miércoles, 2 de marzo de 2011


Look at the article of our anonimous friend:
When you’re a kid, you know the dinosaurs went extinct, but it seems weird that a creature alive today could suddenly be wiped off the earth tomorrow. I remember the first time I really realized what extinction meant when I went to the San Diego Zoo and saw a picture of the dodo bird on a sign talking about extinction. I was familiar with the bird from Alice and Wonderland and asked my mom if we could see it while we were at the zoo. When she explained to me that the bird didn’t exist any more, my heart sank.
Even today I am saddened whenever I learn about a species becoming extinct, but the worst part is when you know it was caused by human activity. Here are seven such animals that are no longer on earth thanks to mankind.


Also known as the Tasmanian tiger, this carnivore wasn’t related to dogs, tigers or hyenas, as many people believe. It was actually a marsupial, closer related to kangaroos and wallabies than any of those other animals. It was originally found in Australia and New Zealand, but its was essentially extinct in those areas long before Europeans discovered it. Even so, it thrived on the island of Tasmania until European settlers issued began fearing that the animals were eating their livestock. Like wolves, the Tasmanian tiger was often accused of slaughtering sheep in the fields. As a result, the Van Dieman’s Land Company issued a bounty on the creature, offering one pound per adult and ten shillings for each pup.
Scientists have still not been able to verify accusations of the animals eating livestock, but it would be too late to help the thylacines anyway, as the last known individual was captured in 1933 and died in a zoo in 1936. That’s her in the video. Sadly, she died two months before the Tasmanian government enacted a law dedicated to protecting the animals.
Source Video link


While it looks like a strange cross between a horse and a zebra, a quagga was actually a subspecies of a typical plains zebra with a brown rear end and a striped head. It was once found in great numbers in southern Africa until Europeans started hunting the animals for their meat and their hides. It is believed that the last wild quagga was shot in the late 1870s. A number were sent to zoos before that point though and the last captive individual was killed in 1883. At the time, people still believed these were the same as other zebra species, the individuals just had different markings. It wasn’t until after the subspecies was eradicated that people realized the animal had become extinct. Some historians have noted, the story is particularly sad because if the same thing happened in modern times, the breeding programs of zoos could help rebuild the population of the animal and release them back into the wild.
Interestingly, because the animal was so closely related to other subspecies of zebra, South African researchers have attempted a selective breeding program to create a new stock of the animals. The third and forth generation animals created through this project do look similar to the extinct creatures, but scientists debate whether or not looks are enough to declare these animals quaggas.

Steller’s Sea Cow

As a slow-swimming marine mammal that never completely submerged itself and was loaded with blubber, the Steller’s sea cow was doomed from the beginning. These massive herbivores were once abundant in the North Pacific, but aboriginal peoples hunted them until their population was limited to only the Commander Islands. Unfortunately for the sea cow, they were then discovered in 1751 by George Wilhelm Steller on an expedition led by Vitus Bering.
The Stellar sea cows were over 25 feet long. They were slow swimmers who couldn’t submerge themselves. There were only about 1,500 when Europeans first laid eyes on them and it wasn’t long before those remaining were hunted down for food, pelts and blubber, which could be used in oil lamps. Within 27 years of Steller’s discovery, the animals were extinct.


The dodo is probably one of the only animals to be famous because it went extinct. In fact, the bird inspired two expressions related to its eradication, both “dead as a dodo” and “to go the way of the dodo” are commonly used 300 years after the birds disappeared.
The dodo was related to pigeons and doves, but was flightless and much larger than either of these groups of birds. They weighed over forty pounds and stood more than three feet tall. They were native the island of Mauritius and first discovered by Dutch travelers in 1598. The birds weren’t afraid of people, which made them easy targets for hunters, but the importation of dogs, cats, pigs, rats and crab-eating macaques is what really killed the species. Some of the animals brought diseases to the birds, others ate them, but the worst were the macaques, which ate the eggs of the dodos. Within one hundred years of their discovery, the bird was wiped off the earth.
Interestingly, it wasn’t until the 19th century that the general populace actually took notice of the animal’s disappearance. Up until that time, many people believed that the animal was a myth, but then the first set of dodo bones were discovered in the Mauritian swamp. After the find, a schoolmaster named George Clarke wrote a report on the bird. The public soon gained interest and the bird quickly became a symbol for the human impact on animals.

