Ring-Tailed Lemur Populations Have Crashed by 95 Percent

GR: Sad times if you care for wildlife. The researchers explain that Ring-Tailed Lemurs declined to this point with no outcry because no one was watching. Around the world at this crucial time for wildlife, there are too few scientists monitoring populations. “The two most prolific Lemur researchers, Alison Jolly and Robert Sussman, have died and we are the only descendants with active research in Madagascar,” said researcher Tara A. Clarke of the organization Lemur Love.

Credit: Eric Kilby Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Madagascar’s beloved ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) have all but disappeared from many of the island nation’s forests. According to two worrying new studies, the species’ population has fallen to between 2,000 and 2,400 animals—a shocking 95 percent decrease since the year 2000.

“To put that number in context, there are now fewer ring-tailed lemurs living in the wild than there are living in zoos around the world.

“Factors driving the decline include rapid habitat loss, hunting, and the illegal pet trade, according to a paper published last month in the journal Primate Conservation and a second paper published today in Folia Primatologica.

“The situation is so bad that many ring-tailed lemur sub-populations now contain fewer than 30 individuals. In addition, the animals have completely disappeared from at least 15 sites they once called home.

“The now-empty forests are “very sad, quiet and dusty,” says Marni LaFleur, lead author of the second paper and a co-director of the conservation organization Lemur Love. “There was a thick layer of crunchy leaf litter on the ground, and dust on top. Some trees were heavy with ripe and rotten fruits. Without birds or mammals to consume them, the untouched fruits just rot in and around the trees. Normal aspects of a forest, which as a biologist I have a fairly keen eye for—footprints, scat, bite marks, sleeping spots, calls—are absent.” John R. Platt

(Continue reading: Ring-Tailed Lemur Populations Have Crashed by 95 Percent – Scientific American Blog Network.)

The extinction crisis is far worse than you think

GR:  This CNN Photo/Video/Data essay has high-quality images and interviews.  Recommended.

“Frogs, coral, elephants — all are on the brink. Three quarters of species could disappear. Why is this happening? CNN explores an unprecedented global crisis.” –CNN (Continue:  The extinction crisis is far worse than you think)

Bipartisan Senate legislation gets tough on wildlife crime

GR:  Almost brings a tear to an eye to see Congress doing something good.

“Update:  On October 7, 2016, President Obama signed into law the END Wildlife Trafficking Act (H.R. 2494).

“Wildlife trafficking fills criminal coffers to the tune of $7-10 billion a year at the expense of our planet’s most magnificent wildlife,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF. “President Obama has put organized crime syndicates on notice that the US government will not stand idly by while thousands of elephants, tigers and rhinos become victims to this brutal trade.”

“Update:  On September 21, 2016, the US House of Representatives the House of Representatives unanimously passed the END Wildlife Trafficking Act (H.R. 2494). The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

“In a continuing demonstration of the U.S. government’s commitment to combating wildlife crime globally, the U.S. Senate has unanimously passed the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act (H.R. 2494), a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

“The END Wildlife Trafficking Act is the result of several years of dedicated work by congressional offices and conservation organizations. WWF has played a leadership role in those efforts, collaborating closely with champions in Congress and advocating to incorporate several important provisions into the legislation. Among these are measures that will ensure federal agencies continue to use a coordinated, whole-of-government approach as they respond to the global poaching crisis and direct them to work with affected countries to improve their abilities to protect wildlife populations, disrupt wildlife trafficking networks and prosecute wildlife criminals.

“This bill helps ensure a unified approach by the US government as it works with countries and communities around the globe to combat wildlife crime and the challenges it poses to development, security and conservation,” said Ginette Hemley, WWF’s senior vice president of wildlife conservation. “It also smartly elevates wildlife trafficking into a serious crime under US law, upping the penalties and providing law enforcement with greater tools for going after the worst offenders.

“The END Wildlife Trafficking Act also encourages the transfer of surplus equipment and uniforms to rangers and other wildlife law enforcement personnel in developing countries, who are often ill-equipped and under resourced. And the bill gives strong support and endorsement to community-based conservation approaches like the ones WWF has long championed, recognizing that communities are on the front lines of the poaching epidemic and can be among the strongest allies in the fight to address it.”  —Bipartisan Senate legislation gets tough on wildlife crime | Stories | WWF

Pledge to Protect Species Threatened by International Trade – Defenders of Wildlife

Pledge to Protect Species Threatened by International Trade

Source: Pledge to Protect Species Threatened by International Trade – Defenders of Wildlife