Potato Chip Cats: Charity Chat: EDGE of Existence

Monday, March 26, 2012

Charity Chat: EDGE of Existence



Just the other day I was talking with someone about some of the wild animals we love (Lion King had come on during our channel surfing and we couldn't help but linger), and how truly devastating their disappearance from the world would be. I've only ever seen a polar bear or a tiger or a panda in captivity, but the idea that their wild counterparts might be just a chapter in a history book to my kids someday is appalling and depressing. 


While there are lots of amazing efforts being made now more than ever to preserve our majestic wildlife, what about the animals we don't think of when we think conservation? The "weird" little creatures who are truly unique and fantastic? They deserve our attention too, and that's where EDGE and the Zoological Society of London are trying to make a difference. 

EDGE is the only global initiative devoted to identifying and protecting these unique, often ignored species. To make the list of species in need, an animal must have evolutionary distinction and be globally endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. So a species who has been evolving independently for however many millions of years, something like the aardvark, is like a little leaf rather than a spreading branch on the "tree of life" and if these leaves should fall, there won't be any like them left to fill the gaps. 

A Few of EDGE's Priorities: 

EDGE Mammal 16: Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth
The pygmy three-toed sloth was only recognised as a distinct species in 2001. It can only be found on Isla Escudo de Veraguas which has been separated from mainland Panama for 9,000 years. Famous for its slow movements the pygmy three-toed sloth is ideally suited to life in the mangroves and is surprisingly good at swimming. The major threat to the pygmy three-toed sloth is habitat destruction which is reducing the size of its already small habitat.

EDGE Amphibian 2: Chinese Giant Salamander
The Chinese giant salamander is the largest living species of amphibian, reaching a maximum length of 1.8 metres. It lives in cool, fast-flowing streams and mountain lakes and predominantly feeds on fish and crustaceans. This species is threatened by over-harvesting for the food trade, as well as the destruction and degradation of its habitat. It is now Critically Endangered, having undergone a massive population decline over the last 30 years.


Manatee
chinchillaGorilla

Weird is wonderful: please don't let these creatures become things of lore!

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