Published on February 27, 2014
A project on Endemic species, critically endangered , endangered , & vulnerable species By: Rohith
Endemic species in India
• The wildlife in India comprises a mix of species of different types of organisms. • Apart from a handful of the major farm animals such as cows, buffaloes, goats, poultry, pigs & sheep, India has an amazingly wide variety of animals native to the country, it is home to Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Pythons, Wolves, Foxes, Bears, Crocodiles, Rhinoceroses, Camels , Wild dogs, Monkeys, Snakes, Antelope species, Deer species , varieties of bison and not to mention the mighty Asian elephant
• The region's rich and diverse wildlife is preserved in 89 national parks, 18 Bio reserves and 400+ wildlife sanctuaries across the country. • India has some of the most bio diverse regions of the world and hosts three of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots – or treasure-houses – that is the Western Ghats, the Eastern Himalayas and Indo- Burma. • Since India is home to a number of rare and threatened animal species, wildlife management in the country is essential to preserve these species. According to one study, India along with 17 mega diverse countries is home to about 60-70 % of the world's biodiversity
India has the largest wild population of tigers in the world.(1706 as of March 28, 2011)
Dhole (Indian wild dog) The most endangered Indian top predator of 2010, the dhole is on edge of extinction. Less than 2500 members of the species remain in the world.
Snow leopard is an endangered species found along the Himalayas
Golden Langur One of the world's rarest monkeys,Gee's Golden Langur is the precarious survival of much of India's mega fauna.
Black Buck The blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) is an ungulate species of antelope native to the Indian Subcontinent that has been classified as near threatened by IUCN since 2003
Asiatic lion The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion, is a lion subspecies that exists as a single isolated population in India's Gujarat State. It is listed as Endangered by IUCN based on the small population size
Indian peacock India’s national bird
Lion tailed macaque The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), or the wanderoo, is an Old World monkey endemic to the Western Ghats of South India.
Brown fish owl This species is a part of the family known as typical owls, Strigidae, which contains most living owls. It inhabits the warm subtropical and humid tropical parts of continental Asia and some offshore islands
Indian cobra Indian cobra (Naja naja) also known as Asian cobra or spectacled cobra is a species of the genus Naja found in the Indian subcontinent and a member of the "big four", the four species which inflict the most snakebites in India
Clouded leopard The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a cat found from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China, and has been classified as Vulnerable in 2008 by IUCN
Indian elephant The Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant and native to mainland Asia. Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as Endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last 60 to 75 years or three generations
Indian vulture The species breeds mainly on cliffs, but is known to use trees to nest in Rajasthan. Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals which it finds by soaring over savannah and around human habitation. They often move in flocks.
Red panda The red panda (Ailurus fulgens), also called lesser panda and red cat-bear, is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and south-western China that has been classified as Vulnerable by IUCN as its wild population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals
Olive ridley turtles The olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, is a medium-sized species of sea turtle found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Oplismenus thwaitesii Oplismenus thwaitesii is a flowering plant that is endemic to India
Gymnostachyum febrifugum Gymnostachyum febrifugum is a herb endemic to the southern Western Ghats of India. It has medicinal value
Impatiens sivarajanii Impatiens sivarajanii is a species of flowering plant in the family Balsaminaceae. It is endemic to Kerala in India. It was described from Silent Valley National Park in 1996
Ornithochilus cacharensis Ornithochilus cacharensis is a rare orchid native to Cachar, Assam which has only one plant ever recorded. The single plant was discovered by H. A. Barbhuiya of the Botanical Survey of India while doing field work in the Borail Wildlife Sanctuary. The specific epithet, cacharensis refers to the district where it was found
Phalaenopsis speciosa Phalaenopsis speciosa is a species of orchid endemic to the Andaman and the Nicobar Islands.
Critically endangered species
OVERVIEW STATUS: Critically Endangered POPULATION: Around 30 individuals SCIENTIFIC NAME: Panthera pardus orientalis WEIGHT:70 -105 pounds HABITATS: Temperate, Broadleaf, and Mixed Forests People usually think of leopards in the savannas of Africa but in the Russian Far East, a rare subspecies has adapted to life in the temperate forests that make up the northern-most part of the species’ range. Similar to other leopards, the Amur leopard can run at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. This incredible animal has been reported to leap more than 19 feet horizontally and up to 10 feet vertically. The Amur leopard is solitary. Nimble-footed and strong, it carries and hides unfinished kills so that they are not taken by other predators. It has been reported that some males stay with females after mating, and may even help with rearing the young. Several males sometimes follow and fight over a female. They live for 10-15 years, and in captivity up to 20 years. The Amur leopard is also known as the Far East leopard, the Manchurian leopard or the Korean leopard.
