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The Extinction thread
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Defrost indoors
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PostPosted: 27-12-2006 17:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cats in the example would suffer from the effects of a changing environment, and it would change their behaviour and numbers to adjust. We don't do that.
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spinster of this parish
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PostPosted: 27-12-2006 18:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kondoru wrote:
Think how different this scenario would be if they were a delicacy....

I remember having a very interesting discussion with someone about how a species' best chances for survival these days would be to become a delicacy. While in times past some creatures may have been eaten to extinction, these days breeding programs and intensive farming would latch on to anything commercially viable and makes sure it never became extinct while there was a market for its meat. We then went on to discuss whether being an intensively farmed species would be a better option than being an extinct species. It's a difficult choice. would any of us wish for (for example) tigers to become numerous again if this meant the majority of them were living the lives of battery farmed livestock? I know I wouldn't. I'd rather see every last one of them die out than let that happen.
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Geriatric, Reeking of Urine, Senile,
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PostPosted: 28-12-2006 13:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leaferne wrote:
The cats in the example would suffer from the effects of a changing environment, and it would change their behaviour and numbers to adjust. We don't do that.

It was just a hypothetical question to determin how we would feel if it was a different creature from human beings that had over populated the earth. Not realy a literal 'this is what would happen if cat's ruled the world' scenario. You could remove 'cats' and replace them with any species you wish. What if it was something creepy like ############ or giant spiders? What if it was the cutest, fluffiest breed of....whatever...would you still feel the same way about them as you do now about the human race?
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Demicabbage of darkness
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PostPosted: 16-01-2007 17:59    Post subject: The extinction thread Reply with quote

Maybe the mods should put the Chinese River Dolphin thread in here...

South Island Kokako declared exinct

Conservation officials today formally declared the South Island kokako extinct, saying there had been no confirmed sightings for 40 years.

Rod Hitchmough, a scientific officer at the Department of Conservation (DOC) told a press briefing in Wellington that the kokako decision had attracted controversy.

"But the definition of extinct is that we are absolutely certain the last individual has died," said Mr Hitchmough, who compiled DOC's latest lists of threatened species, including six native insects and snails also declared extinct.

"It was last seen on the South Island in 1967," he said.

There had been further reports on Stewart Island in 1987 and other more recent sightings, but these had not been corroborated.

A panel of bird experts which drew up the previous list of the threat status of native animals and plants in 2002 had not been able to decide with certainty whether it had died out.

"There have been more recent sightings recorded but they have been less well-documented," Mr Hitchmough said.

"Now, given there have been no further convincing records, the panel decided to bite the bullet and list it as extinct.

"But it was probably extinct years ago".

Less than a year ago, veteran searchers seeking signs of the kokako unsuccessfully searched a valley east of Puysegur Point in Fiordland National Park for signs of the grey bird with orange wattles at each side of the beak.

That South Island kokako investigation team included Christchurch researcher Ron Nilsson, who has spent 20 years searching remote valleys in Nelson, Westland, Fiordland and Stewart Island.

Other searches have been made in Granville State Forest in the West Coast's Grey Valley and further north in the Paparoa Range near Charleston.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter told the Wellington briefing that the new threatened species list updated the "threat classification" status of 5819 of New Zealand's native plants and animals, and 44 had been given a change in status.

Almost half of those were listed in one of the seven threatened categories, and the rest required further research to determine if these were threatened or not.

"Some have improved, like the crested grebe and black petrel, others, such as the grey duck and riflemen are more endangered," Mr Carter said. "It's a wake-up call for us, as a country".

"Human-induced threats and the introduction of predators and pests continue to plague our native species," he said.

"The species that make up our country – the unique bird, reptile, plant and insect species that are endemic to these islands of ours – are what helps to make us New Zealanders, give us a unique place in the world and give us our identity," said Mr Carter.

Settlement of New Zealand by Maori and Europeans had made an incredible impact on the nation's biodiversity, Mr Carter said.

