ONE IN SIX MEDITERRANEAN MAMMALS ENDANGERED

BARCELONA REPORTER

Bats are one of the endangered species that is begin to lose it place in the Mediterranean.

One in six mammals endangered in countries around the Mediterranean.

The expansion of industrial agriculture and the destruction of their ecosystems are reasons that put them on the list of endangered species. Trees, that serve as refuge in forests and gardens, are felled by the thousands, this has reduced some of their favourite prey (eg insects, which have been eradicated by the use of insecticides). What’s more, caves, that are home to many thousands of the creatures, “are used for tourism and caving” says Anabelle Cuttelod , researcher at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Disturbance of breeding sites of bats is also due to improper restoration or rehabilitation of old buildings. The persecution and destruction of their colonies, which are sometimes considered a pest, are other causes of its decline. This situation is described in the first survey on the status of mammals in the Mediterranean, prepared by the IUCN, which asserts that one in every six mammal species are at risk of extinction.

The report assessed a total of 297 mammal species (all except whales and dolphins) and concludes that nine of them (3%) is in a critical state, with a danger of imminent extinction, they are the African wild dog (Lycaon ), the serval (an African cat), the Iberian lynx, leopard, the European mink, the monk seal, Persian gazelle, dama gazelle and the African wild ass. Meanwhile, small mammals (rodents, bats, shrews, hedgehogs and moles), which constitute most of the mammals of the Mediterranean, are finding it increasingly difficult to survive. “The deterioration and drastic modification of their habitats is the main cause of this situation,” says Annabelle Cuttelod.

The Iberian lynx suffered a fragmentation of their populations, the European mink, because of the invasion of its American competitor, while the monk seal, very sensitive to any disturbance of their breeding habitats, has declined in Turkey and Greece with the intensification of tourism and coastal development.

In addition, 15 other species (5%) are threatened, among them the gazelle and the baboon. Gazelles and antelopes in North Africa suffer from the overgrazing of livestock and the competition for water. Besides, another 24 species (8%) are listed as vulnerable.
Here in Spain the bear, the wolf and prosaic voles are also victims of insecticides. The worst part is that 20 of the 49 endangered species are found only in this region of the planet.

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Filed under animals, biodiversity, conservation, endangered, environment, environmentalism, extinction, nature, wildlife, zoology

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