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  Subjects -> CONSERVATION (Total: 128 journals)
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Biodiversity and Conservation
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.243
Citation Impact (citeScore): 3
Number of Followers: 212  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 0960-3115 - ISSN (Online) 1572-9710
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2468 journals]
  • Correction: Unravelling the genetic pattern of seagrass (Posidonia
           oceanica) meadows in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

    • PubDate: 2024-02-22
       
  • Species and ecological communities as management surrogates for threatened
           biodiversity

    • Abstract: Abstract In the face of the ongoing biodiversity crisis and limited conservation funding, surrogate approaches have become a valuable tool to represent biodiversity. Management surrogates are those that indirectly benefit an ecological system or species by representing the management requirements of co-occurring biodiversity. Recent findings highlight the cost-effective potential of surrogate species in managing threatened species, however, evaluating higher levels of biodiversity as management surrogates remains unexplored. Here, we sought to maximize conservation outcomes for threatened species and threatened ecological communities (TECs) by prioritizing management based on overlapping distributions, threats, and costs. We describe a prioritization framework for identifying TECs that could serve as cost-effective surrogates, and compare it with prioritizing threatened species only or both species and TECs. We show that when the objective is to maximize benefits for threatened species, a community approach performs poorly due to limited geographic overlap and high costs, while prioritizing species returned 7.5 times more benefits delivered to species under the same budget. Yet, if the objective is to maximize benefits across species and TECs simultaneously, a combined approach including both as surrogates delivers the greatest benefit for the same costs as a species-only approach. Range sizes and taxonomic groups significantly influenced the priority list, with threatened invertebrates and TECs of smaller ranges more likely to be selected as surrogates. Overall, this study emphasizes the importance of incorporating accurate data on factors such as threats and costs for identifying effective management surrogates, and highlights the potential benefits of prioritizing across multiple biodiversity features.
      PubDate: 2024-02-17
       
  • Climate change from an ectotherm perspective: evolutionary consequences
           and demographic change in amphibian and reptilian populations

    • Abstract: Abstract Understanding how natural populations will respond to contemporary changes in climate is becoming increasingly urgent and of fundamental importance for the preservation of future biodiversity. Among vertebrates, amphibians and reptiles are more sensitive to environmental perturbations than endotherms and ectotherm diversity will likely be disproportionally impacted by climate change. Notwithstanding concerns surrounding the climate change resilience of ectotherm populations, accurately predicting future population trajectories based on contemporary ecological and physiological data alone remains challenging and much can be learnt by studying how populations have responded to climate change in the past. Genomic approaches can now assay the genetic diversity of contemporary population at an unprecedented scale but to date have been relatively underutilised when studying the demographic history of amphibians and reptiles. In this review, we first summarise how changing climatic conditions may influence the ectotherm phenotype and how this can translate to changes in fitness and population dynamics. We then discuss how the relative role of past climate in shaping ectotherm diversity has traditionally been approached in a phylogeographic context and how expanding genomic resources for ectotherm species can be leveraged to improve the study of past demography for many amphibian and reptilian groups. An integrative approach that links known proximate effects on phenotype due to climate change, with past changes in demographic trajectories will ultimately enable us to generate more accurate models of future population change and improve our ability to assess climate change resilience for many ectotherm groups.
      PubDate: 2024-02-14
       
  • Mapping pressures on biodiversity: the contribution of thematic detail to
           decision making

    • Abstract: Abstract Mapping pressures to species is key to identify where biodiversity is at risk and providing relevant information to direct conservation actions. Decision-making to minimise pressures requires the determination of specific target actions at a high level of detail. However, the trade-off between cost and effort to generate this information often leads to the production of generalised pressure maps, named coarse maps, covering the most relevant pressures and their proxies. Here we aimed to disentangle whether the cost and effort of mapping fine pressures is worthwhile to inform decision making, by comparing how fine and coarse maps identify “where” and “how” management actions should be derived. Comparing the extend of both map types as well as its capacity to identify risk areas. We focused on three main pressures: agricultural intensification, human intensification, and land abandonment. The study was carried out in Catalonia for local decision-making, but the results can be applied in other EU regions or elsewhere, also for local decisions-making. We found that the Jaccard’s similarity index between coarse and fine pressure maps was always below 0.3 indicating low overlap between fine and coarse maps. In particular, the coincidence between coarse and fine thematic maps within protected areas (PAs) was always below 50%. Both maps differed in the identification of risk areas inside three analysed PAs. Moreover, even when there was a total geographical overlap between coarse and fine maps, coarse maps lack information on which concrete pressure was actually present, making decision on actions needed difficult. Thus, we can conclude that fine maps can estimate more accurately both “where” and “how” to target concrete actions than coarser maps. Even in cases where the answer as to “where” to act is the same, fine maps provide more concrete information to provide guidance on “how” to act. Consequently, despite the high cost and effort involved in mapping pressures at a high level of detail, the final trade-off is positive.
      PubDate: 2024-02-14
       
