What is wildlife conservation? Wildlife conservation is the regulation of wild animals and plants in such a way as to provide for their continuance. Efforts are aimed at preventing the depletion of present populations and ensuring the continued existence of the habitats targeted species need to survive. Techniques involve establishment of sanctuaries and controls on hunting, use of land, importation of exotic species, pollution, and use of pesticides. (http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/wildlife+conservation) A simpler definition of wildlife conservation is the management of species  through sustainable practices to ensure future generations can enjoy it as well.

Conservation is not to be confused with preservation. Preservation is the idea that humans should leave wildlife alone, sanctuaries should be created and humans should have no contact with the animals. Conservation uses direct involvement from humans through habitat restorations, refuges, hunting and photo safaris.

Some hot topics right now in the field of conservation are:

United States

  1. Key deer- Species of deer native to the Florida Keys. These tiny deer have been severely reduced in numbers. The latest estimates place the current population between 250-750 http://floridaenvironment.com/programs/fe00306.htm
  2. Scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle- These three species although native to western Africa are now found only on ranches in the U.S. primarily in Texas for the purpose of hunting. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7396832n

Central and South America

  1. Jaguar- Jaguar are very reclusive cats so determining exact numbers has been difficult. All biologists know at this point in time is that the populations are declining. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-7998.2011.00812.x/abstract Recently, Safari Club International Foundation (a conservation organization founded by hunters) completed a joint study with United for Conservation to better understand the jaguar population in Mexico. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=162442073830229&set=a.154414717966298.39190.154332054641231&type=1&theater

Africa

  1. Rhino- Rhino are under tremendous pressure in Africa from poaching. Over 400 rhinos from South Africa were killed in 2011 to supply horns for use in traditional medicine on the Asian black market. As of today’s date poachers have already killed 160 in South Africa alone. http://www.stoprhinopoaching.com/statistics.aspx (The stats provided at this link are as of March 19th, current total as of April 5th are 160 rhinos)
  2. Lion- Due to increasingly fragmented habitat and revenge killings for preying on cattle lions have become a hot topic amongst conservation organizations. Studies are being conducted all across Africa to create sustainable plans for lion management. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/273/1598/2119.full

Asia

  1. Tigers- Tigers face threats common to rhinos and lions. They are losing habitat at alarming rates and are poached due to their value in traditional chinese medicine. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/eu_russia_saving_tigers/

These are just a sampling of the topics which will be covered on this blog. If there are any preferred topics or other suggestions feel free to leave comments.

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