• The socio-cultural importance of Mauritia flexuosa palm swamps (aguajales) and implications for multi-use management in two Maijuna communities of the Peruvian Amazon

      Gilmore, Michael P.; Endress, Bryan A.; Horn, Christa M. (2013)
      Background Fruit from the palm Mauritia flexuosa (aguaje) is harvested throughout the Peruvian Amazon for subsistence and commercial purposes. Recent estimates suggest that residents of Iquitos, the largest city in the region, consume approximately 148.8 metric tons of aguaje fruit per month, the vast majority of which is harvested by felling and killing adult female trees. In this study, we sought to better understand and document the importance of M. flexuosa palm swamps (aguajales) in two Maijuna indigenous communities to inform the sustainable management of this habitat and species. Methods Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and household surveys were carried out to assess the significance of aguajales and their associated plant and animal resources as well as to determine how the relationship that the Maijuna have with aguajales has changed over time. Results Aguajales and their associated resources are culturally significant and useful to the Maijuna in a wide variety of ways. In addition to M. flexuosa, the Maijuna use over 60 different species of plants from aguajales. When M. flexuosa is in fruit, aguajales are important hunting areas with a total of 20 different animal species hunted. The Maijuna also have traditional beliefs about aguajales, believing that malevolent supernatural beings reside in them. Notably, the relationship that the Maijuna have with aguajales has changed considerably over the years as aguaje fruit went from a subsistence item collected opportunistically from the ground to a market good destructively harvested beginning in the early 1990s. The Maijuna are concerned not only about how this has affected the future commercial harvest of aguaje but also about its effects on game animals given the importance of hunting to Maijuna cultural identity, subsistence, and income generation. Conclusions In order to meet the multiple socio-cultural and economic needs of the Maijuna, sustainable management efforts must be expanded to not only focus on the commercial harvest of aguaje but also other facets of their relationship with this habitat. Our study suggests that the research and development of multi-use forest management plans must not be restricted to commercial forest products and ecosystem services given that many communities rely on tropical forests for a wide range of non-market cultural, economic, and subsistence goods and services.
    • The use of genomics in conservation management of the endangered Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons)

      Nuijten, R. J. M.; Bosse, M.; Crooijmans, Rpma; Madsen, O.; Schaftenaar, W.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Groenen, M. A. M.; Megens, H. J. (2016)
      The list of threatened and endangered species is growing rapidly, due to various anthropogenic causes. Many endangered species are present in captivity and actively managed in breeding programs in which often little is known about the founder individuals. Recent developments in genetic research techniques have made it possible to sequence and study whole genomes. In this study we used the critically endangered Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons) as a case study to test the use of genomic information as a tool in conservation management. Two captive populations of S. cebifrons exist, which originated from two different Philippine islands. We found some evidence for a recent split between the two island populations; however all individuals that were sequenced show a similar demographic history. Evidence for both past and recent inbreeding indicated that the founders were at least to some extent related. Together with this, the low level of nucleotide diversity compared to other Sus species potentially poses a threat to the viability of the captive populations. In conclusion, genomic techniques answered some important questions about this critically endangered mammal and can be a valuable toolset to inform future conservation management in other species as well.
    • The value of ecosystem services from giant panda reserves

      Wei, Fuwen; Costanza, Robert; Dai, Qiang; Stoeckl, Natalie; Gu, Xiaodong; Farber, Stephen; Nie, Yonggang; Kubiszewski, Ida; Hu, Yibo; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; et al. (2018)
      Ecosystem services (the benefits to humans from ecosystems) are estimated globally at $125 trillion/year [1, 2]. Similar assessments at national and regional scales show how these services support our lives [3]. All valuations recognize the role of biodiversity, which continues to decrease around the world in maintaining these services [4, 5]....
    • The “Law of Brevity” in animal communication: Sex-specific signaling optimization is determined by call amplitude rather than duration

