Study shows best places to protect marine mammals

Aug 01, 2011 By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID , AP Science Writer
Study shows best places to protect marine mammals (AP)
In this Jan. 15, 2010 file photo, a sea otter is seen in Morro Bay, Calif. From sea otters to blue whales, marine mammals are under stress from climate change, ocean acidification, hunting and other threats. Researchers have identified 20 important sites around the world where they say conservation efforts should concentrate. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

(AP) -- From sea otters to blue whales, marine mammals are under stress from climate change, ocean acidification, hunting and other threats. Researchers have identified 20 important sites around the world where they say conservation efforts should concentrate.

Marine mammals are widely distributed in the oceans and some freshwater locations, but 11 of the conservation sites are home to creatures found nowhere else, according to the study led by Sandra Pompa of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Researchers dubbed those sites "irreplaceable" and added that the nine others selected include representatives of 84 percent of all marine mammals.

Currently the most endangered marine mammal is the vaquita, a porpoise that lives in the northern section of the Gulf of California, Pompa said.

The 11 sites deemed irreplaceable were the Hawaiian Islands, Galapagos Islands, , San Felix and Juan Fernandez Islands off the coast of Chile, Mediterranean Sea, Caspian Sea, in Russia, , Indus River, Ganges River and the Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean.

In addition, the nine sites picked for their were along the coasts of Baja California, much of the eastern coast of the Americas (the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and including coastal areas of Cuba, Hispaniola, Colombia and Venezuela), Peru, Argentina, Northwestern Africa, South Africa, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The findings in the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, will be valuable as a conservation tool for organizations and governments that want to focus on endangered species, Pompa said.

At least three species - the Caribbean monk seal, Atlantic gray whale and Steller's sea cow - became extinct because of hunting for their fur, blubber and meat during the 19th and 20th centuries, the researchers noted. The most recent extinction, declared in 2008, was the baiji, a type of porpoise, from the Yangtze River in China.

---

http://www.pnas.org

Explore further: Scientists say polar bears won't thrive on land food

0 shares

Related Stories

Finless porpoises at risk

Jul 13, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- An international team of researchers, including a scientist from Cardiff, has found that finless porpoises living in the freshwaters of China’s Yangtze River are more endangered than previously ...

Recommended for you

Scientists say polar bears won't thrive on land food

10 hours ago

A group of researchers say polar bears forced off melting sea ice will not find enough food to replace their current diet of fat-laden marine mammals such as seals, a conclusion that contradicts studies indicating ...

Emu movements chronicled in seed dispersal project

12 hours ago

GPS technology attached to emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) has reinforced the role the world's second largest extant bird plays in dispersing seeds in the environment as well as indicate they have started ...

Pests are easier to combat in habitats rich in species

12 hours ago

A diverse and species-rich agricultural landscape is also beneficial to farmers. This isn't just because there are plenty of pollinating insects, creepy crawly pest controllers and other useful helpers. Scientists ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

knowledge_treehouse
not rated yet Aug 01, 2011
I think we have to confront the problem too: http://episin.blo...sis.html

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.