Feb 1

Species name: Myanmar snub-nosed monkey

Nominated by: Fauna & Flora International

 

IUCN Red List classification: Critically Endangered

What is so special about your species?

The outside world was oblivious to the existence of the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey until 2010, when it was discovered by scientists in a remote, unexplored forest in north-eastern Myanmar. This monkey is not what you would call conventionally cute, but it has a particularly endearing feature: its upturned nose causes it to sneeze when it rains. Nicknamed ‘the sneezing monkey’ and affectionately referred to as ‘snubby’, this bizarre primate is so rare and elusive that very few people have seen it, and its ecology is shrouded in mystery.

What are the threats to this species in the wild?

The Myanmar snub-nosed monkey is on the brink of extinction, with an estimated population of just 260 – 330 individuals. It clings precariously to survival in its shrinking forest home on the border between north-eastern Myanmar and southern China. This remarkable monkey faces threats from hunting and wildlife trade, illegal logging and habitat destruction.

What can people do to help your species?

Raise snubby’s profile by telling your friends about this astonishing, sneezing monkey. Take a stand against bushmeat by choosing not to eat at restaurants that serve monkey or other wild animals when travelling in Southeast Asia. Support Fauna & Flora International and help us protect the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey through our local community ranger programme.

 

VOTE NOW!

 

Feb 1

Species name: aye-aye

Nominated by: Rainforest Trust UK

IUCN Red List classification: Endangered

What is so special about your species?

The aye-aye is one of a kind, a unique creature spectacularly evolved to thrive in the rainforests of Madagascar. It may not be the cutest lemur in the canopy – it looks like a cross between a giant vampire bat and Golum from Lord of the Rings – but what the aye-aye lacks in looks it makes up for in specialisation. The largest nocturnal primate in the world, the aye-aye finds its food by tapping on trees with its extraordinarily long middle finger and listening for insect larvae moving under the bark. It then gnaws a hole in the wood with its vampire-like incisors and uses the same middle finger to hook them out. Not the most romantic Valentine date, we admit, but it’s the only primate to use echolocation to find its dinner. They also mate upside down, hanging from a tree branch for up to an hour. Which isn’t easy, especially when you have a stomach full of insect larvae.

What are the threats to this species in the wild?

Aye-ayes have long been considered omens of bad luck by the Malagasy people due to their vampiric appearance, and some locals even think that if they point their long middle finger at you, you are marked for death. For this reason aye-ayes are often killed on sight and hung up at the edge of the village so that the evil spirit will be carried away by travellers. Add to this the widespread habitat loss and intensive farming that have destroyed much of their habitat across Madagascar, it’s clear that the aye-aye is only hanging on by its freakishly long fingertips and deserves your love this Valentine’s Day.

What can people do to help your species?

Rainforest Trust are working with our local Conservation Partners to conserve a number of crucial areas of rainforest for threatened endemic wildlife across Madagascar, including the newly discovered Lost Forest, a spectacular intact primary rainforest that has avoided degradation, unlike almost all other remaining Malagasy forests. And as a special Valentine’s Day gift, all donations to this project will be quadrupled, meaning you can save four times as much rainforest for our long-fingered friends!

VOTE NOW!

 

Feb 1

Species name: lappet-faced vulture

Nominated by: Pro Wildlife

IUCN Red List classification: Endangered

What is so special about your species?

In our society vultures are an omen of death. The myth that vultures circle dying animals waiting for their meal is deeply rooted and has badly damaged the image of those majestic animals. However, vultures fulfil an important function within our ecosystems and are highly specialised. For example, their strong stomach acid can kill deadly bacteria which allows them to safely digest carcasses infected with dangerous diseases such as anthrax and hog cholera bacteria.

Many vulture species are threatened with extinction which has the potential to destabilize entire ecosystems, as vultures play an important role in disposing of dead animals.

What are the threats to this species in the wild?

Habitat loss and degradation, and toxins are the main threats faced by vultures.  African species, such as the lappet-faced vulture, have become victims of the cattle drug ‘diclofenac’ and poisons used to kill predators such as jackals and hyenas.  Vultures are also deliberately poisoned by poachers as their circling behaviours act as an alarm for authorities and expose the poachers’ illegal activities.

