Monday, February 7, 2011

Endangered animals in Madagascar - Fossa

Fossa is a cat-like predator endemic to Madagascar that is in great danger of becoming extinct, and the worst part is that this largest carnivore in the island of Madagascar is still not listed as endangered species.

Fossa adults have a head-body length of 70–80 cm (28–31 in) and they usually weigh between 5.5–8.6 kg (12–19 lb), and like with many other cat species males are larger than the females.

The main reason why fossas could be soon heading for extinction is habitat loss because their preferred habitat (the forests) are constantly shrinking in Madagascar, and they are finding it more and more difficult to find prey. Fossa is the predominant predator of lemurs but its prey include all small to medium-sized animals.

Official estimates suggest that there is little above 2000 fossas still left in the wild but there are some scientists who say that their actual number is in fact much lower.

The additional problem are also the frequent conflicts with villagers who not only kill fossas to protect their livestock but also hunt fossa for meat. For instance, 12 fossas had been killed recently by people living in just eight villages, to prevent the fossa from stealing their chickens.

German scientist Mia-Lana L├╝hrs who spent last couple of years studying fossas in 2007 recorded 18 different males regularly visiting a particular tree that male and female fossa use to mate in, in 2008, this number decreased to 14 males, and in 2009 just ten. Last year, she only recorded two males.

Will there be any fossa left by the end of this year?

No comments:

Post a Comment