Hong Kong home to critically endangered yellow-crested cockatoo
Date: January 5, 2017
Source: The University of Hong Kong
The exhaustive international trade of wildlife has pushed many species to the brink of extinction. Coincidentally, many of the same species have been introduced to urban centres or wilderness areas outside their natural ranges. In a recent study published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, authors from Hong Kong and Australia find that these introduced populations may provide hope for these threatened species.
"Across the planet, poachers have reached into the last remote habitats to harvest wildlife populations used for clothing, eaten, or kept as pets in faraway cities," said Dr. Luke Gibson from the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Hong Kong, who led the study.
"In some cases, the traded organisms have escaped and are now thriving in their introduced habitats," he added.
In total, the authors identified 49 globally threatened species -- those listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered -- which have established introduced populations outside their native distribution. These include amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds, as well as insects and plants, with introduced populations found on all continents except Antarctica.