Ecology: Priority species

So-called priority species are certain animal and plant species which are under a special protection. In the following blog post you can receive further information.

Artenschutz mit Elefanten: Die nah aufnahme eines Afrikanischen Elefanten

Priority species are animal and plant species which enjoy a special protection status because they play an important role either because of their ecological function or their importance for humans.

In most cases, priority species form an important part of the food chain by regulating the populations of other species with their population density. But the preservation of entire habitats is also an important function. Elephants, for example, ensure a sustainable use and spread of the natural vegetation of an area through their feeding and movement behaviour; in this case species protection is also habitat protection at the same time. Other species are considered priority species because they are particularly sensitive to changing environmental conditions (climate change, invasive species) and anthropogenic (human) threats (e.g. poaching and habitat degradation).

Der Schatten eines Baumes bietet zuflucht fuer zwei Loewinnen vor der heissen Sonne
Eine Giraffe betrachtet das Geschehen ganz genau
Artenschutz in Afrika: Zwei Wildhunde auf der Suche nach Nahrung in der afrikanischen Savanne

Some animal species are of great importance not only because of their ecological function, but above all because of their commercial use or symbolic character. Above all, the local populations of various African countries often use wild animals as food and material sources or worship them as an important cultural symbol.

Moreover, it is only natural that specific species (e.g. lions, elephants, giraffes) are better suited than other species to create environmental awareness among the local population and tourists. The protection of these species is essential for the protection of other, lesser known species.

In general, although the concept of priority species is a man-made one, it enables the efficient and most comprehensive possible use of the often very limited resources of applied nature conservation.

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