Why is herpetofauna declining?

18 March 2014
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Biodiversity is unfortunately declining all over the world. Amphibians and reptiles are considered to be some of the vulnerable vertebrates in the world, lots of species being declared either extinct or endangered.

Lots of species are disappearing, being replaced with invasive or easily adaptable species, strong enough to face the climatic changes and the human actions.

The destruction, deterioration and fragmentation pace of the natural habitats (by extending the farmlands, the croplands, the industrial and living fields) is getting faster and faster from one year to another. Due to this, amphibians and reptiles are undergoing significant changes but these are not the only causes which led the diversity of worldwide amphibians and reptiles to the edge of extinction. There are also to be considered:

● deforestations or inadequate practices in the woodland economy (replacing certain autochthonous wooden species with others, species unable to find adequate food or shelter);

● draining and banking works;

● unfinished buildings, where numerous specimens get stuck and eventually die;

● the narrowing specter of ecologic conditions (activity, food, mating etc.);

● killing certain species out of superstition;

● trading specimens living in the nature;

● pharmaceutical purposes (authorized or non-authorized);

● irresponsible tourism;

● car traffic kills thousands and even millions of specimens every year, seriously affecting the survival of the species;

● the proliferation of stray dogs and cats or wild boars can significantly decrease the survival rate of the babies;

● the isolation and the low number of individuals leads to the phenomenon called consanguinity (mating between the individuals of the same species), which may produce imminent extinction;

● others.

Currently, there are about 7.250 species of amphibians and 9.909 species of reptiles worldwide. Only 48 of them (20 amphibians and 28 reptiles) live in Romania. 3 out of these taxons are critically endangered, 13 are endangered, 16 are vulnerable and 7 near threatened. [1, 2, 3]

The herpetofauna must be protected now more than ever.

References

1. www.amphibiaweb.org

2. www.reptile-database.org

3. http://herpetolife.ro/legislatia-din-romania/

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