Category Archives: Habitats

Giraffe Sunset

Photo by Christopher Michel / CC BY 2.0

Giraffe Sunset

There Are Now More Than 400 Iberian Lynx, One of the World’s Most Endangered Cats

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.”

 
 
Featured image by Steve Slater / CC BY 2.0

Endangered Florida Manatee

Photo by David Hinkel, USFWS Endangered Species / CC BY 2.0

Endangered Florida Manatee

A Lizard in Southern Namibia

Photo by Joachim Huber / CC BY-SA 2.0

A Lizard in the Namibia Desert

The Bison Has Been Named the National Mammal of the US

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.

 
 
Featured image by Ethan R / CC BY-ND 2.0

An Elk Grazing in the Rockies

Photo by Katie Walters, U.S. Geological Survey / CC BY 2.0

An Elk Grazing in the Rockies

Flamingos on Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Photo by Paul Mannix / CC BY 2.0

Flamingos on Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Snowshoe Hare in Camouflage

Photo by DeaShoot / CC BY-ND 2.0

Snowshoe Hare in Camouflage

Tiger Resting

Photo by Christopher Kray / CC BY 2.0

Tiger Resting

Bottlenose Dolphins Jumping in the Sunset

Photo by Angell Williams / CC BY 2.0

Bottlenose Dolphins Jumping in the Sunset