  • Diverging responses to natural and anthropogenic habitats in aftrotropical
           birds and butterflies

    • Abstract: Abstract Species respond differently to landscape structures and environmental changes. In nature conservation, however, responses of a few indicator groups are often generalised to the ecosystem level. In this study, we analyse how birds and butterflies respond to identical landscape structures and environmental gradients across a habitat mosaic in southern Kenya. The study area represents natural coastal forest (forest interior and forest edge) as well as different agro-environments (such as orchards and pastures), which partly may also be suitable surrogate habitats for forest species. We assessed birds and butterflies during the same time along identical line transects, covering the dry and the rainy season. The obtained results indicate that both species groups depict habitat types in some aspects similarly but in others in somewhat different ways. Thus, strongest differences in community similarity were visible between forest interior and the open landscape like pastures for both taxa. The forest community strongly overlapped with orchards for birds but less so for butterflies. Thus, orchards in close geographic proximity to natural forests might be a possible surrogate habitat for certain forest bird species, but less so for more sedentary forest butterfly species. The temporal variation in species richness, abundances, and community structures was much stronger for butterflies compared to birds. Thus, seasonality in tropical ecosystems has to be considered especially when interpreting community structures of butterflies, but much less so in birds. In general, birds and butterflies proved to be suitable indicator groups to evaluate ecologically landscape structures in East Africa, with birds more representing the landscape level and butterflies more the fine-grained habitat scale.
      PubDate: 2024-02-12
       
  • Human influence on the distribution of cacao: insights from remote sensing
           and biogeography

    • Abstract: Abstract Cacao (Theobroma cacao, Malvaceae) is an important tree crop in Africa and in the Americas. Current genomic evidence suggests that its original range in Tropical Americas was smaller than its current distribution and that human-mediated dispersal occurred before European colonization. This includes regions like Mesoamerica and Eastern Amazonia where cacao is supposedly naturally occurring. In this study, we utilize remote sensing and land use data to examine the influence of human activities on cacao-growing regions and explore patterns between cacao distribution and anthropized areas. By evaluating nearly nine thousand preserved specimen collections, we worked with a comprehensive occurrence dataset that considers taxonomy and distribution. We then analyzed remote sensing images of specimen locations and compared land use profiles of regions into which cacao was introduced with documented native areas. Our findings revealed a clear association between anthropized areas and cacao specimens, with the majority located in areas strongly affected by human activities. Conversely, regions closer to the proposed native range of cacao exhibit less human impact. These results, while accounting for sampling bias, reinforce the idea that humans may have played a significant role in cacao’s dispersal, even in parts of the Amazon where its native status remains uncertain. The discussion on cacao’s native range and identification of introduced areas hold implications for jurisdiction, access to genetic resources, and conservation efforts. Additionally, it is relevant to debates surrounding the repatriation of genetic data of economically important crops. Understanding the historical human influence on cacao’s distribution is crucial for addressing issues of crop improvement, conservation, and sustainable use.
      PubDate: 2024-02-10
       
  • Perceived social benefits and drawbacks of sea turtle conservation efforts
           in a globally important sea turtle rookery

    • Abstract: Abstract Conservation interventions have wide-ranging social impacts - both positive and negative. Yet a limited understanding of how conservation initiatives affect people’s livelihoods often hinders our ability to learn from past efforts and design more effective and equitable conservation measures. This is particularly needed when there is a high degree of overlap between critical habitats and human activities or a high cultural and economic demand for products derived from the conservation target. Here, we explore the social impacts of sea turtle conservation initiatives implemented on São Tomé Island (Gulf of Guinea) as a case study and consider how these might enhance or hinder future efforts. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key actors involved in the sea turtle trade in December 2014-February 2015 (prior to the implementation of key initiatives) and February-April 2022. Our findings suggest a clear reduction in the scale of the sea turtle trade and the number of main actors involved. However, most respondents previously involved in the trade had experienced economic displacement and several associated social impacts, such as the reduced ability to support family and friends and food insecurity, due to trade restrictions. Financial capital was the main barrier to transitioning to alternative livelihoods, followed by the lack of skills and peer pressure. Finally, this study highlights the importance of considering human dimensions during the planning and implementation phase of conservation actions and the need for more investment focused on the well-being of communities to ensure the long-term survival of endangered species.
      PubDate: 2024-02-10
       
