turtles and crocodiles on the front line

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[EN VIDÉO] Biodiversity: Have we entered the sixth mass extinction?
In recent years, the topic of biodiversity has regularly appeared on the front pages of the media. She would fall apart. According to WWF, over 40 years, the population of wild vertebrates has decreased by 60%. To the point of claiming that humanity is the cause of the sixth mass extinction? Gilles Boeuf, President of the Scientific Council of the French Agency for Biodiversity, reveals his arguments on this issue.

A study just published in Nature stresses that conservation efforts targeting other animals “hairy or feathered” also benefit reptiles and these “deserve the same attention”emphasizes Bruce Young, zoologist NGO leader NatureServ and co-author of the article.

“These are amazing creatures that play an indispensable role in the planet’s ecosystems.”predators of harmful species or prey for birds and other animals, insists his colleague Sean O’Brien, president NatureServquoted in the press release.

Reptiles are more threatened than birds

Published study is an overall assessment of extinction risk reptilescompleted on “more than 15 years” and signed by some fifty authors, while collecting information with the support of hundreds of scientists from six continents, the three editors explained during a press conference.

“Endangered” species are classified into three categories: “Vulnerable”, “Endangered” or “Critically Endangered” according to the classification of the Red ListIUCNThe International Union for Conservation of Nature is one of the leading public organizations in this field.

The study shows that reptiles proportionately less threatened globally than mammals or amphibians, but more so than birds.

Some regions are more open: Southeast Asia, West Africa, northern Madagascar, northern Andes, Caribbean. And reptiles those living in forests are most at risk: 30% of them versus 14% of those living in arid environments.

“Habitat loss (…) continues to be a major threat”, notes Neil Cox of the IUCN. Of all the species studied, the most turtles and crocodiles even more concerned about the victims of excessive exploitation and persecution. A source of food and victims of beliefs associated with their healing properties, they are also captured to become pets for the former. But they also hunted for their danger to the latter.

Another example is the king cobra, an iconic animal found widely in India and Southeast Asia. “It was supposed to be in decline, now it is classified as vulnerable”Neil Cox notes. He is punished by the disappearance of the forest in which he lives, in connection with the exploitation of forests or their transformation into Earth agricultural.

Billions of cumulative years of evolution

Relatively changing of the climatehe could directly threaten “10 or 11% reptiles”considers Bruce Young, even if this figure is likely an underestimate by the study, in part because the negative impact will be observed in the longer term, while the IUCN red list criteria are associated with more immediate effects, spanning the next three generations. species or a decade, whichever is longer.

For his part, Professor Blair Hedges, an expert on biodiversity to Temple University (USA), warns against memory loss genetic from these animals. “Sixteen billion years of evolution will be lost if all endangered species die out”he warns. Among them areiguana Galapagos sailor, “the only lizard in the world that has adapted to aquatic life”he recalls.

Measurements» urgently and purposefully necessary to protect the most endangered species, the authors of the study argue, “particularly those lizards endemic to the islands threatened by introduced predators and those more directly affected by humans”.

Nearly 19% of reptiles are endangered

Article by Delphine Bossi, published February 20, 2013

Are reptiles endangered? A major international study estimates that 19% of the world’s species are threatened with extinction. conservation status IUCN.

Evolution reptiles it’s a long story. Appearing on Earth 300 million years ago, they eventually became key elements ecosystems ground. Some reptiles are prey, others are predators. They are usually associated with extreme living conditions or hostile environments.

However, most reptile species specially adapted to their environment. They require special climatic conditions and their daily good health depends on the use of their habitat. Therefore, reptiles are very sensitive to environmental changes. deforestation or the conversion of habitats to areas of cultivation completely threaten these species.

More than 200 specialists coordinated Zoological Society of London andIUCN assessed the conservation status of all reptiles worldwide. Such synthesizing work is carried out for the first time. Published in a magazine biological conversation, the study states that 19% of reptiles are endangered. The study includes an analysis of 1,500 species from around the world. Of the endangered species, 12% are considered endangered, 41% endangered and 47% vulnerable.

Endangered freshwater turtles

tropical regions are those that have the highest level of threat. in tropicsforests are increasingly being converted for agriculture orclumsy. The habitat of the lizard is practically destroyed, so the search for the species in some areas has not been successful. In addition, three species classified as endangered may have become extinct. One of the three is a lizard Ameiva vittataseen only once in part of Bolivia.

But the risk of extinction is unevenly distributed across a large group of reptiles. turtlespure water are in the greatest danger. According to the study, 30% freshwater reptiles close to extinction. The rate increases to 50% if only turtles are counted. In addition to destroying their habitat, they are poached for the shell trade.

The man is still in question

Terrestrial reptiles are less dangerous. However, their biological and ecological requirements, as well as their low mobility, make them particularly vulnerable to pressure Human. Six out of nine in Haiti lizard species Anolis included in this study pose a high risk of extinction due to the massive deforestation that is affecting the country.

The findings of this study are troubling because they are global. The study is a good indicator for assessing conservation success, tracking trends in extinction risk over time, and humanity’s ability to implement biodiversity conservation plans.

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