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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world


Orangutans illegally killed in the past decade: 20,000--Prosecutions: 0

More than 20,000 orangutans have been poached, killed by loggers or sold into the illegal pet trade in the past 10 years, according to a new report (pdf) from Nature Alert, Ltd., in Bath, England, and the Jakarta, Indonesia–based Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) that says not a single person in Indonesia has been prosecuted for these lucrative crimes.The population of the endangered Bornean orangutan ( Pongo pygmaeus ) is currently estimated at fewer than 50,000 by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species—half what it was 60 years ago...

August 25, 2009 — John Platt

Puppeteer helping to save real-life "Big Bird" from extinction

Wattled cranes ( Bugeranus carunculatus ) are truly big birds—mature adults stand up to 1.8 meters in height—so it's only fitting that puppets and a full-size bird costume are being used to help save this critically endangered species from extinction in South Africa.The destruction of wetland habitats has caused wattled crane populations to shrink throughout Africa, but the species faces its greatest challenge in South Africa, where only 235 birds remain in the wild.The Wattled Crane Recovery Program run by the South Africa–based Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Johannesburg Zoo is hoping to reverse that...

August 11, 2009 — John Platt

British crayfish get a "safe haven" from American invaders and a fungus that eats them from the inside out

Looking for crayfish in Britain? Look hard. Almost 95 percent of British crayfish have been wiped out in the last 20 years. Now some of the few remaining crustaceans are going into hiding in a desperate, last-gasp chance to save their species from extinction.Like so many problems around the world, this one can be placed squarely on the heads of Americans—although in this case, we're talking about American signal crayfish ( Pacifastacus leniusculus )...

July 28, 2009 — John Platt

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