      Demartsev, Vlad; Gordon, Naomi; Barocas, Adi; Bar Ziv, Einat; Ilany, Tchia; Goll, Yael; Ilany, Amiyaal; Geffen, Eli (2019)
      The efficiency of informational transfer is one of the key aspects of any communication system. The informational coding economy of human languages is often demonstrated by their almost universal fit to Zipf's “Law of Brevity,” expressing negative relationship between word length and its usage frequency. Animal vocal systems, however, provided mixed results in their adherence to this relationship, potentially due to conflicting evolutionary pressures related to differences in signaling range and communicational needs. To examine this potential parallel between human and animal vocal communication, and also to explore how divergent, sex-specific, communicational settings affect signaling efficiency within a species, we examined the complete vocal repertoire of rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis). As male and female hyraxes differ in their sociality levels and male hyraxes vocal repertoire is dominated by sexual advertisement songs, we hypothesized that sex-specific vocal repertoires could be subjected to different signaling optimization pressures. Our results show that the sexes differ in repertoire size, call usage, and adherence to coding efficiency principles. Interestingly, the classic call length/call usage relationship is not consistently found in rock hyraxes. Rather, a negative relationship between call amplitude and call usage is found, suggesting that the efficiency of the vocal repertoire is driven by call amplitude rather than duration. We hypothesize that, in contrast to human speech that is mainly intended for short distance, the need for frequent long-range signaling shapes an animal's vocal repertoire efficiency according to the cost of call amplitude rather than call length. However, call duration may be a secondary factor affecting signaling efficiency, in cases where amplitude is under specific selection pressures, such as sexual selection.
    • Thomas' dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus thomasi). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020

      Ganzhorn, J.; Donati, G; Eppley, Timothy M.; Lahann, P; Rakotondranary, S.J.; Ramanamanjato, J.-B.; Randriantafika, F.M. (2020)
      This species has been assessed as Endangered as the area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be between 12 and 260 km2, and the extent of occurrence is estimated to be 458 km2. The forests are severely fragmented with the largest fragments measuring less than 4 km2. The size of most forest fragments is declining and forests are being degraded. The species does not seem to tolerate forest degradation and thus does not occupy all forest fragments of the region (Ganzhorn et al. 2007). Given the impact of habitat loss, the species is thought to be in decline.
    • To what extent is social marketing used in demand reduction campaigns for illegal wildlife products? Insights from elephant ivory and rhino horn

      Greenfield, Steven; Veríssimo, Diogo (2019)
      The illegal wildlife trade is a global threat to biodiversity as well as to public health and good governance. As legislation and law enforcement have been insufficient to protect many wildlife species, conservationists are increasingly focused on campaigns to help reduce demand for wildlife products....
    • Toward the metacollection: safeguarding plant diversity and coordinating conservation collections

      Griffith, M. P.; Beckman, E.; Calicrate, T.; Clark, John R.; Clase, T.; Deans, S.; Dosmann, M.; Fant, J.; Gratacos, X.; Havens, K.; et al. (Botanic Gardens Conservation International-USSan Marino, CA, 2019)
      Worldwide, over 3,000 botanic gardens maintain at least one-third of all known plant diversity. The collective conservation power of botanic gardens is essential to stop plant extinction. Networks allow gardens to coordinate efforts to save endangered plants. The global web of botanic gardens is the world’s largest force for plant conservation – as long as it is well coordinated!
    • TP53 gene and cancer resistance in elephants

      Pessier, Allan P.; Stern, Jere K.; Witte, Carmel L. (2016)
      To the Editor: The study by Dr Abegglen and colleagues affirmed the Peto paradox and suggested that elephants are cancer resistant by virtue of multiple TP53 gene copies and enhanced responses to DNA damage. This study epitomizes a “One Health” approach to solving important disease problems shared by humans and animals. However, from our experience working in a large zoo-based , we were surprised by the results because, unlike in the notoriously cancer-resistant naked mole rats, we have diagnosed cancers in several elephants.
    • Trade in live reptiles, its impact on wild populations, and the role of the European market

