There’s simply no way other way to begin this story: The future for Africa’s forest elephant (Loxodonata cyclotis) is exceedingly dire.
The battle to protect this “hidden elephant” from unremitting slaughter is being lost to a more aggressive and merciless demand for the animals’ ivory.
Or as Richard Ruggiero, Africa branch chief at the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), bluntly puts it: “There will [only] be a massive decline in poaching when the market demands stop or all the elephants are gone.”
Still, despite the data and the carnage, Ruggiero—and some other conservationists—believes that there is a way for the trajectory to be slowly reversed.
“Although it’s getting very late, it’s not too late.” But, he warns, “we have exhausted all the margins for error and inaction. Every day that lapses, while we do not act in a strategic, concerted, and energetic way, we get closer and closer to the abyss.”…
A project to reintroduce these little brown birds helps protect them from extinction.
by Emma Bryce
In 2011 a rescue mission more than 30 years in the making began to unfold in the Pacific Islands. Scientists were embarking on an expedition to reintroduce the Millerbird to a northwest Hawaiian atoll called Laysan Island. The nondescript little brown bird was last seen there in 1923, after having its habitat destroyed by introduced rabbits and livestock.
The biologists planned to capture birds from a nearby rocky outcrop called Nihoa Island—the Millers’ last stronghold—and transport them nearly 650 miles by boat to Laysan’s shore. The stakes were high: There were only about 800 Millers left, and moving even a small number of them seemed risky. But it was worth it, they decided.
"We believed that if the birds survived the trip, they would flourish," says Sheldon Plentovich, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restoration ecologist, who planned the translocation.
The expedition made the three-day voyage twice, carrying a total of 50 birds, which appeared “unflappable,” says Plentovich. “Even in the boat, they were eating the whole time.” In the end, they all survived, and Laysan now supports more than 125 individuals…
The greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus) is the largest bamboo lemur, but it has the smallest population size of any other lemur species in Madagascar.
Their habitat is threatened by slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging, and the extensive cutting down of bamboo. In some areas greater bamboo lemurs are being hunted with slingshots and snares. The IUCN lists this species as Critically Endangered
The black-footed ferret is one of the most endangered mammals in North America, but new research suggests that these charismatic critters can persist if conservationists think big enough.
Decades of human persecution (e.g., poisoning) of the ferret’s favorite prey, prairie dogs, and severe outbreaks of plague and distemper led to its extinction in the wild in 1987.
Since then, thousands of captive-raised ferrets have been released across North America, and at least four wild populations have been successfully reestablished.
However, a new factor threatens to undermine these hard-fought conservation gains: the continued eastward spread of the exotic bacterial disease plague, which is a quick and efficient killer of prairie dogs, and is caused by the same microbe that is implicated in the Black Death pandemics of the Middle Ages…
Tahiti Monarch conservation wins first BirdLife People’s Choice Award as new threats emerge
by Nick Askew
Results revealed today show that Manu (Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie: BirdLife in French Polynesia) has won a public vote to become the first BirdLife People’s Choice Award. However, celebrations were short-lived as new threats from invasive species and heavy rain threaten the last 10 breeding pairs in the world.
“Looking back at 2013, there are so many achievements to highlight from within the BirdLife Partnership”, said Dr Hazell Shokellu Thompson - Interim Chief Executive of BirdLife International. “Congratulations to Manu for their work controlling invasive species in the Tahiti Monarch’s home range which enabled last year to be the best breeding season since they started their work sixteen years ago!”
Manu have been monitoring monarchs, controlling introduced predators such as rats and improving habitat for the Critically Endangered species since 1998. Manu’s award-winning work marries conservation education with cutting-edge science. Children raise native trees in their school’s tree nursery, volunteers plant the trees, and ecologists worked with volunteers to combats introduced species…
The Burmese roof turtle (Batagur trivitta) is considered one of the most critically endangered turtles in the world!
This large river terrapin was believed to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 2002 in its home range of Myanmar. Now there are now over 600 individuals of this species being maintained and raised in facilities in the area. With egg-laying season coming up soon, we are hopeful this number will continue to increase.
You can read more about our work with the species here:
North America’s smallest and most rare turtle, the bog turtle, hibernates underwater in mud bogs ranging from 6 to 18 inches deep during the winter.
Watched a gpb special on mountain bogs and these rare reptiles. I would love to explore a mountain bog and its flora/fauna… We actually camped near the bog the special was filmed at (northern Chattahoochee), and visited the waterfalls. Maybe we’ll find the bog next time!!
Also sometimes known as the white-lipped deer, Thorold’s deer is a threatened species of deer that is endemic to the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Thorold’s deer typically inhabit grassland, shrubland and high altitude forests. Like other deer C. albirostris is mainly crepuscular and lives in small herds of around ten animals. They are grazers and will feed on a wide range of plants, notably grasses and sedges. However they will eat larger plats like willows and rhododendrons as well.
Currently Cervus albirostris is listed as threatened and faces threats from habitat loss and hunting.
A boater saw a loggerhead turtle floating abnormally with the left side substantially more buoyant than the right, preventing it from staying submerged for extended periods. The concerned boater called us and remained with the turtle until our officers could arrive. FWC sea turtle biologists rescued the loggerhead from the Intracoastal Waterway in southern Martin County with substantial assistance from the officers. Loggerheads are among the larger sea turtles; adults weigh an average of 275 pounds and have a shell length of about 3 feet. We hope the rescued reptile will be released after successful rehabilitation!
Please report stranded, injured or dead sea turtles to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone.
Florida residents can help support sea turtle research and response efforts by purchasing a sea turtle license plate at BuyaPlate.com or through a local tax collector.
A zoo-bred Owston’s Palm Civet(Chrotogale owstoni) cub (upper Left), the first artificially bred civet in the Hanoi Zoo is seen with its mother at the zoo in Hanoi, Viet Nam, July 23, 2007. Owston’s Palm Civet is an extremely rare species which is only found in northern Vietnam, northern Laos, and southwestern China.
… the threatened bog turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii). This juvenile was found on Wallkill River Refuge in NJ and NY. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Susi von Oettingen recently talked about it and other species at risk on Fox News Connecticut (see here). Saving these species matters, she said, because they’re part of our conservation heritage. They also could have medical or commercial value.
Following a 16-year campaign by the Center for Biological Diversity to protect yellow-billed cuckoos, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finally proposed a listing decision for these rare and beautiful birds.
The Service proposes to protect the western population of yellow-billed cuckoos as “threatened,” which would provide the birds with protection and a recovery plan. But the proposal omits critical habitat designation, and so may not be enough to reverse the bird’s decline.
Western yellow-billed cuckoos once nested in riparian forests from British Columbia to Mexico. But now, due to loss and fragmentation of habitat, the birds no longer breed in the Pacific Northwest, and other western states likely support only a few hundred breeding pairs.
Take action now and urge the Service to list yellow-billed cuckoos as endangered and protect the critical habitat these birds need to survive…