Saturday, March 20, 2010

Extinct Birds

Haven't had much time recently to note recent news, so I'm playing catch-up here.

First, a new biological modeling system is being tested to determine whether it is economically feasible to try and save a species after it hasn't been seen in a while. Recent test subjects include the ivorybill and the dodo. (News source.)

California condors have made a nest in Pinnacles National Monument for the first time in 100 years. (News source.)

Scientists have extracted DNA from the eggshells of several extinct birds (moas, elephant birds, etc.). (Abstract)

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Jaguar Protection

Federal officials are now supporting jaguar habitat protection. (News source.) And a Louisiana newspaper chimes in with stories of jaguars from the past there.

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"Extinct" Tortoise Found in Captivity

Nine captive Galapagos Island tortoises are descendants of an "extinct" species from Floreana Island, according to new genetic research. (News source.)

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tomb Bat

Theobald’s Tomb Bat has been rediscovered in the Western Ghats (India). Not sure why they are saying it was thought extinct, as I see prior articles mention it from the region, but it is a rare species. (News source.)

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Rare Owls

A profile here on the rare Anjouan scops-owl of the Comoros.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Guyana Biodiversity

An expedition into Guyana to look for giant river otters ran across a number of interesting species. Plenty of pics here, with interview. (via Kevin Stewart)

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Strange Animal Roundup

Just so I don't have to make more posts than necessary:

Conservationists are working with Ethiopian wolves, here.

Another brown-and-white giant panda has been found. (News source.)

A giant stingray has been filmed. (News source, with video)

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Bay Cat Video

A brief video of the endangered bay cat in the wild has been posted online.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Last Hunt for Maryland Darter?

The small Maryland darter (a fish) is being hunted by biologists, to see if they can rediscover it. It hasn't been seen in about twenty years. (News source.)

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Lord Howe Island Stick Insect Recovery

A paper on this rediscovered insect:

The recovery programme for the Lord Howe Island Phasmid (Dryococelus australis) following its rediscovery
Nicholas Carlile, David Priddel and Patrick Honan (2009)
Ecological Management and Restoration 10(s1): s124-s128


"Until its rediscovery on Balls Pyramid in February 2001, the Lord Howe Island Phasmid or Stick Insect (Dryococelus australis) was thought to be extinct. It disappeared from Lord Howe Island soon after the accidental introduction of the Ship Rat (Rattus rattus) in 1918. In this paper, we report on the recovery actions undertaken for this critically endangered species since its rediscovery. Monitoring of the small surviving population on Balls Pyramid has shown it to fluctuate between about 9 and 35 adult individuals. As a safeguard against extinction, two adult pairs were removed from Balls Pyramid in February 2003 to establish captive populations in Melbourne and Sydney. Although all four founders bred readily in captivity, one pair died only a month after capture. The second female would have also died soon after capture had it not been for veterinary intervention using novel untested techniques. The single surviving pair bred successfully but the hatch rate of eggs was poor. For the next generation, both fecundity and hatch rates were low. The lack of knowledge regarding the specific husbandry requirements of this particular species undoubtedly contributed to these problems. Careful management, together with a cautious scientific approach, eventually led to all problems being resolved. Presently, there are more than 700 individuals and 14 000 eggs in captivity. Approximately 80% of incubated eggs are expected to hatch. To establish additional captive colonies, adults and eggs have been sent to other institutions, both within Australia and overseas. Now that the species is reasonably secure in captivity, the opportunity exists to reintroduce this iconic insect back onto Lord Howe Island, but this can occur only after the introduced rodents have been removed. A programme to eradicate both the Ship Rat and the House Mouse (Mus musculus) from Lord Howe Island is currently being developed."

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Lemur Refuge

The highly endangered greater bamboo lemur has been found in an eastern Madagascar location where it had been thought extinct. (News source.)

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Conservation: Saola and Okapi

The Saola antelope is close to extinction. (News source.)

An interesting interview and overview of okapi conservation here.

(Thanks to Kevin Stewart.)

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Searching for Lost Birds

Birdlife International is undergoing a project to determine if 47 critically endangered birds are still around, or if they have become extinct. (News source.)

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Catching Giant Earthworms

A Wired article notes some of the techniques being used to locate giant Palouse earthworms.

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Giant Sable Antelopes

Three of the endangered antelopes were found during a recent expedition to Cangandala National Park and Luando Game Reserve, in Angola’s northern Malanje province. (News source.)


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rarest Deer Survives

A team of researchers in the Philippines discovered signs of continued existence of the rare Visayan spotted deer. (News source.)


Friday, May 08, 2009

Panda Kills Cat

A wildcat that wandered into a Chinese panda reserve was killed by one of the pandas. (News source.)

