Friday, November 19, 2010

Save nature's ugliest ducklings: Conservationists launch appeal to help world's weirdest mammals


Already extinct: The Yangtze river dolphin was the previous number one Edge mammal. The campaign hopes to save further animals from extinction

Conservationists today launched an appeal to help some of the world's weirdest mammals in their constant battle for survival.

The creatures, including hose-nosed tapirs and a scaly anteater, are described as nature's 'ugly ducklings' and find it hard to compete with the 'poster boys of conservation'.

The campaign has been launched to attract the funding needed to save them from extinction, say experts.

The species have been added to the list of 100 most evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered mammals, a list known as Edge.

'Edge mammals are one-of-a-kind and they represent the true diversity of life on earth," said Carly Waterman, Edge programme manager at the Zoological Society of London.

'If we let these species disappear, their extraordinary features and unique behaviours will be lost forever.'

The original number one Edge mammal, the Yangtze River dolphin, is already believed to have become extinct.

On the brink: The black and white ruffed lemur is one of the new animals on the Edge list
Conservationists say they are now racing against time to raise the profile of other under-rated species on the Edge list.

'There are mammals across the world requiring conservation attention, but Edge species must be our top priority,' said Craig Turner, Edge conservation biologist.
'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.'

Among the new Edge entries are Attenborough's long-beaked echidna - a rare egg-laying mammal - the pygmy three-toed sloth, the Asian tapir, the Rondo dwarf galago, a type of bushbaby, the black and white ruffed lemur, the Ganges river dolphin, the Chinese pangolin, or scaly anteater, and the Saola forest ox.

source: dailymail

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