Asian species said at extinction risk

Sept. 5, 2012 at 8:06 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S-based Wildlife Conservation Society says Asian governments must take action to protect Asian species that are at a conservation crossroads.

The species include the tiger, orangutans, Mekong giant catfish, Asian rhinos, Asian giant river turtles and Asian vultures, a release from the society's New York headquarters said Wednesday.

The WCS is urging governments to follow a "Three R's" approach to conservation: recognition, responsibility and recovery.

The American bison is an example of a species that was saved with such an approach, the WCS said; decimated by overhunting, its plight was recognized, responsibility was taken, and recovery resulted with more than 30,000 wild individuals in existence today.

Though each Asian species on the list faces challenges from a variety of factors including habitat loss and illegal hunting and trade, governments have the ability and financial means, the WCS said, to turn the tide on extinction.

Time is running out for Asia's wildlife, the WCS said, noting two large mammal species -- the kouprey, a type of wild cattle once found in Southeast Asia, and a Chinese freshwater dolphin species called the baiji -- have gone extinct.

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