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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world

Endangered Cayman Islands Parrots and Iguanas Could Use More Shelters and Havens

Endangered Cayman Islands Parrots and Iguanas Could Use More Shelters and Havens

We have heard a lot about Cayman Islands banking during this election season, but what about Cayman Islands endangered species? The three tiny islands that make up the Caymans—Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac—are home to a handful of endangered species that aren't found anywhere else in the world.

September 14, 2012 — John R. Platt
23,000 People from 33 States Apply for Minnesota Wolf Hunting Permits; Unrestricted Hunting Starts Soon in Wyoming

23,000 People from 33 States Apply for Minnesota Wolf Hunting Permits; Unrestricted Hunting Starts Soon in Wyoming

Gray wolves ( Canis lupus ) have targets on their backs. One of the next barrages of gunfire will start soon in Minnesota, where more than 23,000 people have applied for the 6,000 permits that the state will issue for its fall hunting season, set to start November 3.This is one of the latest salvos against wolves, which have slowly lost their protected status in the Rockies and Great Lakes regions over the past four and a half years after the U.S.

September 11, 2012 — John R. Platt
First Purebred Bison Calf Born after Disease-Washing Embryo Transfer

First Purebred Bison Calf Born after Disease-Washing Embryo Transfer

What does a two-month-old bison calf in the Bronx have to do with the future of its species? Quite a lot, it turns out.After being slaughtered to near extinction in the 19th century, the American plains bison ( Bison bison bison ) has become a bit of a conservation success story, albeit with a few important caveats.

September 7, 2012 — John R. Platt
Japanese River Otter Declared Extinct

Japanese River Otter Declared Extinct

After not being seen for more than 30 years, the Japanese river otter ( Lutra lutra whiteleyi ) has been declared extinct by the country's Ministry of the Environment, which also last week declared several other species extinct.Once numbering in the millions, Japanese river otters—a subspecies of the European or Eurasian otter ( L.

September 5, 2012 — John R. Platt
Updates from the Brink: Dying Devils, Disappearing Vultures and a $473,000 Fish

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 other reproductive research to help save the devils from extinction.Things haven't gotten any better: The death toll for infected Tasmanian devils has now risen to 85 percent.

August 29, 2012 — John R. Platt
Recently Discovered Lizard Species Down to 3 Remaining Females

Recently Discovered Lizard Species Down to 3 Remaining Females

What lizard species has been wiped out in its natural habitat and now depends on three breeding females breeding in captivity for its long-term survival?Oh wait, I can't quite answer that, because the species has no official name.For now it's being called the orange-tailed skink.

August 24, 2012 — John R. Platt
How Did Zebras Give 2 Polar Bears Herpes?

How Did Zebras Give 2 Polar Bears Herpes?

When a polar bear suddenly takes ill and dies, the natural inclination is not to suspect zebras as the cause. But according to research published August 16 in Current Biology , that's what happened at Wuppertal Zoo in Germany in 2010.The strange saga started on June 8, 2010, when Jerka, a 20-year-old female polar bear, started experiencing epilepsy-like seizures and foaming at the mouth.

August 21, 2012 — John R. Platt

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