Vultures only produce a few offspring during their lifetime, resulting in a slow recovery from dramatic population crashes.

What can people do to help your species?

Worldwide banning of the chemicals that kill vultures indirect would help them to recover themselves. By combating illegal poaching in Africa, the cause for systematic poisoning of vultures can be tackled. Pro Wildlife supports local organisations to stop the illegal hunting of animals and to maintain the balance of the ecosystem.

VOTE NOW!

 

Feb 1

Species name: blue shark

Nominated by: Hector the Blue Shark

(official spokeshark for the Ecology Action Centre)

IUCN Red List classification: Near Threatened

What is so special about your species?

Blue sharks are sleek and streamlined, zipping through the water, crossing entire oceans. As they zip around, blue sharks use proton filled jelly in their heads to detect electrical fields generated by other fish and animals in the water – even miles away. And, of course, they have unique super cool, blue tinted skin making them very recognizable.

What are the threats to this species in the wild?

Blue sharks are the most heavily fished shark in the world caught in many types of fisheries throughout our oceans with estimates ranging from 15-20 million caught every year. The fins of blue sharks make up the largest percentage of the global fin trade and the number of blue sharks being landed continues to rise in many areas. These amounts don’t even capture the tens of thousands of blue sharks that are hooked and cut off lines while at sea because they are unwanted catch. With some regions seeing upwards of 30% declines in population, there are increasing concerns about blue sharks and whether they can continue to withstand this amount of fishing.

Unfortunately, despite their amazingness and their important role as a widely distributed apex predator, the blue shark is often considered a pest by fishers trying to catch other more valuable species. They remain unloved and underappreciated and, as such, there are almost no limits on how many blue sharks can be caught by fisheries nor fishing controls in place that would ensure the blue shark remains throughout our oceans in the future. Ignoring proper management and conservation for such an ecologically important species, especially one so heavily impacted by human activities, should no longer be acceptable in 2018, .

What can people do to help your species?

Follow Hector the Blue Shark, the most famous blue spokeshark, in his work with friends at the Ecology Action Centre to get science-based, strict fishing limits in place for him and his blue shark kin around the world. Supporting an organization with dedicated experts that work with fisheries managers, conservationists, researchers, and governments is one of the best ways people can help blue sharks and other sharks and rays. It takes years of work and dedication to move conservation forward for these animals and organizations need your support!

The Ecology Action Centre together with partners Project Aware, Shark Trust, and Sharks Advocates International are SLAM, the Shark League of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, working for groundbreaking conservation at the international level for sharks, rays, and skates.

VOTE NOW!

 

Feb 1

Species name: Asian elephant

Nominated by: Elephant Family

 

IUCN Red List classification: Endangered

What is so special about your species?

The largest living land mammals – elephants – are intelligent, social and vital to their ecosystems.  For thousands of years they have helped shape and protect their landscapes and the species they live alongside.  Capable of immense strength and extraordinary empathy they live in complex social groups led by a matriarch.  Sadly, the Asian elephant is a forgotten species that does not enjoy the same public profile and support as its larger African cousin.

What are the threats to this species in the wild?

Over the last 100 years, Asian elephant populations have plummeted by 90% leaving around 50, 000 struggling to survive in fragmented landscapes across thirteen range countries. As human populations grow, elephant habitat is shrinking at a rapid pace leading to increasingly fierce competition between people and elephants for living space and food which can lead to conflict, often with fatal consequences for both sides.

Along with the depletion and fragmentation of habitat and ivory poaching, a new threat – the illegal trade in elephant skin – is emerging.

What can people do to help your species?

Since 2002 Elephant Family has funded over 160 conservation projects to help protect this endangered animal. Partnering with Asia’s most ambitious and determined conservationists we are reconnecting forest fragments, preventing human-elephant conflict and fighting wildlife crime.

You can help by voting for the Asian elephant to raise awareness of its plight or donate to fund our critical conservation work at www.elephant-family.org.

 

VOTE NOW!

 

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