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Another Condor Shot

Not killed, but may not be able to be re-released into the wild. (News source.)

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Jaguar Debate

Some controversy is now apparent over the decision to euthanize the jaguar discovered in Arizona. (News source.)

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Condor Release

Four more young California condors were released in Arizona near the Utah border. (News source.)

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Javan Rhino Footage

New infra-red camera footage of the rare Javan rhino in its natural habitat, here or here.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jaguar in Central Mexico

A jaguar has been photographed in a region in central Mexico, where it hasn't been seen for 50 years. (News source.)

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Solenodon on Film

Researchers in the Dominican Republican have caught the Hispaniolan solenodon on film. (News source.)

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Smallest Feline Spotted

A rusty-spotted cat was spotted in Bangladore, India. (News source.)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cockatoo Research

Researchers found surviving yellow-crested Abbott's cockatoos in Masalembu Archipelago. They're calling this a rediscovery, but it sounds like they were just checking to make sure this subspecies wasn't extinct. (News source.)

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Monkeys Than Expected

WCS surveys found new large populations of two rare Cambodian primates: (Eurekalert)

"A WCS report reveals surprisingly large populations of two globally threatened primates in a protected area in Cambodia.
"The report counted 42,000 black-shanked douc langurs along with 2,500 yellow-cheeked crested gibbons in Cambodia's Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, an estimate that represents the largest known populations for both species in the world.
"WCS scientists conducted the surveys with the Royal Government of Cambodia's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries across an area of 300 square miles (789 square kilometers) within a wider landscape of 1,150 square miles (3,000 square kilometers), which is about the size of Yosemite National Park. The scientists believe total populations within the wider landscape may be considerably greater."...
"The two primate species are found in much lower numbers at other sites in Cambodia and in Vietnam. Prior to the recent discovery in the Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, the largest known populations were believed to be in adjacent Vietnam, where black-shanked douc langurs and yellow-cheeked crested gibbons hover at 600 and 200 respectively. The total population of the two species remains unknown."

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sumatran Rhino Rescued

A Sumatran rhino on the island of Borneo was rescued from a plantation after it had been injured. (News source.)


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pupfish Might Go Extinct

The endangered Devils Hole Pupfish might finally go extinct, at least at that location, as the population seems to be declining... (News source.)

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Thursday, July 31, 2008


Smithsonian Magazine has an article on the saola.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Greater Bamboo Lemurs

A new population of the rare greater bamboo lemur has been discovered in Madagascar. (Eurekalert.)

"Researchers in Madagascar have confirmed the existence of a population of greater bamboo lemurs more than 400 kilometers (240 miles) from the only other place where the Critically Endangered species is known to live, raising hopes for its survival.
"The discovery of the distinctive lemurs with jaws powerful enough to crack giant bamboo, their favorite food, occurred in 2007 in the Torotorofotsy wetlands of east central Madagascar, which is designated a Ramsar site of international importance under the 1971 Convention on Wetlands." ...
"For years, scientists believed but were unable to prove that greater bamboo lemurs (Prolemur simus) lived in the Torotorofotsy area. A collaborative effort between the Malagasy non-government organization MITSINJO and the Henry Doorly Zoo in the United States supported by the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation and Conservation International (CI) resulted in researchers finding and immobilizing several to attach radio collars for further monitoring.
"The researchers believe there are 30-40 greater bamboo lemurs in the Torotorofotsy wetland, which is far to the north of the isolated pockets of bamboo forest where the rest of the known populations of the species live. Habitat destruction from slash-and-burn agriculture and illegal logging threatens the previously known populations that total about 100 individuals, making the existence of the newly found lemurs in a distinct region especially valuable."

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Gibbon Survey

A survey of the rare Cao Vit gibbon in Vietnam has doubled the number of the known population (now about 110 gibbons) of the critically endangered ape. (News source.)

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Still Looking

Researchers are still searching for the Ivorybill... (News source.)

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Javan Rhinos Filmed

WWF Malaysia camera traps captured a rhino and calf on film; the mother attacked the camera, despite it being IR, which is interesting... Video clip and details here.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Giant Earthworm Expands Range

Two new localities are now suspected for the rare giant Palouse earthworm. Specimens are thought probable for this species, though not conclusively identified. (News source.)

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Pygmy Hippos in Liberia

The pygmy hippo still survives in Liberia, according to a camera trap in Sapo National Park, after fears that civil wars in that country may have wiped it out. (News source.)


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Scottish Wildcats

An independent film-maker has shot what may be only the second documentary on the rare Scottish wildcat. (News source.)

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Scottish Wildcats

The Aspinall Foundation is planning to breed-and-release hybrid-free Scottish wildcats into various parts of the U.K. (News source.)

