The Iberian lynx was found to be the world’s most endangered cat in 2002. More than a decade later and the population has reached it’s highest number since then.
A census released by the government of Andalusia found the population to be 404, up from 327 in 2014. The survey identified 120 breeding females over five areas of the Iberian Peninsula: Portugal’s Vale do Guadiana and Doñana, Sierra Morena, Montes de Toledo, Valley Matachel, all in Spain. Head of WWF-Spain’s species programme Luis Suarez says:
“WWF welcomes the heartening results of the 2015 Iberian Lynx census. This is a historic landmark that comes with the heavy responsibility of strengthening our commitment and conservation actions to protect this most endangered species.”
Director of WWF’s global species programme Carlos Drews says:
“The increasing numbers and expansion of Iberian lynx show that concerted conservation efforts pay off. This endangered cat is symbolic of the plight of numerous threatened species worldwide that require sustained conservation efforts over several decades. But the job is not completed yet – it’s on the right track, but still distant from a full recovery.”
Despite the rise in population, the Iberian lynx is still threatened by road accidents, with a total of 51 lynx killed on the roads in the last three years. The cat is also threatened by declines in prey species. In particular, a viral disease has caused rabbit populations have dropped over 50% in lynx territory. Suarez says:
“It is essential that all competent authorities take action on the threats to rabbits and begin to implement better monitoring plans and actions for species recovery. Otherwise, we will see a real ecological catastrophe given the key role of the rabbit in Mediterranean ecosystems.”
While poaching is reaching record highs in Africa, the same can’t be said for Nepal. It has been more than two years since a rhino was last poached in Nepal on May 2, 2014.
This is the first time Nepal has two consecutive years without poaching. And it’s a major factor in the rise of the greater one-horned rhino population to 645 animals, the highest recorded number in the country thus far.
Chief-Planning Division and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation Krishna P. Acharya says:
“This exceptional success is based on a combination of high-level political will, and the active involvement of the park authorities, Nepal Army, Nepal Police, conservation partners and local communities.”
Nepal’s success has been achieved by a coordinated national response, involving new approaches and improved protection efforts in national parks and surrounding areas. Nepal is already looking to maintain this success and hopes to launch “Mission 2nd May 2017” to celebrate 3 consecutive years of zero poaching.
Country Representative of WWF Nepal Anil Manandhar says:
“The zero poaching success has allowed Nepal to launch other projects to conserve its rhinos, including the recent translocation of five rhinos from Chitwan National Park to Bardia National Park. Nepal has shown that countries can stop poaching and we are confident that its integrated conservation machinery will ensure that the rhino population continues to grow.”
The bison was once on the brink of extinction. Today, it is the national mammal of the US.
WWF’s Bison Initiative Coordinator for Northern Great Plains program Dennis Jorgensen says:
“The plains bison’s remarkable recovery from near extinction in the 20th century is an important reminder that we can change the course of history when we work together to save an imperiled species.”
The bison received bipartisan support when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Bison Legacy Act – declaring the bison the national mammal – on April 26 and President Obama signed it into law on May 9.
Historically, there was an estimated 30-60 million plains bison in America’s grasslands. But human expansion and hunting decimated the bison population, leaving just 500 animals at the end of the 20th century.
But the bison, strong and resilient, was able to make a comeback with the help of conservationists, Native American communities, ranchers, industrialists, and other concerned citizens. Their efforts resulted in one of America’s first conservation success stories, as 20,000 or so bison were living in the US by the 1930’s.
Beyond the conservation implications of making the bison the national mammal, the species embodies many qualities that the US wants represented. The bison, which survived the Ice Age, is the nation’s largest land mammal and is a long-standing symbol of freedom, strength, and self-determination. It is on the Buffalo Nickel as well as the U.S. Department of the Interior’s official seal.
A rhino’s bones work very hard to support it’s size and activity. And as these mammal’s evolve and grow larger, their bones have to support more and more.
A new study from the Universities of Chicago and Oregon examined the bone health of rhinos and what changes have occurred over the species existence. The researchers found bone degradation, inflammation or infection in several rhino species, including the extinct North American and living African and Asian species.
To examine the issue further, the researchers analyzed the bone health of six extinct and one living rhino species. They looked into bone structure and total body mass changed, and how that has changed over the past 50 million years. They found that bone diseases increase dramatically from 28% to 65-80% as new species evolved. In addition, bone health decreased significantly as body mass increased.
The study’s findings may help in predicting the long-term bone health of these animals, other animals and maybe even humans.