A winning snail, an unusual monkey and abused manatees are among the endangered species in the news this week.
Best News of the Week: The Magazine Mountain shagreen snail (Inflectarius magazinensis) has become the first invertebrate protected by the Endangered Species Act to fully recover. The snail has now been removed from the endangered species list, hopefully never to return.
Photo: Trey Reid, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission
Worst News of the Week: A massive new study reveals that 60 percent of UK wildlife has seen population declines over the past 50 years. The study also found that 10 percent of all UK species risk extinction.
Speaking of Lists: The annual list of the 10 Most Amazing and Awesome Newly Discovered Species (not its official name) was also announced on May 23. This year's list—which covers species discovered (or at least scientifically described) in 2012—includes a tiny violet, a carnivorous sponge, a monkey with human-like eyes, and the world's smallest vertebrate. Several of these species could be considered endangered or at least vulnerable.
The monkey is actually a pretty interesting story. The lesula (Cercopithecus lomamiensis) was discovered by scientists in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007 and formally described in 2012. It has a relatively small range which is contained on either side by massive rivers the monkey can't navigate across. Although new to science, locals have long known about and hunted the monkeys. Like many species in the region, the bushmeat trade is probably its biggest current threat. That might explain those sad eyes.
Photo: Noel Rowe via PLoS One
Scientists are Howling Mad: Fifteen of the country's top wolf researchers and conservation biologists have sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel in hopes that she can put a stop to ongoing plans to remove all Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states. Luckily, the wolves have already earned a temporary reprieve. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week that it had hit an "unexpected delay" that would indefinitely hold up its plan to delist the predators.
Oh for Crying Out Loud: People, please, stop riding and jumping on manatees! I can assure you, they don't like it and you'll probably end up in jail.
What Can the Average Person Do to Help Endangered Species? A Tiger Journal interviews Jean-Christophe Vié, Director of IUCN's Global Species Program and Director of SOS - Save Our Species. I like his answers.
Well, that's it for this time around. For more endangered species news stories throughout the week, read the regular Extinction Countdown articles here at Scientific American, "like" Extinction Countdown on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.