  • Conserving large mammals on small islands: A case study on one of the
           world’s most understudied pigs, the Togean islands babirusa

    • Abstract: Abstract Conserving large mammals on small islands poses a great challenge, given their high resource demand within the limited space available. The endangered Togean Islands babirusa (Babyrousa togeanensis) is one of these species, with a distribution range limited to four small islands in the Togean Archipelago, Indonesia. Despite being listed as endangered, very little information is available on the distribution and ecology of this species. To address this critical knowledge gap, we here report the first field-based ecological study of the Togean Islands babirusa across its entire distribution range. Following a stratified random sampling procedure, we distributed camera traps at 103 stations across four islands to collect data on the species distribution from July-October 2022. We performed an occupancy modeling analysis to assess the species’ habitat use, with various habitat features estimated through remote sensing and field measurements as covariates. We found that forest and mangrove availability over a large area positively influenced babirusa habitat selection. Babirusas only made use of agricultural areas when large forest areas were available nearby. Our results highlight the benefits of redesigning the national park area to accommodate babirusa habitat requirements, specifically by reassigning the non-forested park areas (about 30% of the park area) to non-protected forests currently outside the park boundary (about 50% of total forested area). Our case study exemplifies key challenges associated with conserving large mammals on small islands and highlights the importance of following an adaptive management approach, which in this case implies shifting 30% of the current protected area.
      PubDate: 2024-02-09
       
  • Plant distribution and conservation in mediterranean islands’ lentic
           wetlands: there is more than aquatic species

    • Abstract: Abstract This study investigates the distribution and conservation status of plant species in lentic wetlands of Mediterranean islands. Field data on vascular macrophytes were collected from the online national databases of the “Conservation of the island wetlands of the Mediterranean Basin” (MedIsWet). A comprehensive inventory of wetlands was conducted, and information on the main anthropogenic impacts and conservation priorities was compiled. In addition to all vascular hygro- and hydrophytes, we retained information on those species typically adapted to environments with intermittent or temporary wetness. A significant knowledge gap regarding the distribution and conservation of plant species in Mediterranean wetlands was found. A lower endemism rate was observed particularly in coastal wetlands. However, approximately 25% of species, mainly with relatively wide distribution, were identified as endangered or with unknown conservation status. Including all macrophytes adapted to seasonal wetness is crucial when considering wetland conservation efforts. The research emphasised the importance of considering diverse wetland types, including seasonal and permanent, natural and artificial, for effective plant conservation. Artificial wetlands emerged as potential habitats with considerable biodiversity conservation value. This study provides a comprehensive inventory of wetlands and valuable insights into the distribution, ecology, and conservation relevance of aquatic macrophytes in Mediterranean islands. The research enhances our understanding of biogeographic patterns and processes, offers critical information for the management and conservation of Mediterranean island wetlands, and presents a replicable approach that can be applied to other wetland contexts.
      PubDate: 2024-02-07
       
  • Cumulative effects of offshore wind farms on common guillemots (Uria
           aalge) in the southern North Sea - climate versus biodiversity'

    • Abstract: Abstract Governments are under increasing pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and large-scale wind farms are being developed in marine environments worldwide. However, top predators are strongly affected by environmental change and anthropogenic activities. Common guillemots (Uria aalge, hereafter guillemots), as one of the world’s most numerous seabird species, are prone to interference with offshore wind farms (OWFs). This study assessed the cumulative impacts of all operating OWFs on guillemots in the German North Sea. These estimates were applied to quantify the possible conflicts between guillemot occurrence and current German government plans to implement large-scale OWFs. If OWFs were implemented according to the current maritime spatial plan for the German Exclusive Economic zone, they would cover 13% of the German North Sea. Guillemot numbers peak during autumn, with German North Sea offshore waters hosting approximately 90,000 individuals. Guillemot density in autumn was significantly reduced within a radius of 19.5 km around operating OWFs. Applying this disturbance distance to current installation plans, about 70% of the German North Sea would be affected, and an estimated 68% of guillemots in the German North Sea would experience habitat loss. This highlights the possible threat to guillemots in the southern North Sea if the current German government plans are implemented. The current estimates are highly relevant to decisions regarding marine spatial planning and management recommendations. Such evaluations are essential for developing sustainable scenarios including reducing the human CO2 footprint, whilst also conserving biodiversity.
      PubDate: 2024-02-04
       