The total number of threatened species reported in the new list rose by 416 to 2788 – in many cases because new information had become available since the lists were last reviewed in 2002.

Another 984 species have been listed as "data deficient".

He said the list would be used to prioritise management of threatened species.

The battle to retain biodiversity was not only about resources – for which conservation had to compete with spending on areas such as health and education – but was also dependent on expertise in developing management plans and providing the science for managing threatened species.

Also more on Cryptomundo...

Note - the Kokako as a species is still extant, as the North Island subspecies is still around.
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King-Size Canary
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PostPosted: 31-08-2007 22:54    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where there's life there's hope:

Rare dolphin 'sighted' in China

The critically endangered Yangtze River dolphin, or baiji, has been sighted in eastern China, Chinese media report.

Scientists had recently declared that the baiji was probably extinct.

An international team of researchers spent six weeks looking for the creature last year without a single sighting.

But earlier this month the baiji was spotted and filmed by a local man, and confirmed by Chinese biologists, says official Xinhua news agency.

"I never saw such a big thing in the water before so I filmed it," Zeng Yujiang from Anhui Province told Xinhua.

"It was about 1,000 metres away and jumped out of the water several times."

Wang Kexiong from the Institute of Hydrobiology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said experts from the institute had confirmed the footage was of a baiji.

Wang Ding, also from the Institute of Hydrobiology and a leading authority on the species, said that the sighting could not be confirmed 100% because of the distance, but that it looked and acted like a baiji.

Environmental degradation

Wang Ding said a team of scientists would visit the area to see if they could find the creature.

Although the sighting provides a small cause for hope that the creature could survive in the wild, the outlook is not good, says the BBC's East Asia editor Steve Jackson.

In the 1950s there were thousands of Yangtze River dolphins, but numbers have declined drastically due to industrial pollution, heavy river traffic and over-fishing.

A survey by researchers in 1997 found only 13.

If any wild baiji are found scientists will try to capture them and move them to a reserve where they would try to breed them if possible, Wang Ding said.

The last previous sighting of a wild baiji was in 2004, while the last captive baiji, Qi Qi, died in 2002.
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What a Cad!
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PostPosted: 25-06-2012 06:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last Pinta giant tortoise Lonesome George dies

Staff at the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador say Lonesome George, a giant tortoise believed to be the last of its subspecies, has died.
Scientists estimate he was about 100 years old.
Park officials said they would carry out a post-mortem to determine the cause of his death.

With no offspring and no known individuals from his subspecies left, Lonesome George became known as the rarest creature in the world.
For decades, environmentalists unsuccessfully tried to get the Pinta Island tortoise to reproduce with females from a similar subspecies on the Galapagos Islands.

Park officials said the tortoise was found dead in his corral by his keeper of 40 years, Fausto Llerena.
While his exact age was not known, Lonesome George was estimated to be about 100, which made him a young adult as the subspecies can live up to an age of 200.

Lonesome George was first seen by a Hungarian scientist on the Galapagos island of Pinta in 1972.
Environmentalists had believed his subspecies (Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni) had become extinct.

Lonesome George became part of the Galapagos National Park breeding programme.
After 15 years of living with a female tortoise from the nearby Wolf volcano, Lonesome George did mate, but the eggs were infertile.

He also shared his corral with female tortoises from Espanola island, which are genetically closer to him than those from Wolf volcano, but Lonesome George failed to mate with them.

He became a symbol of the Galapagos Islands, which attract some 180,000 visitors a year.
Galapagos National Park officials said that with George's death, the Pinta tortoise subspecies has become extinct.
They said his body would probably be embalmed to conserve him for future generations.

Tortoises were plentiful on the Galapagos islands until the late 19th century, but were later hunted for their meat by sailors and fishermen to the point of extinction.
Their habitat furthermore suffered when goats were introduced from the mainland.

The differences in appearance between tortoises from different Galapagos islands were among the features which helped the British naturalist Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution.

