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    Scorpion Conservation 101

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    lawrence_tbs
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    Scorpion Conservation 101

    Post by lawrence_tbs on Fri Oct 09, 2009 4:56 pm

    Share lng ko....





    Introduction


    To the average person, scorpions appear to be bizarre, unusual, and downright frightening creatures. However, beyond an almost alien and formidable appearance, there is a fascinating and impressive creature.

    Scorpion Conservation 101 was created by conservationist Matt Ellerbeck to help educate people about the conservation concerns that affect these spectacular creatures. It is Matt's hope that the information provided will help alleviate people's fears and hatred of scorpions, and that this in turn, will help decrease the number of scorpions directly persecuted by people.





    Conservation Concerns

    Scorpions are brilliantly resourceful and resilient creatures. Their superb ability to adapt and survive has allowed them to withstand over 430 million years on the earth.

    Human actions, however, have begun to drastically change the environment. The natural world is being destroyed, altered, and degraded at an alarming rate. Scorpions are not immune to this. The following outlines the many human-induced threats that scorpions face.

    Habitat Destruction/Habitat Fragmentation

    The most serious issue affecting scorpions is the destruction of their natural habitat. Habitat loss and habitat destruction are extremely significant issues for scorpions as many species are habitat specific and have well defined natural ranges. Many areas, that were once suitable for scorpions to live, have now been destroyed. The most scorpion rich environments on the earth are the deserts and the rainforests, and both of these areas are particularly sensitive to habitat destruction. Natural regions within these habitats are quickly destroyed due to logging, agriculture, and developmental construction. Natural habitats of all kinds are being lost at an alarming rate. Scorpions are literally losing their homes and they are losing them rapidly.

    Remaining natural habitats are often degraded and fragmented. Fragmentation occurs when healthy areas of habitat are isolated from one another. Scorpion populations are affected since gene flow between populations is prevented. Habitat degradation occurs when the natural habitat has been altered and degraded to such a degree that it is unlikely that any remaining scorpions will be able to survive.

    According to Sissom and Hendrixson (2005) scorpions are certainly not the 'warm fuzzy' animals that the average person finds so appealing, and it is doubtful that the lay community will ever be much concerned about their conservation. Despite this, some scorpion species may eventually be threatened with extinction due to habitat destruction.

    Traffic Mortality

    Habitats are often isolated and cut off from one another by the roads and highways that now run through them. This is especially prevalent in desert habitats, which are rich in scorpion species. This leads to countless numbers of scorpions being killed on roads and highways every year. In some cases, people will purposely swerve to run over scorpions.

    Direct Killings


    Once the scorpions' natural habitat has been lost through construction for human developments and settlement, the scorpions are forced into urban environments like people's houses and garages. Here the scorpions are deemed as pests and destroyed. Scorpions may also be directly persecuted by individuals who are fearful of them.





    Harvesting

    The trade in live animals and animal products is also detrimental to scorpion populations. Scorpions are harvested from the wild at a staggering rate. They are collected for the pet trade, food markets or to be used in traditional medicines. Well over 100,000 Emperor Scorpions (Pandinus imperator) are moved annually from Africa to other parts of the world to supply demands for the pet trade. This represents only one species from one continent. Dozens of other species are highly sought after and these too are harvested in significant numbers from areas in North America, Africa, and Asia.

    Scorpions are also captured from the wild and then killed so that they can be made into various trinkets and souvenirs to supply tourist markets. The extensive exploitation of scorpions is a tremendous problem that is certainly causing a huge stress on natural populations.

    Exploitation

    Currently, there are no laws in the United States that protect invertebrates from cruelty, abuse, or death. This means scorpions are extremely vulnerable to human exploitation. According to author Manny Rubio's book 'Scorpions' (2008 Barron's Educational Series), humans kill millions of scorpions annually.

    Scorpions are often used as 'props' in movies and shows. Here they may be subjected to any form of misuse and cruelty. A prime example is the 1996 film The Great White Hype, which contains a scene of two scorpions being run over and killed.

    Vodka, containing dead scorpions, is a popular drink throughout the world and this market represents another sector in which scorpions are killed and exploitated for monetary value.

    Scorpions on a stick are a popular food item for sale in many Asian markets. The most disturbing aspect of this is that the scorpions are left alive after they have been staked.

    Scorpions are also used in various contests in which participants see how many live scorpions can be consumed in the shortest amount of time. Videos of these 'contests' have surfaced on many popular video-sharing websites. This has resulted in many copy-cat videos of people killing scorpions for shock value.

    These videos are harmful for various reasons. Not only do they show people killing scorpions for 'entertainment', but it also promotes to viewers that the killing of animals for attention is entertaining and justifiable.

    These contests and videos are just another prime example of the cruelty and exploitation that scorpions face from humans who generally view them as 'bugs' that do not deserve protection from such abuse.





    Conclusion

    A massive number of scorpions are being lost each year through the combination of the many threats mentioned above. According to Polis & Farley (1979) and Polis (1990), scorpions have small litter sizes, long generation times and low survivorship among sexually immature females. This contributes to a low rate of population increase for most species. This makes it especially hard for populations to rebound from unnatural declines, which makes scorpions particularly sensitive to the threat of extirpation and extinction.





    CITES

    CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. It is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Currently three species of scorpion are listed under CITES:

    Species Pandinus dictator

    Species Pandinus gambiensis

    Species Pandinus imperator





    How You Can Help
    Save The Scorpions:

    Legions of scorpions die on the roads every year. When driving through roads that cut through scorpion habitat, slow down and be watchful for any roadbound individuals.

    If you see any products that contain dead scorpions in them (trinkets, scorpion vodka, etc) do not buy them. Even if you try to justify that you did not kill the animal, you are supporting the demand and another scorpion will have to be killed to replace the purchased item. Refusing to shop at stores that stock these items is also beneficial.

    Do not use all-terrain or off-road vehicles to drive on sandunes or through fragile desert habitat. Although deserts seem like harsh and rugged places, they are actually sensitive environments that can be easily damaged. Using such vehicles can degrade delicate scorpion habitat.





    Benefits of Scorpions

    Raising awareness about the issues that cause population declines in scorpions is important as these creatures are very beneficial. Scorpions are extremely valuable components to natural Eco-systems, as they play complex roles of both predators and prey. Scorpions also act as natural gauges for environmental degradation. When scorpions cease to turn up in habitats that should support them, it is a strong indicator that the environment has been severely degraded. In this respect, scorpions act like 'the canary in the coal mine' for certain natural habitats.

    Scorpions are also valuable to medical research. The venoms of several different species are being looked at as they may be instrumental in the creation of new antibiotics and various cancer treatments.





    Venom and Stings


    Scorpions are among the world's most misunderstood and feared creatures, and this fact is certainly one of the biggest obstacles against gaining support to conserve these animals. Human fear of scorpions is mainly derived from that fact that scorpions have the ability to inject toxic venom. However, scorpions are not as dangerous as many people believe. Out of the 1,500 scorpion species found around the world, only around 25 species are equipped with a venom that is powerful enough to be lethal to humans.

    Out of the approximately 100 scorpion species found in the United States, only the Arizona Bark Scorpion - Centruroides sculpturatus possesses venom that is toxic enough to cause human fatalities. Fatal stings are rare, however, in the United States. According to the University of Arizona, Cooperative Extension, no fatal scorpion stings have occurred in the United States in 20 years. Furthermore, according to Health24.com, less then 5% of scorpion stings result in symptoms requiring medical attention. Anti-venoms, improved medical protocols, and a greater knowledge of scorpions have reduced the chances that stings will be fatal.

    Scorpions have venom as a means to quickly kill or immobilize prey. Scorpions can and do control how much venom they inject during a sting as the venom is crucial for subduing prey. If the scorpion depletes all of its venom it will take several days to restock the supply. Due to these facts, scorpions may not want to waste their valuable venom during defensive stings. Stings occur in which no venom is injected, these are known as 'dry stings.'

    Scorpions are not malicious creatures that stalk out humans to sting. Scorpions are also not usually aggressive creatures, but rather wary, timid, and retiring. Most people are stung by scorpions when they accidently step on them, stick their hands or feet into places that act as shelter for scorpions (such as under rocks, under debris, etc.) or when someone intentionally handles them. Taking precautions such as always wearing proper footwear outdoors and never sticking your hands or feet into places that may act as potential hides will greatly reduce the chances of receiving a scorpion sting. Common sense and caution outdoors with help alleviate confrontations between humans and wildlife.





    Co-Existing With Scorpions

    As the human population continues to grow so will its settlements. This means humans will be encroaching more and more over what was once natural habitat for a plethora of animal species. This will inevitably increase the number of encounters between humans and wildlife, including scorpions. Scorpions are not generally social animals; they usually only interact with other lifeforms for two reasons to mate with or to prey upon. Since humans are neither suitable mates or a source of food, scorpions really want nothing to do with us.

    When scorpions find their way into human homes they are usually drawn their for cover or because suitable prey, insects and small invertebrates, are available. Taking the following steps will help to make your home and yard less desirable to scorpions, which will minimize unwanted encounters.

    The University of Arizona's publication, Scorpions, provides the following information:

    Scorpions are difficult to control with insecticides alone. Therefore, the first control strategy is to modify the area surrounding a house.

    Remove all trash, logs, boards, stones, bricks and other objects from around the home.

    Keep grass closely mowed near the home. Prune bushes and overhanging tree branches away from the house.

    Tree branches can provide a path to the roof for scorpions.

    Store garbage containers in a frame that allows them to rest above ground level.

    Never bring firewood inside the house unless it is placed directly on the fire.

    Install weather-stripping around loose fitting doors and windows (including the garage door).

    Plug weep holes in brick veneer homes with steel wool, pieces of nylon scouring pad or small squares of screen wire.

    Caulk around roof eaves, pipes and any other cracks into the home.

    Keep window screens in good repair. Make sure they fit tightly in the window frame.

    Wear protective clothing such as shoes or gloves when working outdoors

    Check shoes, shake out clothing and equipment left outside prior to use.

    Additional Information:
    Remove rock piles, brush piles, and other such debris from the yard and garden. Such piles make desirable hiding spots for scorpions.

    All windows and doors should be checked to make sure they fit tightly.







    ***** Scorpion Conservation 101 *****
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    Trex
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    Re: Scorpion Conservation 101

    Post by Trex on Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:07 am

    2 thumbs up ko ani bai law...... cheers

    conserve & multiply..... Smile
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    lawrence_tbs
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    Re: Scorpion Conservation 101

    Post by lawrence_tbs on Sat Oct 10, 2009 10:48 am

    hehe, dpat lng ky samot na ato I.mac dri nihit nah.... plus liocheles ky tngli mdugay mu nihit pd nya...
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    jemzkrux
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    Re: Scorpion Conservation 101

    Post by jemzkrux on Wed Apr 07, 2010 11:32 am

    lawrence_tbs wrote:hehe, dpat lng ky samot na ato I.mac dri nihit nah.... plus liocheles ky tngli mdugay mu nihit pd nya...

    mypa ato i apil sa nxt trekking activity ang mu release ug captive bred scorpions, ayt?

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