"Further, these data can be used to indicate trends in conservation status over time," they added. "Despite the general deterioration in the status of mammals, our data also show that species recoveries are possible through targeted conservation efforts."
For example, the Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) moved from extinct in the wild to endangered after a successful reintroduction by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service into eight western states and Mexico from 1991-2008. Similarly, the Wild Horse (Equus ferus) moved from extinct in the wild in 1996 to critically endangered this year after successful reintroductions started in Mongolia in the early 1990s.
The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) moved from vulnerable to near threatened, although its status varies considerably across its range. The move reflects the recent and ongoing population increases in major populations in southern and eastern Africa. These increases are big enough to outweigh any decreases that may be taking place elsewhere.
"This work sets a benchmark for us to understand what is happening with biodiversity of mammals worldwide and provides a platform from which all future conservation efforts can be measured," said Smith, who initiated the database that was used to inventory the world's mammals. "This effort hopefully will spur greater attention on the conservation of mammals and the habitats they occupy, for the benefit of all biodiversity."
|Contact: Skip Derra|
Arizona State University