There are 1,001 species of bats, almost a quarter of which are globally threatened. The Chiroptera Specialist Group of IUCN's Species Survival Commission has produced two Action Plans examining conservation issues for all species and detailing recommendations for action to conserve the most threatened species and habitats. These Plans are aimed principally at key decision makers as well as organisations and individuals who are promoting bat conservation issues. The underlying threat to bats is pressure on resources from increasing human populations that leads to the loss or modification of foraging habitats and roosts. Bats frequently have a negative public image that influences the response to the problems of rabies and vampire bats in Latin America and conflicts between bats and commercial fruit growers in other areas of the world. In some areas bats are persecuted because people are ignorant of the life history of bats and their role in ecosystems, while in other areas bats are overexploited for food. There is also a general lack of information about the distribution, status, biology and ecology of many species. This review examines some of the more general issues relating to bat conservation. It provides information on bat faunas of all countries worldwide, and on the most threatened species. It highlights the priority areas where action is needed immediately at a global, regional or national level. It highlights in particular the global importance of islands and caves for bats.
There are 1,001 species of bats, almost a quarter of which are globally threatened. The Chiroptera Specialist Group of IUCN's Species Survival Commission has produced two Action Plans examining conservation issues for all species and detailing recommendations for action to conserve the most threatened species and habitats. These Plans are aimed principally at key decision makers as well as organisations and individuals who are promoting bat conservation issues. The underlying threat to bats is pressure on resources from increasing human populations that leads to the loss or modification of foraging habitats and roosts. Bats frequently have a negative public image that influences the response to the problems of rabies and vampire bats in Latin America and conflicts between bats and commercial fruit growers in other areas of the world. In some areas bats are persecuted because people are ignorant of the life history of bats and their role in ecosystems, while in other areas bats are overexploited for food. There is also a general lack of information about the distribution, status, biology and ecology of many species. This review examines some of the more general issues relating; to bat conservation. It provides information on bat faunas of all countries worldwide, and on the most threatened species. It highlights the priority areas where action is needed immediately at a global, regional or national level. It highlights in particular the global importance of islands and caves for bats.
Most species of marine turtle breed every two or more years and it is the norm for females to lay more than one clutch of eggs within a nesting season. Knowing the interval between breeding seasons and the clutch frequency (number of clutches laid by an individual in a breeding season) of females allows us to assess the status of a nesting population. At Alagadi Beach, Northern Cyprus, over a period of 6 years (1995-2000), we attributed 96% of green Chelonia mydas and 80% of loggerhead Caretta caretta turtle clutches to known individual females. This intensive level of monitoring enabled us to estimate the clutch frequency for both species. Using four different methods we estimated clutch frequency to be 2.9-3.1 clutches per female for green turtles and 1.8-2.2 clutches per female for loggerhead turtles. The median interval between nesting seasons for green turtles was 3 years, and for loggerhead turtles it was 2 years. Utilizing these parameters and available data from other beaches that are monitored regularly, we estimate that there are 2,280-2,787 loggerhead and 339-360 green turtles nesting annually at these sites in the Mediterranean. This highlights the Critically Endangered status of this population of green turtles. Furthermore, as conventional beach patrols underestimate clutch frequency, these population estimates are likely to be optimistic.
Over the last 50 years there has been increasing use of charismatic large mammals and birds as 'flagship species' to raise funds and promote the ethos of conservation. However, species chosen to appeal to donor and membership groups may not necessarily be considered popular among local communities. A growing recognition of the need to engage local communities in conservation makes them an increasingly important audience for information about conservation. In. such situations an awareness of the local perception and value of different species is central to choosing effective flagships. Emphasising this, we propose 10 criteria for the selection of flagship species. We then describe three examples of local flagship species and assess their use against these criteria: the Asian elephant Elephas maximus for the conservation of landscapes in Aceh, Indonesia, the flying fox Pteropus voeltzkowi for forest protection on Pemba Island, Tanzania, and the ceiba or kapok tree Ceiba pentandra for the conservation of forests in Belize.
