Weird mammals struggling for survival
Thursday 18 November 2010
A bat-eared bushbaby and a scaly anteater are amongst the bizarre species that have been added to a list of the 100 most evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered (EDGE) mammals in the world.
Conservationists from ZSL's EDGE of Existence programme have drawn on the latest research to create a new list of the of the world’s most unique and threatened mammal species.
Three species of long-beaked echidna - extraordinary egg-laying mammals related to the duck-billed platypus – are ranked equal first on the new list.
Ranging from wide-eyed primates to hose-nosed tapirs, EDGE species exhibit the natural world’s most weird and wonderful features, but despite their unique appeal, nature’s ‘ugly ducklings’ are struggling to compete with the poster boys of conservation and secure the funding needed to save them from extinction.
“EDGE mammals are one-of-a-kind and they represent the true diversity of life on earth. If we let these species disappear, their extraordinary features and unique behaviours will be lost forever,” says Carly Waterman, EDGE Programme Manager.
The original number one EDGE mammal, the Yangtze River dolphin, is already believed to have gone extinct. Conservationists are now racing against time to raise the profile and initiate conservation for the other underrated species on the EDGE list in order to avoid them suffering the same fate.
“There are mammals across the world requiring conservation attention, but EDGE species must be our top priority. Variety is truly the spice of life when it comes to the natural world and if we fail to preserve this variety, we are threatening our very own existence,” says Craig Turner, EDGE Conservation Biologist.
The EDGE team are now in the process of recruiting a new cohort of in-country conservationists to fly the flag for EDGE mammals that include the Asian tapir and the Ganges River dolphin.
Life on the EDGE
ZSL's EDGE team are working to conserve these unique and remarkable animals.
Top to bottom:
Chinese pangolin – © Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden
Malayan tapir – © ZSL
Pygmy sloth – © Bryson Voirin
Black and white ruffed lemur -