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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world

What Happens When Forest Elephants Are Wiped Out in an Ecosystem?

As go the elephants, so go the trees. That's the message of a new study published in the May 2013 issue of Forest Ecology and Management that found more than a dozen elephant-dependent tree species suffered catastrophic population declines in new plant growths after forest elephants were nearly extirpated from their ecosystems...

March 1, 2013 — John R. Platt

Tragedy in New Zealand: Dozens of Critically Endangered Birds Dead, Cause Unknown

Efforts to save the critically endangered shore plover from extinction in New Zealand have suffered a major setback: nearly 60 of the birds have died due to unknown causes, reducing the world population of the species to just 200.Shore plovers (also known as shore dotterels or Tuturuatu, Thinornis novaeseelandiae ) lived on both of New Zealand's main islands before European settlers introduced cats and rats that nearly eradicated the species during the nineteenth century...

February 26, 2013 — John R. Platt

Whale Sharks in the News: Citizen Science, Migration Revelations and High Fashion

What do the world's biggest fish and the Big Dipper have in common? Believe it or not, the answer is math. One of the same algorithms developed to help astronomers study the stars in the sky is being used to conserve and understand whale sharks ( Rhincodon typus ) under the sea.It turns out that each whale shark has a unique pattern of spots located behind its gills...

February 14, 2013 — John R. Platt

Giant Pandas at Risk from New Chinese Forestry Policies

China's efforts to conserve and grow its populations of endangered giant pandas ( Ailuropoda melanoleuca ) are at odds with its own changing forestry policies, which could damage or destroy up to 15 percent of the pandas' habitat, according to conservationists writing in the February 1 issue of Science .At the heart of the matter is a long-brewing reform of China's collective forest tenure system, which since the 1950s has put control of plantations and second-growth forests under local governments known as village collectives...

February 13, 2013 — John R. Platt

3 British Moths Extinct; Most Other Species in Decline

Three moth species have disappeared from the U.K. in the past decade and two thirds of the species that remain have suffered dramatic population crashes according to new research from the organizations Butterfly Conservation and Rothamsted Research...

February 7, 2013 — John R. Platt

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