      Auliya, Mark; Altherr, Sandra; Ariano-Sanchez, Daniel; Baard, Ernst H.; Brown, Carl; Brown, Rafe M.; Cantu, Juan-Carlos; Gentile, Gabriele; Gildenhuys, Paul; Henningheim, Evert; et al. (2016)
      …The European Union (EU) plays a major role in reptile trade. Between 2004 and 2014 (the period under study), the EU member states officially reported the import of 20,788,747 live reptiles. This review suggests that illegal trade activities involve species regulated under CITES, as well as species that are not CITES-regulated but nationally protected in their country of origin and often openly offered for sale in the EU….
    • Traditional knowledge and perceptions towards the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus Linnaeus, 1758) in the Central Andes of Colombia

      Restrepo, Juan; Sáenz-Jiménez, Fausto; Lieberman, Alan A. (2019)
      Despite its cultural importance as a key component of the Andean landscape, some perceptions of rural inhabitants towards the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus Linnaeus, 1758) persist, as they relate to the possible predation of domestic animals such as sheep and cattle. These perceptions are compounded by only a basic knowledge of the natural history of the species and have resulted in the historical persecution of the condors by the local peasant communities. We studied the variation of traditional knowledge about the Andean condor diet; comparing responses of adult women and adult men and adults and young people. We described the perceptions of rural farmers towards V. gryphus in Caldas and Tolima, Central Andes of Colombia. Adult men demonstrated a more detailed knowledge of the types of food of V. gryphus compared to adult women; but both adult men and women responded more accurately than both sexes of young people. Overall, the perceptions towards the condors were mostly positive. It is likely that the greater knowledge of adult men corresponds to the time they spend outdoors tending their crops and animals, while the younger generation receive their information through popular media, such as television, magazines and books, as well as educational materials. It is important to incorporate the gender perspective into conservation initiatives and educational programs to effectively protect the remaining endangered populations of condors in Colombia.
    • Transfer and detection of freshly isolated or cultured chicken (Gallus gallus) and exotic species' embryonic gonadal germ stem cells in host embryos

      Imus, Nastassja; Roe, Mandi; Charter, Suellen J.; Durrant, Barbara S.; Jensen, Thomas (2014)
      The management of captive avian breeding programs increasingly utilizes various artificial reproductive technologies, including in ovo sexing of embryos to adjust population sex ratios….. This project evaluated the possibility of using xenotransfer of embryonic gonadal germline stem cells (GGCs) for future reintroduction of their germplasm into the gene pool…..
    • Translocation and re-establishment of the Rimatara lorikeet from Rimatara Island, Austral Islands, French Polynesia to Atiu Island, Cook Islands

      Lieberman, Alan A.; Gerald McCormack; Rideout, Bruce; Malcolm, Roger; Soorae, Pritpal S. (IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group ; Environment Agency-Abu DhabiGland, Switzerland ; Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2018)
      The Rimatara lorikeet (Vini kuhlii) (also Kuhl’s, ruby, scarlet-breasted lorikeet, ‘Ura, Kura, Vini kuhlii) appears on CITES Appendix II and is listed on Birdlife International/IUCN Red List as “endangered” due to its small population, limited distribution, and risk of ship rats becoming established on its home islands. The species is restricted to three islands: Rimatara in western French Polynesia and Tabuaran and Teraina in remote northeastern Kiribati....
    • Trouble in paradise

      Toledo, Luís Felipe; de Paula, Catia Dejuste; Pessier, Allan P. (2016)
      The article discusses the reasons for occurrences of deformed and blind toads in large numbers on Brazilian island such as Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. It highlights several causes for amphibian malformations including chemical pollutants, overexposure to ultraviolent radiation and inbreeding....
    • Tumoral calcinosis form of hydroxyapatite deposition disease in related red-bellied short-necked turtles, Emydura subglobosa

