Lifestyle Environment 29 Jul 2016 Concerted action nee ...

Concerted action needed to save large mammals: Study

Published Jul 29, 2016, 6:53 am IST
Updated Jul 29, 2016, 7:22 am IST
The species, such as elephants, rhinos, gorillas, and big cats are now threatened  with extinction (Representational Image)
 The species, such as elephants, rhinos, gorillas, and big cats are now threatened with extinction (Representational Image)

Bengaluru: A new study by over 43 scientists under the banner of the ‘Wildlife Conservation Society India Program’, warns of the imminent extinction of the world’s largest mammals if there is no worldwide strategy or a coordinated global plan to prevent the world's megafauna from sliding into oblivion.

A team of conservation biologists is calling for a worldwide strategy to prevent the unthinkable: the extinction of the world’s largest mammals. In a public declaration published in the journal BioScience, a group of 43 conservation scientists and other experts are calling for a coordinated global plan to protect the world’s ‘megafauna’.

Among the threats cited by the group as drivers of this mass extinction are illegal hunting, deforestation, habitat loss, the expansion of agriculture and livestock into wildlife areas, and the growth of human populations.

The team has worked on the study to examine population trends of many species, including many of the most well-known, charismatic species such as elephants, rhinos, gorillas, and big cats that are now threatened with extinction.

Approximately 59% of the world’s biggest mammalian carnivore species -- including the tiger -- and 60 per cent of the largest herbivores are now listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species,  since they are threatened with extinction.

  “Perhaps the biggest threat for many species is direct hunting, driven by a demand for meat, pets, and body parts for traditional medicines and ornaments,” Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, WCS’s Vice President of Species Conservation stated.

“Only a massive commitment from the international community will stop this.” Species at risk include elephants that provide a suite of vital ecosystem services as ecological engineers, dispersing seeds and nutrients across vast areas.

The loss of elephants worldwide to poachers is well-known and is the focus of extensive efforts to shut down ivory trade, but the study authors point out that many species are at risk from similar threats but are so poorly known that effective conservation efforts to save them are difficult. 

“With simultaneous loss of wildlife habitat and expansion of human populations and agriculture, negative interactions between people and wildlife are bound to arise,” said WCS India Scientist Dr. Varun R. Goswami, who is  also a co-author on the study.

Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru


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