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.
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.
De-extinction, or the act of bringing extinct species back from the dead, has been riding a wave of enthusiasm. Nearly 2 million people have watched Steward Brand’s TED talk on the topic, and Beth Shapiro’s book How to Clone a Mammoth has received rave reviews.