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The Last 50 Corroboree Frogs and Other Links from the Brink

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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A colorful frog, some Hawaiian mollusks and California’s threatened fish are among the endangered species in the news this week.

southern corroboree frogThe Frog Extinction Crisis Continues: How much longer until we have to say good-bye to the southern corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree)? The rare Australian amphibian, one of the world’s most colorful and well-known endangered species, is down to the last 50 or so individuals in the wild. Yup, the deadly chytrid fungus is to blame, as it is for so many other endangered amphibians around the globe. Luckily a captive breeding program exists so the species probably won’t go extinct any time soon, but chances are high that it won’t be found in nature much longer.

Photo: Alps collection – Parks Australia. Used under Creative Commons license

Best News of the Week: Hawaii has 38 new endangered species this week. Well, the species—including 35 plants and three mollusks—were already endangered, but they have now been officially protected under the Endangered Species Act. Hawaii has often been called the “extinction capital of the world” due to the number of threatened species that are unique to the islands. This move gives a few of those threatened species a better chance at survival.

Second-Best News of the Week: Kenya is getting serious about poaching. The country just approved new penalties that increase fines by 2500% (up to $120,000) and prison time by 700% (up to 15 years). One of the reasons why wildlife crime is so enticing and profitable is that punishments are often far too lax. Hopefully other countries will follow Kenya’s lead.

Worst News of the Week: In Vietnam, eating and owning endangered species has become fashionable among the country’s rich. Sigh.

Second-Worst News of the Week: Climate change will wipe out or seriously threaten 82 percent of California’s native fish species over the next 100 years, according to a new study. Meanwhile, non-native fish will thrive in the new environment. The researchers published a “top 20″ list of the species that will be impacted the worst, only six of which currently appear on any endangered species lists.

primates ottaviani wicksBook of the Week: Who knew the lives of three women who pioneered the study of great apes were so intertwined? Writer Jim Ottaviani and artist Maris Wicks reveal all in the great new graphic novel, Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas. This doesn’t come out for another week or two, but add it to your shopping list.

You Can Help: The Okapi Conservation Project, whose headquarters in the Democratic Republic of Congo was destroyed by rebels last summer, could use some help in rebuilding.

Well, that’s it for this time around. For more endangered species news stories throughout the week, read the regular Extinction Countdown articles here at Scientific American, “like” Extinction Countdown on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.

John R. Platt About the Author: Twice a week, John Platt shines a light on endangered species from all over the globe, exploring not just why they are dying out but also what's being done to rescue them from oblivion. Follow on Twitter @johnrplatt.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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