  • What makes a change agent in environmental conflict transformation'
           Evidence from rural France

    • Abstract: Abstract Transformation of agriculture towards increased sustainability is needed to meet the challenge of declining biodiversity. Nevertheless, stakeholders’ differing perceptions of what sustainability should be, and the multiplicity of possible ways to achieve it can lead to conflictual situations, highlighting the importance of conflict transformation as part of the broader sustainability transformation. If conflict transformation needs to be addressed to prevent the status quo persisting, such processes also reveal the state of social relations and allow us to analyze how collective actions could lead to broader transformations. Using three case studies involving conflicts around pesticide use in the region Bourgogne Franche-Comté (France), we investigate the hypothesis that transformation processes require the engagement of change agents who are motivated and able to overcome barriers to change. Results from 55 in-depth interviews with stakeholders highlight that transformational change depends less on the capacities of a single individual, and more on the mobilization of a plurality of heterogeneous actors (especially farmers, local authorities, and the general public). These actors need to carry out a range of activities that occur with and for others and have an influence on others. According to interviewees, the actors need to engage others, encourage new initiatives, create spaces for knowledge exchanges, and go beyond boundaries. The effectiveness of change agents also depends on the existence of participatory and proactive processes to bring individuals together to create or capitalize on windows of opportunity.
      PubDate: 2024-02-01
       
  • A window to the future: effects of climate change on the distribution
           patterns of Iranian Zygaenidae and their host plants

    • Abstract: Abstract Climate change has been suggested as an important human-induced driver for the ongoing sixth mass extinction. As a common response to climate change, and particularly global warming, species move toward higher latitudes or shift uphill. Furthermore, rapid climate change impacts the biotic interactions of species, particularly in the case of Zygaenid moths which exhibit high specialization in both habitat and host plant preferences. Iranian Zygaenidae are relatively well-known and represent a unique fauna with a high endemism rate (46%) in the whole Palearctic; as such they are a good model group to study the impact of climate change on future distributions. In this study, we used species distribution models (SDMs) and ensembles of small models (ESMs) to investigate the impact of climate change on the future distribution of endemic and non-endemic species of zygaenids, as well as their larval host plants. Three different climate scenarios were applied to forecast the probable responses of the species to different climate change intensities. Our results suggest that the central and southern parts of the country will be impacted profoundly by climate change compared to the northern regions. Beyond this, most endemic species will experience an altitudinal shift from their current range, while non-endemic species may move towards higher latitudes. Considering that the regions with higher diversity of zygaenids are limited to mountainous areas, mainly within the Irano-Anatolian biodiversity hotspot, the identification of their local high diversity regions for conservation practices has a high priority.
      PubDate: 2024-01-30
       
  • Fluvial protected areas as a strategy to preserve riverine
           ecosystems—a review

    • Abstract: Abstract Fluvial ecosystems are essential for life on Earth. Despite this recognition and the growing implementation of restoration programs, measures aimed at halting riverine biodiversity’s decline have had limited success, so far. The implementation of protected areas has been the cornerstone of terrestrial and marine conservation. However, this strategy has only been seldomly applied to the protection of fluvial ecosystems and there is still no clear evidence of its effectiveness. We reviewed existing literature in scientific journals and reports from conservation agencies and analysed existing protection policies dedicated to rivers as well as several case studies throughout the world. Our main aim is to understand the potential advantages and drawbacks of dedicated fluvial protected areas, comparing to terrestrial protected areas and even to the total absence of protection. We also delved in the process of implementing fluvial protected areas, namely in what concerns relevant spatial scales, conservation priorities, stakeholders’ involvement and mitigation measures to potential threats. In total 173 references were retained after a comprehensive search on Google Scholar, SpringerLink, Scopus and ResearchGate. These studies revealed that, despite contradictory results, terrestrial protected areas provide some degree of protection to riverine ecosystems contained within their borders, namely through increased abundances and species richness of some specific groups. Comparatively, however, dedicated fluvial protected areas, designed to accommodate the uniqueness of these systems, hold a much higher potential. Yet, data regarding its effectiveness is still scarce, mainly due to the lack of general guidelines and resources to evaluate performance following establishment, which prevents stronger conclusions.
      PubDate: 2024-01-28
       
