Monday, October 06, 2008

Who's Next?.....

While the global economy continues its downward spiral, not unlike a disabled fighter jet in a nosedive, the earth and its other inhabitants are trying to tell us something.

Today is a very sad one for all of us, and also a stark and clear warning which we're completely ignoring. With the more tolerant, diplomatic, and reasoning brand of human condition apparently coming our way, I hope we get a grip and start paying attention.

I am fully aware that the earth has made many physical changes in its lifetime, and as such realize that nothing lasts forever. Shockingly, we aren't even giving ourselves a chance. Every one of the examples listed below is now facing total annihilation, due to most of the members of our species having a total lack of self-control.

Please take a moment to look at each of the following images and think about who and what may be next.

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), which moved from Least Concern to Endangered after the global population declined by more than 60 percent in the last 10 years due to a fatal infectious facial cancer

In Costa Rica, Holdridge's Toad (Incilius holdridgei), an endemic species, moved from Critically Endangered to Extinct as it has not been seen since 1986 despite intensive surveys

Some animals whose numbers have recovered: The Wild Horse (Equus ferus) moved from Extinct in the Wild in 1996 to Critically Endangered this year after successful reintroductions started in Mongolia in the early 1990s

The Iberian Lynx (Lynx pardinus), which has a population of just 84 to 143 adults and has continued to decline due to a shortage of its primary prey, the European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

New reptiles assessed this year include the La Palma Giant Lizard (Gallotia auaritae). Found on the Canary Island of La Palma and thought to have become extinct in the last 500 years, it was rediscovered last year and is listed as Critically Endangered

The Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) moved from Extinct in the Wild to Endangered after a successful reintroduction by the US Fish and Wildlife Service into eight western states and Mexico from 1991-2008

China's Père David's Deer (Elaphurus davidianus), has declined from Critically Endangered to Extinct in the Wild. The captive population has increased in recent years and it is possible that free-ranging populations could be re-established soon

The Grey-faced Sengi or Elephant-shrew (Rhynchocyon udzungwensis) is only known in two forests in the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania. The species was first described this year and has been placed in the Vulnerable category

The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) moved from Vulnerable to Near Threatened, although its status varies considerably across its range. The move reflects the recent and ongoing population increases in major populations in Southern and Eastern Africa

The Caspian Seal (Pusa caspica) moved from Vulnerable to Endangered. Its population has declined by 90 percent in the last 100 years due to unsustainable hunting and habitat degradation and is still decreasing

The Cuban Crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) is another Critically Endangered reptile, moved from Endangered because of population declines caused by illicit hunting for its meat and its skin, which is used in clothing

The Fishing Cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), found in Southeast Asia, moved from Vulnerable to Endangered due to habitat loss in wetlands
For the first time, all 161 grouper species have been assessed, of which 20 are threatened with extinction. The Squaretail Coral Grouper (Plectropomus areolatus) from the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific is newly listed as Vulnerable

The Rameshwaram Parachute Spider (Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica) has been listed as Critically Endangered as its natural habitat has been almost completely destroyed

There was one piece of good news today, and I can't leave you with the depression that you could now possibly be feeling:

Deadlines set for designating polar bear habitat

A deadline has been set, and that crazy woman from Alaska might not get her way after all.

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