The Role of Protected Areas in Conserving Endangered Species
Protected areas have a wide diversity of legal status and management types and quite variable effectiveness in retaining their biodiversity values (Harcourt et al., 2001). Investigating species coverage in protected areas is a first step for assessing their effectiveness as conservation tools.
For many species, habitat protection requires conservation action at a scale larger than that of single protected areas. This is the case for species with very large spatial requirements exemplified by Endangered African wild Dog, Lycaonpictus, with a home ranges extending beyond 2,000 km2, larger than 95% of protected areas in Africa, (Beamesderfer and Farr, 1997).
For such species, in situ conservation requires establishment of protected areas network, adequately connected through a matrix of favourable habitat, allowing species movement through and persistence in broader landscape.
Sometimes, habitat protection and direct intervention are required to mitigate threats to species. Ex situ conservation (through captive breeding /artificial propagation) can offer insurance against extinction by providing a source population for future re-introduction or reinforcement of wild populations.