Ireland's ecosystem is home to almost 16,500 species - here are 7 you may not have spotted
And importantly, how you can protect some of them.A landmark report from the UN recently found that over one million animal and plant species are at risk of extinction.
And now the Scottish wildcat , a type of European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) found in the Scottish Highlands , is in distinct danger of going No one knows exactly how many are left, but the wild population is thought to be somewhere between a couple dozen and a couple hundred—with
The Highland wildcat is , in short, a magnificent predator. However, it is also a highly endangered one. Indeed, according to a report published last week, Felis silvestris grampia is now hovering at the edge of extinction and could be wiped out, in the wild , in the next few months.
© Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd Wildcats are to be reintroduced in Scotland after experts declared the native species “functionally extinct” in the wild earlier this year.
The iconic Scottish wildcat, the UK's only native feline, has been present since the last ice age.
But recent studies suggest there are two few genuine wildcats left in the wild for the species to survive.
The situation has come about as a result of generations of cross-breeding with domestic cats.
The new wildcat population will come from animals bred in captivity from Scottish-caught specimens and pure-bred cats from the continent.
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European cats to be released into Highlands in ‘last-ditch effort’ to help save species.
The Scottish wildcat is now one of the most critically endangered wild mammals native to the UK, according to a “ We ’ re at the last possible moment to try and recover this species from extinction .” “The ideal would be very wild areas, but in the Highlands they have got a gross over population of
Specialist reintroduction centre
The cats will be raised at a new specialist centre in the Highlands that is being set up as part of the multi-million-pound Saving Wildcats recovery project. © Provided by Johnston Publishing Ltd
Locations in the Cairngorms are being assessed for suitability as release sites.
The initiative has been given the go-ahead thanks to a £3.2 million grant from the European Union, with the first cats expected to be released in 2022.
The reintroduction centre will be based at the Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig, near Aviemore, which is already home to a captive breeding programme for the species.
Helen Senn, head of conservation and science programmes at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) charity, which runs the wildlife park, said: “Wildcats are on the brink of extinction in Scotland but it’s not too late.
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Critically endangered Scottish wildcats bred in captivity are to be released into the wild for the first EU funding worth £3.2m has been secured to develop a reintroduction centre in the Highland Helen Senn, head of conservation, said: " Wildcats are on the brink of extinction in Scotland but it's
In traditional Scottish geography, the Highlands refers to that part of Scotland . north-west of the Highland Boundary Fault, which crosses mainland Scotland in a Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 37 km southwest of Inverness.
“With funding in place, it is tremendously exciting to begin the UK’s first wildcat release project and bring together all the necessary resources and expertise to make it happen.
Cairngorms release sites
© Getty “Using wildcats from the existing captive population, as well as cats from Europe to boost the gene pool, the reintroduction centre will provide a sustainable source of wildcats for years to come.
“The Cairngorms have historically been a key part of the wildcat range and we are working closely with the partners to understand which is our preferred first release site.
“Further wildcat releases may also take place in other strategically important locations across Scotland, with the potential to support well-planned future efforts in the rest of the UK.”
Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The wildcat is one of our most iconic Scottish species but its conservation faces serious challenges.
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Mr Corbyn, who officially backed Remain in 2016 but has spent decades calling for the UK to leave the EU - declined to give a definitive answer. But he admitted that he would like a 'a close relationship with the EU in the future', which may fuel suggestions he would prefer a Labour-style Brexit. © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mr Corbyn admitted that he would like a 'a close relationship with the EU in the future', which may fuel suggestions he would prefer a Labour-style Brexit He also suggested he would include Brexiteers in his negotiating team.
The Highlands is a historic region of Scotland . Culturally, the Highlands and the Lowlands diverged from the later Middle Ages into the modern period
Conservationists could release wildcats captured from other European countries in the Scottish Highlands in a SWA is drafting proposals to house them in a new wildcat breeding centre in the Highlands Scottish wildcats were split off from the continental population about 9,000 years ago
“Fortunately in Scotland we have a fantastic group of scientists and specialists who are working together with the Scottish Government, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and others to explore all options to save the species here. Today is an important step towards the conservation of the ‘Highland Tiger’ in Scotland, but there’s a lot of work still to be done.”
