• Coupling gene-based and classic veterinary diagnostics improves interpretation of health and immune function in the Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

      Drake, K. Kristina; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lewison, Rebecca L.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Braun, Josephine; Waters, Shannon C.; Miles, A. Keith (2017)
      The analysis of blood constituents is a widely used tool to aid in monitoring of animal health and disease. However, classic blood diagnostics (i.e. hematologic and plasma biochemical values) often do not provide sufficient information to determine the state of an animal’s health. Field studies on wild tortoises and other reptiles have had limited success in drawing significant inferences between blood diagnostics and physiological and immunological condition. However, recent research using gene transcription profiling in the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) has proved useful in identifying immune or physiologic responses and overall health. To improve our understanding of health and immune function in tortoises, we evaluated both standard blood diagnostic (body condition, hematologic, plasma biochemistry values, trace elements, plasma proteins, vitamin A levels) and gene transcription profiles in 21 adult tortoises (11 clinically abnormal; 10 clinically normal) from Clark County, NV, USA. Necropsy and histology evaluations from clinically abnormal tortoises revealed multiple physiological complications, with moderate to severe rhinitis or pneumonia being the primary cause of morbidity in all but one of the examined animals. Clinically abnormal tortoises had increased transcription for four genes (SOD, MyD88, CL and Lep), increased lymphocyte production, biochemical enzymes and organics, trace elements of copper, and decreased numbers of leukocytes. We found significant positive correlations between increased transcription for SOD and increased trace elements for copper, as well as genes MyD88 and Lep with increased inflammation and microbial insults. Improved methods for health assessments are an important element of monitoring tortoise population recovery and can support the development of more robust diagnostic measures for ill animals, or individuals directly impacted by disturbance.
    • Coupling gene-based and classic veterinary diagnostics improves interpretation of health and immune function in the Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)

      Drake, K. Kristina; Bowen, Lizabeth; Lewison, Rebecca L.; Esque, Todd C.; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Braun, Josephine; Waters, Shannon C.; Miles, A. Keith (2017)
      The analysis of blood constituents is a widely used tool to aid in monitoring of animal health and disease. However, classic blood diagnostics (i.e. hematologic and plasma biochemical values) often do not provide sufficient information to determine the state of an animal’s health. Field studies on wild tortoises and other reptiles have had limited success in drawing significant inferences between blood diagnostics and physiological and immunological condition. However, recent research using gene transcription profiling in the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) has proved useful in identifying immune or physiologic responses and overall health. To improve our understanding of health and immune function in tortoises, we evaluated both standard blood diagnostic (body condition, hematologic, plasma biochemistry values, trace elements, plasma proteins, vitamin A levels) and gene transcription profiles in 21 adult tortoises (11 clinically abnormal; 10 clinically normal) from Clark County, NV, USA. Necropsy and histology evaluations from clinically abnormal tortoises revealed multiple physiological complications, with moderate to severe rhinitis or pneumonia being the primary cause of morbidity in all but one of the examined animals. Clinically abnormal tortoises had increased transcription for four genes (SOD, MyD88, CL and Lep), increased lymphocyte production, biochemical enzymes and organics, trace elements of copper, and decreased numbers of leukocytes. We found significant positive correlations between increased transcription for SOD and increased trace elements for copper, as well as genes MyD88 and Lep with increased inflammation and microbial insults. Improved methods for health assessments are an important element of monitoring tortoise population recovery and can support the development of more robust diagnostic measures for ill animals, or individuals directly impacted by disturbance.
    • Crowned lemur (Eulemur coronatus). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Reuter, K.E; Eppley, Timothy M.; Hending, D; Pacifici, M; Semel, B.; Zaonarivelo, J. (2020)
      A population reduction of greater than or equal to 50% is suspected to be met in the future over a time period of 25 years (three generations based on an 8.4-year generation time, Pacifici et al. 2013). This is based on a continuing decline in area, extent and quality of habitat, in addition to exploitation through unsustainable hunting pressure. Based on these premises, the species is listed as Endangered.
