Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Experts in plea for protection of obscure but at-risk animals

Alister Doyle in Reuters: Obscure flora and fauna that few people have ever heard of such as the Jamaican rock iguana need to be much better protected if the world is to achieve a goal of preventing species dying out by 2020, a study said on Tuesday.

The report, "Priceless or Worthless?", listed the 100 most threatened species and said critically endangered plants and animals such as Tarzan's chameleon in Madagascar merited conservation since they were irreplaceable for the Earth even if they had no economic value for people.

"Over half (of the 100 most endangered species) are receiving little or no attention," Professor Jonathan Baillie, Director of Conservation at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), told Reuters by telephone from South Korea.

Few people fretted about the fate of the Singapore freshwater crab, Ethiopia's liben lark, the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat or the Luristan newt, found in only in the Zagros mountains in Iran, he warned.

And Tarzan's chameleon, colored bright green and yellow, was largely ignored in a shrinking patch of rainforest.

"We need a rethink" of conservation priorities, Baillie said of the 124-page report issued by the ZSL and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is meeting in South Korea and groups governments, scientists and activists....

Lark eggs, shot by Beentree, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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