Endangerment and conservation of tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus and Sphenodon guntheri)

Vujanović, Mak (2012) Endangerment and conservation of tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus and Sphenodon guntheri). Bachelor's thesis, Faculty of Science > Department of Biology.

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Although Tuataras are distributed only on the islands of New Zealand, awareness of their conservation must reach out to scientists around the world. Tuatara’s great importance lies in their status as living fossils, and I think they’re incredible sources to collect data that can be drawn from their life cycles, data which is certainly very important for the study of not only the evolution and development of the New Zealand islands, but of the whole Earth. Tuataras are one of the few animals through which we can study living organisms from even before 200 million years, and so to realize the truth about the history of our planet. The way of preserving tuataras is in the hands of local scientists, but in my opinion, primarily in the minds of local citizens, and their actions which can greatly contribute into saving these reptiles. Little things, like regular feeding of your cat, and careful maintenance of your rabbit, but also help in the extermination of dangerous rats and mice are the first, but giant steps in preserving the tuatara islands that are shared with humans. It’s prohibited to introduce pets on an uninhabited island during tourist or any other visits. Volunteers are always welcome, and DOC can boast with many young volunteers who are willing to do their part in protecting the tuatara, but more and more elderly people are involved in volunteer programs. In the future, I have a great desire to travel to New Zealand and at least briefly engage into rich tuatara rescue missions and study their behavior, which I think is kind of a privilege in today's scientific world. Consequently, the story of the tuatara currently has happy connotations. However, it is my opinion that these ancient reptiles, mirrors of the past, will ultimately perish. Of course, it will not be so soon, but due to the nature of their evolution and low genetic variability, they will not be able to cope with future abrupt climate changes. Sphenodons survived 220 million years of many dramatic world changes, and it’s a shame that only one millennium in which they coexist with people, prove to be their ultimate defeat. But humanity in this case is not the direct executioner. Other species of wildlife and other environments have been woefully neglected and actively mistreated by man, but when the last tuatara dies, I think we really should not blame ourselves.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's thesis)
Supervisor: Zanella, Davor
Date: 2012
Number of Pages: 16
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Department of Biology
Depositing User: Silvana Šehić
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2014 12:33
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2014 12:33
URI: http://digre.pmf.unizg.hr/id/eprint/3025

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