Issue of October, 20, 2002
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Migratory Species
A rare wild Asian camel, the white shark, three types of whales and the river dolphin are members of a new group of species protected by an international convention that held its seventh Conference of Parties (COP7) in the German city of Bonn.

The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the signatories of which meet every three years, studied the cases of 37 species at the latest meeting, in September, and as a result issued new directions for species protection.

The delegates at the Bonn meeting also considered the impacts of wind energy turbines, electrical transmission lines and certain types of fishing activities on the populations of migratory birds.

The CMS, sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program, places on its Appendix I list those species that require strict protection because otherwise their survival is in danger. In Appendix II are those that require intergovernmental agreements to ensure the stability of their populations.

The objective of the CMS is to achieve the preservation of migratory species through actions that prevent their depredation and protect their habitats, which in this case usually involves more than one country.

The migration of animals is common around the planet and involves a great diversity of fauna species.

At the website of the Global Registry of Migratory Species, an information center highly specialized in this issue, there are an estimate 5,000 "traveling" species.

Researchers have found that climatic conditions, search for food or for appropriate nesting areas are important motivations for animal migration. But this behavior encompasses some mysteries: Why do some species travel such great distances? How do they know where they should go?

Among the known migratory species there are numerous whale types, sea turtles, fish and birds, the latter of which are probably the most recognized because their annual journeys are so clearly visible to humans.

Today, scientists use the latest technological developments, such as transmitters and satellite-based tracking systems, to learn more about animal migrations

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