Order

Rodentia

Key region

N/A

Range

Togo

Key Species Coordinator

William Oliver

How this species is doing

Pressure

Like many other Antillean animals, this species declined following European colonisation of the West Indies. Most of its preferred forest habitat has now been lost to agriculture and development, and only an estimated 15% of the island’s original vegetation cover remains. The species is also an easy target for introduced predators, such as dogs, cats and mongooses. Since the species had no natural predators before European colonisation of Cuba, and is a slow clumsy mover, it does not possess many defences against introduced animals.

Responses

The species is protected by the USDI (United States Department of the Interior) and important populations occur within at least two National Parks (the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park in the north-eastern part of Cuba, and the Sierra del Cristal National Park, in Holguin province in eastern Cuba). A survey was conducted in the Sierra del Cristal National Park in 2002 by a multidisciplinary team from the Empresa Nacional para la Proteccion de la Flora y Fauna (ENPFF, Cuba) and the Instituto de Ecologia y Sistematica (IES, Cuba), in collaboration with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Jersey, UK). The results of this survey will form the basis for developing a long-term management plan for the species in this area. Solenodons are among the few native land mammals that survived human settlement of the islands of the West Indies. In order to develop effective conservation strategies to ensure their survival, we need to understand why almost all the region’s other mammals have already died out. Further studies also need to be carried out into the distribution, abundance and ecology of the species in other regions of eastern Cuba. The impact of introduced predators and potential competition with black rats on the species should be assessed.

Knowledge level