    • Crowned sifaka (Propithecus coronatus). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Razafindramanana, J.; Salmona, J.; King, T.; Roullet, D.; Eppley, Timothy M.; Sgarlata, G.M.; Schwitzer, C. (2020)
      Listed as Critically Endangered as the species is suspected to have undergone a population decline of greater than or equal to 80% over a period of 30 years (three generations), due primarily to observed continuing decline in area, extent and quality of habitat from burning of forests to provide pasture for livestock and logging for charcoal production, in addition to exploitation through unsustainable hunting pressure. These causes have not ceased, and will to a large extent not be easily reversible. Given the likely continuing population decline, the species has been uplisted to Critically Endangered.
    • Ctenosaura acanthura. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Reynoso, V.H.; Vázquez-Cruz, M.; Rivera-Arroyo, R.C.; Morales-Mávil, J.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Veracruz Spiny-tailed Iguana is widely, but unevenly distributed along the Gulf of México versant, from the state of Tamaulipas in the north, to the edge of Tabasco in the south, México, and Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Within their range, 62% of their habitat has been converted for large- and small-scale agricultural, ranching, oil extraction, and urbanization. It is suspected there has been a decrease in the iguana population correlated with this habitat loss. Although habitat degradation is ongoing, the majority of this loss occurred more than three generations ago. This iguana seems to be distributed among isolated subpopulations, with large concentrations in some areas and rare to absent in others. Data are unavailable on the overall population size or trend. These iguanas occur in mildly human-impacted areas, such as the peripheries of crop/ranchlands and suburban areas; however, they are more vulnerable to predation by free-ranging and feral cats and dogs in these areas. Survival may be limited as a result of this predation pressure. Hunting for human food occurs mostly in the south at a moderate level; quantitative data on the extent of this threat is unknown. The occurrence of these iguanas in the international pet trade is an emerging concern. At the western end of their range, these iguanas hybridize with the central Balsas form of the Guerreran Spinytailed Iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata). Currently, they are considered Least Concern due to their extensive range and large roughly-estimated population size; however, further research on the population size, trends, natural history, and threats is needed.
    • Ctenosaura flavidorsalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Reynoso, V.H.; Vázquez-Cruz, M.; Rivera-Arroyo, R.C.; Malone, C.L.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Yellow-backed Spiny-tailed Iguana is known from a somewhat large geographic area, however, very little is known about their fine-scale distribution and population size. They are very rare in some localities but believed to be in greater abundance in intact forests. The region’s tropical and subtropical dry forest habitat has been extensively degraded for agriculture, cattle ranching, and urbanization. It is suspected the iguana population has declined in correlation with this habitat loss, however, the exact relationship is unknown and it is likely that most of the reduction occurred more than three generations ago, though habitat destruction is ongoing. These iguanas do not occur in any protected area, have limited legal protection in parts of its range, and suffers from lack of enforcement of existing regulations in others. Iguanas can exist in human-modified areas to some extent, but they are threatened by feral and free-roaming cats and dogs, which is likely to augment natural mortality. The estimated extent of occurrence is 15,952 km2 , meeting the threshold for Vulnerable and it is inferred there must be decline, however, there are not enough data to quantify population size, fragmentation, or the number of locations. The species is therefore assessed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for listing as Vulnerable.
    • Ctenosaura hemilopha. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Reynoso, V.H.; Vázquez-Cruz, M.; Rivera-Arroyo, R.C.; Blázquez, M.C.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Baja California Spiny-tailed Iguana has a wide distribution in the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula, south of Comondú. They seem to be structured in small and restricted subpopulations, with low but evident migration between them. Their extent of occurrence is 35,960 km 2 . They are most common in the southern Los Cabos region and less abundant in the north. Iguanas have not been recently found in several locations with former records. Iguanas are primarily threatened by habitat destruction and predation by free-roaming domestic cats and dogs near semi-urban areas and the periphery of large cities. Populations in the north may experience fluctuations from severe and cyclic droughts. The overall population trend is unknown and estimated to be fewer than 700,000 adults. This species currently qualifies as Least Concern.
