Caribbean Monk Seal – Extinct 1952

The Caribbean Monk Seals were also known as the West Indian Monk Seals or Sea Wolves.  The first Europeans to see them in August 1494 were Christopher Columbus and his crew when their ship laid anchor off the island of Alta Velo. Their population size, prior to exploitation by Europeans and overfishing, as at …

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Malta – Who Gives a Damn

By far the most fundamental division within humanity is between people who give a damn and people who do not. In Malta, for example, the few give a damn and the many do not. We are following the pied piper’s tune of unrestrained economic growth, wild consumerism, high-rise buildings, anything goes …

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The Insanity Gene

Frogs are disappearing from the Sierra Nevada in California, from the Monteverde cloud forest reserve in Northern Costa Rica and from Australia. In Central Costa Rica the population of several endemic frogs crashed. Rare and specialised species are vanishing from populated and disturbed areas and from …

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The Moa – Extinct 1445

For millions of years, nine species of large, flightless birds known as Moas thrived on the islands today known as New Zealand (Aotearoa). The evolutionary lineage of these Moas dates back sixty million years. The Moa fed on twigs and plants. The Moas had one main predator and that was the …

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People – not evil, just no morals

It is difficult to estimate the time to extinction of a species or a population. This is partly due to a time lag between degradation of a habitat to the point that it no longer supports a species to the actual death of the last member of the population or species. The species would be doomed to extinction but may …

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Biodiversity – Size Matters

Apart from acidification, marine life and ocean coral reefs in particular, are threatened by illegal fishing, legal overfishing and agricultural runoff that both encourage algae growth, deforestation that causes excessive silt flowing in the seas and oceans and dynamite fishing. In fact most of marine life will …

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Passenger Pigeon – Extinct 1914

The passenger pigeon flew with grace, speed, and agility. The bird had a small head and neck. The tail was elongated and wedge-shaped. The wingspan was broad and the wings were pointed and powered by large breast muscles that gave it capability for prolonged flight. The average length of the male was …

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The Age of Humans

Nobel Prize winning Dutch chemist, Paul Crutzen popularised the term ‘Anthropocene’ (The Age of Humans) that represent this human dominated geological epoch. His argument was based on the facts, 18 years ago, that human activity has has transformed between a third and a half of the land surface area of …

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The Great Auk – Extinct 1844

The Great Auk was eighty centimetres tall, weighed around five kilos and looked like a large penguin. They spent most of their lives at sea but returned to land to nest. The great auk was a flightless bird and a fantastic swimmer and lived in the northern hemisphere. This bird ranged from Norway to …

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The Sixth Mass Extinction

A study published nearly two years ago warned that “This current ‘biological annihilation’ underlines the seriousness for humanity of Earth’s ongoing sixth mass extinction”. This was a study by Gerardo Ceballos, Paul Ehrlich and Rodolfo Dirzo called ‘Biological annihilation via the ongoing …

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