Great Auk

Like the dodo, the great auk was a large, flightless bird. In fact, they were close to the same height and weight, but the auk was a little smaller. While the auk might not have been too coordinated on land, it was an excellent swimmer and could even dive down to 3000 feet under the water, while holding its breath for up to fifteen minutes.
As a black and white sea bird that was an excellent swimmer, the great auk seems to be related to penguins, but the two are not genetically similar. Interestingly though, the auk was responsible for the naming of the penguins. The Spanish and Portuguese called the auks pingüinos and the Welsh called it pengwyn, meaning “little wing.” When European sailors discovered penguins, they thought they were related to auks and thus, gave them the same name.
While auks were relatively widespread throughout the North Atlantic, spreading all the way from New England to Iceland to Norway to Spain, they only had a handful of nesting spots due to their demanding breeding needs. Their breeding areas had to be rocky and isolated with easy access to the ocean and a large population of their favorite fish had to be close by. All of these needs ended up leaving them with no more than 20 breeding colonies, even when they had a massive population. To make matters worse, they only laid one egg per year, so when their numbers did start to dwindle, it took a long while for them to increase their population.
Despite these risks, the great auk was hunted by Native American cultures for over 100,000 years without any problems. The bird was more than just a food source, it was a status symbol. Archeologists even found one native buried with a cloak made from over 200 auk skins –he was certainly a revered member of the tribe while alive.
While many other species were wiped out shortly after being discovered by European explorers, the great auk was used as a source of down feathers in Europe since at least the 8th century. Early explorers also used them as an easy source of food and bait since they often ran low on provisions. Even so, the bird managed to survive off of the European coasts until the mid-16th century. When these populations were wiped out, scientists realized the great auk was in danger and the bird became one of the first animals to receive legal protection in an attempt to prevent its extinction.
Unfortunately, the fact that the bird was acknowledged to be rare garnered intense interest from museums and private collectors who wanted specimens for their collections. They offered high rewards to people who could bring them eggs or skins of the birds. Eggers would collect eggs from the nests, keeping those that were unfertilized and throwing away the rest.
The last colony of auks was located on the island of Eldey off of Iceland. As soon as it was discovered, museums started hiring people to collect the birds from the colony. The last pair was found incubating an egg on July 3, 1844. The parents were strangled by two of the collectors and just to ensure there would never be another great auk, a third man made sure to stomp on their egg.

Passenger Pigeon

When Europeans first arrived in America, the passenger pigeons were present in such great numbers that it was said to take several hours for a flock to fly overhead. The flocks were often more than a mile wide and 300 miles long and made up of more than two billion birds. The birds went from being one of the most abundant animals on earth in the 19th century to being completely extinct by the 20th century.
The bird’s population started to decrease as Europeans started chopping down forests to make way for civilization, but even this didn’t thin their population too much. But by the 1800’s, people realized they could feed their slaves and servants passenger pigeon for practically nothing. Whole boxcars of pigeons were shipped to the cities, where a pair of pigeons would go for two cents.
If the passenger pigeons were like most other birds, they wouldn’t have been so easy to wipe out. Unfortunately, they were incredibly social and could not breed unless they were in a communal breeding area, which would stretch hundreds of miles –each tree could contain up to one hundred nests. Some nesting sites were estimated to hold more than 100 million individuals. This meant that hunters could go to the nesting sites and wipe out the birds at record numbers. At one of the last major nesting sites, there was a five-month long hunt that would generally result in the deaths of about 50,000 birds per day.
By the 1890s, it was obvious that the passenger pigeon was seriously endangered. The Michigan legislature enacted a law outlawing the killing of the birds within two miles of a nesting area, but authorities rarely enforced the rule. By this time, it was already too late anyway. The birds had to have massive nesting colonies in order to successfully breed and there were too few pigeons left. Some people even tried to help the population through captive breeding programs, but there were just too few birds to coax the animals into mating. The last passenger pigeon died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.

