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Old 01-01-2009, 06:41 AM   #1
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Plants and Animals

We are living in the midst of a mass extinction in which many species will become extinct, but for all the doom and gloom in the papers we rarely see any of the biodiversity which most people want to preserve, this thread is for posting animals which you find interesting that may not be around in a couple of decades.

My first pick is the Southern Corroboree Frog, Pseudophryne corroboree; I spent a day hunting around the snowy mountains to see one when I was a kid and the fact it has crashed even more is downright awful.



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The short, grating "ark" call of the southern corroboree frog is an increasingly uncommon sound that may soon vanish from this world. Only about 250 mature southern corroboree frogs remain in the wild — a tiny number that is declining sharply. It's predicted that, over the next three years, at least 25 percent of this population will vanish, and that most of the rest will disappear over the next ten. The causes are unknown. The chytrid fungus may be a culprit. The planting of exotic willow trees and excavation by feral pigs have helped degrade much of this frog's alpine habitat.

A habitat specialist, this frog prefers montane and sub-alpine woodlands, grassland and heathland above 1,000 meters. In 2002 and 2003, some 90 percent of this habitat was destroyed by bush fires, placing this already critically endangered frog on a grim path to extinction. Note its striking yellow-and-black markings; granular back skin and ridges of warts running down the length of its body. This skin is covered in poisonous secretions produced by the southern corroboree frog itself; this sets it apart from most poisonous frogs, which obtain their toxins from their food. These frogs mature slowly, not breeding until age four, and hibernate in winter wherever they can find shelter.
Southern Corroboree Frog : The Vanishing Frog
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:55 AM   #2
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Great choice, I always liked those little guys.

While it's certainly not the most unique animal in the world, I've become very attached to the South China Tiger as of late and their tragic history. Svelter and smaller than Bengal and Siberian tigers, with a softer orange colour. Fairly widespread and in their thousands until the Great Leap Forward, during which they were considered pests and thus hunted until less than 200 remained by the early eighties. Far fewer than 100 alive today. Quite positively extinct in the wild.

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Old 01-01-2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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The Baiji, or Yangtze River Dolphin which has gone extinct over the last 2 years, one of the few freshwater dolphins in the world it was wiped out by increasing habitat destruction by humans, we have DNA samples but we will never have a full understanding of how these animals lived.



Genetic diversity is a huge problem, even when we have captive breeding of endangered species inbreeding makes population recovery difficult. And before we gang up on the Chinese it should be remembered that colonials like us wiped out a hell of a lot of unique animals when we settled Australia, animals which record millions of years of history that will never be known.
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