Thursday, December 17, 2009


Animals of the Disappearing Mangroves
As mangrove forests shrink worldwide, a menagerie of specially adapted animals that depend on them are at risk, too

The mangrove terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin), aka the
diamondback terrapin, is one of the only turtle species that can survive in brackish water and is a common coastal resident along the East Coast. But the subspecies rhizophorarum is restricted to mangrove areas in Florida and is now listed as "near threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
Although most mangrove residents are birds and reptiles, some mammals also make their home in the tangled trees, including bats and even a sloth. The distinctive proboscis
monkey (Nasalis larvatus) is one of six threatened mammals that are restricted to mangrove habitats. The unusual, endangered primate, whose noses can grow to be up to seven inches (18 centimeters) long, lives in Borneo.

Also known as the red-vented cockatoo (owing to its red under-tail feathers), the Cacatua Haematuropygia is native to the Philippine archipelago. Trapping the rare birds for
illegal trade as pets—along with habitat loss—has led to its current IUCN status of "critically endangered".

Madagascar teals, also called Bernier's Teal (Anas bernieri) live only in mangrove forests along the west coast of this Indian Ocean island nation. The endangered
ducks, which measure about 16 to 18 inches (40 to 45 centimeters) long, feed on invertebrates in the brackish waters and make their nests in the mangrove trees.

This endangered blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus) doesn't live exclusively in Puerto Rico's mangrove forests—it can also make a home in pastures and seashore cliffs. But because its other habitat has suffered heavy losses, largely due to
expanding agriculture and development, it has become more dependent on the mangrove retreats.

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