ThinkingShift species watch

October 3, 2007 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

A mixed bag of news really. Some species going kaput, some discovered, some just hanging in there. Let’s start with the discovered bit…kicks the post off with some positive news.

National Geographic imageFlying fox exists after all. An unusual species of flying fox was recently discovered on Mindoro island in the Philippines, not long after it was said not to exist. This cute fellow is actually a fruit bat. He’s a pretty big size, has bright orange fur and distinctive white stripes across its brow and jaw. The animal is now known as the Mindoro stripe-faced fruit bat. Source: National Geographic.

Brazilian blue parrot stages comeback. The Lear’s Macaw, a vivid, electric blue-hued parrot, has come back from the brink of extinction with more than 750 birds in the wild counted in a recent survey. This is more than 10 times the number reported in the wild in the late 1980s. The global population of this species was just 70 birds in 1987; in 2003 it was 455, and until the June, 2007 count, the estimated population was 600. This is a very majestic looking bird,with yellow plumes around its beak and eyes. But….. hunting and the illegal pet trade market places this bird under continual threat. Source: Reuters.

Rare cat close to kaput. One of the world’s rarest cats, the Japanese wild cat, is teetering on the verge of extinction. Its habitat is being threatened by hotel development, cars and a deadly frog fungus. The Iriomote cat has been listed as “critically endangered” on the Japanese government’s Red List of threatened species. The wildcat is found only on Iriomote Jima, a tiny, tropical, mountainous island on the southern end of the Ryukyu archipelago, which stretches from Japan to Taiwan. Source: National Geographic.

Guardian Unlimited imagePink flamingos may disappear. Bad news. Millions of gloriously elegant pink flamingos may disappear from the shores of Lake Natron in northern Tanzania, which is an important breeding ground. An Indian chemical company wants to extract soda ash from the lake and they plan to construct a soda ash plant in the area. The company is Tata Chemicals, part of the giant Tata industrial group of India. Each summer 500,000 of the birds, three-quarters of the world’s breeding population, fly to the lake to nest. Following an environmental impact assessment Tata Chemicals must undertake, let’s hope the flamingos are left in peace. Source: Guardian Unlimited.

Vampire bats go wild. As a result of the South American rainforests being destroyed, the vampire bat is finding meatier victims to sink its teeth into. When the rainforests were intact there was plenty of juicy prey for the bat – tapirs and piglike peccaries for example. But now this dining option is increasingly less, the bats have turned to cattle as rainforest is often cleared for cattle grazing. The bats feed at night and numbers have been on the rise over the last 50 years, a fact attributed to deforestation. And the bats place humans under the risk of rabies. Source: National Geographic.

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Entry filed under: Animals, Environment, ThinkingShift species watch. Tags: , , , , .

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