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Guam Rail on Cocos Island

There's a plan to introduce the endangered Guam rail onto Cocos Island, where it would have better protection against predators. Snakes and cats have been devastating to the bird on its home island. (News source.)

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Bald Ibis

Some interesting news here about the rare bald ibis, as tagged birds in Syria migrate to eastern Africa.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

White-Rumped Vultures Found in Nepal

The Himalayan Times is saying that a group of about 40 white-rumped vultures has been discovered in Beli Patela forest at Dhangadhi of Kailali district, Nepal. It also mistakenly says the vulture was previously considered extinct worldwide, but that appears to be incorrect. As BirdLife notes, the species has suffered catastrophic decline in Pakistan and India, but is still known to exist in some flocks there. And, there are populations elsewhere, though it is considered critically endangered.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bumblebee Bats

A villager in eastern Thailand captured some strange bats, found in a rolled up banana leaf. They turned out to be the smallest bat species, the rare bumblebee bats. (News source.)

[Correction: Darren Naish points out that these are not bumblebee bats, but painted bats (Kerivoula picta

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Giant La Palma Lizard Rediscovered

The thought-extinct giant lizard of La Palma, Gallotia auaritae, may still be around. A 300+ mm lizard was found by José Antonio Mateo, from the species recovery center on La Gomera. (These are in the Canary Islands.) A search is planned to hunt for more of the lizards. (News source.)

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Endangered Trees in India

45 species of trees in India have been placed on the "critically endangered" list by IUCN. (News source.)

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Friday, December 14, 2007

More on Sumatran Rhinos

Here's an article with a little more info on Sumatran rhinos being found in Sabah, Malaysia.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Rare Jerboa Filmed

An expedition to the Gobi desert has brought back what is probably the first video of the endangered long-eared jerboa, Euchoreutes naso. (News source.)


Friday, December 07, 2007

Panda Outbreak

A parasitic disease has dramatically risen in wild populations of the giant panda. As the panda population density grows, it creates a situation where a new disease could be particularly devastating. (News source.)

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Species Survey in Ghana

A 2006 expedition report to the Atewa Range Forest Reserve in Ghana has been released by Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program. (News source.)

"The RAP discoveries include a Critically Endangered frog species (Conraua derooi) whose presence in Atewa may represent the last viable population in the world; an unusually high 22 species of large mammals and six species of primates including two species of global conservation concern: Geoffroy’s pied colobus (Colobus vellerosus) and the olive colobus (Procolobus verus); 17 rare butterfly species; six bird species of global conservation concern including the brown-cheeked hornbill (Bycanistes cylindricus) and the Nimba flycatcher (Melaenornis annamarulae)(first time recorded in Ghana); and nine species new to science: a spider tick whose lineage is as old as the dinosaurs and eight species of katydids."

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sumatran Rhino Photographed

A Sumatran rhino was captured by a camera trap in peninsular Malaysia, the first time in more than a decade. From the news:

"The report did not reveal where the rhino was snapped, but said the photo was taken in a wildlife corridor targeted by the Wildlife and National Parks Department which also spotted elephants, sun bears and the bison-like gaur."

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More on Giant Earthworm

Here's an interesting article on the continuing search for the rare giant Palouse earthworm.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Earthworm Denied

USFWS has denied the addition of the giant Palouse earthworm to the endangered/threatened species list, because there isn't enough scientific information to determine whether threats listed in the petition are actually cause for concern. The petitioners plan to continue their fight. (News source.)

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Giant Spitting Earthworm Endangered

Several groups have sued the USFWS in an attempt to get the rare giant Palouse earthworm (Driloleirus americanus) listed as an endangered species. Press release here.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Chinese Mountain Cat

A feline biologist has photographed the rare Chinese mountain cat, and will be publishing a paper on it in an upcoming issue of Science. (News source.)

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tigers in China

The Indo-Chinese tiger (one of several subspecies in China) has been captured on infrared film in a nature preserve in Yunnan Province. (News source.)

"Until now, no definitive evidence had surfaced for nearly ten years to prove that the tiger still existed in the wild in southwestern China, although field researchers had recorded footprints and other clues indicating the large cat’s presence in the region." ...
"China’s wild tiger situation is still very precarious. Currently, four subspecies in the country—the Northeast China tiger, the South China tiger, the Indo-Chinese tiger, and the Bengal tiger—have wild populations below 50 individuals. While the protection of their natural habitat is key to the survival of these animals, time is pressing and the danger of extinction remains a strong possibility. It is critical that we seize this moment to continue anti-poaching, conserve habitats, and increase investment so that China can protect its wild tiger populations from complete extinction."


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Borneo Shark Found

One of the rarest sharks on Earth has been found again.

