Friday, 15 February 2013

How to track an 'invisible' animal

By Ella Davies, BBC Nature

In the ongoing battle to care for the planet's diverse life, conservationists go to great lengths.
They trek for miles through thick jungle with heavy packs of instruments to try to learn more about species before they are lost.

But when these species are rare, shy or difficult to access, biologists are forced to learn from a distance.

Diana monkey
A fleeting glimpse on a grainy remote camera trap, a decomposed carcass or even a dung sample can reveal detailed secrets of a species. But each of these insights is hard won, with hours of humidity and anxiety often decided by one lucky encounter.

Now the scientific community is heralding essential additions to their toolkits that require far fewer crossed fingers but a lot more DNA detective skills.

According to a review published in the journal Molecular Ecology, gathering data on species abundance and distribution is the number one priority for conservationists.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature's infamous Red List catalogues all species that are considered to be threatened, but around 14% of the 5,400 terrestrial animals are listed as "Data Deficient".

To address these deficiencies, researchers from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Germany, suggest easy-to-catch insects can inform on hidden and vulnerable vertebrates.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails