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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world

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
South Africa Invests in Elephant Birth Control [Video]

South Africa Invests in Elephant Birth Control [Video]

African elephants face two terribly contradictory threats: In some parts of the continent the animals are being hunted into extinction for their valuable ivory tusks, but in other countries elephants are so heavily overpopulated that they pose a threat not just to themselves but to entire ecosystems.South Africa faces the latter problem.

August 16, 2012 — John R. Platt
Fishing Nets, Climate Change Threaten Yellow-Eyed Penguins in New Zealand

Fishing Nets, Climate Change Threaten Yellow-Eyed Penguins in New Zealand

It has been a rough few decades for endangered yellow-eyed penguins ( Megadyptes antipodes ). The species can only be found along a small portion of the southeastern coast of New Zealand's South Island, the nearby Auckland Islands, and the isles of Campbell, Stewart and Codfish.

August 8, 2012 — John R. Platt
DNA Test Could Help Save Scottish Wildcat from Extinction If It Still Exists

DNA Test Could Help Save Scottish Wildcat from Extinction If It Still Exists

Scotland is home to a least a hundred thousand feral cats. Unfortunately, the cats that now live in the Scottish Highlands are not native to the country, and they have helped push the already squeezed native felines closer toward extinction.The native group—the Scottish wildcat ( Felis silvestris grampia ), also known as the Highland tiger—isn't much bigger than your average house cat, although it has a larger tail and a reputation for wild ferocity.

August 1, 2012 — John R. Platt
O'Reilly Animals Enlists Technology Community to Help Save Endangered Species from Extinction

O'Reilly Animals Enlists Technology Community to Help Save Endangered Species from Extinction

What do the Sumatran tiger, Philippine tarsier, and Galapagos land iguana have in common? They are all endangered or critically endangered species; they have all appeared on the covers of O'Reilly Media's iconic software manuals; and they are all featured in the publisher's new O'Reilly Animals campaign, which aims to mobilize the technology community to help save these species from extinction.O'Reilly has been using old etchings of various animals as the covers for its programming books for decades and already includes some information on each species in the colophons of each book, but the new Animals campaign takes it further.

July 30, 2012 — John R. Platt

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