Tecopa Pupfish

It might not be as exciting as a Tasmanian tiger, but the Tecopa Pupfish has an important role in the history of extinction, as it was the first animal to be officially declared extinct according to the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The Tecopa Pupfish was endemic only to the Tecoopa Hot Springs of the Mojave Desert. They were first discovered in 1942 and completely wiped out within a few decades after the hot springs were canalized into bath houses. It was officially delisted from the endangered species list in 1981.
As an animal lover, this was a really hard article to write, but I do think it is important to learn from our history so we can help protect animals that are currently at risk. This is only a small sampling of the many animals that humans have brought to extinction, but with any luck, we can help stop that number from increasing in the future.


martes, 18 de enero de 2011

Cada día desaparecen de nuestro planeta 47 especies de flora y fauna. ¿Y en una año?

El planeta se encuentra sometido a un "grave deterioro" del medio ambiente y la naturaleza causado en parte por el efecto de la acción del hombre, "lo que se traduce en una pérdida diaria de 47 especies de flora y fauna a la que hay que ponerle freno".

Esto supone que, actualmente, de unas 50.000 especies estudiadas más de 17.000 están amenazadas de extinción demostrando la gran "voracidad de la especie humana", ha dicho el presidente del CSIC, Rafael Rodrigo, durante el acto de presentación de 'Cinco Proyectos Cero sobre Especies Amenazadas'.

La conservación del lince ibérico, la amenaza real de los anfibios, el estudio de las aves esteparias, la desaparición de las lapas del Mediterráneo o las plantas endémicas transformadas en fósiles vivientes, son cinco proyectos presentados por el CSIC y el Banco de Santander en un intento conjunto de poner freno a la desaparición de estas especies.

Proyecto sobre el lince ibérico
José Antonio López Godoy, de la Estación Biológica de Doñana, ha presentado como eje principal de su proyecto la importancia de la 'Secuenciación del Genoma del Lince Ibérico' para la conservación del felino. "La secuenciación del genoma del lince ibérico -ha asegurado López Godoy- será un logro al permitir recopilar una valiosa información que podría perderse en un futuro próximo si la especie llegara a extinguirse"·

La comparación del genoma del lince ibérico con el del lince boreal y otros felinos, ha continuado, "permitirá identificar los cambios genómicos que han hecho único a nuestro lince y reconstruir la historia evolutiva del grupo".

Un hongo amenaza a los anfibios
La amenaza que sufren los anfibios por el 'hongo asesino' y cómo lograr su erradicación es el tema que ha abordado Jaime Bosch del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales en su proyecto. "La mayor amenaza para los anfibios en nuestro mundo globalizado es un hongo microscópico que el hombre está dispersando por toda la Tierra. Este hongo, bautizado coloquialmente como 'el hongo asesino', resulta letal para muchos anfibios que nunca han estado en contacto previo con él.

Se calcula que más de 400 especies de anfibios de todo el mundo están infectadas y que más de 200 podrían haberse extinguido en los últimos 30 años por su causa.

Plantas endémicas de España
Pablo Vargas, del Real Jardín Botánico, propone en su proyecto el estudio de cinco géneros de plantas con flores, endémicas en España, que son fósiles vivientes entendiendo como fósil viviente aquella especie viva de distribución restringida que no tiene parientes próximos más que en forma fósil.

