By Blog of Lists - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 0 Comments
These creatures have either died out entirely or are extirpated from Canada, meaning they no longer can be found in this country, but have survived elsewhere:
1. Hadley Lake stickleback (1999): A fish that was only found in Hadley Lake on Lasqueti Island in B.C.’s Strait of Georgia, the stickleback had only been discovered in the 1980s, but was completely wiped out by the introduction of catfish.
2. Karner blue (1991): A small blue butterfly that existed in the area between Toronto, London and Sarnia, the Karner blue no longer exists in Canada due to habitat change and loss of the larva’s only food source, the wild lupine.
3. Frosted elfin (1988): Another butterfly, the frosted elfin was only discovered in 1960 and the population may have only ever numbered 100. But they’re all gone from Canada now due to habitat loss. Continue…
By Tom Henheffer - Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 11:20 AM - 0 Comments
Well, something must be terribly wrong, because butterfly populations are plummeting around the globe.
“A lot of people view butterflies in a way analogous to the canary in the coal mine,” says Arthur Shapiro, an entomologist at the University of California at Davis. “If butterflies are going downhill, something is wrong.” Well, something must be terribly wrong, because butterfly populations are plummeting around the globe. The graceful fluttering of the marsh fritillary and delicate beauty of the Grecian copper could soon be squashed out, and the large tortoiseshell, a spotted orange butterfly once ubiquitous in England, is now classified as regionally extinct.
In Europe, where there’s a wealth of data thanks to a decades-long culture of professional and hobbyist butterfly monitoring, scientists are reporting a 70 per cent reduction in populations across the board. Four of Britain’s 62 species of butterflies have gone extinct in recent years, while a further 19 are threatened and 11 near threatened. North American scientists report similar numbers.
Intensive farming is believed to be the primary culprit in England and Western Europe, where subsidies from governments and the EU support mega-farms that strip grasslands, the habitat for many species of butterﬂy. “Europe has been inhabited for thousands of years and the natural environment adapted to that,” says Chris Van Swaay, a spokesperson for Butterfly Conservation Europe.
Climate change is also taking its toll, pushing many species of European butterflies north to cooler weather and forcing the mountain butterflies of North America into higher elevations. But, says Shapiro, they can’t keep running forever, and many species require too specialized a climate to run at all.
By Katie Engelhart - Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 1 Comment
Activists say the lucrative bluefin is on the fast track to extinction
Is tuna the new ivory? Here’s one thing about the bluefin: it’s a migratory species that swims the world, from the Western Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Here’s another: a bluefin tuna, which can weigh hundreds of pounds, often sells for more than $100,000 a pop. It’s no surprise, then, that when you pull 175 countries together to consider the commercial fate of this aquatic jackpot, things get messy.
The mood at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which kicked off last weekend in Doha, Qatar, has indeed been sour. The crux of it all is a proposal, introduced by Monaco, to ban global trade of the Atlantic bluefin tuna—which many environmentalists say is on the fast path to extinction. On one side are the 40 nations that have already agreed to support a ban. On the other is Japan, which claims the bluefin as a culinary staple and economic essential—and which consumes about 75 per cent of the worldwide catch. Japan favours ﬁshing quotas instead of an all-out trade ban. “It is very much up in the air. There’s a lot of jockeying,” says Patrick Van Klaveren, who represents Monaco at CITES.
Most countries are still uncommitted, like the U.S, which will likely back Monaco, and Canada, rumoured to oppose the ban for commercial reasons. But Van Klaveren warns: “Japan’s lobbying is formidable.” Already, he says, Japan has been bullying developing nations, “along the lines of ‘your turn will come.’ ” Japanese ofﬁcials have dismissed environmental claims and pledged to ignore any ban that comes into effect. In the meantime, tuna ﬂesh has irrevocably been politicized, in much the way that ivory has: so much so that Doha delegates are too busy to think of much else—like the open proposal to allow a major sale of stockpiled ivory goods.
By Martin Patriquin - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 1:00 PM - 4 Comments
The story of how the Canadian magazine solved its 90-year-old branding problem
The Beaver is no longer, killed off on its 90th birthday. As of its April issue, the name of Canada’s second oldest magazine has been scrubbed from the masthead, replaced with Canada’s History. Though its staff says the name change is necessary to reflect its evolution—“We’ve become a multi-platform magazine,” says editor Mark Reid—the main reason was to put an end to the snickering, once and for all.
Call it death by double entendre. Rarely has the title evoked only the industrious, slick-haired rodent. The term’s other, more carnal meaning, a slang term for a specific part of the female anatomy, has been a distraction for years, cheapening this earnest, wholesome publication, clogging subscriber spam filters and ultimately hurting its bottom line. “Yes, I like beavers, the animals, just as much as anybody else,” Reid said recently.
