100 Under 100: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Living by Scott Leslie

By Scott Leslie

Scientists estimate that the whole biodiversity on the earth is among 10 million and a hundred million species. of those, simply over 1.6 million and counting have really been catalogued and defined. One percentage, or 16,306, of these species are threatened with extinction, approximately one-fifth of them seriously. Of this staff, a few have vanishingly small populations within the double or unmarried digits. a couple of species, together with the Pinta Island gigantic tortoise and the Yangtze monstrous softshell turtle, sit down squarely at the border of extinction within the wild with a inhabitants of one.

In 100 less than 100, Scott Leslie tells the attention-grabbing 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 development, as the various rarest of the infrequent are again from the threshold of extinction in the course of the devoted efforts of individuals round the world.

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Driven by his unflinching commitment to saving the species (even as a young boy in Wales he bred native kestrels), Jones helped increase its population from just 4 to over 200 in the early 1990s. Once again, the diminutive falcons could be seen flashing through what was left of the island’s subtropical evergreen forests—especially those in the Black River Gorges area in the southwest part of the island. So successful was the recovery effort that the captive breeding program was ended when the population reached a self-sustaining 300 birds in 1994, the same year the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the official global authority on threatened species and more commonly known as the IUCN, downlisted the species to the Vulnerable category of its Red List of Threatened Species.

About the size of a blue jay, this forest-dwelling brown and white mottled falcon was probably never very abundant, given the limited area of its small island home. Its diet is similar to other species of kestrels around the world, eating a variety of small prey, including geckos, insects, songbirds, and introduced mice and shrews. The female lays two to five eggs in natural cavities in volcanic rock cliffs or in tree holes, which she incubates for about a month. Since its recovery, the Mauritius kestrel has also frequently nested in artificial nesting boxes that have been provided as part of the recovery effort.

By 1978, one hadn’t been seen in decades. After six years of searching the forests of Ivory Coast and Ghana, the authors of an article in the October 2000 issue of the journal Conservation Biology concluded that the Miss Waldron’s red colobus monkey was probably extinct. If true, it would be the first primate wiped off the face of the earth in 200 years. So was Miss Waldron’s red colobus monkey gone only a matter of decades after it was first described? Maybe not. Soon after the Conservation Biology article, a series of small but intriguing discoveries had cast some doubt that the monkey was extinct.

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