We go to the tiny wild cat that looks like it could be a house cat! This is the Andean Cat, and before 1998, the only evidence scientists had that it existed at all was two photographs. This small mountain cat is so similar in habitat and appearance — preferring high altitudes and its body shape and coloring — that it is considered the tiny version of the snow leopard.
But unlike the snow leopard, there is far less conservation funding to help this cat. The Andean Cat Alliance and the Small Cat Conservation Allianceare the two groups mainly helping this felid species. Fewer than 2,500 are thought to exist today, with a declining population due to a loss of habitat and prey, and due to hunting for traditional ceremonial purposes.
Cats on the Brink - Endangered Felids: Iberian Lynx
by Jaymi Heimbuch
The Iberian Lynx is critically endangered, and is the world’s most threatened species of cat with only about 309 living in the wild as of 2013. That is actually up from the roughly 100 individuals estimated to be alive in 2005. Native to the Iberian Peninsula, the Iberian lynx is an expert rabbit hunter — unfortunately it has specialized on only rabbits and the loss of prey due to disease outbreaks as well as habitat has all but wiped it out. Though it is now illegal to hunt them and their habitat is protected, the lynx still falls victim to cars along roads, feral dogs and poaching by humans.
Nipped fingers and handfuls of guano will be the order of the day for wildlife rangers on the Farne Islands as they embark on an epic census on Friday to discover whether puffin numbers have plummeted after a year of extreme weather.
The 10 National Trust rangers living on the islands must dangle their bare fingers down 60,000 puffin burrows in the next two months to determine whether breeding pairs have fallen after the worst puffin “wreck” for 66 years.
The wreck in March, which saw 3,500 birds wash up dead along the north-east coast of Britain, was caused by icy easterly winds. It followed a summer when the puffins on the archipelago off Northumberland were flooded out of their underground homes, with more than 40% failing to breed…
Crazy cat numbers: unusually high jaguar densities discovered in the Amazon rainforest
by Zach Fitzner
May 16, 2013 - Jaguars (Panthera onca) are the biggest cat in the Americas and the only member of the Panthera genus in the New World; an animal most people recognize, the jaguar is also the third largest cat in the world with an intoxicatingly dangerous beauty. The feline ranges from the harsh deserts of southern Arizona to the lush rainforests of Central America, and from the Pantanal wetlands all the way down to northern Argentina.
These mega-predators stalk prey quietly through the grasses of Venezuelan savannas, prowl the Atlantic forests of eastern Brazil, hunt along the river of the Amazon, and even venture into lower parts of the Andes. However, in 40% of the jaguar’s original range the big cat has vanished completely. Population numbers are also down in Mexico, Central America, parts of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and the Guianas.
The good news is in the Peruvian Amazon: here, the jaguar is doing fine, still very much king of the jungle. In fact, a recent paper in Biological Conservation by the AREAS Amazonian Project found that the jaguar population in three Peruvian conservation areas could number as high as 6,000 animals with densities rivaled only by the Pantanal…
Spain’s wolf population is estimated at 2,000 and growing. Wolves are considered a game species, though they are protected in the southern regions of the country. Compensation is paid for livestock damage, though this varies according to regional laws.
They’re a national icon of Chile, but Huemul or South Andean Deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus) are scarcely seen. Scientists estimate only 2,500 remain in the wild. However, a recent study by WCS and partners revealed that the deer are making a comeback in areas of Patagonia, due in part to reduced cattle farming and poaching.
… is a rare plant endemic to Marin County, California. Only a single population is known from serpentine soils on Ring Mountain, Tiburon Peninsula on the northwestern side of San Francisco Bay.
While the land on which it grows is protected, the limited distribution of this species puts it at high risk of extinction due to random events like drought or wildfires. It is also threatened by damage from off-leash dogs, hikers, cyclists, wildflower collectors, and other vandals.
A rich, rolling “churee churee churee” rings out from the lush understory of the woods, then the songster itself flits up to a low branch and sounds out again. This golden and olive warbler with the black mustache spends much of its time on the ground in deep woods, where it nests, but the patient birder can often catch a glimpse of one, especially as males stake out their territories each spring.
The Kentucky Warbler’s characteristic loud song is heard less frequently today, and continued losses of bottomland hardwood forests across the southeastern United States may be the reason why. However, destruction of habitat on its wintering grounds through clearing for agriculture and pasture may pose an even greater threat…
Sea butterflies, a group of swimming sea snails, are canaries in the coal mine for the ocean.
Delicately beautiful and highly sensitive to the changing oceans, these tiny creatures—most smaller than a pinky nail!—present a unique way to gauge climate. One-quarter of the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere dissolves into the ocean, which makes the water more acidic and makes it more difficult for these animals to build their own shells.
Rhino populations in Sumatra, Borneo should be combined to save Sumatran rhino from extinction
by MongaBay staff
A new study argues for treating endangered Sumatran populations in Borneo and Sumatra as “a single conservation unit”, lending academic support to a controversial proposal to move wild rhinos from Malaysia to Indonesia.
The paper, authored by an international team of rhino experts and published in the journal Oryx, says that genetic differences between the island populations are minimal. Given the dire straights of the species — the wild population is estimated at less than 100 individuals — the researchers argue that ensuring the Sumatran rhino’s survival takes precedence over preserving what little genetic diversity remains between populations…
Fish species are shifting their ranges around the world in response to warming oceans, a trend that could have significant economic ramifications globally, a new study found.
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, employs a novel index that creates a fish thermometer of sorts, teasing out evidence of population shifts from fishery catch records during the past four decades. The study is the first to detect climate change-related shifts in the range of fish species on a global scale. In doing so, it provides another line of evidence showing the far-reaching impacts of global warming.
“We knew that oceans have warmed up in the last four decades, but we didn’t know how it’s affecting fisheries catch globally,” said study co-author William W.L. Cheung of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in an interview…
A herd of elephants graze in Zakouman Nationak Park in this April 5, 2013 photograph. The park, located 800 kilometers east of N’Djamena, Chad, has seen 90 percent of its elephants poached in the past decade. The African elephant is the largest living animal on land, and also one of the most in-demand. The ivory in elephant tusks is believed to be medicinal in some Asian cultures, though no scientific proof exists of any such claim. Since the 1980s, the population of the African elephant has halved—from 1.3 million to around 600,000.