THREATS ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE The Amur leopard is poached largely for its beautiful, spotted fur. In 1999, an undercover investigation team recovered a female and a male Amur leopard skin, which were being sold for $500 and $1,000 respectively in the village of Barabash, not far from the Kedrovaya Pad reserve in Russia. Agriculture and villages surround the forests where the leopards live. As a result the forests are relatively accessible, making poaching a problem—not only for the leopards themselves, but also for important prey species, such as roe deer, sika deer and hare, which are hunted by the villagers both for food and cash.
OVERVIEW • • • • • STATUS: Critically Endangered SCIENTIFIC NAME: Eretmochelys imbricata WEIGHT: 90-150 pounds LENGTH: 30-35 inches HABITATS: Oceans Hawksbills are named for their narrow, pointed beak. They also have a distinctive pattern of overlapping scales on their shells that form a serrated-look on the edges. These colored and patterned shells make them highly-valuable and commonly sold as "tortoiseshell" in markets. Hawksbills are found mainly throughout the world's tropical oceans, predominantly in coral reefs. They feed mainly on sponges by using their narrow pointed beaks to extract them from crevices on the reef, but also eat sea anemones and jellyfish. Sea turtles are the living representatives of a group of reptiles that has existed on Earth and travelled our seas for the last 100 million years. They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds.
THREATS ILLEGAL WILD LIFE TRADE: Despite their current protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and many national laws, there is still a disturbingly large amount of illegal trade in hawksbill shells and products. They are much sought after throughout the tropics for their beautiful brown and yellow carapace plates that are manufactured into tortoiseshell items for jewelry and ornaments. In recent decades, eastern Asia has provided an eager market for tortoise shell.
OVERVIEW STATUS:Critically Endangered SCIENTIFIC NAME: Dermochelys coriacea WEIGHT:600-1500 pounds LENGTH:55-63 inches HABITATS: Oceans Leatherback turtles are named for their shell, which is leather-like rather than hard, like other turtles. They are the largest sea turtle species and also one of the most migratory, crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Pacific leatherbacks migrate from nesting beaches in the Coral Triangle all the way to the California coast to feed on the abundant jellyfish every summer and fall. Although their distribution is wide, numbers of leatherback turtles have seriously declined during the last century as a result of intense egg collection and fisheries bycatch. Globally, leatherback status according to IUCN is listed as Vulnerable, but many subpopulations (such as in the Pacific and Southwest Atlantic) are Critically Endangered.
THREATS FISHERIES BYCATCH Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles a year are accidentally caught in shrimp trawl nets, on long line hooks and in fishing gillnets. Sea turtles need to reach the surface to breathe, and therefore many drown once caught. Known as bycatch, this is a serious threat to leatherback turtles. As fishing activity expands, this threat is more of a problem. HABITAT LOSS Sea turtles are dependent on beaches for nesting. Sea level rise, uncontrolled coastal development, vehicle traffic on beaches, and other human activities have directly destroyed or disturbed sea turtle nesting beaches around the world. Turtle feeding grounds such as coral reefs and sea grass beds are also damaged and destroyed by activities onshore, such as sedimentation from clearing of land and nutrient run-off from agriculture.
Cross river gorilla
OVERVIEW • • • • • STATUS: Critically Endangered POPULATION: 200 to 300 individuals SCIENTIFIC NAME: Gorilla gorilla diehli HEIGHT: 4 to 5 ½ feet when standing on two feet WEIGHT: up to 440 pounds • This subspecies of the western gorilla is very similar in appearance to the more numerous western lowland gorilla, but subtle differences can be found in the skull and tooth dimensions. Cross River gorillas live in a region populated by many humans who have encroached upon the gorilla’s territory—clearing forests for timber and to create fields for agriculture and livestock. Poaching occurs in the forests as well, and the loss of even a few of these gorillas has a detrimental effect on such a small population. Efforts to protect these animals are focused on securing the forests that house them. WWF and partners have worked with the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to create a protected area for the Cross River gorilla that spans the border of these two nations. •
THREATS HUNTING The hunting and killing of gorillas is illegal in Cameroon and Nigeria, but enforcement of wildlife laws is often lax. Following conservation efforts, hunting has declined to a low level, but any amount of gorilla killing will have a significantly impact an already small population. INBREEDING The population risks inbreeding and a loss of genetic diversity because there are so few Cross River gorillas and they live in groups that interact infrequently if at all.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • • STATUS: Critically Endangered POPULATION: less than 400 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Panthera tigris sumatrae WEIGHT: 165 – 308 pounds HABITATS: Tropical Broadleaf Evergreen, Forest, Peat Swamps, and Freshwater Swamp Forests Today, the last of Indonesia’s tigers—now less than 400—are holding on for survival in the remaining patches of forests on the island of Sumatra. Accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could end up like its extinct Javan and Balinese relatives. Sumatran tigers are the smallest surviving tiger subspecies and are distinguished by heavy black stripes on their orange coats. They are protected by law in Indonesia, with tough provisions for jail time and steep fines. But despite increased efforts in tiger conservation—including law enforcement and antipoaching capacity—a substantial market remains in Sumatra and the rest of Asia for tiger parts and products. Sumatran tigers are losing their habitat and prey fast, and poaching shows no sign of decline.
