31 January 2007

If At First You Don't Succeed . . .

Takahe (Porphyrio hochstetteri)

A mated pair of Takahe's, birds indigenous to New Zealand, recently made an unsuccessful nesting attempt, producing two infertile eggs. The ecologists working with the birds say that they are young and still getting the hang of being good parents, and are hopeful the pair will make another attempt in the near future. Here's the original.

Here's more info and images on Takahes.

Abundant in the Hudson

Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum)

Here's something you don't hear about everyday. The shortnose sturgeon, listed as vulnerable on the IUCN's Redlist, appears to be recovering, at least in certain rivers in North America. Although the article cites a 400% increase in the Hudson River since the 70s, it makes no mention of other rivers where this species is also threatened.

Here's the article.
Images of Shortnose Sturgeon.

Say it Ain't So

Baiji (Lipotes vexillifer)

The Baiji, also known as the Chinese River Dolphin or the Yangtze River Dolphin, may already be extinct. I don't know what else to say. I'm sitting here, slightly stunned, and hoping that the expedition, which searched for six weeks and found no dolphins, might have missed a few. Enough that the population could still survive. I guess all I can do is keep hoping, and keep working. This might be old news to some who have been following this species closely, but I have just started to learn about this species.

Read articles here or in Wikipedia.

Donate to the EDGE project to try to locate and save any remaining Baiji.

30 January 2007

Tatoosh, Meriweather, Ursa, and Wiley

California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus)

Four California Condors are being prepared for release into the wild. Two will be released this summer, and two next summer, into the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona.

Read the article.

Baby Pygmy

Pygmy Hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis)

A new baby Pygmy Hippopotamus has been born in to the world. That's one more baby pygmy hippopotamus joining the fight against extinction. Here's the article.

Meet the Baby at the Louisville Zoo.

29 January 2007

Species of the Week, 29 Jan 07

Ethiopian Wolf (Canis simensis)

Who knew they had wolves in Africa? I didn't, until I read an article entitled Africa's Last Wolves, in the March 2006 issue of National Geographic. This beautiful canid is endangered--the rarest canid on the planet. Look up some images, and you'll see that the Ethiopian wolf does not look like what most North Americans think of when they think of a wolf. Their colour is beautiful.

The greatest risk facing the estimated 600 remaining animals is rabies and canine distemper--infections contracted from domesticated dogs. A paper published in October 2006 in the journal Nature has shown that selective vaccination may help provide some protection for the population, but the future of the Ethiopian Wolf is still uncertain.

Help save the Ethiopian Wolf

Breeding Garudas

Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius)

A pair of greater adjutants, also known as Garuda birds, have been sighted nesting in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar, India. Less than a thousand of these birds are alive in the world. They are threatened by habitat loss, hunting, and egg collection. The anti-inflammatory medicine Diclofenac, used by veterinarians to treat cattle and shown to be harmful to vultures, may also be a contributor to their decline, as the birds sometimes feed on cattle carcasses.

Read the article.
See images of the greater adjutant.

From Kaziranga to Manas

One Horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)

Two One Horned Rhinoceros calves have been moved from Kaziranga National Park to Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, in India. This movement is part of an effort to expand the range of these endangered mammals, threatened by habitat loss and poachers.

Read the article.
See some images


I can't really point to a specific incident that caused me to feel strongly about endangered species. I do know that I've always enjoyed learning about interesting plants and animals (and they're all interesting, if you look hard enough). Probably, it's the thought that I may never get to hear the booming calls of the New Zealand kakapo, or see a black-footed ferret peeping out of an abandoned prairie dog mound in South Dakota, or swim in salty blue water with a leather back turtle. I may not get to do some of these things even if all endangered species survive years into the future, but I'd rather live in a world where the possibility exists.