The world's oddest animals are to be protected under a new program aimed at saving some of the most unique species on earth, species which—until now—have received little or no conservation attention.
The new conservation program, EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct & Globally Endangered), was launched by the Zoological Society of London. Its aims are to protect what are know as 'edge' species:
"EDGE species are truly one of a kind. If they disappear there will be nothing similar left on the planet. Two-thirds are receiving little or no conservation attention. Help save these remarkable species." ~ EDGE website.
Conservationists with the EDGE program assign endangered species a score or 'evolutionary distictness' number that reflects the amount of unique evolutionary history the species represents. Based on this evaluation, the top 5 edge species in need of conservation are:
- Yangtze River dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer)
- Long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus bruijni)
- Riverine rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis)
- Cuban solenodon (Solenodon cubanus)
- Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus)
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Photo © Jaganath. Western Long-beaked Echidna (Zaglossus bruijni).