World's rarest and most extraordinary species mapped for the first time16/05/2013 10:45:23 EDGE species added to the map
May 2013. The black-and-white ruffed lemur, Mexican salamander and Sunda pangolin all feature on the first map of the world's most unique and threatened mammals and amphibians, created by the Zoological Society of London(ZSL).
Scientists pinpointed areas of the world where Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) mammals and amphibians occur. Regions containing the highest concentrations of these species are highlighted as global conservation priorities.
Different regions for different groups
Madagascar's black-and-white ruffed lemur is the largest lemur in the world and is threatened by hunting and the loss of its forest habitat to logging, mining and cutting and burning for agriculture. The Sunda pangolin, also known as the scaly anteater, occurs in Southeast Asia and is threatened by illegal poaching for its meat which is a culinary delicacy, as well as its scales which are thought to have high medicinal value. Other mammal species occurring in priority areas include the black rhino and western lowland gorilla.
Amphibians are facing a terrifying rate of extinction making them the most threatened vertebrates in the world. The Mexican salamander, or axolotl, is critically endangered due to urbanization, polluted waters, and the introduction of non-native fish which eat the axolotl's young. With the aid of the global map of EDGE amphibians, it will now be possible to concentrate efforts in countries such as, Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala where the most distinct and threatened species are found.
Dr. Kamran Safi, lead author of the paper from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology says: "This is the first global map to take into account species' uniqueness as well as threat. Now that we've identified EDGE priority areas for mammals and amphibians we can more effectively continue to ensure their protection."
It is critical that conservationists prioritise the allocation of limited resources for the best conservation outcomes. ZSL's EDGE of Existence programme has already launched targeted conservation projects for more than 40 EDGE species around the world.
The research paper is published in PLOS ONE.