Endangered Animal Species in PortugalCOMENIUS PROJECT - NO HUMAN NO CRY: No More Destruction of theEnvironment
Endangered SpeciesCommon name: CachalotScientific name: Physeter macrocephalusDistribution/Location: Sperm Whales can be found in temperate and tropical oceansand seas all over the world avoiding, therefore, cold waters. Coastal areas withsignificant Sperm Whale populations include the Azores (Portuguese archipelago) andthe Caribbean island of Dominica.Size: Mature males can reach between 18 to 20 meters and adult females about 12meters.Weight: The average weight of a male is about 45/50 tons and the female 20 tons.Diet: The species feeds on squid, octopus and several types of fish.Main characteristics: The Sperm Whale is the largest toothed whale. It is easilyrecognized by its large rectangular head which corresponds to 1/3 of its length. It has awrinkled skin with a uniform dark grey colour.Threats: The Sperm Whale is an endangered species due to the heavy hunting for theirspermaceti, blubber, and ambergris used in the manufacture of soap, candles, inperfume and cosmetic industry and machine oil. Another threatening factor is the driftnets, in which whales are stranded.Since 1986, there has been a moratorium on hunting them.
Endangered SpeciesCommon name: Iberian WolfScientific name: Canis lupus signatuDistribution/Location: The Iberian Wolf inhabits exclusively the Iberian Peninsula,namely the forest and plains of northern Portugal and northwestern Spain.Size: The Iberian Wolf is of medium size. It measures between 140 e 155 cm length.Weight: Males can weigh between 30 and 40 Kg and females between 25 e 35 Kg.Diet: The Iberian Wolf feeds on almost every animal of its habitat, adapting itselfperfectly to the environment it lives in.Main characteristics: It has a thick coat, which helps the species to adapt to coldenvironments, although it can fit in any type of climate. Its scientific name comes fromthe white marks on the upper lips, the dark marks on the tail and a pair of dark marksin its front legs. It usually hunts in groups.Threats: The Iberian Wolf is in extinction due to its direct chase and to thedisappearance of its wild preys. They attack domestic animals when they cannot feedon wild preys.
Endangered SpeciesCommon name: European OtterScientific name: Lutra lutra.Distribution/Location: This species can be found in several European regions,inhabiting the Portuguese western coast.Size: The mature European Otter is about 90 / 120 cm long. The female is shorter thanthe male.Weigh: This semi-aquatic mammal can weigh between 5 to 15 Kg.Diet: The species feeds on mainly fish and crustaceans (when they are in the aquaticenvironment) and birds and small rodents.Main characteristics: The species is easily known for its long tail and short limbs. Itsfur is brownish becoming progressively lighter in the ventral zone.Threats: The main threats to this species are the destruction of the aquatic habitatsand poaching. Accidental deaths such as drowning in fishing nets are also common.
Endangered SpeciesCommon name: Atlantic codScientific name: Gadus morhua (Linnaeus, 1758)Distribution/Location: The Atlantic Cod inhabits waters up to 200 m deep, forminglarge aggregations which spread out at sunrise and at sunset to look for food.Size: It can grow to 2 meters in length.Weigh: The Atlantic Cod can weigh 96 Kg.Main characteristics: This species can be recognized by its brown to green colour withspots on the dorsal side. During the reproductive season, males court females bydisplaying their fins, accompanied by snoring sounds.Threats: The cod fishery is one of the oldest and most important of the Atlantic.However, due to overfishing this species is considered vulnerable. For this reason it issubject to strict regulations aiming at securing its future.
Endangered SpeciesCommon name: Golden EagleScientific name: Aquila chrysaetos (Linnaeus, 1758)Distribution/Location: In Portugal the Golden Eagle nests in the National Park ofPeneda-Gerês and along the international river banks of Tagus and Douro and itsstreams.Diet: It feeds on tarantulas, bats, birds, rabbits, moles, reptiles, hares and otheranimals.Size: It is between 66 to 100 cm long and their wings can reach 150 to 250 cm length.Like all birds of prey, females are slightly bigger than females.Weigh: Its weighs between 2,5 to 12 Kg.Main Characteristics: This species is known by its dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on its head and neck. Its agility and speed allows it to capture largeand heavy preys.Threats: Available habitat and food are the main limiting factors nowadays. Collisionswith power lines have become an increasingly significant cause of mortality.
Endangered Species.Common name: Azores wood pigeonScientific name: Columba palumbus azoricaDistribution/Location: It can be found in all kinds of woods, agricultural land, parksand gardens. It is an endemic subspecies of the Common Wood Pigeon located in the AtlanticAzores islands of Portugal.Diet: The wood pigeon belongs to the granívora breed, feeding on various seeds andgrains, like cereals, acorns, pine nuts and buds of plants and bushes.Size: 42 to 42 cm.Weight: 450 to 520 g.Main Characteristics: The Azores wood pigeon is pretty much alike to the mainlandwood pigeon. Its feathers are dark grey on top and pink on the bottom. It has got ashort thin orange to yellow bill.Threats: The major causes for its population decline are habitat loss from forestclearance, hunting and nest predation by other species. However, this species also hasa low rate of reproduction.
Endangered SpeciesCommon name: Sado Bottlenose dolphinScientific name: Tursiops truncatusSize: Males are larger than females. Mature Bottlenose Dolphins can be 3,90 cm long.Weight: Males are also heavier than females. They are about 275 kg.Distribution/Location: This species can be found in warm and temperate seasworldwide. It also lives close to the shores and in Portugal it inhabits the waters of theriver Sado.Diet: It feeds on small fish, catfish, mullet, eels, cephalopods and sometimes smallprawns.Main Characteristics: Inshore and offshore Bottlenose Dolphins live in groups of 10-25individuals. They can dive to 300 m deep and stay for about 15 minutes under water tolook for food. They have got a grey colour and a nose that looks like a bottle. Theirinteraction with humans is subject of investigation.Threats: This species is near extinction because of the polluted waters of the SadoEstuary, caused by the sewage dumping.
Endangered SpeciesCommon name: Insectivorous batScientific name: Nyctalus noctulaDistribution/Location: The bat fits in almost any environment, except for the poles.Size: It has several shapes and sizes which vary from 5 cm to 2 m.Main Characteristics: It is the only mammal that can fly. The Insectivorous Batrepresents a quarter of the mammals of the world (about 1116 species).Bats see well, but they also use echolocation, which is a system that helps them flyand find their prey in the dark. They emit high-frequency sounds and analyse theechoes reflected by the obstacles around them. They are so sensitive they can detectand capture small insects while flying.Threats: In Portugal there are at least 20 protected species of bats, which are oftentrodden by wind towers. However, efforts have been made to protect this species,indispensable for the balance of some ecosystems.
Endangered SpeciesCommon name: Iberian LynxScientific name: Lynx pardinusDistribution/Location: The Iberian lynx selects habitats with Mediterraneancharacteristics, such as woods and dense bushes. It inhabits mainly the southernIberian Peninsula.Weight: The average weight of a male adult is about 12 kg while females reach about9 Kg.Diet: Its diet is based on the wild rabbit, which represents between 75-95% of thebiomass of its food spectrum. In times and regions of lower abundance, it feeds onother preys such as rodents, deer, ducks and hares.Main Characteristics: The Iberian lynx has got a reddish-brown coat covered withblack spots, tiny dots or stripes. It resembles other species of lynx, with a short tail, tuftedears and a ruff of fur beneath the chin. It can live for 16 years. Females have theirbreeding season mainly between January and February. The typical gestation period isabout two months. Cubs normally stay with their mother up to 8 months..Threats: The Iberian Lynx is one of the most endangered feline. Its critical status ismainly due to habitat loss, poisoning, road casualties, and poaching.
Endangered SpeciesScientific name: Ciconia nigraCommon name: Black StorkDistribution/Location: It inhabits lakes, rivers or wetlands surrounded by denseforests. In Portugal the Black Stork can only be found in the innermost, inhospitableand isolated regions. The international banks of the rivers Douro, Tagus and Guadianaoffer special conditions for nesting sites, mainly due to low human disturbance.Size: This stork measures about 1m high, with 1.8 m length of one wing to another.Weight: It weighs almost 3kg.Diet: These birds feed mainly on fish.Main Characteristics: The Black Stork is all black except for the white chest and the redbeak and legs. The mating season occurs in mid-March, soon after the migration. Thefemale can produce three to five eggs. The incubation period lasts from thirty-eight toforty days and it is done by both parents. In the middle of the second month after thehatching, the parents abandon the chicks. The Black Stork reaches adulthood at theage of three.