All six great apes, gorillas Gorilla gorilla and G, beringei, chimpanzees Pan troglodytes and R paniscus, and orang-utans Pongo pygmaeus and P, abehi, are categorized as Endangered on the 2000 IUCN Red List and face many threats to their continued existence in the wild. These threats include loss of habitat to settlement, logging and agriculture, illegal hunting for busameat and traditional medicine, the live ape trade, civil unrest and infectious diseases. The great apes are highly susceptible to many human diseases, some of which can be fatal while others can cause marked morbidity. There is increasing evidence that diseases can be transmitted from humans to free-living habituated apes, sometimes with serious consequences. If protective measures are not improved, ape populations that are frequently in close contact with people will eventually be affected by the inadvertent transmission of human diseases. This paper describes the risks, sources and circumstances of infectious disease transmission from humans to great apes during and consequent upon habituation for tourism and research, A major problem is that the regulations that protect habituated apes from the transmission of disease from people are often poorly enforced. Suggestions are made for improving the enforcement of existing regulations governing ape-based tourism, and for minimizing the risk of disease transmission between humans, both local people and international visitors, and the great apes.
Poor soils and high rainfall mean that the high productivity of the forests, an assumption that drives the development of the forest zone, is an illusion. The potential of the forests to produce meat, from wild or domestic herbivores, is limited. Growing human populations and shrinking forests accelerate pressures on forest resources faster than national statistics indicate. A simulation model demonstrates the effects of growing hunting pressure on one monkey and two duiker species. A version of this model that includes random variation shows that large harvests can be obtained for many years, but that a population collapse can happen suddenly; there is no period of gradually declining harvests. The accelerating hunting pressure in a zone of low productivity, shrinking habitat for monkeys and antelopes, the dynamics of non-linear systems, and natural environmental variation that affects reproduction and survival will lead to a collapse of hunted populations across the forest zone. We are now seeing the bushmeat boom and soon we will see the bushmeat bust.
This paper provides a review of data on the effects of the civil war on forest areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Only a few of these effects were beneficial, the most important being the collapse of the wood industry. However, the war has increased the number of people that rely on wood for fuel and bushmeat for protein. The presence of soldiers and refugees aggravates this pressure. When people hide they do not necessarily refrain from hunting, because goods, including ivory, can be stocked to be traded when the situation improves. War seems beneficial to the environment only if it keeps people out of large areas. It could be useful to extend the concept of peace parks to war zones. The idea of an international ‘green force’ to protect biodiversity hotspots should be given serious consideration. Awareness is growing that political instability should not preclude conservation efforts from being continued.
This paper provides a review of data on the effects of the civil war on forest areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Only a few of these effect. were beneficial, the most important being the collapse of the wood industry. However, the war has increased the number of people that rely on wood for fuel and bush-meat for protein. The presence of soldiers and refugees aggravates this pressure. When people hide they do not necessarily refrain from hunting, because goods, including ivory, can be stocked to be traded when the situation improves. War seems beneficial to the environment only if it keeps people out of large areas. It could be useful to extend the concept of peace parks to war zones. The idea of an international 'green force' to protect biodiversity hotspots should be given serious consideration. Awareness is growing that political instability should not preclude conservation efforts from being continued.
The Uluguru Mountains in eastern Tanzania contain at least 16 endemic vertebrate and 135 endemic plant taxa, with hundreds of more taxa shared only with forests in eastern Tanzania and Kenya. This degree of endemism is exceptional in tropical Africa, and the Uluguru Mountains are one of the 10 most important tropical forest sites for conservation on the continent. Surveys carried out during 1999-2001 updated information on the status of forests and biodiversity across the Uluguru Mountains. Forest area has declined from c. 300 km(2) in 1955 to 230 km(2) in 2001. Forest loss has been greatest over altitudes of 600-1,600 m, and concentrated in submontane forest. During the recent surveys most of the endemic and near-endemic vertebrate species known from the Uluguru Mountains were re-recorded, but three endemic snake species and two near-endemic bird species were not found. These species were previously known from the elevations where deforestation has been greatest. More than 50 plant species are also known only from the altitude range that has been heavily deforested. The primary cause of forest loss has been clearance for new farmland, The forest that does remain is largely confined to Catchment Forest Reserves managed for water by the Tanzanian Government Without these reserves the loss of forest, and hence the loss of biodiversity, in the Uluguru Mountains would most likely have been much greater.
