Number of king penguins on the remote Île aux Cochons has fallen from 2m to 200,000, warn scientists
Rather than being an ecologically-fragile ape, there is evidence that orangutans have long been adapting to humans. The modern orangutan is the product of both environmental and human impacts, and where they live and how they act appear to reflect our shared history.
The axolotl, or Ambystoma mexicanum, is the ultimate survivalist: When an axolotl loses a leg, tail, or a bit of its heart, the body part regrows and nary a scar remains. But the hardy creature is on the brink of extinction.
One in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction, and once widespread creatures such as the puffin, snowy owl and turtle dove are plummeting towards oblivion, according to the definitive study of global bird populations.
The Amazon, the single largest tropical rainforest and home to 10% of the world’s known species, could lose half of its plants and animals by the end of the century as global warming ravages the planet—and that loss of biodiversity is just a snapshot of what’s happening to the world’s forests, wetlands, and seas.
There’s a chance a frog who lives in a tank in a Bolivian museum is the last of his species. But he reportedly hasn’t given up hope, if one can ascribe hope to a frog. The male Sehuencas water frog continues to make mating calls from within his confinement at Bolivia’s Cochabamba Natural History Museum.
Polar bears could be sliding towards extinction faster than previously feared, with the animals facing an increasing struggle to find enough food to survive as climate change steadily transforms their environment.
Scientists have identified 2 million species of living things. No one knows how many more are out there, and tens of thousands may be vanishing before we have even had a chance to encounter them.
After decades of researching the impact that humans are having on animal and plant species around the world, Chris Thomas has a simple message: Cheer up. Yes, we’ve wiped out woolly mammoths and ground sloths, and are finishing off black rhinos and Siberian tigers, but the doom is not all gloom. Myriad species, thanks in large part to humans who inadvertently transport them around the world, have blossomed in new regions, mated with like species and formed new hybrids that have themselves gone forth and prospered. We’re talking mammals, birds, trees, insects, microbes—all your flora and fauna. “Virtually all countries and islands in the world have experienced substantial increases in the numbers of species that can be found in and on them,” writes Thomas in his new book, Inheritors of the Earth: How Nature Is Thriving in an Age of Extinction.
Brent Stirton won the award for his image Memorial to a Species, taken at a game reserve in South Africa.