We recently brought you the rediscovery story of cave squeakers. These tiny frogs, known for their high-pitched whistling calls, were native to the mountainous region of eastern Zimbabwe but had not been seen since 1962. That all changed in late 2016, when researchers found four cave squeakers, confirming that after 58 years the species was not extinct. Cave squeakers remain critically endangered according to the IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species.
The world’s smallest porpoise – the vaquita – is in real trouble. According to a recent report by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (or CIRVA), the vaquita population has plummeted to just 30 individuals –a 90% plunge since 2011 – despite international conservation efforts. The vaquita, which is found only in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California, is the most endangered marine mammal on Earth and is on the doorstep of extinction.
Amphibians are one of the most threatened groups of animals on the planet. Since the late 1980s, scientists have measured dramatic population declines from locations all over the world. The plummeting amphibian populations are perceived to be one of the most critical threats to global biodiversity. According to the IUCN, about 1 of every 3 amphibian species is facing extinction. Some of the greatest threats facing amphibians include climate change, disease, and habitat destruction.
Climate change is posing a major threat to polar bear survival. The polar bear, whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, depends on sea ice for nearly all of its life cycle functions. And rising temperatures are causing that sea ice to disappear.
Because of its Arctic location, Alaska is warming about twice as fast as the rest of the United States. The past year has been the warmest on record. The forces of erosion and increasingly powerful storms have resulted in the imminent risk of destruction for at least 31 Alaskan towns and cities. Many are predicted to become uninhabitable over the next few decades. Residents of these places are likely to join the growing flow of climate refugees around the globe.
A new study has revealed that the global population of the world’s fastest land animal – the cheetah – is down to only 7,100, a drop of 50% over the past 40 years. The dramatic decline in cheetah population could soon lead to the extinction of the species unless urgent conservation efforts are made.
Globally, 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies, are facing extinction. And since approximately three-quarters of the world’s food crops depend on pollination, the decline of these pollinators could pose a threat to food security around the globe.
Back in June, we reported that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature was reassessing the giant panda’s status as an endangered species. Well, in an update of the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species in September, the giant panda was indeed downgraded to “vulnerable.”
Snow leopards are majestic animals native to Central Asia. They roam the region’s rugged terrain, from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan and Russia in the north, and to India and China in the east. Snow leopards are known for their thick white coat of fur with ringed black and brown spots. These markings help camouflage the animals from their prey. But the camouflage does little to protect snow leopards from one of their biggest threats: humans.
It’s no secret that pollinators around the world are under threat. According to a U.N. sponsored report released earlier this year, 40% of invertebrate pollinator species, such as bees and butterflies, are facing extinction. And since approximately 75% of the world’s food crops depend on pollination, the decline of these pollinators poses a major threat to food worldwide.
There are many worries related to climate change, notably the increasing occurrence of extreme weather events, melting polar ice, rising seas, and so forth. But perhaps one of the most ominous warnings comes from a new report issued by the Climate Institute about the future of coffee.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea. They can grow more than 40 feet in length, weigh up to 47,000 lbs, and have a lifespan of about 70 years. They can be found cruising in the open waters of tropical oceans. But despite being enormous, whale sharks are no threat to humans. The docile beasts, which feed almost exclusively on plankton, have often been referred to as “gentle giants.”