The Open School of Tropical Animal

Science and Production

 

   2/22/2020 1:28:41 PM

 

 

NEO TROPICAL ANIMAL BIODIVERSITY

 

Does the preceding section indicate that the Neo-tropics has no animals or very few animals that are of importance to humanity today or in the very near future?

 

Let us now examine the evidence.

 

Animal Diversity / Assets within the Neo-tropics [excluding aquatic species]

 

Trinidad and Tobago is centrally located within the neo-tropics. Within the Neo-tropics there is a notable absence of mega fauna. The largest land mammal is the Tapir/ South American tapir (Tapirus terrestris), which is the national animal of Belize and weighs 250-300 kg. This area, however, contains one of the most diverse collections of animal species in the world.

 

Table 1: The Relative Amounts of Neo-Tropical Animal Species within the Neo-Tropics, [Ojasti 1993]

 

Animal Kingdom

Number of Species

 

Mammalian Species                     

South America

Central America 

TOTAL                                    

>25% of all known mammals.

           

                                                           

Birds

South America

Other

TOTAL

>33% of all Birds of the World

 

Reptiles 

South America           

Neo-Tropics

19% of World Reptiles

 

Amphibians

South America                           Caribbean                                                 

≈46% of World Amphibians

 

 

    800

    270

    1070-1100

 

 

 

 

    2390

    70

    3000

 

 

 

    1115

 

 

 

    1865

    +++

 

 

An Important Comment

 

“Most of the information now available [on Neo-tropical Wildlife]  is descriptive and/or anecdotal, based on the experiences, views or beliefs of hunters and campesinos, or on naturalists’ accounts and observations of animals in captivity, and so forth.  The diffuse information is repeatedly cited but there is no way to check its origin and accuracy.”

 

“The problem of Latin American Wildlife requires its own solutions, geared to the specific realities of the countries, the region and the type of user”

(Ojasti 1996).  

 

 

Dr. Gary W. Garcia, Ph.D.,

Department of Food Production, Faculty of Science and Agriculture,

The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine.