There is a mistaken belief that all lagomorphs are very fruitful – hence the phrase “they reproduce like rabbits.” In fact it is believed that, therefore, they are not likely to appear on the lists of threatened animals. But, despite beliefs, there are lagomorphs in danger of extinction.
Curiosities about endangered lagomorphs
It is true that most species of this type fall within the belief mentioned above, as is the case of the common European rabbit. But the statement becomes false for a surprising number of species, specifically a quarter of the total. That is why it is so important to pay attention to these species and promote their conservation.
Decade of 70’s
The IUCN Red List, during the 1970s, only included 4 threatened species of lagomorphs: Caprolagus hispidus, Nesolagus netscheri, Pentalagus furnessiYRomerolagus Diazi. These 4 species were the first to receive the attention of conservationists. He highlighted the actions of biologists from the United States and the United Kingdom, pioneers in the conservation of these and other species.
The Caprolagusand the RomerolagusThey also received protection through the CITES agreement,although the reasons for its possible extinction were not related to international trade. It simply reflected the growing concern about the threats that beset them, and their conservation.
At the time of the first World Conference on Lagomorphs held in 1979 the conservation of these animals was still poorly understood. But there was already talk of protecting 2 species more than in previous years.
80s and 90s
By the late 1980s, six species of lagomorphs had been included in the List of Threatened Species. In addition to the 4 existing in 1978, it was added Lepus flavigularisin Mexico and B. monticularisin South Africa
And in the 90s, this list was greatly expanded to include two pikes – Ochotona Koslowi Y Ochotona muliensis – and 9 leporids – B. monticularis, C. hispidus, L. flavigularis, N. netscheri, P. furnessi, Romerolagus diazi, Sylvilagus graysoni, Sylvilagus insonus, Sylvilagus palustris hefneri -.
At the same time the Action Plan for the Lagomorphs was created, providing the first understandable conservation status of these animals worldwide. It included a detailed chapter for each species, about its biology and conservation to date.
Lagomorphs in danger of extinction on the IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals was renewed in 1994. This was due to two factors:
- First to the intention of assessing the status of all animal species.
- And second, what was going to be the last time the qualitative criteria were applied when assessing the threats in this List.
From this moment on, only the quantitative criteria began to be taken into account. In the case of lagomorphs, this criterion was used for the first time in 1996, and supposed changes with respect to the 1994 list.
Some species were added, while others had to be modified because the data was not correct..
Since then the List has been modified several times, but the revision of the status of lagomorphs has not been exhaustive. Yes, it is true that in the 2004 revision some data were modified, such as the status of B. monticularis, which went from “endangered” to “critically endangered.”
What is the current conservation status of lagomorphs in danger of extinction?
IUCN, with its Commission for the Survival of Species, together with the Group of Specialists in Lagomorfos – LSG -, they are the international organizations entrusted with the conservation of these animals.
Specifically, the LSG’s job is to coordinate and support the work of its biologists. All this with the objective of improving the conservation and management of lagomorphs worldwide.
Many of the efforts are made altruistically by volunteers or NGOs, especially at the level of population education.