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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world

The Sciences

70 percent of Turkey's birds are headed toward extinction

Turkey's wetlands and lakes are drying up, and with them the nation's bird species are also disappearing. Total bird counts have dropped 50 percent in the past 20 years, and now up to 70 percent of the bird species regularly observed in Turkey are threatened with extinction, according to lhami Kiziro lu, a professor of biology at Ankara's Hacettepe University.A total of 435 different bird species can be found in Turkey, "including those that reproduce in Turkey and those that visit the country during the winter," Kiziro lu told the Anatolia News Agency...

January 20, 2011 — John Platt

Shark-finning gangsters assault celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay

If you've ever watched shows like Hell's Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares, you'd know not to cross incendiary celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Well, maybe his shows don't air in Taiwan, because a crew of Taiwanese shark-fin smugglers wasn't too impressed by Ramsay's reputation, holding the TV host at gunpoint and pouring gasoline over him during the taping of a documentary in Costa Rica.Ramsay was in Central America to film segments of a program dedicated to shark finning, the cruel and deadly practice responsible for endangering shark populations around the world that the U.S...

January 10, 2011 — John Platt
The Sciences

Another record year for manatee deaths

Frigid waters off the coast of Florida have killed a record number of endangered manatees this year, according to state wildlife officials. The manatee—full name, the West Indian manatee ( Trichechus manatus )—has been protected by the Endangered Species Act since 1974.As of December 10, 699 manatee deaths had been documented this year in Florida waters, 244 of which were attributed to "cold stress." Most of the year's deaths occurred in January during what the National Weather Service called Florida's coldest 12-day period since 1940.This year's death toll tops last year's record of 429 deaths, 56 of which were caused by unusually cold weather...

December 30, 2010 — John Platt

Victory for sharks: U.S. bans shark finning

It won't get the same press as the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but the U.S. made an important conservation leap this week by banning the deadly practice of shark finning.The Shark Conservation Act, passed Tuesday, bans the controversial yet lucrative fishing practice of catching sharks, cutting off their fins and dumping the still-living creatures back into the water where they slowly and painfully drown.Shark fins are highly prized for their use in shark fin soup...

December 22, 2010 — John Platt

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