Some 20,000 giant tortoises of other subspecies still live on the Galapagos.
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PostPosted: 28-06-2012 06:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lonesome George: Does the death of a subspecies matter?
By Matt Bardo, Reporter, BBC Nature

Lonesome George, the last Pinta giant tortoise has died and his kind is now extinct. But if his genes live on in tortoise "relatives", how much does the loss of this subspecies matter?

"Usually we don't notice it.
"It happens, then we discover it, but it's too late then," says Lonesome George expert Henry Nicholls about the moment of extinction, something humanity almost never knowingly sees.

But for the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, named in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's rarest animal, it was different.

"George managed to string out a moment of extinction for 40 years in captivity," says Mr Nicholls, who wrote Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of a Conservation Icon.
"More than just a symbol for the Galapagos, Lonesome George was a symbol of our global never-ending struggle to preserve the richness and diversity and beauty of he planet we inherited," an open letter published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says.


Long article, discusses species and sub-species distinction. Also discusses Manta Rays, Rats and Tigers, and 'Edge Species' (especially amphibians).
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Psycho Punk
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PostPosted: 27-01-2013 12:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Extinction Rates Not as Bad as Feared ... for Now: Scientists Challenge Common Belief

The rate of species extinction may not be as bad as first thought, but recording of species is still a mammoth task. (Credit: Griffith University)
Jan. 24, 2013 — Concerns that many animals are becoming extinct, before scientists even have time to identify them, are greatly overstated, according Griffith University researcher, Professor Nigel Stork. Professor Stork has taken part in an international study, the findings of which have been detailed in "Can we name Earth's species before they go extinct?" published in the journal Science.

Deputy Head of the Griffith School of Environment, Professor Stork said a number of misconceptions have fueled these fears, and there is no evidence that extinction rates are as high as some have feared.

"Surprisingly, few species have gone extinct, to our knowledge. Of course, there will have been some species which have disappeared without being recorded, but not many we think," Professor Stork said.

Professor Stork said part of the problem is that there is an inflated sense of just how many animals exist and therefore how big the task to record them.

"Modern estimates of the number of eukaryotic species have ranged up to 100 million, but we have estimated that there are around 5 million species on the planet (plus or minus 3 million)."

And there are more scientists than ever working on the task. This contrary to a common belief that we are losing taxonomists, the scientists who identify species.

"While this is the case in the developed world where governments are reducing funding, in developing nations the number of taxonomists is actually on the rise.

"World-wide there are now two to three times as many taxonomist describing species as there were 20 years ago."

Even so, Professor Stork says the scale of the global taxonomic challenge is not to be underestimated.

"The task of identifying and naming all existing species of animals is still daunting, as there is much work to be done."

Other good news for the preservation of species is that conservation efforts in the past few years have done a good job in protecting some key areas of rich biodiversity.

But the reprieve may be short-lived.

"Climate change will dramatically change species survival rates, particularly when you factor in other drivers such as overhunting and habitat loss," Professor Stork said.

"At this stage we have no way of knowing by how much extinction rates may escalate.

"But once global warming exceeds the 2 degree barrier, we can expect to see the scale of loss many people already believe is happening. Higher temperature rises coupled with other environmental impacts will lead to mass extinctions"

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Griffith University, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
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We wont hurt you human.
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PostPosted: 20-02-2013 12:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

monops wrote:
That's a very, very good question. I'd want to eradicate all extinctions that were caused, directly or indirectly, by humans, but maybe not the ones that would have happened naturally...but how do you find out which are which? And where do you draw the line?

I suppose I'm so upset by the fate of the baiji because it was known that it was endangered for ages, and that it was because of increasing traffic and pollution in its habitat, but nothing was done, and now it's too late. But you make a very good point, QuaziWashboard.

There's always the off-chance the Baiji will make its way BACK onto the critically endangered list, with another sighting from the odd 1 or 2 still paddling around the river shallows.
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What a Cad!
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PostPosted: 10-05-2013 06:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zoo seeks mate for last surviving 'gorgeously ugly' fish
By Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent, BBC News

London Zoo is appealing to fish keepers to try to find a mate for a critically endangered, tropical species.
The Mangarahara cichlid is extinct in the wild but the three in captivity are all male.

