Extinct and threatened animals

This video from Australia says about itself:

Here is a combination of all the footage of the Tasmanian Tiger, now believed to be extinct.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Going the way of the Tasmanian tiger

Friday 3rd March 2017

PETER FROST sounds a warning about some iconic species struggling to survive humanity’s follies

THE Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf (Thylacine cynocephalus) is perhaps the best known and most spectacular of relatively recently extinct animals.

Eighty years ago this curiously striped wolf-shaped marsupial which carried its young in a pouch like a kangaroo, lived in Tasmania off the coast of Australia.

It was recognised as being in danger of extinction in 1936 but in September of the same year the last known Thylacine died in captivity and none has been seen since.

Another large carnivore that has gone extinct more recently is the Javan tiger. These became extinct in the 1980s due to habitat loss caused by changes in agriculture on the Indonesian island of Java.

The Caribbean monk seal is now extinct due to habitat loss, as well as human hunting — it was the only seal native to the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico until the species was declared extinct in 2008.

The Baiji river dolphin population declined drastically in recent decades as China industrialised and made heavy use of the Yangtze river for fishing, transport and hydroelectricity. Only a few hundred were left by 1970, 400 by the 1980s and then to just 13 in 1997 when a full-fledged search was conducted. It was declared extinct after an expedition late in 2006 failed to record a single individual.

The golden toad was only discovered in 1966 in the tropical cloud forests of Costa Rica. It last bred in normal numbers in 1987 but the same year, due to erratic weather, 30,000 toads perished, leaving only 29.

By 1988, only eight males and two females could be located and a year later only a single male was found — this was the last record of the species.

The Pyrenean ibex was the first species to ever be brought back into existence via cloning but the cloned baby lasted just seven minutes after being born due to lung failure. The last naturally born Pyrenean ibex, named Celia, died in January 2000.

Thousands more species are threatened with extinction. Here are some of the most iconic. Only urgent and strong worldwide action can save them.

Pangolins are not well-known but are one of the most threatened of animals — they are the only mammals with scales rather than fur. Four species live in Asia, four in Africa.

A number of their species have already become extinct. They are hunted for food, for medicines and folk remedies and to satisfy a huge illegal international trade in their scales, skins and meat.

Public campaigning has at last persuaded world leaders to vote for the highest level of protections for all eight remaining species.

Sharks: a quarter of the world’s population is threatened with extinction due to overfishing. Every year, over a 100 million sharks are slaughtered — their fins sliced off while alive to make exotic soup while the still living sharks are thrown back into the water where, unable to swim they die a slow and painful death.

Rays: over the last decade the growing demand for the gills of rays has led to a massive decline in stocks of these fascinating fish. Populations have dropped by more than half in some areas and the slaughter is continuing unabated, with ray gills fetching over £400 per kg in certain Asian markets.

African Lion: the population of these big cats has halved in 30 years. Many populations have been wiped out across much of Africa.

Poaching by traffickers seeking alternatives to endangered tiger products, coupled with massive loss of habitat and prey base due to human settlement mean that unless we act now African lions could be extinct in the wild by 2050.

Narwhals: these members of the beluga whale family are the unicorns of the oceans best known for their single long tusk protruding from their nose.

Populations have been hovering around 75,000 which means they are considered near threatened and without appropriate protection could disappear, threatened by climate change and industrial activity. Yet even today narwhals are actively hunted in Canada and Greenland.

Rhinoceros: they historically roamed in large numbers across much of Asia and Africa — today only a fraction remain on the planet. Three African rhinos are killed every day because of demand for their horns as a status symbol, aphrodisiac and a cure for cancer in Chinese medicine. Coupled with a dramatic loss of habitat, all five species of rhinos are now threatened and three of the five are critically endangered.

Tigers: just 3,200 of these majestic creatures remain in the wild. No less than 97 per cent of the wild tiger population has disappeared in the last century. Originally there were nine subspecies of tigers, but over the last 80 years three have become extinct. All tiger species are now considered critically endangered, due in large part to the market for their pelts, meat and body parts.

Cheetahs: conservation experts warn that cheetah populations continue to collapse in the wild, in large part due to poaching. Since 1980, their population in the wild has fallen by about 90 per cent in Africa. In Asia, only about 200 cheetahs remain in the wild, limited to small regions in Iran.

Marine turtles: all seven of their species are endangered, three critically so: leatherbacks, hawksbill and Kemp’s Ridley turtles. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, tens of thousands of these creatures are lost each year to feed the demand from illegal markets. More than 80,000 are estimated to be killed each year.

Elephants: once common with many million strong populations throughout Asia and Africa, elephants have taken a devastating hit over the last century. Poachers slaughter one elephant about every 15 minutes to fuel a massive and lucrative illegal ivory trade.

Latest news is that more than 25,000 of Gabon’s savannah or bush elephant, some 80 per cent, were killed between 2004 and 2014.

Many countries all over the world have at last agreed to a ban on domestic ivory markets but illegal ivory trafficking is still a multimillionpound business.


Australian sheep Sheila not dead, 22kg of wool

This 4 January 2016 video from Australia says about itself:

Tasmanian sheep narrowly misses record

Sheila the sheep was found stuck in a culvert after escaping from her farm in 2010.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Sheep, presumed dead, supplies nearly 22 kilos of wool

Today, 12:25

For six years it was thought that she was dead, but recently the Australian sheep Sheila was found along the side of the road. After all these years she has been sheared for the first time. Yield: nearly 22 kilos of wool.

Since 2010, Sheila was wandering around in the wilderness of the state Tasmania. When the sheep was found, she was not able to stand up, said Peter Jones, who found the animal. “She winked at me. It was clear that she was not dead, so I tried to get her back on her feet.”


