medicine
  2. Ornamental use

In recent years there has been an upsurge in black market prices for rhino horn, which has also increased the amount of poaching that is taking place.

CONSERVATION
black-rhino-200x300.jpgThe Black Rhino is listed on CITES Appendix I and has been since 1977. All commercial trade in Black Rhinos and their predicted have been prohibited and many of the remaining rhino are in fenced in sanctuaries, conservation zones and intensive protection zones. The IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group is the coordinating body for rhino conservation throughout Africa.

DONATIONS
You can donate to rhino conservation at Save The Rhino. You can choose to donate as little or as much as you like to help save this struggling species.

You can read my Animal Travels: Kenya post or you can read about more Big 5 with the Lion, African Elephant and African Buffalo posts.

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Big 5 Week – African Elephant

30651.ngsversion.1421960098780.adapt.1900.1.jpg

The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List with around 415,000 mature individuals remaining in the wild; but luckily they currently have an increasing population trend.

HABITAT, DIET AND BEHAVIOUR
Unknown.jpegYou can find African Elephants in dense forest, open and closed savannah and grasslands. Elephants are herbivorous and can eat up to 300 pounds of vegetation in a day. The bulk of their diet is made up of grasses, fruits, roots and bark. Elephants are social animals and live in small family groups which are made up of an older matriarch and several generation of female relatives. Males are relatively solitary either living alone or in small groups of three to four bulls.

MAJOR THREATS
Historically poaching for ivory and meat was the biggest threat to the survival of the African Elephant; and although poaching is still a significant factor with around 8% of elephants killed a year it is no longer classed as the major driving force. Currently, the most important threat comes from the loss and fragmentation of habitat, which is caused by human population expansion and rapid land conversion.

CONSERVATION
African_Elephant_7.27.2012_whytheymatter_HI_58709.jpgThe African Elephant has been listed on CITES Appendix I since 1989. Conservation measures include habitat management and the protection of individuals through law enforcement. Ironically, the sport hunting of elephants has led to an increased tolerance of elephants, reducing the number of deaths from conflicts with humans.

 

DONATIONS
You can donate to the conservation of the African Elephant at Save The Elephants. You can choose to make a one off donation or you can donate monthly.

You can read on my Animal Travels: Kenya post and you can also read yesterday’s Big 5 post on Lions.

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Big 5 Week – Lion

nws-st-african-lion-male.jpg

The Lion (Panthera leo) is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List with a declining population trend. There is estimated to be between 23000-39000 mature individuals remaining in the wild.

HABITAT AND DIET
4178030_4178030_960x0.jpgLions are only absent from tropical rainforests and the interior of the Sahara desert, making themselves at home in all other habitats. Lions can live relatively independently of water and in very arid conditions as they are able to obtain their moisture requirements from prey and plants. Their preferred prey is medium to large sized ungulate such as zebra and antelope; but they can and will take almost any other animal. Lions are also known to scavenge and will displace smaller predators, such as the Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta), from their kills. Lions are the most social of the cats with non-related females remaining in prides.

MAJOR THREATS
ap_668819555077-1--53688ebf9ea42fc8eb6c1761b36f3e6dda337c74-s300-c85.jpgLions face difficulty from prey base depletion and habitat loss and conversion. They are also a favourite animal of trophy hunters and so face many human killings. There is also a large illegal trade base for lion body parts. All these factors have lead to the decline of the numbers of lions in the wild.

 

CONSERVATION
Lion-2014-Pamela-Reed-Sanchez-Chester1-e1461541649929.jpgLions are listed on Appendix II of CITES. Also, in Africa most lions are present in large and well managed protected areas. As lions are a popular tourist favourite, the wildlife tourism profits help to go toward the conservation of lions.

However, the continued decline in the numbers of lions have shown that the political priority and funding for conservation is not currently sufficient.

DONATE
2014-04-18RHawk050Lion_Xerxes-horiz.jpgIf you want to donate to the conservation of lions, there are a couple of way you can do this.

If you visit Born Free you can adopt a lion for £2.50 a month. In the adoption pack you receive a cuddly toy, a picture of the lions you can adopt (Sinbad and Achee), Sinbad and Achee’s full story, a personalised adoption certificate, a Born Free window sticker and a Born Free folder. You will also receive the ADOPT! magazine twice a year with update on the lions.

You can also donate to LionAid if you don’t want to adopt and just want to donate. At LionAid you can pick the amount you wish to donate and how often.

You can also read more on my Animal Travels: Kenya post.

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