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Extinction Countdown

Is Chocolate Driving Monkeys into Extinction?

Cercocebus atys lunulatus

Ten years ago the forests of Ivory Coast were full of the hoots and howls of more than a dozen primate species. No more. Today the west African nation is much quieter. The forests are mostly gone and the monkeys that they once held aren’t far behind. Several species have become critically endangered. One may [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: Swift Parrot

swift parrot

The beautiful bird known as the swift parrot may be on the fast track to extinction. Species name: Swift parrot (Lathamus discolor) Description: A small bird, just 25 centimeters long, with bright features and a particularly showy attitude. Where found: Small portions of Tasmania. The birds also migrate to mainland Australia after their breeding season. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Look Out Lemurs: Climate Change Is Taking Your Land

hubbards sportive lemur

As if rampant deforestation and poaching weren’t bad enough, climate change will have a devastating effect on the majority of Madagascar’s lemur species, most of them already imperiled, according to a paper published this week in Ecology and Evolution. The threat will vary by species but the paper—by researchers Jason Brown and Anne Yoder from [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Gorgeous Blue-Eyed Lemur Faces Extinction in 11 Years

blue-eyed black lemur

One of the most recently discovered lemur species of Madagascar could also be one of the first to disappear. The striking blue-eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons), which was only identified as a species in 2008, faces extinction in as little as 11 years due to rapid deforestation in its only habitat, according to research published [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Rescued Baby Orangutan Shines Light on Cruel, Illegal Pet Trade [Video]

rescued orangutan

The plight of an emaciated, possibly crippled baby orangutan has brought worldwide attention this week to the cruel practices that resulted in the endangered ape spending the first 10 months of his life in a chicken cage in Borneo. Budi, as the baby orangutan has come to be known, arrived at the Orangutan Rescue Center [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Rare Iguana is Endangered Because People Like to Eat Egg-Carrying Females

Valle de Aguán spiny-tailed iguana

It’s a simple equation, really: If a species can’t reproduce, it will go extinct. A critically endangered species in Honduras faces that risk in a notable way. It turns out that the people who coexist with Valle de Aguán spiny-tailed iguanas (Ctenosaura melanosterna) not only like to eat the lizards they prefer the taste of [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Bluefin Tuna, Chinese Cobra and Others Added to Red List of Threatened Species

Bluefit tuna

The latest update to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was published Monday and, as you can imagine, it wasn’t good news. The Red List, the global inventory of species, now identifies 22,413 species as threatened with extinction around the world. Some of the most notable of the 310 additions to the Red List [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Mapping Mistake Threatens 1,400 Chimpanzees and Newly Discovered Endangered Plant

Chimp in tree

How’s this for irony?: A newly discovered plant named after the reserve in which it is supposedly found is endangered because the reserve isn’t actually located where people thought it was. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the new plant—Dorstenia luamensis, which was discovered in 2012 and described last month in the journal PhotoKeys—was [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Halloween Horrors: The Ghost Bat (aka the False Vampire Bat)

ghost bat

Something ghostly and hungry flies the skies of northern Australia. Its massive white wings stand out against the darkness as it circles, searching for prey. When it finds something tasty this unusual creature darts out of the sky, grabs its dinner in its claws, presses it to the ground and bites into the neck with [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sloth Bears Confirmed Extinct in Bangladesh

sloth bear

A massive project to assess the health of wildlife in Bangladesh has confirmed conservationists’ longstanding suspicions that sloth bears no longer exist in that country. Sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) could once be found throughout India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. (A separate subspecies lives on the island nation of Sri Lanka.) Overhunting during the British colonial [...]

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Image of the Week

Fresh Start for an Extinct Cat?

CloudedLeopard-FEATURE

Credit: An 1862 painting of a Formosan clouded leopard by Joseph Wolf, image in the public domain Source: from Could Extinct Clouded Leopards Be Reintroduced in Taiwan? by John R. Platt on Extinction Countdown As 2014 draws to a close, a large portion of us will participate in the time-honored tradition of reflecting on the [...]

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Observations

Humans Cross Another Danger Line for the Planet

Disappearing Forests: Green are sustainable for now, yellow and red are past the safe limit.

Five years go an impressive, international group of scientists unveiled nine biological and environmental “boundaries” that humankind should not cross in order to keep the earth a livable place. To its peril, the world had already crossed three of those safe limits: too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, too rapid a rate of species [...]

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Observations

Search the Web, Plant a Tree—Every Minute

search panel

Google, Yahoo and other search engines make gobs of money from advertisers who pay to have ads pop up when you look for a term. A few more socially minded search engines like Goodsearch and Everyclick donate a few cents to charity when you seek or shop. But one site begun in 2009, Ecosia, donates [...]

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Observations

Farmers May Have Kicked Off Local Climate Change 3,500 Years Ago

congo-river

Humans may have been causing climate change for much longer than we’ve been burning fossil fuels. In fact, the agrarian revolution may have started human-induced climate changes long before the industrial revolution began to sully the skies. How? Through the clearing of forests, which still remains the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human [...]

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Observations

Geoengineering wars: Another scientist teases out a surprising effect of global deforestation

AUSTIN—A new and unpublished analysis of the regional impacts of a hypothetical scheme to mitigate global warming via radical deforestation was unveiled here Sunday at a gathering of science journalists and writers, on the heels of a blogging firestorm about geoengineering and climate change in anticipation of the release of Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, [...]

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