PubMed | Cheetah Conservation Project Zimbabwe, Heritage Foundation, Environment General Authority EGA, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and 27 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2016
Establishing and maintaining protected areas (PAs) are key tools for biodiversity conservation. However, this approach is insufficient for many species, particularly those that are wide-ranging and sparse. The cheetah Acinonyx jubatus exemplifies such a species and faces extreme challenges to its survival. Here, we show that the global population is estimated at 7,100 individuals and confined to 9% of its historical distributional range. However, the majority of current range (77%) occurs outside of PAs, where the species faces multiple threats. Scenario modeling shows that, where growth rates are suppressed outside PAs, extinction rates increase rapidly as the proportion of population protected declines. Sensitivity analysis shows that growth rates within PAs have to be high if they are to compensate for declines outside. Susceptibility of cheetah to rapid decline is evidenced by recent rapid contraction in range, supporting an uplisting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List threat assessment to endangered. Our results are applicable to other protection-reliant species, which may be subject to systematic underestimation of threat when there is insufficient information outside PAs. Ultimately, conserving many of these species necessitates a paradigm shift in conservation toward a holistic approach that incentivizes protection and promotes sustainable human-wildlife coexistence across large multiple-use landscapes.
Durant S.M.,UK Institute of Zoology |
Durant S.M.,Wildlife Conservation Society |
Wacher T.,Conservation Programmes |
Bashir S.,Birdlife International Asia |
And 40 more authors.
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2014
Biodiversity hotspots understandably attract considerable conservation attention. However, deserts are rarely viewed as conservation priority areas, due to their relatively low productivity, yet these systems are home to unique species, adapted to harsh and highly variable environments. While global attention has been focused on hotspots, the world's largest tropical desert, the Sahara, has suffered a catastrophic decline in megafauna. Of 14 large vertebrates that have historically occurred in the region, four are now extinct in the wild, including the iconic scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah). The majority has disappeared from more than 90% of their Saharan range, including addax (Addax nasomaculatus), dama gazelle (Nanger dama) and Saharan cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki) - all now on the brink of extinction. Greater conservation support and scientific attention for the region might have helped to avert these catastrophic declines. The Sahara serves as an example of a wider historical neglect of deserts and the human communities who depend on them. The scientific community can make an important contribution to conservation in deserts by establishing baseline information on biodiversity and developing new approaches to sustainable management of desert species and ecosystems. Such approaches must accommodate mobility of both people and wildlife so that they can use resources most efficiently in the face of low and unpredictable rainfall. This is needed to enable governments to deliver on their commitments to halt further degradation of deserts and to improve their status for both biodiversity conservation and human well-being. Only by so-doing will deserts be able to support resilient ecosystems and communities that are best able to adapt to climate change. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.