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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world

Sustainability

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
Sustainability

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
Sustainability

Bear Bile Industry Reportedly Shrinking in South Korea, but China Market Stays Strong

Is the often-illegal market for bear gall bladders and bile for use in traditional Asian medicine starting to shrink? Yes and no and maybe.At least 1,000 Asiatic black bears ( Ursus thibetanus ) and sun bears ( Helarctos malayanus ) live in tiny, cramped cages in South Korea, where they are farmed for their gall bladders, which can sell for up to $25,000 or more for use in traditional Asian medicine...

July 24, 2012 — John R. Platt
Sustainability

An Invasive Plant Is Killing Wombats in Australia

When an otherwise nocturnal wombat shows up in the daylight, acting lethargic and having trouble walking, you know that animal is in trouble.When thousands of wombats turn up sick, emaciated, balding and dying, you know you have a crisis.That's what's happening in Murraylands, South Australia, where up to 85 percent of the region's southern hairy-nosed wombats ( Lasiorhinus latifrons ) are sick or dying, apparently the victims of invasive plants that have taken over the local ecosystem.Brigitte Stevens, founding director of Wombat Awareness Organization, was one of the first to observe the sick wombats three years ago...

July 12, 2012 — John R. Platt

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