In the year 2017 the organization Global Wildlife Conservation created a list of 25 animals that are "lost". In fact, the list speaks of animal species that have not been seen in recent decades. Nevertheless, some have not appeared for over a hundred years! This is the case of the rare species of chameleon Furcifer voeltzkowi or Voeltzkowi chameleon for short.
The last record of this species is from 1913 and yet, scientists have recently observed this animal in its natural habitat. Moreover, the magazine Salamandra published, on October 30, 2020, the article that records the discovery. According to the authors, many species may be at risk of extinction precisely because no one has seen them in the wild for a long time.
Thus, the article further states, "Rediscoveries of 'lost' species are very important as they provide crucial data for conservation measures and also bring hope amidst the biodiversity crisis."
Moreover, from the list of 25 animals, scientists have already found 5 recently.
In search of lost species
The aim of the Global Wildlife Conservation project is to promote protection, especially of endangered species. These animals, which have not been seen for many years, can motivate actions to protect native environments. In fact, the rainforests of Madagascar are becoming increasingly fragmented.
(Image from AQgraphy by Pixabay)
It turns out that when the habitat starts to decrease, either by cutting down forests or by pollution, the chance of extinction increases a lot. In this way, many animals that disappeared from the map may end up being extinct without anyone even noticing. Moreover, the authors of the discovery article also state that "Our planet is facing the beginning of a huge mass extinction". Thisloss of diversity occurs mainly through the destruction of natural environments.
However, there is always hope. Several organizations and institutions have come together in recent years to better study endangered species and environments. In this sense, the idea of Global Wildlife Conservation is just one of many to protect the environment.
How to identify a rare species of chameleon
Until recently it was believed that, in fact, the species Furcifer voeltzkowi was a variation of C. rhinoceratus. However, 2018 studies showed genetic differences between these two animals. On the other hand, scientists used only materials that were more than 100 years old.
Like other chameleon species, Voeltzkowi chameleons appear only in a few months of the year. This is because most chameleons have a very short life span of only a few months. Moreover, not only are these animals rare, but they are also small. Voeltzkowi chameleon females measure more or less 15 centimeters. Males can get close to 17.
Nevertheless, females also have a black coloration, with white and blue stripes. Males, on the other hand, have a green color and a silver stripe on the side of the body.
Madagascar's forests are shrinking every year. With them, many species are at risk of extinction. (Shell300 image by Pixabay)
It is believed that these animals may inhabit a region of more or less 100 km, which is already quite rich in reptiles. However, it is not known if these animals are many or if there are only a few isolated quantities. One way or another, it is still necessary to study these animals - and the others on the list as well.
The scientific paper was published in the journal Salamandra.