THREATS • ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE: Most tigers in Sumatra are killed deliberately for commercial gain. According to a survey from TRAFFIC, the global wildlife trade monitoring network, poaching for trade is responsible for over 78% of estimated Sumatran tiger deaths—consisting of at least 40 animals per year. There is no evidence that tiger poaching has declined significantly since the early 1990s. This is despite intensified conservation and protection measures in Sumatra, and the apparent success globally in curtailing markets for tiger bone. • HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT: Habitat destruction forces tigers into settled areas in search of food, where they are more likely to come into conflict with people. Human-tiger conflict is a serious problem in Sumatra. People have been killed or wounded, and livestock fall prey to tigers. Retaliatory action by villagers can result in the killing of tigers.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • • STATUS: Critically Endangered POPULATION: As few as 35 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Rhinoceros sondaicus HEIGHT: 4.6–5.8 feet WEIGHT: 1,984 - 5,071 pounds LENGTH: 10–10.5 feet HABITATS: Tropical forests • Javan rhinos are the most threatened of the five rhino species, with as few as 35 individuals surviving in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia. Vietnam’s last Javan rhino was poached in 2010. The Javan rhino is a dusky grey color and has a single horn of up to about 10 inches. Their skin has a number of loose folds giving the appearance of armor plating. This species is very similar in appearance to the closely-related greater-one rhinoceros, but has a much smaller head and less apparent skin folds.
THREATS • REDUCED GENETIC DIVERSITY: The small size of the Javan rhino population is in itself a cause for concern. Low genetic diversity could make it hard for the species to remain viable. • NATURAL DISASTERS: Ujung Kulon National Park is highly vulnerable to tsunamis and a major explosion of the Anak Krakatau volcano could easily wipe out all life in the protected area. • INVASIVE SPECIES: Nearly 50% of the park has been overrun by Arenga palm, a native but invasive species that leaves the area barren of food for rhinos. • DISEASE: In recent years four rhinos, including one young adult female, are thought to have died from disease, probably transmitted to wild cattle in the park and subsequently to the rhinos.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • • • STATUS: Critically Endangered POPULATION: Approximately 7,300 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pongo abelii WEIGHT: 66 – 198 pounds LENGTH: 4 -5 feet HABITATS: Tropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf Forests The Sumatran orangutan is almost exclusively arboreal, living among the trees of tropical rainforests. Females virtually never travel on the ground and adult males do so rarely. Sumatran orangutans are reported to have closer social ties than their Bornean cousins. This has been attributed to mass fruit on fig trees, where groups of Sumatran orangutans can come together to feed. Adult males are typically solitary while females are accompanied by offspring. Historically, the Sumatran orangutan was distributed over the entire island of Sumatra and further south into Java. The species' range is now restricted to the north of the island with a majority in the provinces of North Sumatra and Aceh. Of the nine existing populations of Sumatran orangutans, only seven have prospects of long-term viability, each with an estimated 250 or more individuals. Only three populations contain more than 1,000 orangutans. Orangutans that were confiscated from the illegal trade or as pets are being reintroduced to Bukit Tigapuluh National Park. They number around 70 and are reproducing.
THREATS • HABITAT LOSS: Orangutan habitat in north Sumatra is being lost at an • extremely high rate, mainly due to fire and conversion of forests to oil palm plantations and other agricultural development. This species depends on highquality forests. Widespread forest fires, many set deliberately to clear land for plantations, are becoming a regular disaster. Not only do fires destroy vast areas of orangutan habitat, but thousands of these slow-moving apes are thought to have burned to death, unable to escape the flames. A plan to build a major road in northern Sumatra threatens one of the largestremaining areas of the orangutan’s habitat. Not only will the road fragment the forest, but it will also open up access for illegal logging activities and human settlements. The project is progressing despite proof that conserving the region will help long-term sustainable development.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • • • STATUS: Critically Endangered POPULATION: Unknown SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pseudoryx nghetinhensis HEIGHT: Average 33 inches at the shoulder WEIGHT: 176-220 lbs HABITATS: Evergreen forests with little or no dry season The saola was discovered in May 1992 during a joint survey carried out by the Ministry of Forestry of Vietnam and WWF in north-central Vietnam. The team found a skull with unusual long, straight horns in a hunter's home and knew it was something extraordinary. The find proved to be the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years and one of the most spectacular zoological discoveries of the 20th century. Saola (pronounced: sow-la) are recognized by two parallel horns with sharp ends, which can reach 20 inches in length and are found on both males and females. Meaning “spindle horns” in Vietnamese, they are a cousin of cattle but resemble an antelope. Saola have striking white markings on the face and large maxillary glands on the muzzle, which could be used to mark territory or attract mates. They are found only in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos.
