The complete guide to Dodo relatives, living and dead

10,000 Birds

The Dodo ( Raphus cucullatus ) — that towering icon of modern anthropogenic extinctions — was a pigeon. In fact, the Dodo belonged to a clade (sometimes called Raphini) of 15 remarkable, bizarre, intriguing island-adapted pigeons, some of which are still alive today, but eight of which have been hacked from the tree of life, driven to extinction by humans. Thankfully not extinct: Western Crowned-Pigeon ( Goura cristata ) at the National Zoo © David J.

2014 219

Genetic Engineers and Conservation Biologists: Scenes From a First Date

Nature Conservancy - Science

Sipping coffee one morning in early April, my eyes quickly darted to an article in my city newspaper by our local hunting columnist entitled “De-extinction coming to Montana.” And de-extinction? Extinction may not be forever. We are on the verge of re-creating extinct species like the passe ger pigeon, yet doing so should give us pause to consider a number of scientific, conservation, political, and philosophical issues. ?


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Racing to Save 2 Samoan Endemics

10,000 Birds

It’s always tragic when a species goes extinct. Sadly, that is indeed the situation in Samoa, where the Manumea , or Tooth-billed Pigeon , numbers fewer than 200 individuals. Fortunately, scientists now have proof that the bird, which lives only on two Samoan islands and is distantly related to the Dodo , isn’t yet extinct. For more info on both species, check out this video from Samoa’s Ministry of Environment.

Samoa 169

Armchair Splits in the Pacific

10,000 Birds

The Wattled Honeyeater is a species, or now more accurately a genus, found in eastern Melanesia (Fiji) and in western Polynesia (Samoa and Tonga). In spite of the bird extinctions that have plagued the islands of the Pacific, it doesn’t seem to have suffered that much; I saw it in gardens in both Fiji and Tonga.

Tonga 166

History repeating itself

10,000 Birds

Sadly, as I’ve explained before , most of these species became extinct as humans arrived on the islands, and with it one of the most astonishing radiations of birds imaginable. The islands of Tongatapu and ‘Eua are not classic birding destinations, as the extinctions that so devastated the rails took a heavy toll on the other birds originally found there.

2011 152

Purple Swamphen: Supertramp or superspecies?

10,000 Birds

Moving on to the heart of the matter, García-Ramírez and Trewick show that “Purple Swamphen” as currently recognized is paraphyletic with respect to the critically endangered (South Island) Takahe ( Porphyrio hochstetteri ) and the extinct North Island Takahe ( Porphyrio mantelli ) and Lord Howe (White) Swamphen ( Porphyrio albus ).

2014 192

Hyperstability: The Achilles’ Heel of Data-Poor Fisheries

Nature Conservancy - Science

Bumphead parrotfish are now extinct in Guam and heavily depleted in Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, and others parts of the Solomon Islands. There’s a basic logic to managing fisheries: as a fish population decreases you’ll catch fewer fish. But what if that’s not always true? New research from the Solomon Islands indicates that hyperstability — when catch rates remain high even as fish are rapidly depleted — could be a major challenge for assessing data-poor coral reef fisheries.