The Borneo shark, Carcharhinus borneensis, is listed on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, and is known from only 5 specimens since 1858. The last being in 1937.

A team of researchers from the University Malaysia Sabah identified the shark, along with a new crab and ray fish, during a survey of the Sabah and Sarawak area.

This shark is known to reach around 2 meters in length, give birth to live pups, and lives inshore. Its ecology and behaviors are virtually unknown due to its rarity, and it is known only from Borneo and a specimen near China.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Cambodian Vulture Conservation

From the Wildlife Conservation Society:

"Working in the remote forests of Cambodia, conservationists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have just discovered Southeast Asia's only known breeding colony of slender-billed vultures, one of the world's most threatened bird species.
"Found in heavily forested country just east of the Mekong River in Cambodia's Stung Treng Province, the colony also represents one of the only known slender-billed vulture nesting areas in the world, and therefore one of the last chances for recovery for the species, now listed as 'Critically Endangered' by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
"'We discovered the nests on top of a hill where two other vulture species were also found, one of which—the white-rumped vulture—is also 'Critically Endangered',' said Song Chansocheat, manager of the Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project, a government project supported by WCS, BirdLife International, World Wildlife Fund, the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. 'Amazingly, there were also a host of other globally threatened species of birds and primates. It's a very special place.'
"Chansocheat's team immediately set-up 24-hour protection measures against poaching and egg collecting, and are now working with local communities to ensure that they are involved in—and support—longer-term conservation measures. 'We already have a successful WCS model working in the Northern Plains where local people benefit from conservation activities. I think we have a good chance of making it work here if we can find the support.'
"The slender-billed vulture is one of several vulture species in Asia that have been driven to the brink of extinction across its entire range due to Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug used for cattle that is highly toxic to vultures. Diclofenac has lead to global population declines as high as 99 percent in slender-billed and other vulture species. Diclofenac is now being slowly phased out in South Asia, but not at a pace that assures the recovery of the vultures. Because Diclofenac is almost entirely absent from use in Cambodia, the country remains one of the main hopes for the survival of the species. However, these birds are still endangered from other threats, such as a lack of food due to the over-hunting of large-bodied mammals, loss of habitat, and sometimes direct hunting.
"The Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project has already been successful in helping stem the decline in Asia's vultures in Cambodia through a combination of scientific research, direct protection, food supplementation and awareness-raising. Satellite-collaring of animals has lead to a greater understanding of which areas are important to the two most threatened species, while simultaneous vulture 'restaurants' across the country provide both an additional food source for the birds and a chance to undertake coordinated counts to monitor the size and structure of the population.
"Chansocheat remains optimistic, adding 'We have the backing of local people and of the Government. If we can find financial support to extend what we know is already a successful strategy, then we should be able to conserve these species forever.'


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ivory Bill in the Mix

Just last December there were reports of more Ivory Bill Woodpecker sightings in Arkansas, where the bird was declared 'rediscovered" not so long ago. Reported sightings in Florida, and the story goes on

This has led to legal issues between conservationists / researchers and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps of Engineers has been working on a $230 million irrigation project near the Big Woods area along the White River in Arkansas, but an injunction was placed back in July 2006 that blocked on site work. The pumps and motors have been continuing to be built and the Corps of Engineers is going to store them until such a time as they can be used.

With this injunction, and more sightings, one wonders about the affect rediscovering or even finding for the first time a mystery creature can have on the local economy, ecosystem and governmental systems.

For those who have not seen the identification chart for the Ivory Bill, follow the link (a snapshot is here for you as well). There is also an interesting publication by the US Fish & Wildlife that may be of interest. Of course the classic AUK outline of the Cuban Ivory Billed Woodpecker is also a good reference point for a historical basis.

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Tamaraw Flourishing

From the news:

"Manila, Philippines (AHN) - Conservationists have successfully worked on stopping the declining population of the unique dwarf water buffalo. Previously, the animal was considered an endangered species due to hunting and deforestation.
"The tamaraw, or Bubalus mindorensis had been threatened by big-game hunters, deforestation by settlers, loggers and ranchers that placed it on the world's endangered list by 1970.
"The government has taken steps to conserve the species through a captive breeding program and the development of a 25,000-hectare jungle reserve, in addition to increasing the residents' environmental awareness.
"The latest official population count of the animal is 263, 'although the figure could even exceed 300 if reported loose sightings in the northern side of the Iglit Baco National Park are taken in,' reports the Philippine government.
"'The tamaraws have definitely survived. In fact, with the continuous efforts of the government, concerned sectors and the Mindorenos [Mindoro residents], they may even begin to thrive,' it added.
"First discovered in 1888, the tamaraw is three feet tall and has a weight of 300 kilograms."