THREATS With its unusually long horns and white markings on the face, the saola is a strong symbol for biodiversity in Lao and Vietnam. • HUNTING: Saola are often caught in snares set in the forest for wild boar, sambar or muntjac deer. Local villagers set some snares for subsistence use and crop protection. Recent increases in lowland people hunting to supply the illegal trade in wildlife has led to a massive increase in hunting, driven by traditional medicine demand in China and restaurant and food markets in Vietnam and Laos. • HABITAT LOSS: As forests disappear under the chainsaw to make way for agriculture, plantations and infrastructure, saola are being squeezed into smaller spaces. The added pressure from rapid and large-scale infrastructure in the region is also fragmenting saola habitat. Conservationists are concerned that this is allowing hunters easy access to the once untouched forest of the saola and may reduce genetic diversity in the future.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • • • • STATUS: Critically Endangered POPULATION: Likely fewer than 200 individuals SCIENTIFIC NAME: Phocoena sinus HEIGHT: Up to 5 feet WEIGHT: Up to 120 pounds HABITATS: Marine (only in the northern Gulf of California) In the upper part of Mexico's Gulf of California lives the world's smallest porpoise, the vaquita. Rare and elusive, this little porpoise wasn't discovered until 1958. Today, little is known about them. Vaquitas are most often found close to shore in the Gulf's shallow waters, although they quickly swim away if a boat approaches. The vaquita has a large dark ring around its eyes and dark patches on its lips that form a thin line from the mouth to the pectoral fins. Its dorsal surface is dark gray, sides pale gray and ventral surface white with long, light gray markings. Newborn vaquita have darker coloration and a wide gray fringe of color that runs from the head to the dorsal flukes, passing through the dorsal and pectoral fins. Vaquita are under threat from the fishing industry. They often die after being caught in gillnets, a problem known as bycatch.
THREATS The vaquita is the most endangered cetacean in the world. With likely fewer than 200 left, the species may go extinct without further protective measures. WWF works to ensure they can live and thrive in their natural habitat. Vaquitas have natural predators such as sharks, but their greatest threat comes from bycatch, in which they are accidentally caught and drown in gillnets. Since even one vaquita caught is too many, urgent measures must be taken to protect them from this type of fishing gear. Bycatch must be eliminated completely for the species to recover.
GANGES RIVER DOLPHIN
OVERVIEW STATUS: Endangered POPULATION: 1,200–1,800 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Platanista gangetica gangetica WEIGHT: 330-374 pounds LENGTH: 7-8.9 feet HABITATS:Freshwater rivers Dolphins are one of the oldest creatures in the world along with some species of turtles, crocodiles and sharks. The Ganges river dolphin was officially discovered in 1801. Ganges river dolphins once lived in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. But the species is extinct from most of its early distribution ranges. The Ganges river dolphin can only live in freshwater and is essentially blind. They hunt by emitting ultrasonic sounds, which bounces off of fish and other prey, enabling them to “see” an image in their mind. They are frequently found alone or in small groups, and generally a mother and calf travel together. Calves are chocolate brown at birth and then have grey-brown smooth, hairless skin as adults. Females are larger than males and give birth once every two to three years to only one calf. PLACES: EASTERN HIMALAYAS HABITATS: FRESHWATERS
THREATS BYCATCH The habitat of the Ganges river dolphin is within one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Ganges river dolphins and people both favor areas of the river where fish are plentiful and the water current is slower. This has led to fewer fish for people and more dolphins dying as a result of accidentally being caught in fishing nets, also known as bycatch. The Ganges river dolphin is still hunted for meat and oil, which are both used medicinally. The oil is also used to attract catfish in net fishery. POLLUTION Industrial, agricultural, and human pollution is another serious cause of habitat degradation. Each year, 9,000 tons of pesticides and 6 million tons of fertilizers are used in the vicinity of the river. High levels of pollution can directly kill prey species and dolphins, and completely destroy their habitat. As the top predator, river dolphins have been known to have high levels of persistent toxic chemicals in their bodies, which is likely to adversely affect their health.
