By Scott Leslie
Scientists estimate that the entire biodiversity on the earth is among 10 million and a hundred million species. of those, simply over 1.6 million and counting have truly been catalogued and defined. One percentage, or 16,306, of these species are threatened with extinction, approximately one-fifth of them significantly. Of this workforce, a few have vanishingly small populations within the double or unmarried digits. a couple of species, together with the Pinta Island titanic tortoise and the Yangtze large softshell turtle, take a seat squarely at the border of extinction within the wild with a inhabitants of one.
In 100 below 100, Scott Leslie tells the interesting tales of species in far-flung locations no one ever hears approximately, just like the northern hairy-nosed wombat, the Gorgan mountain salamander or the Irrawaddy river shark. in the direction of domestic are the Vancouver Island marmot, the Wyoming toad and the Devil’s gap pupfish. Leslie additionally tells tales of hopeful growth, as the various rarest of the infrequent are again from the threshold of extinction throughout the committed efforts of individuals round the world.
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Extra resources for 100 Under 100: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Living Things [Paperback]
Its cousins on Réunion, Rodrigues, and the Seychelles had all gone extinct. Fortunately for this medium-sized emerald green–and blue-tinged parakeet, wildlife conservationists in Mauritius had practice snatching birds from the edge of extinction. Successes with the kestrel and the pink pigeon proved it could be done. Their experience would be put to the test again. Since they shared the same forest habitat, much of what was learned during the recovery efforts for the other two birds also applied to the parakeet.
This made them easy pickings for the first humans they had ever encountered, Portuguese sailors who stopped by the island in the early 16th century to gather food for the onward leg of their journeys. Following on the heels of the Portuguese, who never permanently settled Mauritius, the Dutch arrived in 1638, staying for good. With them came rats, pigs, cats, and dogs, a marauding army of dodo destruction loosed from the holds of ships onto a pristine tropical island that was set with a sumptuous buffet of easy-to-obtain food.
And, some show that we can bring species back from the very edge, that we need not, indeed must not, accept extinction as an option. I saw my first Iberian lynx after midnight at the Coto Doñana in Spain, walking along the edge of a lake in the light of a full moon. The memory is still vivid. It looked at me just as cats do, with complete contempt, for it belonged there and I didn’t. Cats appeal to us in deeply interesting ways. It was a lovely animal. So, too, are Przewalski’s horses, though I’ve only seen them in zoos, where they are everyone’s favourites.
100 Under 100: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Living Things [Paperback] by Scott Leslie