In France and abroad, animal species are endangered after violent fires

Animals – desert lynxes, Sardinian corso gazelles, birds, rodents, reptiles … The World Conservation Fund for Nature is concerned about the consequences of the fires sweeping Russia and the countries of the Mediterranean basin, including France, on the part of the wild animals that this summer began to include.

“Global human-caused fires threaten the survival of wildlife, who are killed or injured by direct contact with smoke and flames or who suffer significant habitat destruction,” Worldwide Wildlife Director Margaret Kinneard explains Tuesday, August 17th. . The Nature Fund (WWF).

However, it is difficult to know the exact impact that will be on each species, particularly those already threatened, adds Craig Hilton-Taylor, who is responsible for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This list lists animal and plant species according to their extinction risk.

“There are so many fires that it is impossible to know which ones are dangerous and will have an effect,” which also depends on the species’ ability to escape or resist the flames, “and some are even able to thrive after a fire.” Below is a summary view by geographic location.

In the final hours, a violent fire in Var devastated the Blaine de Maury nature reserve, one of “the last sites to harbor Hermann’s tortoise, Europe’s last wild tortoise,” notes Concha Ajerou, deputy director of the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB).

Hermann’s tortoise lives in France only in Var and Corsica. It has an estimated population of 15,000 in the Var, including 10,000 in the reserve alone. “We hope that it has buried itself underground, as in previous fires, and that some of it is only partially burned,” she adds.

According to the first observations of the World Wide Fund for Nature, “the forests and mountains of the provinces of Mugla and Antalya, where the iconic species of the caracal (or desert lynx, cats) and wild goats are found, have been severely damaged.” Since the end of July, violent fires have swept the country.

These areas are also home to an endemic species of rodent, the woolly rattan, continues the WWF. The NGO identifies “local populations of 121 endangered species in Antalya and 87 threatened species in Mugla that could be affected, including five species of owls, five woodpeckers, and 21 reptiles and amphibians.”

The WWF talks about “major disasters”, “the recent wildfires [notamment sur l’île d’Eubée, NDLR] Having infected vital ecosystems and countless wild and domestic animals.”

“Northern Attica is the only region in southern Greece where the critically endangered red deer” still lives in the country. Europe’s largest deer forest has suffered from poaching and habitat destruction.

This area is also home to two packs of gray wolves, which are a protected species at the European level and are an important area for animals that live in coniferous forests (foxes, squirrels, woodlice), explains WWF.

Aspromonte National Park, which covers most of the Calabria region, has been hit by several fires. It is home to, among other things, rare small rodents endemic to the area, similar to the dormouse (Dryomys nitedula aspromontis) and century-old trees.

“In Sardinia, one of the most biodiverse regions in the Mediterranean, the fires also threaten the survival of many endemic species,” the WWF worries, including the Corsican sardo deer, which was rescued from extinction in the 1980s, and partridge. Gambra and Sardinian rabbit.

The fires also killed a large number of reptiles, including neighboring turtles, to the regret of the NGO. “Any destruction of forest habitats in central and southern Italy, such as those ravaged by fires in Abruzzo, Sardinia, Puglia and Sicily, has a strong impact on important wildlife and ecosystems. Already threatened by fragmentation, land diversion, hunting, poaching and “illegal logging,” he insists, WWF.

In Russia, where an emergency holiday has been declared in the face of fires, the vast forests of the Siberian Republic of Yakutia are in the grip of a flame that “threatens many large animals living in the protected areas of the region”, species common in this region such as elk, wild reindeer, Roebuck, brown bear, wolverine, lynx and flying squirrel.

This is also the case for rare species, such as the musk deer (identifiable by its long, slender upper tusks), snow sheep, marmot, whooping crane, black crane, gyrfalcon, peregrine falcon, white-tailed eagle and golden eagle. , lists the World Wide Fund for Nature.

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