The Long View on Saving Endangered Species
This short piece (open) about black footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) conservation reminds us that when we aim to “save species” we’re playing a long game. The author applauds both 30 years of consistent hard work, and particularly the creation of a semen bank and artificial insemination program that allowed for captive breeding then release into the wild. The author also has the audacity to remind us that not all conservation is sexy and that some meaningful projects might be a trudge but can make a meaningful difference.
Ecosystem Contributions of Rare Species
Ecosystem communities are made up of diverse species each serving a role in the community. Food webs are an easy way to understand connections between species from detritivores to apex predators, but species have other functional roles within ecosystems. This study (sub) examined species function compared to rarity. They found that rare species had a greater impact on the diversity of functions within an ecosystem and that those functions were lost when rare species went extinct. While a rare species does not necessarily have low population size, thus being endanger of extinction, conservation often focuses on rare versus cosmopolitan species. This study supports that mentality in showing that the function of rare species cannot always be replaced as community assembly changes.