• • • • • • • • • OVERVIEW STATUS: Endangered POPULATION: around 400 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Panthera tigris altaica WEIGHT: 396 – 660 pounds LENGTH: up to 10 feet HABITATS: Temperate forest Amur tigers were once found throughout the Russian Far East, northern China, and the Korean peninsula. By the 1940s, hunting had driven the Amur tiger to the brink of extinction—with no more than 40 individuals remaining in the wild. The subspecies was saved when Russia became the first country in the world to grant the tiger full protection. By the 1980s, the Amur tiger population had increased to around 500. Although poaching increased after the collapse of the Soviet Union, continued conservation and antipoaching efforts by many partners—including WWF—have helped keep the population stable at around 450 individuals. The Amur tiger’s habitat is now restricted to the Sikhote-Alin range in the Primorski and Khabarovski provinces of the Russian Far East, and to small pockets in the border areas of China and possibly North Korea. The high latitude means long winters where the sun does not rise far above the horizon. Amur tigers have the largest home range of any tiger subspecies because low prey densities means they have to search over large areas to find food. They represent the largest unfragmented tiger population in the world.
THREATS • ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE: The most immediate threat to the survival of Amur tigers is poaching to supply demand for tiger parts on the black market. Experts say a new breed of poacher stalks the tigers of the Russian Far East; they are better-armed, more organized and faster than their predecessors and often have international links. In 2010, suspected members of a Chinese poaching gang were captured by the Russian authorities after sneaking into a tiger sanctuary near the border. One of the suspects was dragging two big bags behind him as he stumbled through the snow. Inside the bags, said police, were two adult tiger skins and the bones of a tiger cub. • HABITAT LOSS: Tiger forests are at risk from logging, conversion to agriculture, urban expansion, road construction, mining, fires, and inadequate law enforcement. Illegal logging is widespread throughout the Russian Far East, which has major impacts because Korean pine and Mongolian oak provide critical food for the tiger’s prey during the snow season. When these trees are illegally logged, the prey populations decrease and negatively impact tigers. At least 30 percent of all Russian forest exports are tainted by illegal logging. The United States is the top importer of hardwoods harvested in the Russian Far East and manufactured as furniture in China. In 2010, the Russian government listed Korean Pine in Appendix III of CITES—requiring CITES permits for Korean Pine timber exported from Russia and making it harder for the illegal timber trade to continue. Dark Forest, an undercover investigation of the timber mafia in Russia, put a spotlight on the highlevel corruption prevalent in the system, allowing for illegal deforestation in protected areas and fake auctions in the Russian Far East. The documentary confirmed several WWF reports that revealed much of the logging in the region is illegal. •
Royal Bengal Tiger
• • • • • • OVERVIEW STATUS: Endangered POPULATION: fewer than 2,500 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Panthera tigris WEIGHT: around 550 pounds LENGTH: nearly 10 feet HABITATS: Dry and wet deciduous forests, grassland and temperate forests, mangrove forests • The Bengal tiger is found primarily in India with smaller populations in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. It is the most numerous of all tiger subspecies with fewer than 2,500 left in the wild. The creation of India’s tiger reserves in the 1970s helped to stabilize numbers, but poaching to meet a growing demand from Asia in recent years has once again put the Bengal tiger at risk. The mangroves of the Sundarbans—shared between Bangladesh and India—are the only mangrove forests where tigers are found. The Sundarbans are increasingly threatened by sea level rise as a result of climate change.
THREATS HABITAT LOSS: Less than a hundred years ago, tigers prowled all across the Indian subcontinent. Exploding human populations, particularly since the 1940s, have resulted in major loss of tiger habitat. Habitats are further fragmented because of agriculture and the clearing of forests for developments like road networks. This forces tigers into small and scattered habitat patches. ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE: Before the international ban on tiger trade in 1993, tiger populations were being decimated by poaching and trade. Despite the ban in the past few decades, the illegal demand for tigers as status symbols, decorative items, and folk cures has increased dramatically, leading to a new poaching crisis. Poaching driven by the international illegal wildlife trade is the largest immediate threat to the remaining tiger population. PREY LOSS: Tigers suffer from a severe loss of natural prey like deer and antelopes. Prey numbers decline because of direct poaching for meat and trade, competition with livestock over food and habitat degradation because of excessive wood removal for fires. CONFLICT WITH HUMANS: As tigers continue to lose their habitat and prey species, they are increasingly coming into conflict with humans as they attack domestic animals—and sometimes people. In retaliation, tigers are often killed by angry villagers.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • • STATUS: Endangered POPULATION: Approximately 1,000 in the wild SCIENTIFIC NAME: Mustela nigripes WEIGHT: 1.5-2.5 pounds LENGTH: 18 -24 inches HABITATS: Grasslands Once thought to be globally extinct, black-footed ferrets are making a comeback. For the last thirty years, concerted efforts from many state and federal agencies, zoos, Native American tribes, conservation organizations and private landowners have given black-footed ferrets a second chance for survival. Today, recovery efforts have helped restore the black-footed ferret population to nearly 1,000 animals across North America. Although great strides have been made to recover the black-footed ferret, habitat loss and disease remain key threats to this highly endangered species.
