Friday, April 23, 2010

Species that cheated extinction

Even a handful of survivors is enough to save a species – here are five that came back from the brink.

SHOOT: Moral of the story - a little can mean a lot in the scheme of things. This is both hardwarming and frightening.
Lowest recorded population: 15 in the wild
It's ironic that one of the most threatened species, blue iguanas, may be the longest-lived lizard in the world: the oldest individual made it to 67. At 1.5 metres long, including the tail, they can change their skin colour from camouflage grey to intimidating blue when they need to signal their presence.
Pink pigeon
Lowest recorded population: 10
On the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean lives the rarest pigeon in the world. The pink pigeon Nesoenas mayeri now numbers over 350, but that is the result of over two decades of conservation work.
Bali starling
Lowest recorded population: six
Most of this bird's problems can be attributed to its beauty. Because of its striking appearance – brilliant white, with blue skin around its eyes and black tips to its wings and tail – it is hugely popular in the caged-bird trade, and as a result is a prime target for poachers.
Lowest recorded population: Extinct in the wild, bred in captivity
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