Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ten Animals Targeted
Scientists are doing their best to prevent the loss of some of our rarest creatures. From the article:
With an initial list of just 10 -- including a venomous shrew-like creature, an egg-laying mammal and the world's smallest bat -- the programme will give last ditch conservation aid where to date there has been little or none.
"We are focusing on EDGE species -- that means they are Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered," said Zoological Society of London scientist Jonathan Baillie.
"These are one-of-a-kind species. If they are lost there is nothing similar to them left on the planet. It would be a bit like the art world losing the Mona Lisa -- they are simply irreplaceable," he told Reuters.

Global warming and human depredations on habitat are cited as root causes of the problem and Baillie said the top creature on the agenda, the Yangtze River dolphin, may already have disappeared.

The EDGE species are listed here. The main EDGE page is here. The sites are worth a look and include slide-shows of the rare species.