“It’s a historic creature, it’s on our nickel, it’s a proud part of the fur trade. But in the 21st century, if you are going to rebrand your entire organization, including all that you do, ‘beaver’ is probably not going to be the word that best speaks to what you do, if you know what I mean.”
By Cameron Ainsworth-Vincze - Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 9:40 AM - 2 Comments
The giraffe population has quadrupled in just 13 years
Just a decade ago, the giraffes of West Africa, famous for their large orange-brown spots and skinny white legs, were on the verge of extinction. From Senegal to Chad, the breed had been over-hunted, and displaced by human populations and advancing deserts during the last century. In 1996 it was estimated that a mere 50 still roamed the continent.
Yet despite predictions that they could vanish for good, the giraffes have made a remarkable comeback: in just 13 years, it is estimated that the population has quadrupled in size. Credit for the turnaround is being attributed to government intervention, conservationists and locals, who are working together to protect the towering creatures while also striving to live harmoniously with them.
Once, the giraffes were hunted and poached for their skin, meat and even hair, but now many countries prohibit such practices and are handing out severe punishments to anyone who breaks the law. Killing a giraffe in Niger, for example, can result in a five-year prison sentence, with fines of more than 100 times the yearly income of a farmer. That represents a dramatic shift in mentality, considering that in 2004 the country’s president, Mamadou Tandja, requested that a pair of giraffes be captured and given to Togo’s long-standing dictator, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, as a gift. Giraffe meat, a delicacy cooked on giant skewers, has also been taken off the menu in restaurants that are frequented by tourists to reduce the potential of poachers trying to turn a profit.
Those who live near giraffes are also being convinced that it’s worth their while to help out. The Association to Safeguard the Giraffes of Niger is handing out loans to villagers living around the western town of Koure, who allow guides to bring visitors through the area to look at the animals. The revenue from the tours also goes toward building wells and planting trees so the giraffes can continue to prosper. In the wild, giraffes have no natural predators. With the human predators neutralized, there is reason to believe the population could swell to even greater numbers.
By Barbara Amiel - Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 8:00 AM - 36 Comments
The magnificent Ovcharka
Looking at life from a dog’s point of view can refocus matters great and small. Take the Berlin Wall, which crumbled 20 years ago. Thousands of dogs policed that wall and just like that they were all out of a job—some 7,000 of them, apparently. The guard dog of choice was the Caucasian ovcharka, which coincidentally is a dog I hope to add to my two Hungarian kuvaszok if I am up to it. Some people rescue homeless dogs; I look for native East European breeds who share in an ersatz Jewish identity to this extent: in that part of the world, historically speaking, someone will try and do them in.
The wall fell and West Berliners feared packs of ovcharkas storming into the city. Given the dog’s size (up to 90 kg) and its heritage—tearing the throats out of wolves and escapees alike—I can’t blame them. Just a month earlier, after brutally repressing demonstrations before the October visit of Mikhail Gorbachev to East Berlin and fearing more, the murderous Stasi chief Eric Mielke stated, “I will now . . . show that our authority still has teeth . . . [demonstrators] are cowardly dogs . . . they will run like rabbits as soon as they’ve seen our dogs.” Continue…
By Alex Shimo - Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 6:19 PM - 3 Comments
Two researchers say the damage to the world’s tropical forests may not be as…
Two researchers say the damage to the world’s tropical forests may not be as bad as first feared. Because population growth is slowing in many countries and people are moving to cities, the pressure to cut down primary rainforest and use marginal land for agriculture is falling, according to Joseph Wright of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Helene Muller-Landau of the University of Minnesota.
If current trends continue, the area of tropical of forest will still be at one third of its natural range by by 2030, say the scientists. The area of tropical forest in Latin America and Asia could actually increase. Those predictions mean that in Africa 16-35% of tropical-forest species will become extinct by 2030, in Asia, 21-24% and in Latin America, fewer still, according to the Economist, which first reported the story. Continue…
By Alex Shimo - Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 1:26 PM - 5 Comments
Scientists think the white possum might be the first ever victim of global warming….
Scientists think the white possum might be the first ever victim of global warming. The nocturnal animal hasn’t been sighted for three years despite extensive searches. Researchers say the animal could be the first ever extinction brought about rising temperatures. The tree-dwelling white possum is native to the Daintree rainforest in Tropical North Queensland, Australia. It is particularly vulnerable to changing temperatures because they are unable to regulate their body temperature in extreme heat. Professor Stephen Williams of James Cook University in Queensland said the mammal had not been seen in its natural habitat since the area experienced a temperature rise of more than 0.5 of a degree.
Of all the animals endangered/extinct this has got to be one of the cutest.