    • Ctenosaura macrolopha. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Reynoso, V.H.; Vázquez-Cruz, M.; Rivera-Arroyo, R.C.; Morales-Mávil, J.; Zarza-Franco, E.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Sonoran Spiny-tailed Iguana is widely, but unevenly distributed in Sonora, Sinaloa, and a small portion of southwestern Chihuahua, México. In this area, 29% of their habitat has been converted to large- and small-scale agricultural, ranching, and urban uses. It is suspected that there has been a rate of loss in the iguana population correlated to this habitat loss; 20% of this loss occurred more than three generations ago. The population seems to be structured in small, isolated subpopulations, with large concentrations in some areas and absent in others. There are no data available on the population size, trend, or density at any locality. They are able to exist in mildly human-impacted areas, such as the peripheries of crop/ranchlands and suburban areas, however, here they are more vulnerable to predation by free-ranging and feral cats and dogs. Survival of juveniles may be limited as a result. In some regions iguanas are persecuted as a pest, while in others they are not intentionally harmed and can be found in city gardens. Hunting for human food occurs mostly for celebrations and is declining according to local interviews. There are no quantitative data on the level of this take. At the southern end of their range, these iguanas are declining in number as they hybridize with the resident Guerreran Spiny-tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata). Currently, they are considered Least Concern, but further research on the population size, trends, and threats is needed.
    • Ctenosaura pectinata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Reynoso, V.H.; Vázquez-Cruz, M.; Rivera-Arroyo, R.C.; Zarza-Franco, E.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Guerreran Spiny-tailed Iguana is widely, but unevenly distributed throughout western México to the southern part of the Tehuantepec Isthmus in Oaxaca. In this area, 36% of their habitat has been converted to large- and small-scale agricultural, ranching, and urban uses. It is suspected that there has been a decline in the iguana population correlated with this habitat loss; the majority of this habitat loss occurred more than three generations ago. The population seems to be structured in isolated subpopulations, with very large concentrations in some areas and absent in others. There are no data available on the population trends or fine-scale density and size information. They are hunted extensively for human food, medicinal uses, and handicrafts, from wild and cultivated sources. Density has been observed to be over 100 times greater in areas where they are not hunted. The level of consumption is not fully known but estimated to be in the tens of thousands annually....
    • Ctenosaura quinquecarinata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Reynoso, V.H.; Ubeda, M.; Vázquez-Cruz, M.; Rivera-Arroyo, R.C.; Malone, C.L.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      The Five-keeled Spiny-tailed Iguana is known from three core areas that are isolated and distant from each other, along the Pacific versant of Nicaragua and northwestern Costa Rica. The estimated extent of occurrence surrounding all known localities is 27,316 km2 , but fine-scale distribution, or population size and structure, within these three areas is not known. These iguanas are very rare in some localities but believed to be in greater abundance in intact forests. The iguanas are found in several protected areas. The region’s tropical and subtropical forest habitat has been extensively degraded for agriculture, cattle ranching, and urbanization. It is suspected there has been a decline in the iguana population correlated with this habitat loss. Although habitat degradation is ongoing, the majority of this loss occurred more than three generations ago. They are extensively hunted for human use and intentionally persecuted in the misbelief they are poisonous. They are removed from the wild for the pet trade, although this trade is also supplied from captive sources. They occur in mildly human-impacted areas, such as suburban areas and crop/ranchlands; however, here they are threatened by fires set intentionally to regenerate the fields. In these areas, iguanas are also more vulnerable to predation by free-ranging, and feral cats and dogs. Survival may be limited as a result of this predation pressure. While it is believed the Fivekeeled Spiny-tailed Iguana faces serious threats, and are not likely to be Least Concern, they are classified as Data Deficient because necessary data are lacking at this time to qualify the species within threatened thresholds.
    • Cues from a common predator cause survival-linked behavioral adjustments in Mojave Desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii)

      Nafus, Melia G.; Germano, Jennifer M.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (2017)
      Animals are expected to engage in behavioral decision-making that minimizes their risk of predation; these decisions can cause non-lethal predator effects to behavior and spatial use. Our goal was to determine whether non-lethal effects of a common predator, coyotes (Canis latrans), could affect the behavior of a declining reptile, the Mojave Desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), hereafter tortoise....
    • Curating small samples: Increasing the number of seeds for storage and restoration

      Maschinski, Joyce; Walters, Christina; Haskins, Kris; Birker, Cheryl; Randall, Johnny; Randall, Leslie; Watkins, Kirstie; Clarke, Margaret; Davitt, Joe; Havens, Kay; et al. (Center for Plant ConservationEscondido, California, 2019)
      Some species produce so few seeds in the wild that collections of 100 seeds or less are expected. These require additional care. For best conservation value, increase seeds before storage by taking steps to grow to maturity, collect next generation seeds, and store....