Described as "gorgeously ugly", the Zoo is hoping to start a conservation programme if a fit female can be found for the captive males.
And with two of the males now 12 years old, the quest is said to be extremely urgent.

These cichlids were named for the Mangarahara river in Madagascar where they were first found.
The construction of dams on the river caused the streams they lived in to dry up and the fish is now believed to be extinct in its natural habitat.

There are two males in captivity at London Zoo and another in Berlin. There had been a female in captivity at the German zoo but attempts to breed ended in disaster when the male killed her.
"It's a fairly common thing with cichlids," London Zoo's aquarium curator Brain Zimmerman told BBC News.

"They are unusual fish compared to many in that they practise pair bonding and parental care of the eggs and the fry, so there's a lot of tussling that goes on between them."

Having carried out a search with other aquariums around the world and failed to find a mate for their bachelor boys, the team at ZSL are now hoping that someone may have a female in a private collection.

According to Brian Zimmerman, if you have one you're likely to know it.
"They are not a particularly beautiful fish, they are gorgeously ugly, they are unusual. They are more a connoisseur's type of fish. They need quite a bit of space, the males are bigger than your hand, and they need a decent tank," he added.

Given the age profile of the London males and the failure to find a mate in the world's zoos, Brian Zimmerman is not very confident for the future of the species.
"I'm not very hopeful. This fresh water fish crisis is huge worldwide and as water becomes diverted for human use it becomes scarcer and fish generally lose out," he said.
"I think there's probably a very slim to no chance of this fish surviving

London Zoo is asking anyone with information about female cichlids to email the team at
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PostPosted: 10-05-2013 17:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't listen to them, Mr Mangarahara, you look like a perfectly decent fish to me.
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PostPosted: 03-08-2013 06:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

Corn bunting disappears from Barra and Vatersay

A farmland bird is thought to have vanished from parts of the Western Isles and is facing extinction in other areas, RSPB Scotland has warned.
For the first time since monitoring for corn bunting calls began, the birds have not been heard on Barra or Vatersay.
One territorial male has been spotted on Benbecula.
The RSPB said parts of the Uists were now the last strongholds of the buntings in the Western Isles.

Corn buntings, which are also known as the fat bird of the barley, are an RSPB red list species having suffered "dramatic population decline" across the UK.
RSPB manager Jamie Boyle said: "For the first time ever, spring-time in the machair of Barra and Vatersay has been marked without the distinctive rattling song of the corn bunting.
"Since time immemorial this wee brown bird has been a familiar sight and sound to crofters going about their business.
"We are gravely concerned that this may not be the case in the future."

The RSPB is planning to take emergency action to conserve bunting hot spots on the islands.
Modern agriculture has been blamed for depriving the birds of winter food.
Falling numbers of corn buntings have been observed for a number of years.

Variations in the songs of different groups of buntings in the Western Isles have helped scientists to chart the decline in numbers.
By studying the pattern of male birds' songs, researchers can identify different groups of buntings.

In the past males could find enough mates within their own groups.
But Aberystwyth University scientists reported last year that the dialect groups were beginning to mix together suggesting males were flying further to find mates.

In August last year, RSPB Scotland said only 800 breeding pairs of corn bunting were believed to remain in Scotland.
The charity said an Aberdeenshire population had declined from 134 pairs to only 12 over a 20-year period.
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Piffle Prospector
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PostPosted: 12-09-2013 13:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Ugly Animal Preservation Society!

The Blobfish won the competition but my money was on the one holding the certificate!

The Aquatic Scrotum Frog sounds like a good chum of the penis-seeking missile fish! Smile
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Justified and Ancient
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PostPosted: 12-09-2013 15:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and it could probably do with a bit of company too, take it's mind off things.
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PostPosted: 12-09-2013 15:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strangely, the blobfish is still better looking than Eric Pickles.
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