THREATS • Habitat loss, reduced prey populations, and non-native disease threaten the recovery of the black-footed ferret. The ferret is entirely dependent on the presence of prairie dogs and their colonies for food, shelter and raising young. Without ample reintroduction sites and distribution of prairie dogs, full black-footed ferret recovery remains difficult.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • • STATUS: Endangered POPULATION: 10,000-25,000 individuals SCIENTIFIC NAME: Balaenoptera musculus WEIGHT: Close to 200 tons LENGTH: 80-100 feet HABITATS: Oceans The blue whale is the largest animal on the planet, weighing as much as 200 tons (approximately 33 elephants). The blue whale has a heart the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Its stomach can hold one ton of krill and it needs to eat about four tons of krill each day. They are the loudest animals on Earth and are even louder than a jet engine. Their calls reach 188 decibels, while a jet reaches 140 decibels. Their low frequency whistle can be heard for hundreds of miles and is probably used to attract other blue whales.
THREATS Like other large whales, blue whales are threatened by environmental change including habitat loss and toxics. Blue whales can also be harmed by ship strikes and by becoming entangled in fishing gear. Although commercial whaling no longer represents a threat, climate change and its impact on krill (shrimp-like crustaceans), blue whales' major prey, makes this cetacean particularly vulnerable.
Blue Fin Tuna
OVERVIEW • • • • • • STATUS: Endangered SCIENTIFIC NAME: Thunnus spp WEIGHT: 1500 pounds LENGTH: 6 - 10 feet HABITATS: Oceans Blue fin are the largest tuna and can live up to 40 years. They migrate across oceans and can dive more than 4,000 feet. Bluefin tuna are made for speed: built like torpedoes, have retractable fins and their eyes are set flush to their body. They are tremendous predators from the moment they hatch, seeking out schools of fish like herring, mackerel and even eels. They hunt by sight and have the sharpest vision of any bony fish. There are three species of bluefin: Atlantic (the largest and most endangered), Pacific, and Southern. Most catches of the Atlantic bluefin tuna are taken from the Mediterranean Sea, which is the most important bluefin tuna fishery in the world.
THREATS • Lack of knowledge about the biology and migratory behavior of Atlantic bluefin has hindered successful fishery management plans. • OVERFISHING: Bluefin tuna populations have declined severely from overfishing and illegal fishing over the past few decades –not just Atlantic bluefin tuna, but also Pacific bluefin tuna and Southern bluefin tuna. Population declines have been largely driven by the demand for this fish in high end sushi markets. • PIRATE FISHING: Illegal fishing of Atlantic bluefin is a big problem and the fishery has been plagued by lack of enforcement and control.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • • STATUS: Endangered POPULATION: 1,600 in the wild (2004) SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ailuropoda melanoleuca HEIGHT: More than 4 feet long for adults WEIGHT: 220 to 330 pounds HABITATS: Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests of Southwest China This peaceful creature with a distinctive black and white coat is adored by the world and considered a national treasure in China. The bear also has a special significance for WWF. The panda has been WWF's logo since our founding in 1961. The rarest member of the bear family, pandas live mainly in bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China, where they subsist almost entirely on bamboo. They must eat from 26 to 84 pounds of it every day, a formidable task for which they use their enlarged wrist bones that function as opposable thumbs. • Newborn pandas are about the size of a stick of butter—about 1/900th the size of its mother—but can grow to up to 330 pounds as adults. These bears are excellent tree-climbers despite their bulk.
THREATS • HUNTING: Hunting remains an ever-present threat. Poaching the animals for their fur has declined due to strict laws and greater public awareness of the panda’s protected status. But hunters seeking other animals in panda habitats continue to kill pandas accidentally. • HABITAT LOSS: China’s Yangtze Basin region, which holds the panda’s primary habitat, is the geographic and economic heart of this booming country. Roads and railroads are increasingly fragmenting the forest, which isolates panda populations and prevents mating. Forest destruction also reduces pandas’ access to the bamboo they need to survive. The Chinese government has established more than 50 panda reserves, but only around 61% of the country’s panda population is protected by these reserves.