Aves esteparias
Lluís Brotons, del Centro Tecnológico Forestal de Cataluña, y su equipo plantean compatibilizar la viabilidad económica de la agricultura con la conservación de las aves amenazadas.

Este proyecto nace con el objetivo de avanzar en el diseño e implementación de nuevos enfoques en la conservación de especies amenazadas, encaminados a mejorar la conservación de las mismas en paisajes altamente humanizados como son las zonas esteparias.

El proyecto se desarrollará en dos zonas piloto situadas en el valle del Ebro y en la meseta de Castilla-La Mancha. Ambas áreas presentan una rica comunidad de aves esteparias y paisajes similares, dominados por el cultivo de cereal de invierno de secano.

Lapas y su conservación
José Templado, del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, y Javier Guallart, de la Universidad Católica de Valencia, han alertado con su exposición del peligro de extinción de la lapa Patella ferruginea y la importancia de su conservación.

La Patella ferruginea es una de las especies más emblemáticas desde el punto de vista de la conservación del medio marino en el Mediterráneo pues es, quizás, la especie más amenazada de extinción en este mar.
Cachorro de lince ibérico en un paraje de Sierra Morena. El lince ibérico es el felino más amenazado del planeta.Imagen ampliada

The planet is under a "serious deterioration" of the environment and nature caused in part by the effect of human action, "which translates to a daily loss of 47 species of flora and fauna that must be curb. " This means that currently about 50,000 species studied more than 17,000 are threatened with extinction, demonstrating the great "greed of the human species," said the president of the CSIC, Rafael Rodrigo, during the presentation of 'Five on Project Zero Endangered Species. "

This project was founded with the goal of advancing the design and implementation of new approaches to the conservation of endangered species, aimed at improving the conservation of these highly humanized landscapes such as the steppe zones.

The project will be developed in two pilot areas located in the Ebro valley and the plateau of Castilla-La Mancha. Both areas have a rich community of steppe birds and similar landscapes, dominated by the cultivation of rainfed winter cereal.
It is estimated that over 400 species of amphibians worldwide are infected and more than 200 could be extinct in the last 30 years for his cause.
The genome comparison with that of the Iberian lynx lynx and other big cats, has continued, "will identify the genomic changes that have made us only lynx and reconstruct the evolutionary history of the group."
The Iberian lynx, the real threat of amphibians, the study of steppe birds, the removal of barnacles from the Mediterranean or endemic plants transformed into living fossils, five projects submitted by the CSIC and the Banco de Santander in a concerted attempt to stem the disappearance of these species.

Fungus threat to amphibians
Joseph Temple, of the National Museum of Natural Sciences, and Javier Guallart, Catholic University of Valencia, have been alerted to his exposure of endangered limpet Patella ferruginea and the importance of conservation. The Patella ferruginea is one of the most emblematic species from the point of view of marine conservation in the Mediterranean it is perhaps the most endangered species in the Mediterranean.

Steppe birds
Pablo Vargas, the Royal Botanic Gardens, proposed in its draft study of five genera of flowering plants, endemic in Spain, which are understood as living fossils, living fossils that living species of restricted distribution which has no close relatives rather than fossil form .

Endemic Plants in Spain
Lluís Brotons, Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia, and his team raised reconcile economic viability of agriculture to the conservation of threatened birds.

Lapas and conservation
The threat faced by amphibians for the 'fungus murderer' and how its eradication is the issue that has addressed Jaime Bosch at the National Museum of Natural History in your project. "The greatest threat to amphibians in our globalized world is a microscopic fungus that man is spreading across the Earth. This fungus, called colloquially as 'the murderer fungus', is lethal for many amphibians that have never before been in contact with him.