  • A framework to support the identification of critical habitat for
           wide-ranging species at risk under climate change

    • Abstract: Abstract To recover species at risk, it is necessary to identify habitat critical to their recovery. Challenges for species with large ranges (thousands of square kilometres) include delineating management unit boundaries within which habitat use differs from other units, along with assessing any differences among units in amounts of and threats to habitat over time. We developed a reproducible framework to support identification of critical habitat for wide-ranging species at risk. The framework (i) reviews species distribution and life history; (ii) delineates management units across the range; (iii) evaluates and compares current and (iv) potential future habitat and population size and (v) prioritizes areas within management units based on current and future conditions under various scenarios of climate change and land-use. We used Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) and Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) in Canada as case studies. Using geographically weighted regression models and cluster analysis to measure spatial variation in model coefficients, we found geographic differences in habitat association only for Canada Warbler. Using other models to predict current habitat amount for each species in different management units, then future habitat amount under land use and climate change, we projected that: (1) Canada Warbler populations would decrease in Alberta but increase in Nova Scotia and (2) Wood Thrush populations would increase under most scenarios run in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, but not in Ontario. By comparing results from future scenarios and spatial prioritization exercises, our framework supports identification of critical habitat in ways that incorporate climate and land-use projections.
      PubDate: 2024-01-10
       
  • Differential sampling in the assessment of conservation and biodiversity
           merit: a comparison of the seagrass macrofauna in three nearby South
           African estuaries

    • Abstract: Abstract To what extent is the relative biodiversity of some flagship conservation sites a result of differential attention' Knysna estuarine bay is the topmost ranked South African estuary for conservation importance and biodiversity. It is also one of the most intensively studied, and hence differential sampling effort could partly be responsible for its apparent relative richness. To assess the extent to which this might be true, identical sampling area, effort and methodology were employed to compare the benthic macrofauna of one specific major Knysna habitat (Zostera capensis seagrass beds) with equivalent ones in two nearby lesser-studied estuaries, the Keurbooms/Bitou and Swartvlei. Investigation showed all three localities to share a common species pool, but different elements of it dominated the shared habitat type in each. The seagrass and adjacent sandflat macrobenthos proved just as biodiverse in unprotected Keurbooms/Bitou as in the Protected Area of Knysna, but that in Swartvlei (also a Protected Area) was impoverished in comparison, presumably consequent on mouth closure and the prevailing lower salinity. Despite marked geomorphological and hydrological differences, all three estuaries share a suite of unusual faunal elements and such particularly close faunal similarity suggests the importance of historical biogeographic processes. The analysis emphasises the need for caution when assessing the relative conservation importance or other merits of different individual systems in a data-limited environment.
      PubDate: 2024-01-05
       
  • A point-in-time inventory of chikanda orchids within a wild harvesting
           wetland area in Mwinilunga, Zambia: implications for conservation

    • Abstract: Abstract Despite continued wild harvesting, there is limited data that provides estimates on the availability of African edible orchids as a resource, and that identifies the ecological drivers of their dynamics. This study was designed to investigate the relationship between distance from surface water and the diversity, frequency, and population density of chikanda orchids in a harvesting wetland in Mwinilunga, Zambia. Vegetation sampling was conducted using an interrupted belt transect design. Eight 50 m transects were systematically placed and positioned perpendicular (90o) to a stream within three separate orchid communities. Individual plant count was recorded within the 0–10 m, 10–20 m, 20–30 m, 30–40 m, and 40–50 m distance zones. Results showed a statistically significant decrease in the Shannon’s Diversity Index between the distance zones in all three communities (p < 0.05). Mean ranks for orchid taxa frequency and density across the distance zones were significantly different for communities 1 and 2 but not 3 and communities 1 and 3 but not 2, respectively. However, there was a medium to large effect size for distance on frequency and a small to large effect size for distance on density in all three communities. These results suggest that distance from surface water influences the frequency and density of orchid taxa occurring in wetland ecosystems. This implies that for conservation purposes, it may be important to focus on areas close to water when establishing orchid sites for the species investigated in this study.
      PubDate: 2023-12-19
       
  • Unravelling the genetic pattern of seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) meadows
           in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

