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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world


Surveys Find No Sign of Endangered Vietnamese Pheasant

Are we looking at Asia's first pheasant extinction? The endangered Edwards's pheasant ( Lophura edwardsi ) has not been observed in the wild since 2000, and now surveys conducted by the World Pheasant Association (WPA) in the bird's two most likely habitats in Vietnam have failed to turn up any sign of the species.Edwards's pheasant was described as fairly common when it was first described and named by French ornithologist Alphonse Milne-Edwards in the 19th century...

October 14, 2011 — John R. Platt

Hellbender Salamander Gets Endangered Species Designation, but No Habitat Protection--and That May Be a Good Thing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) this week granted the Ozark hellbender ( Cryptobranchus alleganiensis bishopi ) protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) but made the unusual decision not to declare critical habitat for the rare, giant salamanders because, it said, doing so could open it to threats from those who would illegally collect the species for the international pet trade.Ozark hellbenders are North America's largest amphibians, often topping off at 60 centimeters in length, and because of that size they are highly valued by collectors...

October 7, 2011 — John R. Platt

Poachers Wiping Out Rare Monkey in Tanzania

An endangered Old World monkey species found in only two sites in Tanzania is in danger of being poached and eaten into extinction, researchers from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Center reported last week.The Sanje mangabey ( Cercocebus sanjei ) lives only in the Mwanihana Forest and the Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve on the eastern slopes of Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains...

October 5, 2011 — John R. Platt

South China Tiger Conservation Program Mourns Big Cat Lost in Tragic Fight

A critically endangered South China tiger ( Panthera tigris amoyensis ) has killed another of its kind, sad news for efforts to save this rarest tiger subspecies from extinction.The death took place at the Laohu Valley Reserve in South Africa, where the organization Save China's Tigers maintains a conservation project to breed South China tigers and teach them to hunt and survive in the wild, a process known as "rewilding." The eventual goal is to release some of these tigers back into a reserve in China.The tigers at the South African reserve are kept apart, since male tigers require individual territories and will not tolerate the presence of other males...

September 30, 2011 — John R. Platt

Tunnels and Bridges Could Help Save Koalas from Extinction

Australia is debating whether or not to list koalas ( Phascolarctos cinereus ) as a threatened or endangered species, and one of the ideas for saving them is to build tunnels to help the marsupials cross under roads without being killed by cars and trucks.We're used to thinking about koalas living in trees, but they spend enough time on the ground that vehicles pose one of the major threats to the species...

September 22, 2011 — John R. Platt

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