OVERVIEW Snow leopards have evolved to live in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. Their white-gray coat spotted with large black rosettes blends in perfectly with the steep and rocky mountains of Central Asia. • • • • • • STATUS: Endangered POPULATION: total estimated 4,080-6,590 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Panthera uncia LENGTH: 2-5 ft. HABITATS: cold high mountains The snow leopard’s powerful build allows it to scale great steep slopes with ease. Its hind legs give the snow leopard the ability to leap six times the length of its body. A long tail provides balance and agility and also wraps around the resting snow leopard as protection from the cold. • For millennia, this magnificent cat was the king of the mountains. The mountains were rich with their prey such as blue sheep, Argali wild sheep, ibex, marmots, pikas and hares. Snow leopards are found in 12 countries—including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia—but their population is dropping.
THREATS • • • • The sole predator of snow leopards? Humans. Hunting, habitat loss and retaliatory killings are the main reasons this big cat is now listed as an endangered species. CLIMATE CHANGE: Climate change poses perhaps the greatest long-term threat to snow leopards. Impacts from climate change could result in a loss of up to 30 percent of the snow leopard habitat in the Himalayas alone. RETALIATORY KILLINGS: Snow leopards are often killed by local farmers because they prey on livestock such as sheep, goats, horses, and yak calves. The animals which snow leopards would typically hunt—such as the Argali sheep—are also hunted by local communities. As their natural prey becomes harder to find, snow leopards are forced to kill livestock for survival. HABITAT FRAGMENTATION: The snow leopard habitat range continues to decline from human settlement and increased use of grazing space. This development increasingly fragments the historic range of the species.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • STATUS: Vulnerable SCIENTIFIC NAME: Dugong dugon WEIGHT: over 800 pounds LENGTH: nearly 10 feet HABITATS: Oceans Dugongs are cousins of manatees and share a similar plump appearance, but have a dolphin fluke-like tail. And unlike manatees, which use freshwater areas, the dugong is strictly a marine mammal. Commonly known as "sea cows," dugongs graze peacefully on sea grasses in shallow coastal waters of the Indian and western Pacific Oceans
THREATS Dugongs are threatened by sea grass habitat loss or degradation because of coastal development or industrial activities that cause water pollution. If there is not enough sea grass to eat then the dugong does not breed normally. This makes the conservation of their shallow water marine habitat very important. They also often become victims of bycatch, the accidental entanglement in fishing nets.
Great White Shark
OVERVIEW • • • • • • STATUS: Vulnerable SCIENTIFIC NAME: Carcharodon carcharias WEIGHT: 4,000-7,000 pounds LENGTH: 16-20 feet HABITATS: Oceans The great white shark is the world's largest known predatory fish. It has 3,000 teeth, yet does not chew its food. Sharks rip their prey into mouthsized pieces which are swallowed whole. The shark’s heavy, torpedoshaped body allows it to cruise efficiently for long periods of time, and then suddenly switch to high speed bursts in pursuit of prey—sometimes leaping out of the water. It feeds on a broad spectrum of prey, from small fish, such as halibut, to large seals and dolphins.
THREATS Great white sharks are decreasing in numbers and are rare due to years of being hunted by man for fins and teeth, and often as a trophy for sport fishing. The white shark is often caught as bycatch by commercial fisheries and can also become entangled in meshes that protect beaches.
Olive Ridley Turtle
OVERVIEW • • • • • • STATUS: Vulnerable SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lepidochelys olivacea WEIGHT: 75-110 pounds LENGTH: 24-28 inches HABITATS: Oceans The name for this sea turtle is tied to the color of its shell—an olive green hue. They are the smallest of the sea turtles and currently the most abundant. Their vulnerable status comes from the fact that they nest in a very small number of places, and therefore any disturbance to even one nest beach could have huge repercussions on the entire population.
THREATS All stages of a sea turtle’s life are affected by environmental conditions such as temperature—even the sex of offspring. The warmer the nest beach conditions, the more female hatchlings that emerge from the eggs. Unusually warm temperatures caused by climate change could be disrupting normal sex ratios, resulting in fewer male baby turtles. Warmer sea surface temperatures can also lead to the loss of important foraging grounds for marine turtles, while increasingly severe storms and sea level rise can destroy critical nesting beaches and damage nests.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • STATUS: Vulnerable POPULATION: less than 10,000 individuals SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ailurus fulgens LENGTH: 2 feet HABITATS: Temperate forests The red panda is slightly larger than a domestic cat with a bear-like body and thick russet fur. The belly and limbs are black, and there are white markings on the side of the head and above its small eyes. Red pandas are very skillful and acrobatic animals that predominantly stay in trees. Almost 50 percent of the red panda’s habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas. They use their long, bushy tails for balance and to cover themselves in winter, presumably for warmth. Primarily an herbivore, the name panda is said to come from the Nepali word ‘ponya,’ which means bamboo or plant eating animal.