      Burns, Rachel E.; Bicknese, Elizabeth; Westropp, J. L.; Shiraki, R.; Stalis, Isle H. (2013)
      Ten of 12 red-bellied short-necked turtles from a single clutch presented at 9 months of age with multiple white to tan nodules on their feet. Histologically, the nodules were composed of large periarticular deposits of mineralized crystalline material that extended into the joint spaces of interphalangeal joints and was surrounded by granulomatous inflammation and fibrosis. Crystallographic analysis determined the material to be apatite (calcium phosphate hydroxide) consistent with the tumoral calcinosis form of hydroxyapatite deposition disease (HADD). HADD has previously been described in aquatic turtles and rarely lizards and must be differentiated from gout in reptiles. A cause for the tumoral calcinosis lesions in these turtles could not be determined; however, based on previous reports in this species, a species-specific predilection, in conjunction with unknown environmental factors, is suspected. The use of the terms HADD, pseudogout (calcium pyrophosphate crystal deposition disease), and calcinosiscircumscripta has been inconsistent, creating confusion in the literature.
    • Two decades of cumulative impacts to survivorship of endangered California condors in California

      Kelly, Terra R.; Rideout, Bruce; Grantham, Jesse; Brandt, Joseph; Burnett, L. Joseph; Sorenson, Kelly J.; George, Daniel; Welch, Alacia; Moen, David; Rasico, James; et al. (2015)
      …Lead poisoning, which was a major driver in the population's decline, was a leading cause of death accounting for the greatest adult mortality, and lead exposure remains the most significant threat. Recent lead ammunition reduction efforts in the condor range in California hold promise for improving the recovery potential for this population.
    • Uncover the unrevealed data: the magnitude of Javan leopard removal from the wild

      Adhiasto, D.N.; Wilianto, E.; Wibisono, Hariyo Tabah (2020)
    • Understanding attitudes and usage of wild bear parts in Laos and Cambodia: A preliminary study using citizen scientists

      O’Connor, David; Crudge, B.; Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Hunt, M.; Harris, J.; Browne-Nuñez, C.; Pesei, K.; Blint, E. (2015)
    • Understanding local folklore and attitudes in Apennine brown bear conservation

      Glikman, Jenny A.; Frank, Beatrice; Nevin, Owen; Convery, Ian; Davis, Peter (Boydell & BrewerNewcastle, UK, 2019)
    • Understanding sensory mechanisms to develop effective conservation and management tools

      Blumstein, Daniel T; Berger-Tal, Oded (2015)
      ...We review recent insights and describe future challenges in using and evaluating sensory mechanisms within a conservation behavior framework....
    • Understanding the prevalence of bear part consumption in Cambodia: A comparison of specialised questioning techniques

      Davis, Elizabeth Oneita; Crudge, Brian; Lim, Thona; O'Connor, David; Roth, Vichet; Hunt, Matt; Glikman, Jenny A. (2019)
      The trade in bear parts for medicine and for status is a conservation challenge throughout Asia. The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) and the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) are endemic to this region, and populations are estimated to have declined throughout their ranges due to widespread illegal killing of bears and trade in parts, combined with loss of habitat. Previous studies have indicated that legislation alone is insufficient to prevent illegal hunting and trade, indicating instead a need to address demand for bear parts and products. We conducted mixed-method surveys in Cambodia to understand the key motivators for individuals to consume bear parts, and to understand whether specialised questioning techniques are applicable in this context. Bear part use is illegal in Cambodia and may therefore be considered a sensitive behaviour, in that individuals may be reluctant to admit to it. To counteract possible biases, four specialised questioning techniques were used in this study: randomised response technique (RRT), unmatched count technique (UCT), nominative technique (NT), and false consensus bias (FCB). All four methods serve to shield a respondent’s admittance of a sensitive behaviour from the interviewer. The results presented here show that great variability exists in anonymous methods’ efficacy in certain contexts. However, the results overall indicate that individuals in Cambodia are under-reporting their consumption of bear parts when directly asked, and that the prevalence of bear part use in Cambodia may be as high as 15% of the population, representing a significant conservation challenge.