Save The Whales. Save The Tigers. Save The Tapeworms?

Environment: NPR


Most of us have heard of saving the elephants or saving the polar bears. But what about saving their parasites scientists are increasingly finding that parasites are key part of ecosystems and many risk of extinction NPR's lauren summer explains. When your job is to study parasitic worms, not everyone wants to hear what you do for a living. It's not a popular topic of conversation cocktail parties. I can tell you that Chelsea would is assistant professor at the University of Washington parasites a major public relations problem they're gross and slimy and most people don't really like thinking about them. But the fact is that they're really important in ecosystems would. Says just look at a flat worm she studies in California Ponds I. The parasites starts as an egg inside a bird, the birds about the egg, which infects snails than it goes from the snail to frog, but the parasite needs to get back in a bird to finish its life cycle. So it causes deformities in the frogs legs, which makes it easier for birds to catch and eat them which helps. Sustain. The bird population would says, it shows how humble parasites can influence the entire food web. But if birds are threatened, we're GONNA. See some parasites decline possibly to extinction in the presence of environmental change, which is why team parasitology released a new parasite conservation plan. The first step is simply identifying them of the millions of parasite species only about ten percent are known to science says Schuyler Hopkins of. North Carolina State University. We know nothing about them. We don't need another name Oh definitely don't know what they're doing with the ecosystems. Many parasites are just as vulnerable as their host animals are to climate change and habitat loss but even though an animal may be listed as endangered, it's parasites aren't, but they could be added alongside their more visible hosts. It would be a really great way or easy way. To get a lot of mileage for her site conservation because humans tend to gravitate to animals like us. It is the wolves and the grizzlies and the polar bears mostly the mammals that really get people's attention Jacob Malcolm Works for the advocacy group defenders of wildlife. He says, it's not all bad. That humans focus on those charismatic critters saving their habitat can also help the less charismatic species in their ecosystem. So whatever chances his group launches a save the Leeches campaign pretty close to zero. So now's the time leach lovers of the World Unite Lauren summer NPR news.

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