Related: Close to extinction - critically endangered animals (Photos)
Many animals are on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss, poaching or changing environments. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains the IUCN Red List that tracks critically endangered species and those that are already extinct in the wild. Take a look at some of the world's most threatened species.
Made famous by the 2011 animated musical-comedy “Rio,” the Spix’s macaw has teetered on the edge of extinction for over two decades; it has been listed as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN since 1994. Hunted for the illegal live bird trade, this macaw has also been hit by loss of its woodland habitat and the introduction of aggressive African bees in what remains of its range. The species has been declared possibly extinct in the wild. According to IUCN, there are less than 50 individuals alive in captivity.
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The Scottish Wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) is larger than its continental cousins. It has the appearance of a large and muscular tabby cat Although now fully protected by law, they still suffer through road kill and illegal trapping and poisoning. Wildcats mate in the middle of winter and after a
The Aspinall Foundation Sets Up Island Sanctuary To Prevent Imminent Extinction Of The Scottish Wildcat . The Aspinall Foundation (TAF) today announces a unique initiative to save the Scottish wildcat which has become one of the most critically endangered species in the world due to mass.
Chinese giant salamander
Native to China, the giant salamander can grow to nearly six feet (two meters) in length and is regarded as the world’s largest amphibian. Current population trends indicate decreasing numbers for a species that was quite common even as recent as 30 years ago. The major threats facing the species are commercial exploitation for human consumption and habitat destruction due to mining.
Northern white rhinoceros
Also called the Northern square-lipped rhino, they used to be found in several east and central African countries before going extinct in the wild. The world's last three, a male called Sudan (pictured), his daughter Najin and his granddaughter Fatu, were kept at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. On March 19, 2018, 45-year-old Sudan died from multiple age-related issues, leaving only two females to save the species.
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Western lowland gorilla
The most common gorilla subspecies in the Congo Basin, their population has decreased rapidly due to poaching and disease, and according to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), currently about 100,000 of them remain.
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Scottish Wildcat Action is the official wildcat conservation project delivering a national action plan to save the Scottish wildcat . Scottish Wildcat Action used 347 trail cameras in the Scottish Highlands to find wildcats .
Scottish wildcats epitomise the solitary, independent super-predator and the mysterious and wild spirit of the Highlands in a way that no other animal can. “Some Wild Cats have been taken in this kingdom of a most enormous size. We recollect one having been killed in the county of Cumberland
These rhinos are dusky gray in color and have a single horn of up to about 10 inches (25.4 centimeters). Their skin has a number of loose folds, giving the appearance of armor plating. Habitat loss and poaching over the years have drastically reduced their numbers. The estimated population size is 46-66, found at the Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia.
Found in the Russian Far East, Amur leopards are solitary hunters. Nimble-footed and strong, they carry and hide unfinished kills so as to not attract other predators. Loss of habitat due to rampant human activities is threatening their existence. As per WWF, only 20-25 remain in Russia and nearly another dozen in China.
One of the oldest mammals on Earth, black rhinos were once found extensively along the eastern coast of the African continent. Rampant hunting and poaching have led to a sharp decline in their numbers over the last few decades. Data from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) indicates there are approximately 5,000 individuals left today.
Feeding on a variety of plants and depositing seeds, Sumatran elephants contribute to a healthy forest ecosystem. Civil conflicts, hunting and poaching for tusks have reduced their population enough for them to be marked critically endangered by IUCN.
Iman was the last of her kind in Malaysia. The Sumatran rhino is now extinct in the country.
There are fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos left in the world.The rhino, named Iman, had cancer, though state officials in Malaysia described the death as natural, according to The Star, an English-language newspaper in Malaysia. The paper reported that before her death, Iman had nearly died several times due to blood loss from her uterine tumors but was nursed back to health each time.
Scottish Wildcat Action has identified five wildcat priority areas within the Highlands : Morvern, Strathpeffer, Northern Strathspey, Angus The first stage of our project now is to work extensively in these areas to reduce threats in the wild and help give the remaining wildcats a fighting chance.
The wildcat 's imminent extinction may have been camouflaged from our consciousness by the existence of a While the Highlands sustains several famous animals, almost all of The Scottish wildcat is unique to Scotland . It cannot stand to be around humans or their habitats, and thrives on
With a dangerously dwindling population, Sumatran tigers are on the watch list of animals that need protection. Found in patches of forest on the Sumatra island, these tigers are threatened due to rampant deforestation and poaching.
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Saola was discovered in Vietnam in 1992, after the recovery of a skull with unusually long horns, at a hunter's home. It was one of the most spectacular zoological discoveries of the 20th century and is one of the world's rarest large animals. Hunting, poaching, habitat fragmentation and snares threaten their existence, and their population is estimated to be less than 750, according to IUCN data.
Hawksbill sea turtle
Found throughout the world’s tropical oceans, hawksbill turtles have inhabited the planet for over 100 million years. A vital link in marine ecosystem, they help maintain the health of coral reefs and seagrass beds. They are extensively poached for their colored and patterned shells, which are sold in the market at high prices as "tortoiseshells." According to WWF, their population has declined by over 80 percent in the last century.
South China tiger
These tigers were hunted in thousands before a ban was imposed by the Chinese government in 1979. According to WWF, about 30-80 tigers were estimated to be existing in 1996, but no sighting in the wild has prompted scientists to consider them as "functionally extinct."
Cross river gorilla
Very similar in appearance to the western lowland gorilla, these gorillas live in the Congo Basin and face poaching and habitat loss due to human encroachment. WWF data suggest that not more than 200 to 300 of this species exist in the wild.
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About Scottish Wildcat Action and how we are delivering the first national action plan, the Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan, to restore viable populations of wildcats by 2019. Dr Roo Campbell, sets up a motion-sensitive trail camera to monitor cats in the Scottish Highlands .
Also called Sunda or Javan pangolin, they are found widely in Southeast Asia, from southern China to Borneo, and are known for their protective, scaly body armor. They are killed increasingly for their flesh and scales.
Yangtze finless porpoise
Found in the Yangtze River and known for their mischievous smile and an intelligence level comparable to that of gorillas, this aquatic creature is threatened by human activities and pollution. According to IUCN, only 500-1,800 of these dolphins survive today.
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These orangutans are fruit eaters and play a vital role in the dispersal of seeds over a huge area. Once found across the Sumatran island, they have now been reduced to pockets of the island's northern part due to poaching and illegal pet trade. According to WWF, their population is a little over 14,600.
In the last 15 years, only two captive female Sumatran rhinos have given birth. There are three known subspecies: while two of them are found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, the third is believed to be extinct. Poaching poses the greatest threat to these animals. IUCN reports show their estimated population to be less than 275.
These flightless birds once inhabited Guam in large numbers before the island was invaded by brown tree snakes, which led to their predation and plummeting in number. Today, they are confined to a captive-breeding facility in Guam and across a few zoos in the U.S. In the last couple of decades, efforts have been made to release small batches of rails in a controlled environment to help promote their breeding. According to IUCN, they are extinct in the wild.
Mountain pygmy possum
These mammals, found in alpine and subalpine boulder fields and rocky scree in south-eastern Australia, were believed to be extinct until 1896. However, the rediscovery of a single living specimen in a ski club lodge on Mount Hotham, Victoria, in 1966 revived hope for their survival. Destruction of their habitat is the major reason for their dwindling numbers.
Northern hairy-nosed wombat
Indigenous to Australia, these shy animals had completely disappeared in the early 20th century after the loss of their only two known habitats in southern Queensland and New South Wales. In the 1930s, a small population was spotted in Epping Forest National Park in Queensland. According to IUCN, nearly 80 mature individuals exist now.
Pygmy three-toed sloth
They are known to be one of the slowest animals in the world – so slow that algae grow on their back, giving them a natural cover from predators. Found only in Isla Escudo de Veraguas, an isolated Panamanian island in the Caribbean, their population has suffered due to destruction of habitat.
Also known as white antelope or screwhorn antelope, these animals thrived in the extreme climate of the Sahara Desert for thousands of years. However, destruction of habitat and frenzied hunting have forced them to the verge of extinction. As per IUCN, there are less than 90 of them left in the Termit Massif Reserve in Niger.
This freshwater species is on the verge of extinction due to habitat destruction, hunting and dynamite fishing. As per IUCN, less than 140 adults survive, and aggressive conservation efforts are on to protect them from going extinct.
