Pearl Mussels Among the World’s Endangered

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Interesting news came out today.. a species of fly called the bone skipper has been discovered after having been extinct for 160 years. This is almost a modern miracle with so many species facing extinction.

Scottish freshwater pearl mussels are among the world’s most endangered species. They joined the list of the 365 most endangered species in 2011 joining the ranks of giant pandas. They are having major problems in Scotland with pearl poachers that literally steal the freshwater pearl mussels from rivers. The problem is so serious that the fines are significant: 10,000 pounds and up to 1 year in prison for EACH mussel stolen! These mussels may or may not contain pearls but, obviously, the poachers are hoping for pearls. In the past few years almost 70% of the river habitats for these mussels have been disrupted. There has been a major push to rebuild these mussel communities and it will take years to see if these rehabilitation efforts actually work.

It is important to strive for an ecological balance between harvesting pearls and the right for these species to live and thrive in their natural habitats. I hope these poachers can leave these pearl mussels alone.

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