Extinction: Meet the new poster animals of conservation" width="976" height="549">
Golden snub-nosed monkey (left) and gnu goat, or Takin (right), are on the list
Ever heard of the gnu goat, the red-eared guenon or the Gila monster
The Andean bear seen here at a zoo in Germany, is the only bear native to South America
To test whether a more scientific approach could have wider benefits for vulnerable ecosystems, the researchers compiled data on protected areas, human impacts, and the ranges of thousands of animals.They identified priority places for conservation in the world and suitable "flagship species" to fundraise for them. "We can't afford to waste a single conservation dollar," said Dr Jennifer McGowan of Australia's Macquarie University. "Given the state of the biodiversity crisis we need to be strategic, effective and efficient with the conservation work that we do."
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Flagship species are a good way "to appeal to hearts and minds", she said, citing images from the recent wildfires in Australia showing injured koalas. "Millions of dollars were raised - because no-one can look at those pictures and not have their hearts break."
Secretary bird walking in tall grass in the Kalahari desert
The study, published in Nature Communications, compiled a list of hundreds of mammals, birds and reptiles that could act as new flagship species. They are charismatic in their own right, but often overlooked in favour of more iconic alternatives. Animals highlighted include:
The Andean bear from the Andean mountain forests
The fossa, a cat-like predator from Madagascar
The rhinoceros hornbill of south-east Asia
The secretary bird of the East African savannahs
The Gila monster, which lives in the deserts of Mexico and the US.
Gila monster in southern Arizona
The year 2020 is regarded as critical for nature, culminating in a meeting in Kunming, China, in October to define a new global framework for biodiversity.Governments are meeting in Rome for the first time on Monday to work on a "Paris-style" United Nations agreement due to be finalised later in the year. Last year an intergovernmental panel of scientists said one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.Recent estimates suggest the annual budget needed to meet global biodiversity goals amounts to at least $100bn per year.Follow Helen on Twitter.
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