    • Current role, importance and characteristics of human dimensions in wildlife management, a preliminary assessment from European and North American scientific journals

      Lavadinovic, Vukan; Glikman, Jenny A.; Ulrich, Schraml (2017)
      Human dimensions (HD) of wildlife management is a young field of enquiry which develops in several different directions and deals with various topics. Despite it is possible that popular research topics exist in HD studies, there is no proper research that identifies their role and importance. Besides, there is lack of knowledge on HD studies’ worldwide distribution and research trends per different world regions.The aim of this research was to provide knowledge on current role and characteristics of Human dimensions in wildlife management by analyzing four parameters:  (1) proportion of HD studies, (2) current popular research topics in HD studies, (3) distribution of HD studies per world regions and (4) priorities in HD studies per world regions. For the purpose of this article, three journals such as The Journal of Wildlife Management (JWM), Human Dimensions of Wildlife (HDW) and European Journal of Wildlife Research (EJWR), which originate from North America and Europe, retrospectively, were analyzed for the period 2007-2012.Results of this preliminary work show that the proportion of HD studies, in the JWM and EJWR journals, was low, only 2.6%. Analysis of all three journals identified research topics like Large carnivores (15.07%); Wildlife conservation (13.88%); Wildlife management issues (13.88%); and Human-wildlife conflict (13.16%), as the most popular. A geographically biased manuscript distribution was evidenced as well as different popular research topics per world regions
    • Cyclura carinata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Gerber, Glenn P.; Colosimo, G.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      Due to the persistent threat of invasive alien species, and habitat loss and degradation, Turks and Caicos Rock Iguanas currently occupy an area of about 37.1 km2 distributed among approximately 75 small islands with very little gene flow between them. This represents less than 10% of their historic range (500 km2 , >250 islands). Further, islands with abundant iguana subpopulations and no current anthropogenic threats total only 15.6 km2 . The total area of occupancy is estimated at 200 km2 using a 2x2 km grid, overlaying 20 clusters of iguana-inhabited islands. Over the last three generations (42 years), at least 11–20 island subpopulations of iguanas (including some very large islands) have been extirpated. The largest subpopulation is found on Big Ambergris Cay and is currently estimated at 6,000–7,000 mature adults (ca 25% of the total population). However, this represents a decline of 30–40% from this subpopulation's size prior to development in 1995.
    • Cyclura pinguis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Grant, Tandora D.; Bradley, K. A. (2020)
      Although it is believed the Anegada Rock Iguana population size has increased somewhat since the headstarting programme began releasing subadults, the habitat is continuing to be degraded. The significant population reduction (> 80%) for this species occurred over a much longer time period than three generations (66 years) ago due to the introduction of invasive alien species and human settlement. Most of these threats have not ceased for the remnant population and habitat destruction for development has increased. Natural juvenile recruitment is nearly zero due to feral cats preying on hatchlings. This invasive predator must be eradicated in order to solidify the iguana’s long-term future and eliminate the need for continued headstarting. This iguana's estimated extent of occurrence is 56.7 km2 , is endemic to only one island, and qualifies for listing as Critically Endangered.
    • Cyclura stejnegeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Garcia, M.A.; Figuerola, C.; Grant, Tandora D. (2020)
      Although it is believed that the Mona Rhinoceros Iguana population size has increased somewhat since the last systematic survey of 2000 due to initial conservation efforts, the habitat is continuing to be degraded. Juvenile recruitment is impacted by the combined effects of feral pigs eating incubating eggs and cats preying on hatchlings. These invasive predators must be eradicated in order to solidify the longterm future of the iguana. In addition, removal of the Australian Pine plantation is necessary to restore prime nesting areas. The significant population reduction (>75%) for this species occurred much longer than three generations ago due to the introduction of invasive alien species and periods of settlement for mining, agriculture, and fishing. Some of these threats have not ceased for the remnant population, particularly the impacts of predators. The iguana is endemic to only one island, with an estimated extent of occurrence of 80 km², and qualifies for listing as Critically Endangered.
