Tag Archives: extinct

Two South Florida Butterflies Declared Extinct

10 Jun

dead-butterfly

by Curtis Morgan / the Miami Herald 

The announcement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came after surveys going back more than a decade failed to find any Zestos skippers or rockland grass skippers.

Larry Williams, the service’s regional supervisor for ecological services, said in a statement that he hoped the loss “serves as a wake-up call that we really need to intensify our efforts to save other imperiled butterflies in South Florida.”

The two varieties were among at least 18 tropical butterflies in South Florida considered at risk from a host of threats, from development to pesticide spraying.

Because neither subspecies was on federal list of endangered species, wildlife managers did not have to make any formal declaration about the two skippers. But after consulting with the multiagency Imperiled Butterfly Working Group, which is developing recovery plans for other South Florida butterflies, the agency said it had concluded both were likely extinct. Though similar varieties exist elsewhere in the Caribbean, both skippers were distinctive subspecies once found only in South Florida and the Florida Keys.

 

Will Lead Bullets Finally Kill Off the California Condor?

7 May

by Ted Williams, Cross Posted from Yale Environment 360

gallery_california_condor_profile

It was almost like watching wooly mammoths parting tusk-high savannah. In the gusty air above the Grand Canyon relicts from the Ice Age wheeled and dipped. Through my binoculars I could make out numbers on the wing tags of these California condors, North America’s largest and arguably most endangered bird.

By 1982 only 22 remained on the planet. Then in a decision that outraged a large element of the environmental community, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that all condors would be evacuated from the wild and bred in captivity. Friends of the Earth founder David Brower pled for “death with dignity.” But in 1993 the Peregrine Fund, a conservation organization, took on captive breeding, and the program proved a stunning success. After only three years, condor releases started in northern Arizona.

Today 234 birds are living in the wild (194 of them captive bred), but the prognosis for the species is scarcely brighter than in 1982; they’re being poisoned. When lead bullets strike bone they tend to splinter, impregnating meat and entrails with toxic fragments, any one of which can kill a condor. All manner of carrion-eating birds and mammals feast on the poisoned gut piles left when hunters field dress game.

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