Thursday 21 April 2016

More than 1,000 species have been moved due to human impact

Animals and plants are increasingly being ‘translocated’ from their native areas to survive effects of climate change, poaching and habitat loss, says top conservationist

Wednesday 20 April 201613.37 BST
Last modified on Wednesday 20 April 201614.46 BST

More than 1,000 species have had to be relocated because of climate change, poaching and humans taking their habitat, according to a top conservationist.

Dr Axel Moehrenschlager said cases of “translocation”, such as India’s plan torelocate tigers to Cambodia or South Africa’s scheme to airlift rhinos to Australia, have increased exponentially in recent decades and will become more common due to human pressures driving species closer to extinction.

Translocation is the practice of intentionally moving plants and animals from one area and releasing them in another to improve their survival chances and combat biodiversity loss.

It is usually considered a “last resort” method, but conservationists warn that intensive and sometimes controversial forms of intervention may now be needed.

“Species are under increasing threat around the world, but the science is maturing about how to bring them back,” said Moehrenschlager, director of conservation and science at the Calgary zoo and chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reintroduction specialist group.

“This is not a new tool - it’s gone on for more than 100 years - but it’s definitely escalating in terms of frequency and geographical spread, not just for an individual species but for entire ecosystems.”

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