Brazil adopts action plan in bid to save 26 mammals from extinction
RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) Jun 30, 2004
Brazil's government on Wednesday adopted an environmental action plan in a bid to save 26 carnivorous mammals, including pumas, wolves and wild cats, from extinction, Brazil's Environment Institute (Ibama) announced.

Experts on the panel that produced the plan warned that the extinction of threatened mammals on the list could have a dire effect on sensitive ecosystems and other animal populations.

"Our priority is the study of the genetic population and the enlargement of our biological bank maintained by the National Center of Investigation for the Conservation of Natural Predators," Ronaldo Morato, a veterinarian panel member, told reporters.

The emergency plan seeks to protect endangered mammals more effectively, it will seek to study illnesses affecting the mammals and ways to minimise their contact with humans.

Morato warned that the disappearance of the Panthera onca or Jaguar, for example -- one of the Brazilian rain forest's major predators -- could spark a population explosion of other animals such as deer and wild boar, which in turn would put pressure on plant species.

The plan focuses on 26 species including panthers and other cats, wolves and other canines, and raccoons and ferrets.