Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A couple of species on the brink

Extinction danger alert for the Chinese finless river porpoise, and the spoon-billed sandpiper.  In both cases, declining health of river and wetland environments is in the center of the problem.   And unfortunately, both of these animals are very cute.

WWF says 'Chinese river pig' [ finless porpoise ] close to extinction

"Scientists spent over a month last year scanning more than 3,400 kilometres (2,125 miles) of the [ Yangtze ] river in a hunt for the porpoises, but only saw 380, the conservation group WWF said in a statement. Based on that observation, combined with sightings of the porpoises in lakes connected to the river, the total number alive in the wild was likely to be a little more than 1,000, the WWF said."
Rare video of endangered shorebird
Researchers with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology capture video of newborn Spoon Billed Sandpiper chicks. This critically endangered Asian shorebird could go extinct within ten years.
This isn't news that's good to hear, but it's news we need to pay attention to.  Ecosystems are in decline globally, and that means species loss.  These are more "charismatic megafauna" that are in serious trouble.  We need reserves that preserve large natural environments, and we need them now, everywhere.

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