"It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for - the whole thing - rather than just one or two stars."
-David Attenborough
Questions? Email me, Ronak Sathyanarayana, at ronaks@goanimals.org.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Animals at Risk

Even though March 17 is St.Patrick's Day and many people are celebrating, many animals aren't celebrating for a reason. Six species that live in Ireland are now critically endangered or vulnerable. These animals are in big danger because of us.These 6 animals are Pine Martens, Grey Partridges, Red Deer, Pygmy Shrews, Viviparous Lizards, and the Wood Mouse.

The Pine Marten belongs to the mustelid family, which also includes badgers, minks, otters, weasels and wolverines. People are the biggest threat to these animals. Habitat destruction, illegal poisonings, shootings and more have caused pine marten numbers to drop in recent years.

Hunting, habitat destruction, invasive species and other problems have plagued Ireland's native grey partridges. They are big danger thanks to us. But luckily, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and organizations like the Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust, these birds are making a comeback.

Ireland's largest wild mammal is the red deer. Because of reintroduction and conservation efforts, its populations are not suffering the same fate as Ireland's other native species.

The pygmy shrew is the only shrew native to Ireland. This animal has completely vanished in parts of Ireland where two invasive species, the bank vole and the greater white toothed shrew, are found. Small mammals like the pygmy shrew occupy central positions in food webs, so major changes in species composition, which are already occurring, will have big effects. These will affect bird and mammal predators as well as the invertebrates, seeds and seedlings that small rodents and insectivores feed on.

The viviparous lizard is the only terrestrial reptile native to Ireland. Although not currently classified as endangered, the lizard is under threat by humans mainly as a result of loss of habitat.

The tiny wood mouse has suffered a lot in recent years as a result of invasive species. Its numbers have decreased by greater than 50 percent in areas where the bank vole (an invasive species) is longest established.

All of these animals live in Ireland and they are in danger. It is all our fault. Habitat loss, hunting and invasive species are the main causes.