July 6, 2014

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Where To Visit An Endangered Rhino

There’s a number of different species of rhinoceros, and there are 2 particular African species, the Black Rhino and the White Rhino, which are the most well-known.rhino

It is commonly considered that the White Rhino is endangered. At one stage there was only around 50 wild White Rhinos in existence. However since that time the White Rhino has recovered, thanks to the efforts of intense conservation, and recent estimates are that there are over 20,000 White rhinos living in Africa, with the majority in South Africa.

Less well known is that the Black Rhino is endangered, and more endangered than the White Rhino.

The black rhinoceros is one of the smaller rhinos in Africa, and now there are just over 5000 still living in the wild.

What is less well known is that black and white rhinos are actually the same color, it is considered that the name “white” Rhino does not refer to its color.

Of course one of the principal ways of protecting the rhinoceros, as well as many other endangered species of animals, is to breed them.

Whilst some people object to keeping animals such as these in captivity, in zoos, for the purpose of breeding there is no doubt that breeding these animals helps protect them from becoming extinct. [...]

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July 6, 2014

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Financing Endangered Animal Programs

Trying to save an endangered species is not an easy thing. Of course there’s a range of things which need to be undertaken to achieve success.

red-pandaOne of the most important things which must be immediately addressed is to attempt to preserve as many of the species as possible in the wild. There’s a number of reasons for this.

Biodiversity of the species

Of course it’s perfectly possible to breed endangered animals in zoos, though with some exceptions. However one of the issues with breeding endangered animals in zoos is that it tends to lead to a loss of biodiversity.

Biodiversity is the diversity of the genetics of the species, in other words maintaining a very wide range of genetic background of the animals.

Where a breeding program is undertaken from a relatively small number of individuals this can have issues relating to limiting biodiversity, and is a matter which must be carefully considered in any breeding program.

However protecting animals in the wild is not easy, and requires finance. For instance in many countries one of the major threats to endangered animals is poaching. This is commonly the case in some poorer countries in Africa and also in Indonesia, and other Asian countries.

And in many cases Western countries will help finance the cost of policing and antipoaching program.

Another problem that must be addressed as deforestation, and it can be costly attempting to reverse deforestation.

Breeding programs are also expensive

Many zoos undertake breeding programs of endangered animals. Breeding programs can also be particularly expensive.

The protection of animal species, particularly endangered animals, can be very expensive.

Therefore it’s interesting to see how various organisations approached the financing of animal protection. One place where you can find specific data on financial information is the World Wildlife Fund. [...]

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July 6, 2014

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The Tiger. Our Most Endearing Endangered Animal

The Tiger is one of the most well-known animals in the world. In times past they roamed over large parts of the earth’s surface, however now their numbers are severely restricted and they are in danger.tiger2

Up until a century ago there were, it is estimated, over 100,000 tigers worldwide which included 9 different Tiger subspecies.

Some of those subspecies, for example the very small (at 90 kilos) Balinese Tiger, are now extinct. Some others are seriously endangered, for example the White Tiger.

And in some cases it is just unknown. For instance there have been no sightings of South China tigers for some years, though it is not known if they are now extinct.

There are a number of different endangered tigers. 2 are particularly endangered, the Sumatran Tiger and the White Tiger.

The Sumatran Tiger

The SumatranTiger is the world’s smallest surviving tiger species. They live in Indonesia and there are now fewer than 400 tigers surviving in the last few areas of rainforest on the island of Sumatra. [...]

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July 21, 2014

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The Australian Mountain Pygmy Possum Is Almost Extinct

 Just about every native species of animal in Australia is in decline. The numbers of native animals in the wild is gradually reducing while the numbers of feral animals are getting out of hand.

There are some wonderful native mammals and marsupials in Australia. Of course everybody knows about the kangaroo and the koala, these are iconic Australian animals which are well known and loved around the world. However there are many others which are much less well known but which are threatened.

For instance one of these is the pygmy possum. This is a beautiful Australian marsupial, about the size of a mouse, which is an endangered species in Australia. The mountain pygmy possum is the biggest of all of the pygmy possum family and can fit into the palm of your hand.

These delightful little animals are found only in very small areas in Australia and it is considered that the total adult population is less than 3000 animals.

The mountain pygmy possum lives in alpine and sub alpine regions of Australia which are snow-covered in the winter. As Australia is a relatively warm continent this means that there are only small areas where the mountain pygmy possum can survive. These areas are restricted to around 10 km square kilometres above 1600 metres in height.

Being a hibernating marsupial the pygmy possum needs a sufficient depth of snow cover above it so that it can hibernate whilst retaining its body heat. This is provided by the insulation from a minimum depth of snow cover.

However one of the major issues for this small animal is that it lives in an area that is popular among people for skiing, and therefore its habitat is threatened by the development of ski fields.

One mountain pygmy possum has even been butchered with a hunting knife

And another threat is the threat posed by hunters, or other people with nasty intentions in mind. One animal, for instance, was recently found dead and appeared to have been butchered by a hunting knife.

This tiny animal is also threatened by global warming, which reduces the amount of snow cover in winter and exposes it to cold during the winter which reduces their likelihood of survival.

Another threat to this animal is that it is threatened by non-native species which hunt it, in particular by foxes and by feral cats.

Fortunately the threats to the survival of the mountain pygmy possum are recognised and there are conservation agencies which are now working with ski resort operators in an attempt to protect the habitat of this little animal. This includes rehabilitating their habitat where it has been degraded, reducing the impact of any activity to do with skiing and attempting to maintain or reduce the population of feral cats or foxes around any known population of mountain pygmy possums.

It’s a sad commentary that this tiny little animal, which is totally defenceless against predators, including human beings, may not survive into the next decade. And unfortunately the mountain pygmy possum is only one of many similarly threatened species in Australia, and of course in many other countries around the world.

We, as human beings, have much to answer for. Sadly many other species of beautiful animal must become extinct for us to thrive.

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