Project on the Iberian lynx  
José Antonio López Godoy, the Doñana Biological Station, presented as the main focus of the project the importance of 'Genome Sequencing Iberian lynx' for the conservation of the cat. "Sequencing the genome of the Iberian lynx-Godoy-Lopez has said will be an asset to allow gather valuable information that could be lost in the near future if the species become extinct" ·

viernes, 7 de enero de 2011

Una verdad muy bien dicha hace 18 años

_____________________________3 de junio de 1992_____________________________________

No lo podría haber expresado mejor con otras palabras.

She couldn't have said it better with other words.

La Biodiversidad: un problema a seguir de cerca

El programa de Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA) informó que al cabo de un siglo la flora y la fauna mundial podría extinguirse en un 50 %, afectando la biodiversidad que puede definirse como el conjunto de seres vivos que habitan en un ecosistema.

En el planeta hay aproximadamente 1,7 millones de especies diferentes, sobre todo en los bosques húmedos tropicales o selvas tropicales. Las regiones con más biodiversidad son África, Asia y el Pacífico, América Latina y el caribe.
Las especies corren riesgo de extinguirse a causa principalmente de las actividades humanas (agricultura, ganadería y pesca) que van urbanizando los paisajes, despojándolos de su flora y fauna silvestres.

La caza, el comercio y la recolección indiscriminadas, provocan que muchas especies corran riesgo de extinción.

Los incendios, infraestructuras, y explotaciones mineras producen la destrucción o alteración de los hábitats.
Muchas veces los bosques son reemplazados por plantaciones de árboles de especies exóticas.

Las catástrofes naturales como inundaciones o terremotos contribuyen a la pérdida de la biodiversidad.

Un caso paradigmático lo constituye Tanzania, un país de África, donde hay abundancia de bosques. Sin embargo, la tala de árboles, que llevó a 400.000 hectáreas anuales, en los últimos veinte años ha sido una gran amenaza a la biodiversidad. Los bosques fueron reemplazados por actividades agrícolas y mineras que trajo como consecuencia que Tanzania perdiera el 25 % de sus bosques.

La pérdida de la biodiversidad es una seria amenaza para la vida de todos, incluso la humana, ya que el hombre no vive sólo sino que necesita del ambiente para obtener de él energía, alimentos y el propio oxígeno para respirar, que talando árboles está contaminando, al extinguir este preciado medio de purificación del aire. Es por eso que es tan importante conservar nuestro planeta, no solo desde el punto de vista más estético por lo feo que queda un bosque con los árboles talados sino que también desde el punto de vista más utilitario ya que esta diversidad de especies y de genes es el principal recurso para la obtención de alimentos, medicinas y substancias químicas con usos diferentes.

The program of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that after a century the world's flora and fauna could become extinct by 50%, affecting biodiversity which can be defined as all living creatures in an ecosystem.

In the world there are approximately 1.7 million different species, especially tropical rain forests or tropical rainforests.
The most biodiverse regions are Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. The species are at risk of extinction mainly due to human activities (agriculture, livestock and fisheries) that are urbanizing the countryside, robbing them of their flora and fauna.

Hunting, trade and indiscriminate harvesting, causing many species are at risk of extinction. The fires, infrastructure and mining produce the destruction or alteration of habitats. Forests are often replaced by plantations of exotic species. Natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes contribute to the loss of biodiversity.

A paradigmatic case is Tanzania, a country in Africa, where there are plenty of forests. However, deforestation, which led to 400,000 hectares annually in the last twenty years has been a major threat to biodiversity.
The forests were replaced by agricultural and mining activities that resulted in that Tanzania lost 25% of its forests.

The loss of biodiversity is a serious threat to the lives of everyone, including humans, and that man lives not only the environment but needs it for energy, food and oxygen to breathe himself, that felling trees is polluting , to terminate this valuable means of air purification. That is why it is so important to preserve our planet, not only from the aesthetic point of view so ugly that a forest is felled trees but also from a utilitarian point of view and that this diversity of species and genes
is the leading resource for obtaining food, medicine and chemicals for various uses.