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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: Blue-Crowned Laughingthrush

Blue-crowned laughingthrush

There isn’t much to laugh about when we’re talking about the blue-crowned laughingthrush. Only about 250 of these rare birds, whose songs sound like human laughter, remain in the wild. Species name: Blue-crowned laughingthrush (Garrulax courtoisi), also known as the Courtois’s laughingbird. The birds have only been recognized as their own species since 2006 (prior [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: Bali Myna

bali myna

Birds don’t get much more beautiful than the Bali myna. Unfortunately, they also don’t get much rarer. Species name: Bali myna (Leucopsar rothschildi), a.k.a. the Rothschild’s Mynah, Bali Starling, or Jalak Bali Where found: Bali, an island province of Indonesia IUCN Red List status: Critically endangered, with an estimated wild population of probably fewer than [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Viper Collectors Nearly Wiped Out This Rare Turkish Snake; Saint Louis Zoo Helps to Save It

ocellate viper

Nine young, highly venomous snakes are safely slithering in the viper room of the Saint Louis Zoo today, thanks to a breeding program that may help to save the species from extinction after overzealous collectors nearly eradicated it from its natural range. The critically endangered ocellate mountain viper (Vipera wagneri) has a long and problem-plagued [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Fire Salamanders in the Netherlands Wiped Out by Newly Discovered Fungus

fire salamander

Five years ago the Netherlands was home to a small but healthy population of fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra terrestris). That is no longer the case. The first dead salamanders, their bodies lacking any visible signs of injuries, turned up in 2008. More mysteriously dead salamanders appeared in the following years, while field surveys found fewer [...]

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Extinction Countdown

How Poachers Stole 10 Percent of an Entire Tortoise Species…and What Happened Next

ploughshare tortoise

On Friday, March 15, authorities in Thailand intercepted two wildlife smugglers trying to carry hundreds of endangered tortoises through Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Among the animals recovered were 54 critically endangered ploughshare tortoises (Astrochelys yniphora) from Madagascar. The entire wild population for this species is estimated at just 400 to 600 tortoises, meaning this seizure represented [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Illegal Pet Trade Wiping Out Yellow-Crested Cockatoos

yellow-crested cockatoo

The population of critically endangered yellow-crested cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea) in the Indonesian province of West Nusa Tenggara has reached an all-time low of 107 individual birds, according to a recent report from The Jakarta Post. The cockatoos are protected by international and Indonesian law, but they are also highly valued in the illegal pet trade, [...]

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Extinction Countdown

5 Turtles from Nearly Extinct Species Fly Home to Hong Kong

golden coin turtles

Asia’s turtles and tortoises are in an extinction crisis. Few species embody that more than the critically endangered golden coin turtle (Cuora trifasciata), which is so valued in the illegal pet trade and for its use in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that a single specimen can fetch $25,000 or more on the black market. The [...]

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