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Sad News for Conservationists and Crocodilians

The Wildlife Conservation Society has announced the death of senior conservation scientist Dr. John Thorbjarnarson, 52, who died of malaria on February 14, 2010 in India. Dr. Thorbjarnarson was an expert on crocodilians, snakes, turtles, and other reptiles and had worked throughout his career to save critically endangered species such as the Orinoco Crocodile in Venezuela, the  Read More 
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Avoid the Curse of the Ancient Mariner

Coleridge’s nightmarish poem, “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” describes the havoc wreaked upon a ship and its crew after an old sailor shoots an albatross and is condemned to wander the earth, zombielike, haranguing hapless passersby with his endless tale. The moral? “loveth best / All things great and small.” In other words,  Read More 
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Can You Live for 9-10 Months Without Water?

I didn’t think so. But the Scimitar-horned Oryx, today’s Endangered All-Star, can. You can’t get more endangered: This species is considered Extinct in the Wild, the last stop on the IUCN’s Red List before total annihilation. With its wide desert-adapted hooves, perfect for trekking across sand dunes, this oryx once  Read More 
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Poor Devil

Powerful and intimidating though it is, today’s Endangered All-Star, the Giant Devilray, needs a helping hand. While the species is not targeted by fishermen, it ends up caught on longlines or swordfish driftnets, an innocent victim of bycatch. And this ray is very slow to reproduce, giving birth to only a single pup— Read More 
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Love Your Uncharismatic Microfauna

OK, so a fly may not seem all that loveable compared to ultra-furry pandas or cute baby elephants. But this stonefly is doubtless a critical part of its high-altitude glacial stream ecosystem. Little is known of its life cycle or role, but it may be almost too late to find out. Listed as critically  Read More 
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Clouded Leopard on the Menu

According to the Smithsonian, today’s Endangered All-Star, the Clouded Leopard, has been seen on restaurant menus catering to the wealthy in China and Thailand. Skins are for sale in markets throughout southeast Asia, and teeth and bones are used in traditional Chinese medicine, a replacement for tiger parts as that species grows ever  Read More 
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"The Most Melodious Wild Musick I Have Ever Heard"

That was Sir Joseph Bank’s description of New Zealand’s dawn chorus of birds, which he heard on a January morning a quarter of a mile off the coast of New Zealand, on Captain Cook’s first circumnavigation of the south seas. Over the course of its evolutionary history, New Zealand had become  Read More 
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Climate Change Threatens Tallest Trees on Earth

An important new study has demonstrated that the coastal fog providing today’s Endangered All-Star, the Coast Redwoods, with crucial cool temperatures and moisture has declined over the past century by around three hours per day, potentially endangering the entire coastal ecosystem surrounding and supporting these great trees. There are excellent summaries of the  Read More 
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Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby

UNTIMELY RIPPED FROM ITS MOTHER’S POUCH Alien abduction is as nothing compared to the complex conservation effort underway to beef up numbers of today’s Endangered All-Star: the Brush-Tailed Rock Wallaby. Considered endangered in Australia and “Near Threatened” by the IUCN, this mid-sized rock climber—which once roamed southeastern Australia in the millions—  Read More 
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USFWS to Pikas: GET USED TO IT

A BIG BATTLE OVER A TINY MAMMAL In the bitter war being waged over climate change in this country, two creatures have been drafted as poster children: the Polar Bear and the American Pika, today’s Endangered All-Star. The pika is a diminutive creature often compared to the chinchilla because of its size and  Read More 
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