Edge Species

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If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Double your impact today! The pollution of the Ganges is no secret, and as the largest and most sacred river in India , the health hazards it poses are a danger not just to the Ganges river dolphin but to hundreds of millions of people as well.

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River dolphins act as indicators of river health in the freshwater basins where they live. In the Sundarbans, an area of mangroves on the coastal border between India and Bangladesh where the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers meet, another problem facing the species is the increasing salinity of their environment. Upstream dams, barrages and water-intensive agriculture have decreased the flow of freshwater to the Sundarbans, while at the same time seawater ingression has increased due to a rise in sea levels attributed to climate change.

Today only certain pockets of the Sundarbans can sustain Ganges river dolphins. The hooded grebe went undiscovered for so long due to its extremely remote habitat, centred on a few isolated lakes in the high plateaus of Patagonia although they winter on estuaries on the Atlantic coast. The IUCN reported that in a single mink killed more than half the adults in a breeding colony of two dozen nests. In addition to the threats of climate change and invasive minks, hooded grebes must compete for the milfoil plant with invasive salmonid fish notably rainbow trout which also deplete the quality of the lake water itself.

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  • Not only that, but a native bird species, the kelp gull, which preys on hooded grebe chicks, has enjoyed a population explosion thanks in large part to the waste from human settlements that it feeds on. Thankfully, all is not lost for the hooded grebe.

    The hooded grebe can be found in small interior lakes in remote Patagonia, predominantly in the Argentinian province of Santa Cruz, but possibly also in Chile Speak to one of our Destination Specialists to discuss your best chance of spotting this rare bird in the wild. Juveniles are favoured by wildlife traffickers for this purpose and are exported in large numbers, mainly to Asia and often through Thailand and China, and thence to the rest of the continent. Meanwhile and closer to home , adult specimens are targeted for their meat, which is then sold in Madagascan markets.

    An unbelievable 10, radiated tortoises were discovered in a single house in the town of Toliara in April , while just a few months later, more than 7, were confiscated from wildlife traffickers in the very same town that the previous bust occurred. Although the scale of these illegal operations are unprecedented, seizures of tortoise specimens are by no means uncommon.

    Newscast #9: Joel Berger on overlooked 'edge species' that deserve conservation

    Asia is the usual destination for smuggled tortoises, with seizures in both India and Thailand making the news in recent years. Radiated tortoises are a very long-lived species, with recorded lifespans of at least years, and their long generation length 40 years makes them particularly susceptible to rapid population declines, such as the one currently being brought about by this considerable surge in unwanted attention from traffickers.

    In a report , the NGO Traffic , which works towards the eradication of the illegal wildlife trade, identified a spike in the number of endangered tortoise species being sold in Indonesian markets. Many species, like the radiated tortoise, had been transported thousands of miles from their homeland, with the journey itself resulting in the deaths of many individuals.

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    Trade is permitted only in exceptional licensed circumstances, e. In addition to its CITES listing, the radiated tortoise is protected by law in Madagascar and can be found in four protected areas in the country, yet exploitation is rife. Traditional cultural beliefs around the radiated tortoise have been slowly eroded, leading local tribes that once protected the tortoises to now turn to them for survival. Plus: China to close its domestic ivory markets, Cheetah population numbers crash, and more in the top news. Happy New Year to all of our faithful listeners!

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