THREATS Red pandas are often killed when they get caught in traps meant for other animals such as wild pigs and deer. They are also poached for their distinctive pelts in China and Myanmar. Red panda fur caps or hats have been found for sale in Bhutan.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • STATUS: Vulnerable SCIENTIFIC NAME: Rhincodon typus WEIGHT: around 11 tons LENGTH: around 40 feet HABITATS: Oceans The whale shark is the biggest fish and shark in the world. These gentle marine giants roam the oceans around the globe, generally alone. However, large numbers of whale sharks often gather in areas with abundant plankton food—making them prime tourist attractions. Its enormous mouth (nearly five feet wide) engulfs large quantities of tiny plankton that it filters through its gills as it swims.
THREATS Whale sharks are highly valued on international markets. Demand for their meat, fins and oil remains a threat to the species, particularly by unregulated fisheries. They are victims of bycatch, the accidental capture of non-target species in fishing gear. And whale shark tourism presents a threat to the species as it can interrupt their feeding and sharks can be injured by boat propellers.
• • • • • • • • • • • OVERVIEW STATUS: Vulnerable POPULATION: 20,000-25,000 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ursus maritimus WEIGHTL: 800-1300 pounds LENGTH: 6-9 ft. HABITATS: Arctic sea ice Polar bears are classified as marine mammals because they spend most of their lives on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean. They have a thick layer of body fat and a water-repellant coat that insulates them from the cold air and water. Considered talented swimmers, they can sustain a pace of six miles per hour by paddling with their front paws and holding their hind legs flat like a rudder. Polar bears spend over 50 percent of their time hunting for food, but less than two percent of their hunts are successful. Their diet mainly consists of ringed and bearded seals because they need large amounts of fat to survive. The total polar bear population is divided into 19 units or subpopulations. Of those, the latest data from the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group show that 8 subpopulations are in decline and there is a high estimated risk of future decline due to climate change. Because of ongoing and potential loss of their sea ice habitat resulting from climate change, polar bears were listed as a threatened species in the U.S., across their range, under the Endangered Species Act in May 2008. The survival and the protection of polar bear’s habitat are urgent issues for WWF
THREATS • • POLAR BEAR- HUMAN CONFLICTS: As climate change forces polar bears to spend longer time onshore, they come in contact more often with Arctic coastal communities and others working in the Arctic. Unfortunately, these interactions sometimes end badly for both humans and bears. INDUSTRIAL IMPACTS: In the Arctic, most industrial development has been on relatively small pieces of land. As summer sea ice retreats, a new ocean is emerging, which allows more opportunities for industrial development at sea and on larger parcels of land. At the same time, the retreating ice is resulting in more polar bears spending longer periods on land for denning. These factors combined are putting polar bears and industrial activities on a potential collision course. Offshore petroleum installations and operations in the Arctic are expected to increase in number. This would likely affect polar bears and their habitat in many ways including: • • • • • contact with spilled oil would be fatal an oil spill would affect the entire food chain noise generated from onshore and offshore oil operations would cause disturbance Increased Arctic shipping represents a risk to polar bears. As traffic by barges, oil tankers and cargo ships in Arctic waters increases, so do the risk of oil spills and human disturbance to polar bears. UNSUSTAINABLE HUNTING: Many Arctic areas have strong polar bear management and monitoring plans. But there are a few places where unsustainable hunting appears to be happening, including unreported and illegal hunting, and hunting in areas where the subpopulation status—stable or declining—is uncertain.
OVERVIEW • • • • • • STATUS: Vulnerable SCIENTIFIC NAME: Orcaella brevirostris WEIGHT: 198-440 pounds LENGTH: 5.9-9 feet HABITATS: Lakes, Rivers, Estuaries, and Coasts Irrawaddy dolphins are found in coastal areas in South and Southeast Asia, and in three rivers: the Ayeyarwady (Myanmar), the Mahakam (Indonesian Borneo) and the Mekong. The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins inhabit a 118-mile stretch of the river between Cambodia and Lao PDR and are scarce—between 78 and 91 individuals are estimated to still exist. These dolphins have a bulging forehead, short beak, and 12-19 teeth on each side of both jaws.
THREATS Irrawaddy dolphins are primarily threatened by bycatch, the accidental capture of aquatic animals in fishing gear
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