    • Abstract: Abstract The genetic traits of seagrass populations are a crucial aspect of their ecology and evolution, influencing their adaptability and resilience. Here, we studied the genetic diversity, population structure, and connectivity of eighteen Posidonia oceanica meadows extending in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (Aegean, Ionian and Cretan Seas, Greece), combining twelve microsatellite markers and Lagrangian particle drift modelling. Our findings revealed a strong genetic differentiation between the Ionian Sea and the Aegean and Cretan Seas, suggesting limited genetic exchange between these two groups. High gene flow was observed within the meadows of the Aegean and Cretan Seas, indicating a well-connected group of populations. Notably, populations of the North Aegean Sea displayed the lowest genetic diversity and the highest clonality compared to the rest of the populations. The lack of substantial oceanographic connectivity between Ionian and Aegean/Cretan Sea populations supported their genetic differentiation. However, the Lagrangian simulations did not fully support gene flow patterns in the Aegean Sea, suggesting that in addition to contemporary processes, historical events may have contributed to the formation of the observed genetic pattern. The genetic information provided here can be incorporated into management strategies aimed at identifying suitable areas as management units in conservation efforts and determining meadows that may serve as donor sites in transplantation initiatives.
      PubDate: 2023-12-12
       
  • Correction to: Elevational changes in canopy Collembola community
           composition are primarily driven by species turnover on Changbai Mountain,
           northeastern China

    • PubDate: 2023-12-09
       
  • Genetic surfing during the range expansion of an endangered large
           carnivore

    • Abstract: Abstract In an effort to halt the global decline of large carnivores, reintroductions have become increasingly popular to establish satellite populations and reduce the risk of stochastic events. These artificial range expansions are typically formed by a small number of founders, which can lead to changes in population genetic structure. For instance, serial founder events can lead to neutral and even deleterious alleles reaching higher than expected frequencies along the front end of an expansion, referred to as gene surfing. One of the world’s most extensive range expansion programmes has been for endangered African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus). In this study, we examine the effect of continent-wide translocations on spatial genetic diversity, by determining what effect genetic surfing has on population structure in wild dogs, and measuring how long it will take for population structure to homogenize in the face of ongoing dispersal. We used a set of microsatellite loci to look at surfing alleles in five populations across southern Africa, and simulated the movement of these alleles forward in time under the current demographic scenario. We found that it would take about 150 generations for the expanding population to be 50% introgressed with genes from the free-roaming population. With the current rate of translocations, genetic differentiation in southern Africa will disappear, overturning the effects of genetic drift or surfing alleles. Understanding genetic patterns in expanding populations is of great interest to conservation, and we demonstrate that reintroduction programmes can help restore genetic diversity, and consequently adaptive potential, in recovering wildlife populations.
      PubDate: 2023-11-30
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-023-02755-z
       
  • Documentation of commercial and subsistence hunting of Critically
           Endangered black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) in
           northeastern Madagascar

    • Abstract: Abstract Hunting of wild animals for meat and habitat loss are the main drivers of wildlife population decline around the world, and in tropical regions in particular. While Madagascar is a hotspot for biodiversity, hunting is widespread, mostly in form of subsistence hunting, while hunting for the pet trade is less often reported. We studied hunting of the Critically Endangered black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata) in northeastern Madagascar. Using lemur surveys (102.7 km survey effort) and 54 semi-structured and seven key informant interviews, we assessed the local knowledge, hunting pressure, and the perceived and actual abundances of V. variegata in two hunting and two non-hunting villages. V. variegata was well known (> 83%) by the respondents but abundance estimates differed significantly between hunting and non-hunting villages, with 26% and 77% of respondents, respectively, estimating a high abundance of ruffed lemurs in the adjacent forests of the villages. Actual observations of V. variegata also differed strongly, in accordance to perceived abundances. Hunting was either done by trapping animals or by pursuit hunts. In both hunting villages, adult lemurs were used for direct meat consumption and juveniles for rearing for the later trade. Hand-raised V. variegata were reported to be sold for 38–71 USD on regional markets or ‘delivered’ directly to buyers. While wildlife hunting has been widely reported from all over Madagascar, commercial hunting, hand-rearing and trading adds a new dimension of threat towards these Critically Endangered lemurs. As such, the extent of the trade is a priority for future studies.
      PubDate: 2023-11-11
      DOI: 10.1007/s10531-023-02744-2
       
 
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