    • Data gaps and opportunities for comparative and conservation biology

      Conde, Dalia A.; Staerk, Johanna; Colchero, Fernando; da Silva, Rita; Schöley, Jonas; Baden, H. Maria; Jouvet, Lionel; Fa, John E.; Syed, Hassan; Jongejans, Eelke; et al. (2019)
      Biodiversity loss is a major challenge. Over the past century, the average rate of vertebrate extinction has been about 100-fold higher than the estimated background rate and population declines continue to increase globally. Birth and death rates determine the pace of population increase or decline, thus driving the expansion or extinction of a species. Design of species conservation policies hence depends on demographic data (e.g., for extinction risk assessments or estimation of harvesting quotas). However, an overview of the accessible data, even for better known taxa, is lacking. Here, we present the Demographic Species Knowledge Index, which classifies the available information for 32,144 (97%) of extant described mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. We show that only 1.3% of the tetrapod species have comprehensive information on birth and death rates. We found no demographic measures, not even crude ones such as maximum life span or typical litter/clutch size, for 65% of threatened tetrapods. More field studies are needed; however, some progress can be made by digitalizing existing knowledge, by imputing data from related species with similar life histories, and by using information from captive populations. We show that data from zoos and aquariums in the Species360 network can significantly improve knowledge for an almost eightfold gain. Assessing the landscape of limited demographic knowledge is essential to prioritize ways to fill data gaps. Such information is urgently needed to implement management strategies to conserve at-risk taxa and to discover new unifying concepts and evolutionary relationships across thousands of tetrapod species.
    • Data on spatio-temporal patterns of wild fruit harvest from the economically important palm Mauritia flexuosa in the Peruvian Amazon

      Endress, Bryan A.; Gilmore, Michael P.; Vargas Paredes, Victor H.; Horn, Christa M. (2018)
      These data are the foundation of the analyses and results published in the article “Spatio-temporal patterns of Mauritia flexuosa fruit extraction in the Peruvian Amazon: Implications for conservation and sustainability” (Horn et al., 2018) [1]. Here we include data on the volume of M. flexuosa fruit arriving in the city of Iquitos, Peru from the surrounding region. This includes the amount of fruit (in sacks and kg), the date of entry into Iquitos, the point of embarkation (watershed and coordinates), the method of transportation and the point of entry into Iquitos. Data is provided in a number of formats, including data tables, Google Earth KML files and summary tables by watershed and/or month.
    • Demography of the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) in Manu National Park, South-Eastern Peru: Implications for conservation

      Groenendijk, Jessica; Hajek, Frank; Johnson, Paul J.; Macdonald, David W.; Calvimontes, Jorge; Staib, Elke; Schenck, Christof (2014)
      The giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is an endangered semi-aquatic carnivore of South America. We present findings on the demography of a population inhabiting the floodplain of Manu National Park, south-eastern Peru, arising from 14 annual dry season censuses over a 16 year period. The breeding system of territorial groups, including only a single breeding female with non-reproductive adult ‘helpers’, resulted in a low intrinsic rate of increase (0.03) and a slow recovery from decades of hunting for the pelt trade. This is explained by a combination of factors: (1) physiological traits such as late age at first reproduction and long generation time, (2) a high degree of reproductive skew, (3) small litters produced only once a year, and (4) a 50% mortality between den emergence and age of dispersal, as well as high mortality amongst dispersers (especially males). Female and male giant otters show similar traits with respect to average reproductive life-spans (female 5.4 yrs., male 5.2 yrs.) and average cub productivity (female 6.9, male 6.7 cubs per lifetime); the longest reproductive life spans were 11 and 13 years respectively. Individual reproductive success varied substantially and depended mainly on the duration of dominance tenure in the territory. When breeding females died, the reproductive position in the group was usually occupied by sisters or daughters (n = 11), with immigrant male partners. Male philopatry was not observed. The vulnerability of the Manu giant otter population to anthropogenic disturbance emphasises the importance of effective protection of core lake habitats in particular. Riverine forests are the most endangered ecosystem in the Department of Madre de Dios due to the concentration of gold mining, logging and agricultural activities in floodplains, highlighting the need for a giant otter habitat conservation corridor along the Madre de Dios River.