- The dugong — a marine mammal that purportedly inspired ancient mermaid tales — has been declared “functionally extinct” in China due to the degradation of its habitat caused by humans.
- On Wednesday, a group of researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences published their findings in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Royal Society Open Science.
- They discovered that only 5% of 788 respondents reported previous dugong sightings, with the "mean last-sighting date" dating back 23 years. Three respondents claimed to have seen the marine mammal in the last five years.
- “We are forced to conclude that dugongs have experienced rapid population collapse during recent decades and are now functionally extinct in China,” the authors of the study noted.
- They believe that hunting combined with “the degradation of seagrass beds and accidental entanglement” have played a part in the decline of the dugong population in China’s waters.
The dugong — a marine mammal that purportedly inspired ancient mermaid tales — has been declared “functionally extinct” in China due to the degradation of its habitat caused by humans.
On Wednesday, a group of researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences published their findings in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Royal Society Open Science.
- In 2019, the Chinese paddlefish was listed as extinct in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. A recent reassessment published on Thursday verified the extinction of the species.
- Another freshwater river fish species, the Yangtze sturgeon, or Acipenser dabryanus, was listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species in 2019, with the recent reassessment relisting the Yangtze sturgeon as extinct in the wild.
- Both the Chinese paddlefish and the Yangtze sturgeon’s population declines have resulted from human impact and environmental degradation such as overfishing and overharvesting, habitat fragmentation, deforestation, mining, water pollution (wastewater and runoff) and dams.
- The construction of the Gezhouba Dam and the Three Gorges dams blocked the anadromous migration of the Chinese paddlefish, reducing their reproduction for offspring.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has officially verified that the Chinese paddlefish and wild Yangtze sturgeon are extinct on their list of threatened species.
The Chinese paddlefish, or Psephurus gladius, was one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, weighing up to 660 pounds and measuring up to 10 feet in length. They were gray, had a white underbelly and small, round eyes. These fish were endemic to the freshwater wetlands in the Yangtze and Yellow River basins. They migrated upstream to their estuary in the East China Sea to spawn during mid-March to early April.
- The Cambodian government issued a warning on Wednesday asking people to stop picking “penis plants” due to the risk of extinction.
- After a video of three women picking the plants on Bokor Mountain in Kampot Province went viral, the Ministry of Environment released images of the women while stating that “what they are doing is wrong.”
- The women are seen making jokes in the video, with one woman at one point holding a small Nepenthes holdenii while referencing small penises.
- The endangered Nepenthes holdenii, also known as the “penis plant” for its resemblance to a human phallus, is a carnivorous tropical pitcher plant commonly found in western Cambodian mountains.
After a video of a group of women holding “penis plants” went viral, the Cambodian government urged people to stop picking them, as they may go extinct.
The Ministry of Environment released a statement on Wednesday warning people against picking the plants, along with photos of the women from the video.
Animal lovers around the world are grieving the death of Iman, the last Sumatran rhinoceros in Malaysia.
The female rhino passed away due to cancer on Saturday, just months after Tam, the last Malaysian male rhino, died in May. Now all that remains of the species are the 80 Sumatran rhinos currently living in Indonesia, National Geographic reports.
The Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura), a subspecies of leopard that can only be found in Taiwan but was thought to be extinct, was allegedly spotted by several witnesses in a wilderness in southeast Taiwan.
The Taitung District Office of the Forestry Bureau is now investigating the claim made by Alangyi Village rangers stating that they have spotted the once thought extinct Formosan clouded leopard on a cliff in Taitung County’s Daren Township, CNA reported as translated by Taiwan News.