Wildlife (bushmeat or game) is the primary source of protein for most poor households in tropical forests, and its consumption is resulting in unsustainable hunting of large animals, even in isolated regions. As a result, loss of fauna is often a more immediate and significant threat to the conservation of biological diversity in tropical forests than is deforestation. Although the potential effects of the extirpation from tropical forests of large, seed predating and seed dispersing wild animals is poorly understood, it is likely that there will be irrevocable changes in the structure and function of these ecosystems. We carried out a survey of 510 households of Tsimane' Amerindians in the rainforest of Bolivia to investigate how the prices of game and meat from domesticated animals affect the consumption of game. The results indicated that the price of fish and meat from livestock is positively correlated with consumption of wildlife, suggesting that policy makers may be able to reduce the unsustainable hunting of wildlife for food by reducing the price of fish and the price of meat from domesticated animals relative to that of wildlife. Increasing the production of livestock without causing environmental degradation will require long-term public investment in agricultural research and extension, and substitution of fish for game meat in the absence of sustainable management regimes will result in over-exploitation of riverine and lacustrine fish stocks.
The collection of reptiles for the pet trade is often cited as a potential problem for threatened species, but quantitative data on the effects of this trade on wild populations are lacking. In south-eastern Australia the decline of the threatened broad-headed snake Hoplocephalus bungaroides has been blamed on habitat destruction and the collection of snakes for pets, but there was little evidence to support the latter hypothesis. During 1992-2000 we studied one of the last extant southern populations of broad-headed snakes in Morton National Park, New South Wales, where <600 individuals remain on an isolated plateau. Analysis of 9 years of mark-recapture data reveal that the activities of snake collectors seriously endanger the viability of this species. The study population of H. bungaroides was stable over 1992-1996, but declined dramatically in 1997, coincident with evidence of illegal collecting, possibly stimulated by a government amnesty that allowed pet owners to obtain permit,, for illegally held reptiles. Survivorship analyses revealed that 85% of adult females disappeared from the population in 1997. There was no such effect on male survivorship, suggesting that snake collectors, selectively removed adult females, which are the largest snakes in the population. Humans caused significant damage to fragile rock outcrops in three of the 9 years of the study, and a second bout of habitat disturbance in 1999 coincided with a second decline in the H. bungaroides, population, We recommend that locked gates be placed on fire trails to protect existing populations of broad-headed snakes.
Since 1993 the Serengeti Regional Conservation Project (SRCP) in Tanzania has conducted a game cropping operation (the commercial utilization of wild animal populations in natural habitats) in areas immediately outside the Serengeti National Park in order to provide adjacent villages with incentives to abstain from illegal hunting. In this study we carry out a comparative economic analysis of the SRCP cropping operation and illegal hunting. The extent of illegal hunting was mapped by utilising questionnaires distributed to Village Game Scouts employed in five of the Project villages. Our research indicates that the cropping operation is not economically sustainable and makes only a minor economic contribution to the Project villages compared to illegal hunting. Furthermore, cropping quotas are small, utilization of quotas low, and the level of community involvement limited. Illegal hunting was extensive around both Project and other villages. We suggest that SRCP discard the inefficient cropping operation and instead concentrate on diversifying income opportunities for the Project villages.
The diurnal primate community of the Korup area of south-west Cameroon is rich in species and high in endemism. Two years monitoring in the Support Zone around Korup National Park have shown that, although all species of the original community are still present, Preuss' red colobus and drill, which were considered to be threatened in the early 1990s, have declined further and are probably facing local extinction. Densities of the crowned monkey also seem to have declined. Only mona and putty-nosed monkeys have an expanded distribution, and densities that are within the range of those reported from previous studies in the region. Although hunting is the most important cause of these declines, logging also appears to be having a detrimental effect. In logged forest group densities of chimpanzee, red-capped mangabey, mona monkey and red-eared monkey decreased between the two survey years, whilst remaining constant or increasing in unlogged forest. The frequency of associations of guenon species did not differ between logged and unlogged study sites, but encounters of associations of all four guenon species were only found in unlogged forest. We strongly recommend enforcement of anti-poaching activities inside the Korup National Park, and establishment of wildlife management in the Support Zone, as only a combined strategy can successfully guarantee the persistence of the wildlife of the region.
The loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta is listed as threatened with extinction on the US Endangered Species Act. Those loggerhead turtles that nest on US beaches from North Carolina to north-east Florida are a genetically distinct subpopulation. This subpopulation is small, and may be declining. To obtain information about the migratory pathways of these turtles we tracked post-nesting movements of five females by satellite from their nesting beach at Wassaw Island, Georgia. Four turtles migrated north of the nesting beach, of which three moved to coastal waters of mid Atlantic states (total distances of 157-1,458 km). Efforts to reduce mortality of northern subpopulations of loggerhead turtles need to focus on identifying and reducing threats in north-east US waters.