It is noteworthy that the sheep had been for so long walking around while loose, says correspondent Robert Portier. “The sheep are let loose in nature. They find their own food there. Once in a while they are driven together and sheared. It’s very rare that a sheep can for so many years stay out of the hands of the farmer.”

That the animal is still alive, is special, he says. “The large amount of wool that the sheep carries with it may result in inflammations. The chance of a sheep surviving that is very small.”

No record

The amount of wool resulting from shearing Sheila is no record. The record is the sheep Chris’. He also ran around in nature for six years before he was sheared. That resulted in 42.45 kilos of wool.

Swift parrot reports from Australia

This video from Australia says about itself:

Tasmania’s swift parrot set to follow the dodo

31 March 2015

The iconic Tasmanian swift parrot is facing population collapse and could become extinct within 16 years, new research has found.

The researchers have called on the Federal Government to list the birds as critically endangered.

“Swift parrots are in far worse trouble than anybody previously thought,” said leader of the study, Professor Robert Heinsohn, from The Australian National University (ANU).

“Everyone, including foresters, environmentalists and members of the public will be severely affected if they go extinct,” said Professor Heinsohn from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.

Swift parrots are major pollinators of blue and black gum trees which are crucial to the forestry industry, which controversially continues to log swift parrot habitat.

The five-year study discovered that swift parrots move between different areas of Tasmania each year to breed, depending on where food is available.

The new data was combined with a previous study that showed that swift parrots are preyed on heavily by sugar gliders, especially in deforested areas.

The research predicted that the population of the birds will halve every four years, with a possible decline of 94.7 per cent over 16 years.

A moratorium on logging in swift parrot habitat is needed until new plans for their protection can be drawn up, said co-researcher, Dr Dejan Stojanovic, also from ANU Fenner School.

“Current approaches to swift parrot management look rather inadequate,” he said.

“Our models are a wake-up call. Actions to preserve their forest habitat cannot wait.”

The research has been published in the latest edition of Biological Conservation.

From Birdline Victoria in Australia today:

Sat 15 highlight Swift Parrot
You Yangs Regional Park–Visitor Entrance Area
4 Swift Parrots in eucalypts close to Park Office. Fuscous Honeyeaters and Black-chinned Honeyeaters still in area also.
John Newman & David Tytherleigh 15/8 #224210
highlight Swift Parrot
Deakin University–Waurn Ponds Campus
2 Swift Parrots vocal and mobile around the NA building and Koorie studies building of the campus this morning.
John Newman 15/8 #224209

Australian birds news update

This is a Beautiful Firetail video from Tasmania in Australia.

From Birdline Victoria in Australia:

Thursday 8 January 2015

Fork-tailed Swift, White-throated Needletail, Latham’s Snipe, Eastern Bristlebird

Cape Howe Wilderness Area.

Mixed flock of over 100 forks and needles over Howe Flat around midday in hot and humid conditions, ratio of around 70:30 in favour of needletails. (200+ WTNT & 30 FTS seen later over Mallacoota before cool change) Single Latham’s Snipe flushed near start of boardwalk at Howe Flat (track still flooded), and 3 Eastern Brist[l]ebird heard but not seen; contact calls and intermittent song only. No sign of White-cheeked H[oney]E[ater] from November. On Lakeview Track near Barracoota Tk a pair of Beautiful Firetail was nest building, and lots of Little & Musk Lorikeet were present in flowering bloodwoods.

Save Tasmania’s rainforests

This video says about itself:

Tasmanian Eucalypt Forest Giants

21 Sep 2011

Paradise at the End of the World – This is an extract, featuring Pepper Bush Adventures’ Craig Williams, from a DVD produced showcasing some of Tasmania’s premier features. Craig takes the film crew in to Tasmania’s north east forests visiting the “White Knights”, the tallest white gum trees in the world at Evercreech Forest Reserve as well as visiting the virgin oldgrowth forest at Tombstone Creek Forest Reserve to view the mountain ash eucalypts, the world’s tallest flowering tree species.

From Rainforest Portal:

Action Alert: Old-Growth Forests in Tasmania‘s World Heritage Area Again Threatened

Only a year ago together Ecological Internet and you participated in successful protests to end industrial clearcut logging in 170,000 hectares of Tasmania, Australia’s old-growth temperate rainforests; as vital intact ecosystems including Butlers Gorge; and the Florentine, Weld and Styx valleys, were added to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Now Australia’s ecologically challenged federal government – led by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who famously stated “climate change is crap” – is reneging on these commitments, in an unprecedented move pushing to remove 74,000 hectares from World Heritage Area protection. We need your help to once again call on the Australian government to honor their international obligations and protect Tasmania’s World Heritage old-growth temperate rainforests from industrial destruction. Tasmanian, Australian, and global ecosystem sustainability depend upon doing so.

By Forests.org, a project of Ecological Internet – February 8, 2014

Tasmania has prehistoric roots in North America, scientists show. Minerals in Tasmanian rock formations matching those found in North America’s west suggest ancient connection: here.

Northern and southern light videos

This is a northern light video from the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

This video, Comet and the Northern Lights, is from Tromsø in Norway.

This video is from Oregon in the USA.

This video is from Michigan in the USA.

This video is called Aurora Australis TimelapseTasmania, Australia – May Day 2013.

This video is from Alberta in Canada.

This video says about itself:

12 Nov 2013

Flying on a Virgin Atlantic flight from London to New York when the aurora forecast was high, I balanced my camera on a rucksack and left it snapping away out the window … what an amazing spectacle was to be seen! You can see some of the still pictures that formed this time-lapse here.