Rhinos, elephants, whales and sharks — the list of endangered species is long and depressing. But it’s not just these big, beautiful, familiar animals at risk. Earth is hemorrhaging species, from mammals to fish and insects. The loss of biodiversity we’re facing right now is staggering, thanks to habitat loss, pollution, climate change and other calamities.
It’s being called the unnoticed apocalypse: The number of insects is declining rapidly and 41% of bug species face extinction, scientists say.
Climate change officially killed off its first mammalian species earlier this week, when Australia’s environment minister moved a small coast-dwelling rodent from the endangered to the extinct list.
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.