The masked titi Callicebus: personatus melanochir is a threatened primate, endemic to the Atlantic rainforest of eastern Brazil. The Atlantic rainforest has been reduced to only 5% of its former extent, and only 2% consists of undisturbed forest, The survival of the masked titi monkey is therefore dependent on its ability to utilise disturbed forest habitat. A group of four masked titi monkeys was observed for one Vear in a plot that contained both disturbed and undisturbed forest. The group used a home range of 22 ha, which comprised 58% undisturbed forest, 31% selectively logged forest and 11% forest that was regrowing after a clear-cut. The titi monkeys did not use the different forest types in proportion to the availability of each within their home range: undisturbed forest was used more than expected from its proportional availability, and disturbed forest was used less than expected. Use of forest types appeared to be determined by the availability of food resources. Undisturbed forest had the most food per unit area and regrowing forest had the least. This study shows that masked titi monkeys may be able to survive in disturbed forest habitats if these areas are of high enough quality to contain sufficient food and other resources.
We studied changes in germination rates and dispersal distance of seeds of Ficus perforata and F. lundelli dispersed by howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata mexicana), in a small (40 ha) 'disturbed' and a larger (>600 ha) 'preserved' tropical rainforest in southern Veracruz, Mexico. The interaction between A. p. mexicana and Ficus (Urostigma) spp. is beneficial for the interacting species and has important implications for their conservation. Howler monkeys gain from the ingestion of an important food source, germination rates of Ficus seeds are improved by passage through the monkeys' digestive tract, and the seeds are more likely to be deposited in a site suitable for germination and development. Seed dispersal distances are relatively larger in the preserved site, with both the size of the forest area and the spatial pattern of Ficus affecting the dispersal process. In a large forest fragment with 'regularly' distributed Ficus individuals the howler monkeys move away from the seed source, increasing the probability that the seeds are desposited on a tree other than Ficus, which is important for the germination and future development of a hemiepiphytic species. In a small forest fragment with trees distributed in clumps howlers repeatedly use the same individual trees, and faeces containing seeds may be dropped on unsuitable trees more often. These are key issues when addressing conservation policies for fragmented forests.
We investigated management of wildlife, habitat and the hunting programme in Aksai County, Gansu Province, People's Republic of China, during 1997-2000. Argali Ovis ammon is the focal species both for conservation and hunting. The hunting programme is intended to produce incentives to conserve wildlife and habitat. Poaching, a serious concern throughout western China, has been reduced in recent years in Aksai. Wildlife population trends are unknown because standardized surveys were begun only in 2000. Threats to argali in Aksai include livestock grazing, placer gold mining, and development of a dam, reservoir and aqueduct. The number of hunters participating in the programme (c. 3 per year) could provide considerable funding (c. $60,000 per year), but the allocation of these funds within China has provided too little for conservation at the local level, thus undermining the intended incentive system. Because local wildlife protection officials have been denied both funding and authority to deal with threats to the wildlife, the programme's contribution to conservation has been minor. We recommend that hunters pay fees directly to county-level staff, thus increasing the proportion of funds retained at county-level, and that this added income is used to obtain wildlife grazing rights on important seasonal habitats for argali. These changes would promote local wildlife conservation without the need for additional external funding. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT
High cattle densities, expanding human settlements and the conversion of miombo woodland into farms and teak plantations are threatening wildlife populations in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania, and conservation research on this internationally important wetland is required as part of an integrated approach to its future management. The effect of land-use change on antelopes (family Bovidae) was investigated by surveying tracks and dung during three seasons over 1999-2000 in an area of mixed land-use. Use of miombo woodland, grassland and farmland habitats by antelopes was highest during the wet season (April-Mav), probably representing the movements of animals away from the floodplain. Duiker, puku Kobus vardoni and reedbuck Redunca spp. predominantly used the farmland during the wet season, at which time buffalo Syncerus caffer were more common in the miombo woodland, The findings of this study have three main implications for the conservation of the valley. Firstly, the inadvertent provision of suitable wet season habitats for puku and other small-medium antelopes by rice farmers could lead to higher levels of illegal hunting, and may increase the potential for conflict between agriculture and wildlife. Secondly, the loss of miombo vegetation will most strongly affect the larger species of antelope (sable Hippotragus niger and waterbuck Kobus ellipsiprymnus), which favour open-woodland habitats; future work should therefore determine levels of habitat use by antelopes in and around maturing teak plantations. Thirdly, any management prescriptions to conserve the Kilombero Valley should include the land on the edge of the floodplain.