Africa’s Black Rhino Driven to Extinction

Very sad news to learn of the confirmed extinction of Africa’s western black rhino.  The blackrhinoblack market for rhino horn, which fetches upward of $1,400 an ounce for medicinal witch-doctory in countries like Vietnam, where demand is at its highest, was a death sentence for this species.  According to CNN reports,

Africa’s western black rhino is now officially extinct according the latest review of animals and plants by the world’s largest conservation network. Continue reading

Enduring Wildlife Conservation is About Conserving Human Livelihood

So often, we hear stories of wildlife extinction or near extinction due to imbalances created by habitat encroachment or insatiable human appetites.  This week I’m highlighting the extraordinary conservation work of Paul Butler of the organization RARE, who has helped to bring the St. Lucia Parrot population back from near extinction to now on the road to recovery.  In the 1970s these beautiful birds were on the brink of extinction – only 150 specimens – due to deforestation for agriculture and illegal hunting and capture for international pet trade.  There are now 1,500 St. Lucia Parrots flying about the forests of the Caribbean.  Paul and his local partners, churches, St Lucia parrotbusinesses, and musicians, brought attention to the plight of this bird by appealing to local “pride” and working with local communities to protect people’s livelihood.  According to Paul,

Conservation is not just about fluffy animals and about protecting habitat.  It’s also about protecting people’s livelihoods. When you appeal to people on both their rational and emotional side, we find that conservation can gain traction and can be successful.

Kudos to Paul and his team and leveraging the right incentives for success.  You can find out more about RARE and Paul’s work here and here.

Where the Heck Would we Put a Woolly Mammoth – or Saber Tooth Tiger for that Matter

The recent discovery in Russia of a 10,000 year old woolly mammoth carcass surprisingly in tact, with muscle tissue and fluid imagesCAR30KGYblood samples, has brought both great excitement and dread for what this could mean to science and conservation efforts now and in the future.  The mammoth’s carcass was so well-preserved, there is intriguing talk among scientists of the possibility of using its DNA to clone and resurrect this long-lost animal, prompting a fire-storm of sorts within imagesCA6HO5L8the scientific community on the issue of de-extinction and bringing extinct species back to life.  Some call it fantasy, yet others call it a looming reality. Continue reading