Friday, 12 October 2012

Endangered Species Part 1.


                                                                   Endangered Species Part 1.
 
Hello everybody and welcome, to my latest blog. This week signals the start to a section which will highlight the plight of an endangered animal.  This week takes a detailed look at the struggle to survive for the Angel Shark, I really hope you enjoy it. 


                                                        Angel Shark Squatina squatina



This bottom dwelling species of shark is currently ranked the ninety fourth most endangered species in the world according to the IUCN and the Zoological Society of London. This bottom dwelling species of shark belongs to the family Squatinidae. Its diet as a involves a lot of crustaceans and molluscs but will also take fish, eelgrass and even sea birds have been recorded. The Angel Shark is oviviviparous meaning they give birth to live young and can at any one time produce up to twenty five offspring. The Angel Shark is largely nocturnal and rests torpid during the daytime on the sea bottom.


Over the past 50 years, the population of the Angel Shark has diminished at an alarming rate, so much so in fact that it has been now been declared extinct in the North Sea, and its population had been severely damaged in huge areas of the Northern Mediterranean The overall population throughout the rest of its original range is also severely depleted, the only possible exception to this is thought to be in the Southern Mediterranean and Canary Islands where further study’s need to take place to establish a better understanding of their population in this area.


One of the most prominent and devastating threats to Angel Sharks comes as a direct result of their lifestyle. Being a bottom feeding species, means it’s highly likely to be caught as by catch in trawls, trammel nets and bottom long lines. Human interference through tourism and habitat loss to its preferred habitat of sandy close to shore habitat.


So what protection has the Angel Shark been granted? The Angel shark has been given protection in three marine reserves in the Balearic Islands as a result of this fishing for the whole genus of Squinata has now been banned. In 2010 the Angel Shark, was listed under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act. This means they are protected from either killing, injuring or taking onto land as well as being protected from up to three nautical miles from the English Coastal baseline. The Angel Shark is also listed on the Annex 111 of the Barcelona Convention.


But the despite this the future for this beautiful shark looks bleak and it is of no surprise to find them under the category of Critically Endangered. Unless more steps are taken to save this species we may one day be reduced to looking at pictures of them in a history book resigned to the same thought we have certainly had for many other now extinct species, "we could have done more".
Facts taken from this blog came from http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/39332/0




Angel Shark Squatina squatina
http://www.animalport.com/pictures/Angel-Shark/wallpapers/thumbs/Angel-Shark-03.jpg

And here's another sobering article I found...www.businessinsider.com/extinct-animals-2011-11

Thats all for this week everyone, I hope you have a good weekend and I will be back next Friday with my latest installment.

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