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The sand lizard in Britain is well on the way to extinction, thanks to the destruction of its favoured habitats – sand dunes and dry heath. The author, who has been engaged in full-time research on the surviving populations, has started breeding sand lizards in captivity, using animals taken from sites that are being destroyed, and hopes to reintroduce them in protected areas.
Giraffes eat gall-bearing acacias which domestic animals never do; elephants will eat some shrubs which, in the same conditions, even goats will not touch. In Africa wildlife is an efficient user of the poorer land, whereas nearly all grazing land is badly managed by man. It does not benefit man to destroy the wildlife in order to spread his inefficient methods over yet more land. The author–agriculturist and well-known naturalist and conservationist–pleads for sound land management based upon research which would allow a place for the wildlife as an efficient user of certain land and a valuable resource.
In 1966, on a small rocky uninhabited island in the Bahamas, the author discovered an abundant population of the Bahaman hutia, a nocturnal rodent the size of a rabbit, which had been reported extinct. In three visits to the islands he has studied the hutias, now strictly protected by the Bahaman government, and is also breeding them in captivity both for study and as a safety precaution – one catastrophe such as an exceptional hurricane could wipe out the whole population. The author is Assistant Professor of Zoology at Rhode Island University.
The world's turtles are decreasing at a rate which, if unchecked, could mean their extinction before the end of the century. In March this year a group of marine turtle specialists from all over the world met at IUCN headquarters in Switzerland to discuss what action could and should be taken. Professor Tom Harrisson, who is a specialist on the turtles of the South China Sea and Vice Chairman of the SSC Turtle Group, attended the meeting and drafted the first version of the agreed statement, the opening paragraphs of which are quoted at the beginning of this article, and the recommendations for action – ‘the now attack’ – at the end.
The new African conservation convention, drawn up by IUCN and signed by the African heads of state in September 1968, is now in force. Kai Curry-Lindahl, who has been involved in its rather chequered history, tells here the story of how two conventions, differing in scope, came to be drawn up and how the matter has been resolved.