Wednesday 11 February 2009

IUCN Red List Assessment

Is the IUCN Red List Assessment accurate? On the ground, at the point of data collection, is it accurate in relation to the wildcats and is there political and/or business interference? I am not saying there is, just that there is a great deal of potential for political and business interference to take place. There this a lot of money and self interest surrounding wild animals and the precious wildcats are very sought after in respect of profit (trapping for skins), profit (oriental medicine, the scourge of many wild cats), sport hunting (the pleasure of many people especially powerful people, alpha male people).

Lets be honest, the kind of people who sport hunt and/or make lots of money are going to be the business leaders and politicians and it is those people who will protect their own interests to the death. That is understandable but it may get in the way of compiling accurate IUCN Red List assessments in relation to my area of concern the wildcats. I mentioned the Florida Cougar in another post. In relation to that endangered wildcat there was known to have been business and political interference in and assessment of its conservation. Florida is valuable real estate and there is lots of money to be made in developments which might ordinarily be obstructed by the conservationists. If it could be established that the Florida Cougar population was stable and healthy further development could take place. The classic scenario in fact.

I am thinking now of the Canadian Lynx, a cat assessed as being of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. This cat is trapped for its skin. This has gone on for almost 2 centuries. The Canadian lynx is very secretative making it hard to collect data. Data in the past came from trappers. Are these figures accurate? Trappers want to promote the idea that there is an abundance of Canadian Lynx. Business and politics is bound to be involved. Who on the ground, at the sharp end, collects the data on Canadian Lynx populations? I am not sure that it is accurate. I am concerned that the IUCN Red List Assessment in relation to the Canadian Lynx is not accurate. Can someone reassure me?

One last point. Over what period of time in the future is the assessment made for survivability of the wild cat? If you project forward thousands of years you are almost bound to conclude on current trends that many wildcats will be extinct in the wild. Conversely if you project forward a few years you can confidently predict that the current status will remain almost unchanged. Can someone tell me how far into the future the Red List people make projections?

IUCN Red List Assessment to Three Stray Cats

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