August 5, 2008

Dian Fossey must be smiling

Yay!!! A second chance for gorillas?
Gorilla experts with the Wildlife Conservation Society say they've made a spectacular find in isolated forests of the Republic of Congo: a large group of previously undiscovered western lowland gorillas. Researchers say the first wildlife census of the area has revealed that 125,000 western lowland gorillas are now thriving in the country's northern forests, a number that is twice some estimates for the worldwide population.
Relax not...they are still threatened by the war in Congo and are a critically endangered species. (If interested, read a few illustrative reports from the last one year alone: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...)

Also read this report from Newsweek this March about how "endangered animals are the new blood diamonds as militias and warlords use poaching to fund death."

In addition, there is the dismal report today about the finds of an extensive new survey of primates worldwide which found that "48 percent of recognized primate species are endanged or vulnerable. The figure rises to 71 percent in Asia." And the knowledge that "lowly bugs, spiders and mollusks are more critical to ecology than larger more glamorous mammals;" not that we should not worry about threatened polar bears, whose very existence is threatened by global warming.

Speaking of global warming, I should direct you to the June 9, 2008 issue of Newsweek, which had an interesting cover story, explaining the politics of listing animals as endangered species:
Enlisting endangered species in the fight against global warming is either a brilliant tactical maneuver—or an arrogant abuse of the law.
"We consider species to be like a brick in the foundation of a building. You can probably lose one or two or a dozen bricks and still have a standing house. But by the time you've lost 20 per cent of species, you're going to destabilize the entire structure. That's the way ecosystems work." - Donald Falk, Christian Science Monitor, 26 May 1989

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