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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world

  • Asian Vultures Get Good News Ahead of International Vulture Day

    Asian Vultures Get Good News Ahead of International Vulture Day

    By John R. Platt | September 3, 2015 |

    India has taken one more step to save its three critically endangered vulture species from extinction. Last week the country finally banned large doses of diclofenac, a painkiller that is often given to cattle and buffalo but which kills any vultures that eat the carcasses of treated animals. […]

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  • Yet Another Disease Is Attacking Tasmanian Devils

    Yet Another Disease Is Attacking Tasmanian Devils

    By John R. Platt | August 28, 2015 |

    Tasmanian devils ( Sarcophilus harrisii ) just can’t catch a break. The infamous Australian carnivores have already been nearly wiped out by an incurable communicable cancer called devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), which first appeared in 1996 and has since killed as much as 90 percent of the entire species. […]

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  • $1 Million More a Year Could Save Kiwi Birds from Extinction

    $1 Million More a Year Could Save Kiwi Birds from Extinction

    By John R. Platt | August 26, 2015 |

    New Zealand’s iconic kiwi birds need a boost. The five species of these flightless birds (all from the genus Apteryx ) have been on the decline for the past century and—despite intense conservation efforts—continue to lose about 2 percent of their total populations per year. […]

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  • The Cuckoo Reason Why These Bumblebees May Go Extinct

    The Cuckoo Reason Why These Bumblebees May Go Extinct

    By John R. Platt | August 21, 2015 |

    Not all bumblebees are happy-go-lucky pollinators. Some species are actually sneaky parasites. These duplicitous social insects sneak into other bumblebees’ nests and, through a variety of techniques, convince workers to raise their young, much like the cuckoo birds for which they are named do with their own eggs. […]

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  • Poop Could Help Save Rare Tree Kangaroo from Extinction

    Poop Could Help Save Rare Tree Kangaroo from Extinction

    By John R. Platt | August 20, 2015 |

    When you hear the word “kangaroo,” you probably think about those big, clownish marsupials that hop around Australia and carry their young in pouches on their bellies. Well there’s a lesser-known group of kangaroos that most people don’t know about. […]

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  • Are Zoos Failing Amphibians?

    Are Zoos Failing Amphibians?

    By John R. Platt | August 13, 2015 |

    Zoos can save amphibians from extinction. Take the Kihansi spray toad ( Nectophrynoides asperginis ), for example. This rare species disappeared from its only habitat in Tanzania in 2009 but a collective effort by the Bronx and Toledo zoos managed to preserve the toads and re-create a healthy population in the wild. […]

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  • Ring-Tailed Lemurs Threatened by Illegal Pet Trade

    Ring-Tailed Lemurs Threatened by Illegal Pet Trade

    By John R. Platt | August 7, 2015 |

    Some restaurant owners keep a tank of exotic fish to attract and entertain their customers. In Madagascar, patrons are more likely to see a live lemur chained to the wall. Private ownership of lemurs is against the law in Madagascar—the only island where the primates are found—but that doesn’t stop people from snatching the animals from the wild and turning them into pets. […]

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  • Devil Tree Threatens the World's Rarest Zebras

    Devil Tree Threatens the World's Rarest Zebras

    By John R. Platt | August 6, 2015 |

    The Devil is coming for Ethiopia’s zebras. Only about 140 Grevy’s zebras ( Equus grevyi ) remain in Ethiopia, where they share the Allideghi Wildlife Reserve with thousands of humans and their livestock. It’s not an easy balance; the zebras—the rarest and largest equid species—face continual threats from poaching, habitat fragmentation and competition with livestock for food and water. […]

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  • Giant Squeaker Frog Gets Ready for Cries of Joy

    Giant Squeaker Frog Gets Ready for Cries of Joy

    By John R. Platt | July 31, 2015 |

    Scientists have had precious few opportunities to observe the “giant” Krokosua squeaker frog ( Arthroleptis krokosua ) since it was first discovered in Ghana in 2002. That initial glimpse was fleeting: Only a single adult frog was found inside the heavily degraded Sui River Forest Reserve. […]

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  • Another Northern White Rhino Dies--and Then There Were 4

    Another Northern White Rhino Dies--and Then There Were 4

    By John R. Platt | July 29, 2015 |

    For years now, “Extinction Countdown” readers have followed the slow slide toward extinction of the northern white rhino ( Ceratotherium simum cottoni ). In 2014 we lost two members of the species, bringing the world population down to five . […]

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