Long list of animals promised new protections at UN-backed meeting

25 November 2005

A wide range of animals, from gorillas to giant mastiff bats to strange-tailed tyrants, were promised added protection today under decisions taken by parties to a United Nations wildlife treaty.

The animals were put on one of two lists at the close of the 8th conference of the parties to the UN Environment Programme's Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS) held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Those put on Appendix I are endangered species, and governments should take measures such as improving habitats and breeding sites and removing obstacles to their migration. Appendix II listing calls on nations to establish regional agreements, including memorandums of understanding, to conserve the species.

CMS, an intergovernmental treaty concluded under UNEP's aegis, seeks to mobilize the necessary political and other resources to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of wildlife and habitat loss at the global, regional and national level. Its membership has grown steadily to include 92 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Governments, scientists and our partner bodies, such as the World Conservation Union, have demonstrated their commitment to CMS this week," CMS Executive Secretary Robert Hepworth said. "Hundreds of threatened species throughout the world all gain from the scientific and practical support we can now offer, especially in developing countries over the next three years."

Those put on Appendix I include the eastern lowland, western lowland and mountain gorillas, who are threatened by habitat degradation and killing for bushmeat along with civil wars and unrest and Henderson's Petrel, a sea bird known to breed only on Henderson Island in the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Pitcairn, which is threatened by rats and possibly predation by crabs.

Among those put on Appendix II are the strange-tailed tyrant, a bird occurring in Paraguay and northern Argentina that is believed to have suffered catastrophic losses in Brazil and the giant mastiff bat, widely distributed between eastern Africa from Ethiopia to South Africa.

Others have been put on both lists, such as the short-beaked common dolphin, which moves across the Gibraltar Straits and possibly through the Turkish Straits system and whose number are believed to be declining due to entanglement in fishing nets, and the Bukhara Deer, central Asia's only true deer inhabiting arid zones and migrating across the borders of countries including Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Numbering less than 1,000 they are threatened by poachers and habitat loss.


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