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The Gaur are vulnerable to climate change, says WCS

The Gaur are vulnerable to climate change, says WCS

2% of the world’s rarest zebras wiped out in Kenya’s relentless drought, a new study shows.

In this photo taken March 14, 2012, a family member of the Nuer village of Dali, Kenya, carries his cattle as he walks with a dog through their village during heavy rains. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

The deaths of one of the world’s most critically endangered species — the gaur — in Kenya’s “relentless” drought has driven the overall annual loss of endangered species in the country to its highest level in the year.

Scientists at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have warned that climate changes, particularly the drying and shrinking of lakes, may have severe knock-on effects on some of the world’s most charismatic species, including the African elephant and black rhino.

“Some species like the gaur are very susceptible to climate change impacts and that’s an area of interest for us right now. But the other thing that’s also important is that these animals and plants are being targeted by hunters, and that is absolutely unacceptable,” said WCS Conservation Programme Director Brian J. Richards.

The death toll of the Nuer gaur, which are smaller elephants, has risen to more than 30 after an influx of hundreds of hunters in the region. The WWF has also recorded large-scale killings of elephants in western Kenya.

The gaur have been classified by IUCN as Vulnerable, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which says its numbers have dropped from approximately 50,000 in 1980 to approximately 20,000 today.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are about 600 remaining gaur in Kenya, although a number of conservation measures have helped their numbers to grow after the 1960s oil embargo led to hunting bans.

“This has serious implications not only for African elephants as well as the vulnerable species like the gaur, but also for the entire ecosystem. There’s a lot of water out there, and as the water evaporates and evaporates year on year, the land becomes drier,” said Richards.

Kermit C. Johnson, Director of WCS’s Species Programme said the gaur and their habitat are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“The gaur is going to get hit hard because of the drought, and because of the elephant habitat being reduced, that’s not only going to hit them, but

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