Hula painted frog
In 2011, a park ranger in Israel found one specimen of the Hula painted frog, considered extinct since the 1950s due to the draining of the 15,000-acre Lake Hula — their natural habitat. The discovery of a second specimen a few days later revived the hopes of their survival.
Lord Howe Island stick insect
Commonly referred to as "land lobster," these nocturnal insects were primarily found in Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. However, in 1918, the introduction of black rats by a ship that had run aground near the island led to their massive predation. They were believed to be extinct until they were rediscovered on a nearby island in 2001. According to IUCN, nearly 35 individuals exist today.
The common skate has become uncommon across northwestern Europe and the Mediterranean and Black Seas. They are often caught accidentally in fishing nets, and their re-population is difficult because they are long-lived and slow to mature.
Locally called mitu mitu, the Alagoas curassow was found in the forests of northeastern Brazil. Last seen in its natural habitat in the late 1980s, there are only 130 of them in two aviaries. According to IUCN, they are extinct in the wild. They were lost due to deforestation and hunting.
Since the early 1980s, an almost 90 percent decrease in the population of the European eel has prompted a ban on their export throughout the European Union. Water pollution, changes in climate, dams, overfishing and parasites are probable causes of its decline.
Found only in Hawaii, U.S., the last-known crow disappeared from the wild in 2002 – making them getting classified as "extinct in the wild" by IUCN. There are a few in captivity, since they are especially susceptible to environmental fluctuations and avian malaria.
Once commonly found across North Africa, scimitar oryx have been extinct in the wild since 2000 and only a few hundred survive in captivity. They are kept in protected areas because they are prized by game hunters for their horns and the local population used their flesh and hide.
Found only in the southern tip of Thailand and the Malay peninsula, only about 80-120 of these tigers still survive, as per IUCN. Illegal hunting for parts used in folk medicine and loss of forests have caused their population to decline by more than 25 percent in the last generation.
There are no self-sustaining Wyoming toads in the wild and they are only found in the Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the U.S. According to IUCN data, they are classified as "extinct in the wild," with their number slowly declining due to diseases and droughts in parts of the Laramie River basin.
These birds were last sighted in their natural habitat, Socorro Island, Mexico, in 1972, making them extinct in the wild. There are around 150 of them in captivity, as per 2016 IUCN data.
Destruction of forests in the island nation and hunting have led to a decrease of 50 percent in their population over the last 60 years, making them critically endangered. According to IUCN, about 104,700 of them remain.
Overfishing for caviar and loss of spawning sites due to construction of dams have led to a 90 percent decline in their population. These fish are found in the Black Sea basin and the Caspian Sea but are estimated to go extinct soon due to illegal fishing.
A branching, stony coral, it is found throughout the warmer Atlantic waters, the Great Barrier Reef, the western coast of South America and Southeast Asia. Over the last 30 years, 80 percent of their population has been lost due to climate change and diseases.
These fish were initially found in America's Colorado River delta and in the Gulf of California around Mexico, but river degradation has left them endemic to Mexican waters. They have been extensively fished since the 1940s, as their swim bladder is a delicacy, further reducing their number. Commercial fishing of the species was banned in 1975 and the Mexican government has started a program to rescue and conserve them.
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Andrew Kitchener, chair of national rescue project Scottish Wildcat Action, said: “The Scottish Wildcat Action partnership is delighted with this news and it is testament to the strong working partnership formed under Scottish Wildcat Action that we have been able to secure funding for this next critical phase of work.”
A report published in February by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s cat specialist group concluded there is no longer a viable wildcat population living wild in Scotland, with hybridisation with domestic and feral cats the major threat to their survival. This means the extinction of the species is highly likely without wildcat releases.
Over the next six years, RZSS will lead the Saving Wildcats project which will build on the work of the Scottish Wildcat Action partnership, supported by a £3.2 million EU LIFE grant and co-funding from the Garfield Western Foundation, the National Trust for Scotland, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the European Nature Trust.
The RZSS will work with Scottish Natural Heritage, Cairngorms National Park Authority and Forestry and Land Scotland, as well as European partners Norden’s Ark from Sweden and Spain’s Junta De Andalucía, which have led the successful recovery of the Iberian lynx.
Scientists record a blue whale's heart rate for the first time and find it is already working to its limit .
The researchers say this could explain why the blue whale has not evolved to grow biggerResearchers at Stanford University collaborated with Paul Ponganis, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.