The new year is 3 days old, while still fresh, its best to reflect upon 2018; the major happenings and the mistakes we shouldn’t carry on to 2019. The human brain is conditioned to push aside and forget the nasty experiences that give us creeps. Perhaps that is how humans have been conditioned to deal with problems that are self-imposed and have grave consequences.
Among the topics that made headlines but perhaps pushed aside include the extinction of dozens of animal species that have left a void in the ecosystem with minimal chances of replacement.
IFL compiled a list of animal species that went extinct last year and it isn’t exciting news. Starting with the Spix Macaw parrot popular as the blue parrot. This bird was declared extinct in September when botanists saw it last in the wilderness. The dwindling number of wild animals has raised concerns among conservatists who have reported that up to 187 bird species have gone extinct since the year 1500.
Also gone extinct were the rare Alagoas Foliage-gleaner, cryptic tree hunter, and poo-uli all of whom were classified as ‘critically endangered’ but moved to ‘extinct ‘when they couldn’t be spotted in the jungle.
A report by the Birdlife International found that the survival probability of these animals was critically low at just 0.1Stuart Butchart, chief scientist at BirdLife international said commented:
Human activities are the ultimate drivers of virtually all recent extinctions. It is certainly the case that the rate of extinctions on continents is higher than ever before. And that the rate will continue to increase without concerted conservation efforts.
The Eastern Puma was also officially declared extinct in 2018. The US Fish and Wildlife Service declared the cat extinct in January and removed it from the list of endangered species. The Puma is genetically related to the mountain lions which still inhabit the western United States. They are also cousins to a small population of panthers found only in the Everglades of California.
These creatures once populated the Western Hemisphere and measured 8 feet long from head to tail; weighing 140 pounds. Humans migrated into the native home and started an extermination campaign and systematic habitat destruction that dwindled their numbers exponentially. The last Puma on record was killed by a hunter in 1938.
The world also mourned the last ever male northern white rhino, called Sudan. The rhino died in March leaving behind two females that ultimately beard down with age. It’s only a matter of time before the species is declared extinct.
Believably, there were more than 2,000 white rhinos in the 1960s. However, human thirst for horns fueled by a vibrant trade in the same started a poaching campaign that drove the species to the brink of extinction. In 1984 only 15 rhinos were confirmed to be alive.
Newly discovered species have not been spared either. The Tapanuli Orangutan was discovered in 2017 but is also facing extinction threats thanks to human encroachment of their natural habitats.
IFL Science also reports that Chinese giant salamanders, also known as the ‘living fossils’ whose ancestors lived amongst the stegosaurus and Diplodocus are on the brink of extinction. Marine life has not been spared either; world’s most unique sharks and rays that have managed to survive for more than 250 years are now facing extinction.