African Elephants Could Be Extinct Within 20 Years, Experts Say


TIME

Experts announced a jarring prediction at a conservation summit in Botswana Monday: Unless the illegal poaching trade is curbed, African elephants could be extinct in the next couple decades.

“This species could be extinct in our lifetime if the current trend continues…, within one or two decades,” said Dune Ives, a senior researcher at Vulcan, speaking at The Africa Elephant Summit, AFP reports. “In five years we may have lost the opportunity to save this magnificent and iconic animal.”

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, between 2006 and 2013, the African elephant population has decreased from 550,000 to 470,000, and the number continues to drop. The steep decline in population is largely attribute to illegal poaching and the ivory trade.

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Giant Galapagos tortoises, once extinct in the wild, retake island from invasive rats


Grist

For more than a century, ever since humans introduced them to the Galapagos, rats have ruled Pinzón Island. Just one year ago, 180 million rats lived on this island, hardly seven square miles of land. And because the rats were so hungry for turtle eggs and turtle hatchlings, for years the native giant tortoises — a subspecies called Chelonoidis nigra duncanensis — had to breed in captivity and were considered extinct in the wild.

But now, John R. Platt reports at Scientific American, 118 juvenile tortoises have been let free on the island. And they may just survive — because the rats are gone.

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China’s finless porpoises are going extinct


Grist

China’s got wayyyyyyy too many pigs in its rivers (16,000 dead pigs in the Huangpu at last count!), but it’s dangerously short on “river pigs,” the colloquial name for the finless porpoise. (My first thought was “they’re finless, of course they’re going extinct; how do they MOVE?” but the name comes from their lack of dorsal fin. They do have flippers.) In over 2,000 miles of the Yangtze river, the World Wildlife Fund found only 380 of these smiley critters. That’s 50 percent less than there were six years ago.

The WWF estimates that this means there are about 1,000 finless porpoises in the wild — fewer, in other words, than the wild population of giant pandas, which clocks in at around 1,600. They give the river pigs 15 years to extinction unless we do something.

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Taiwan: Formosan Clouded Leopard Extinct


The link below is to an article reporting on the official declaration that the Formosan Clouded Leopard is extinct.

For more visit:
http://www.treehugger.com/endangered-species/clouded-leopards-declared-extinct-taiwan.html

Australia: Western Australia – Western Long-Beaked Echidna May Still Exist in the Kimberley


The link below is to an article reporting on the possible existence of what was thought to be an extinct Echidna in Western Australia.

For more visit:
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/locally-extinct-echidna-may-be-alive-in-wa.htm

Japan: Japanese River Otter Declared Extinct


The link below is to an article reporting on the official extinction of the Japanese River Otter.

For more visit:
http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0828-hance-japanese-river-otter.html