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Soon to be gone?

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Reptiles: Iberian Rock Lizard

Status: Iberolacerta cyreni is endemic to the central mountain system of Spain, where it is a reasonably common species in several areas. However, its populations are highly fragmented and are threatened by habitat loss, especially due to the construction of ski resorts and roads. It might also be adversely affected in future by climate change. Currently listed as Endangered.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Birds: Pink Pigeon


An adult pigeon is about 32 cm from beak to tail and 350 gram in weight. Pink pigeons have pale pink plumage on their head, shoulders and underside, along with pink feet and beak. They have dark brown wings, and a broad, reddish-brown tail. They have dark brown eyes surrounded by a ring of red skin.

Newly hatched pigeons have sparse, downy-white feathers and closed eyes.

Status: The Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri) survives in the Black River Gorges of south-west Mauritius and on Ile aux Aigrettes, just off the eastern coast. Although once common, it declined to just 10 wild individuals in 1990. Since then, intensive management has resulted in a spectacular increase. In January 2000, the wild population was 364-375, at four mainland sites plus Ile aux Aigrettes. By the end of 2004, the population was 359-395 indviduals, likely nearer the lower estimate. Severe loss of habitat has been compounded by predation of nests and adults by introduced Crab-eating Macaque Macaca fascicularis, mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus, rats and feral cats. Cyclones destroy nests and accelerate habitat degradation. Disease and late-winter food shortages are also threats. The species is currently listed as Endangered.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Mammals: Polar Bear


The Polar Bear is the largest existant carnivore species residing on land, twice the weight of a Siberian tiger or lion. Most adult males weigh from 400 to 600 kg (880 to 1300 lb) and exceptionally, up to 800 kg (1750 lb). The Kodiak sub-species of the brown bear, an omnivore, is sometimes as large. The largest polar bear on record was shot at Kotzebue Sound, Alaska in 1960. This male was estimated to weigh about 880 kg (1960 lb). Mounted, it was 3.38 m (143 in) tall.

Females are about half the size of males and normally weigh 200 to 300 kg (450 to 650 lb). Adult males measure 2.4 to 2.6 m (95 to 102 in); females, 1.9 to 2.1 m (75 to 83 in). At birth, cubs weigh 600 to 700 g.

Status:The Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) moved into the threatened categories after being reassessed as Vulnerable for the 2006 Red List. Recent modelling of the trends for sea ice extent, thickness and timing of coverage predicts dramatic reductions in sea ice coverage over the next 50.100 years due to global climate change. It is suspected that there will be a population reduction of at least 30% over the next 45 years as a result of this habitat loss and declining habitat quality. Other threats to the population include pollution, and disturbance from shipping, recreational viewing, oil and gas exploration and development, and potential risk of over-harvesting (as a result of both legal and illegal hunting) in future.