Poor little spotted kiwi! Like all of New Zealand’s national birds, it used to be super-duper endangered. Then the Department of Conservation established new colonies in areas without predators in the ’80s, and the population boomed. But a recent analysis of these colonies reveal a serious problem with the little spotted kiwis. Per Becky Crew at Running Ponies:
[T]he birds upon which all hopes of substantial genetic diversity rested – had never actually bred. They didn’t even produce one chick. Which means that all the little spotted kiwi on the planet, from every population, have come from the five birds that were originally put on Kapiti Island in 1912.
Genetic diversity is vital to a species’ survival. So what are scientists going to do about it? First, further analysis. They might have to revert the little spotted kiwis’ status back to endangered. If only all humanity had left New Zealand alone. We might still have moa!
[Photo of little spotted kiwi chick by Andrew Digby via Running Ponies]
Hi, cutie-pie! This little weirdo is a mouse lemur, one of two newly discovered in Madagascar through genetic analysis. Of course as soon as we realized they were alive, we had to declare them endangered, because as people all we goddamn do is slash and burn forests (or create the conditions in which slashing and burning forests is someone else’s only option for survival), but still, here they are. Sorry we’ve been fucking with your life before we even knew you existed, little Microcebus murinus.
Read more about our new lemur friends at Scientific American’s Running Ponies blog.
[photo by David Haring of the Duke Lemur Center via Running Ponies]
Welcome to the world, endangered limosa harlequin frog! You are the product of the very first scientific program to breed your species, because we selfish-jerk humans can’t stop wrecking your habitat and making you extinct.
To get the small amphibians to mate, researchers went to great lengths. They built a rock platform to mimic the underground caves in which the frogs breed, and piped in oxygen-rich water between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (22 and 24 degrees Celsius), according to a release from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
Young frogs only feed on algal mats coating rocks. So scientists with the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, which bred the frogs, also painted the rock platforms with spirulina algae and then let it dry. When placed inside the enclosure, the algae grew and fed the animals.
Gosh they’re tiny, aren’t they? They must lay the tiniest eggs. Ultimately the scientists breeding these itty-bitty amphibians plan to release them into the wild, though if we don’t work on repairing the places they live, the limosa harlequin frog may only survive in captivity.
[photo by Brian Gratwicke, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute via Live Science]
VetStreet has a slideshow titled “20 Animals You May Not Know Are Going Extinct.” The list includes the hyacinth macaw in the photo above, as well as zebras, chinchillas, and armadillos. Goddamn it, humanity.
[Photo by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr]
A pangolin is released into the wild by Natural Resources Conservation Agency officials at a forest in Sibolangit, North Sumatra, Indonesia
Photograph: Jefri Tarigan
People are killing these little weirdos to make luggage out of their scaly skins. People are gross.
Help Florida figure out how to protect 61 endangered and threatened species »
Because lord knows Florida needs all the help it can get.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has opened up a forum that the agency hopes will create an open conservation with the public about how to protect 60 species of imperiled animals.
The FWC invites the general public to visit their site to review their new draft action plans and to comment on them.
“We hope the public and stakeholders will comment on the draft species action plans and share their ideas on common themes or actions among plans,” said Claire Sunquist Blunden, the stakeholder coordination for imperiled species management planning for the FWC.
[Eastern Chipmunk photo by Vicki DeLoach via Flickr]
World to cool it on shark-finning, at least for five species »
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) voted this week to restrict permits on exporting the fins of five species of sharks, to end trade in all freshwater sawfish, and restrict exports of manta rays’ gill plates.
Previous Cites meetings had seen similar protection proposals for sharks rejected, but new support from Latin American and west African countries, and the promise of cash from the European Union to help change fishing practices, won the day. The decisions could be reopened for debate at the final plenary session of the summit and potentially overturned. If, not all the measures will be implemented after an 18-month period in which enforcement measures can be set up.
A little less needless human destruction of the oceans! Keep up the totally necessary and hopefully not-too-late work, Cites.
[Photo by Clifton Beard via Flickr]
Becky Crew at Running Ponies has the first photo taken of a wild New Guinea singing dog in 23 years! Hi, Canis lupus dingo var.!
The photo was taken by Tom Hewitt of Adventure Alternative Borneo “ during a trek in the remote Star Mountains of western New Guinea” in August. Apparently most of the few remaining singing dogs live in the western part of the island now, where it’s less populated and easier to hide from all us jerk people.
Find out more about these handsome fellows (related to chows, huskies, and Afghan hounds, among others!) and their weirdly beautiful vocalizations at Running Ponies. We’re glad you’re still around in the wild, singing dogs!
The 100 most endangered species, in pictures »
The Guardian, a top newspaper for people with brains, has a gallery of the 100 most endangered species, as listed by the IUCN and Zoological Society of London. It’s depressing! Even more depressing, it’s part of a series called The Sixth Extinction: How humans are driving animals and plants to extinction, which includes articles on how endangered wildlife is being (illegally) traded on the internet, and on Ecuador’s Yasuni Park, “the most biodiverse region on Earth,” where people want to drill for oil because what else do you do with all that wildlife?
I had this conversation the other day about how, as a disgruntled, in-it-for-the-ethics vegan, it’s hard not to wonder if the world would be better off if whatever apocalyptic event happens and wipes out humanity; you know, end humanity, end humanity’s nonstop abuse of animals (among a million other things). Counterpoint: Hoping for the apocalypse is just another way of expressing depression; it’s our responsibility to not be jerks—not contributing to the exploitation of people/animals/the environment, being kind to other people, living well and appreciating how good we have it, and trying to help everyone have it better. Read all the books about the post-societal gangs of rapist cannibal murderers, while striving for utopia.
These 100 species are considered the most endangered not only because there are so terribly few of them left, but because “they have no obvious benefits for humans.” So cool! What do we even do about this? What does it matter if we cause the death of the greater bamboo lemur, or the Amsterdam albatross? They’re not curing our cancer or assembling our shoes or inventing personal electronic devices; fuck ‘em. We won the evolutionary race, we get to decide who lives and dies from now on. Right?
[photos, from top: ZSL/IUCN; Baz Scampion/ZSL/IUCN; ZSL/IUCN all via the Guardian]
[link via The Editors’ Desk]
Baby gorilla rescued from poachers! Also: OMG BABY GORILLA. So cute. So eerily human with her expressive face. I love you baby gorilla! Her rescuers named her Ihirwe, which means Luck in the Rwandan language Kinyarwanda. I will call her Lil’ Lucky from now on. Oh boy, that could be her DJ name! DJ Lil’ Lucky on the ones and twos! Though DJ Baby Gorilla is good too. Wow, that’s really good actually. One of you has my permission to take DJ Baby Gorilla as your DJ name. First come, first serve.
It’s likely she was taken from the Bukima area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) park. This little girl was rescued by Rwandan police after poachers stole her, presumably for the international pet trade. Nobody knows if her family was killed when the poachers kidnapped her or any of the circumstances surrounding how they got her. But she’s eight months old, adorbs and safe. I’m not sure what her future holds but for now she is in the care of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project.
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered and according to a census by the International Gorilla Conservation Program, there are only 786 remaining in the mountains of DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. That’s like a medium-sized high-school. Fucking A. However, if you remember as I’ve written before, this is a dramatic increase from previous years. Let’s hope that continues. Also, screw whoever buys kidnapped baby gorillas from poachers! Who does that? Somebody is just like, “yeah, I totes need a gorilla” and calls their friendly neighborhood poacher? WTF.