Italian mammals in danger

This video from Turkey says about itself:

Badem (Almond in Turkish) is a Mediterranean Monk Seal; an extremly rare creature that is unfortunately close to extinction. We were lucky at European Seasports as she visited us at our Dive Centre in Marmaris.

From Italian news agency ANSA:

2/3 of Italy’s mammals endangered

Seals, otters and bats among those at risk, says WWF

18 January, 19:07

Rome, January 18 – Nearly two thirds of Italy’s mammals are at risk, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has warned. Its annual ”red list” of endangered animals included 70 of the country’s 110 native mammals, while 48 species are at risk of extinction. The conservation group said the list included both well-known animals, such as seals, otters and bats, as well as rarer species, such as a garden dormouse found only on the island of Lipari and the Corsican red deer, native to Sardinia. The WWF report expressed particular concern over bat species, which accounted for 30 of the critically endangered animals. The group said that bat numbers had plummeted in recent years, for which it blamed an excessive use of pesticides, poor forest management and increased human activity in caves. The plight of otters was also cause for concern, according to WWF Italia.

Although still found across Europe and Asia, otter numbers in Italy have been dwindling steadily for decades, said the WWF.

Once common throughout the country, there are now thought to be just 260 of the small, semi-aquatic mammals left.

There are around 20 communities in Campania, while the rest live in 35 other sites near rivers, streams, marshes and lakes around Italy.

The destruction of water habitats and pollution are the greatest cause of damage to otter populations.

Another water mammal, the Mediterranean monk seal, was once a frequent visitor to Italian shores but is now one of Europe’s most endangered species, the WWF said. Mediterranean monk seals have not been a consistent presence in Italian waters since the 1980s although there was an extremely rare sighting of one animal in Tuscany last summer.

Their current global population is thought to be around 350-450 individuals, with most now living in Greece and Turkey.

Habitat destruction and damage caused by fishing are the main reasons for their sharp decline, noted WWF, although it said the creation of new protected sites and strict regulation of fishing in seal areas was starting to produce results. The WWF also sounded a cautious note of optimism over the recovery of Italy’s wolves.

Protective measures in place since the 1970s have seen Italy’s wolf population grow from 100 to around 800 in less than 40 years, the WWF explained. Wolves in Italy are now spread out along the Apennine chain, from Calabria in the south all the way up to the Alps.

But despite their reproductive and breeding success, wolf populations are still at risk, largely from humans trying to protect sheep and other animals, warned the WWF.

Around 100 wolves are killed each year by hunters or locals, either shot or deliberately poisoned by tainted meat, it concluded.

The Caribbean’s wonderfully weird (and threatened) mammals, an interview with Jose Nunez-Mino: here.

Scientists at The University of Western Ontario (Western) led an international and multi-disciplinary study that sheds new light on the way that bats echolocate. With echolocation, animals emit sounds and then listen to the reflected echoes of those sounds to form images of their surroundings in their brains: here.

European mammals: here.

USA: River Otters Intimidate Coyote: here.

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