The Zoological Society of London has launched a conservation programme with a difference.

It is seeking to raise awareness and safeguard the slightly weird, dare one say ugly speices of animals that largely get overlooked but are just as endangered as more high-profile conservation schemes (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6263331.stm).

As part of the ZSL’s new Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered (Edge) project, the likes of the bumblebee bat and the pygmy hippopotamus will be offered a greater degree of protected.

The idea is to target animals with unique evolutionary histories that are facing a real risk of extinction and scientists have identified a total of 564 species that fall within the new definition (http://www.edgeofexistence.org).

Other species on the list include Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna, hispaniolan solenodon, the Yangtze River dolphin, Hirola antelope and the golden-rumped elephant shrew.

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