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Indian Vultures Are Dying for Some Good News

white rumped vulture

When a species experiences catastrophic population declines as high as 99.9 percent, any bit of good news is cause for celebration—even if the news isn’t exactly great. India’s vultures now have some. The birds were almost completely wiped out by a veterinary drug called diclofenac, but a new study finds that the number of deaths [...]

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Somali Ostrich and 360 Other Newly Discovered Birds Added to List of Threatened Species

somali ostrich

Did you know there are two species of ostrich? Don’t worry if this is news to you—scientists didn’t know that for sure either until this year, when the Somali ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes) of Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya was declared a separate species from the common ostrich (S. camelus). Previously considered a subspecies, the Somali [...]

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Cane Toads, Blue Whales, Red Wolves and Other Updates from the Brink

northern spotted owl

People often ask me, “How can you write about endangered species all the time? Isn’t it depressing?” Sure, it can be, but not as depressing as the sheer number of stories that I don’t get to write about. So let’s catch up on some of the stories that should have made headlines this month. First [...]

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Updates from the Brink: Dying Devils, Disappearing Vultures and a $473,000 Fish

When I last wrote about Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) this past December, the species was in pretty dire straits. A contagious cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) had, at that point, wiped out at least 70 percent of devils in the wild, forcing scientists to resort to captive breeding, a sperm bank and [...]

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Updates from the Brink: A Plan for Bats, Oil-Spill Penguins and Branson’s Lemurs

The news about endangered species doesn’t slow down. Here, we update some Extinction Countdown stories covered in recent weeks: A plan to save bats The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a national plan to combat the bat-killing white-nose syndrome (WNS) on May 17. As we have reported here many times before, the fungus that [...]

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Vulture restaurants are helping to save critically endangered birds of prey

White-rumped vulture

Four new “vulture restaurants” have opened in India to provide the critically endangered and ecologically important birds with food that won’t kill them. Vultures used to be a fixture in Indian skies, but now the scavengers are almost gone due to a commonly used veterinary drug called diclofenac. An anti-inflammatory for humans and livestock, diclofenac [...]

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Another fatal blow to Asian vultures

white-rumped vulture

As if it weren’t bad enough that 99.9 percent of Asian vultures have been killed off in the past 20 years, now comes news that yet another potential man-made disaster waits in the wings. Millions of Asian vultures, particularly those in India, have died off over the last two decades after being poisoned by the [...]

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Hope for critically endangered Indian vulture as chick is born in captivity

India’s three vulture species have all but disappeared from the country’s skies. Over the last 20 years, virtually all of India’s vultures have died, the victims of unintentional poisoning. Vultures feed on dead cattle and other livestock that had been treated with an anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac, which sends vultures into renal failure. Unfortunately, the [...]

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