Category Archive 'Extinct Animals'

03 Jun 2019

“Extinct” Formosan Clouded Leopard Sighted Twice This Year

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[I]n Taiwan.. a rare species of large cat, the Formosan clouded leopard, has just been spotted in the wilderness by a number of people across the archipelago’s southeast region. The leopard has been spotted walking around in the countryside near Taitung County’s Daren Township, where the area’s Paiwan tribal authorities had formed indigenous ranger groups to patrol the region and guard the sensitive areas.

This is actually great news because this particular species of Leopard hasn’t been officially sighted since 1983, more than 35 years ago, and 6 years ago, in 2013, it was officially decades as extinct. This gives hope to many other animals that were once thought to be extinct. Maybe they are still out there somewhere. It was first spotted by a group of rangers when it suddenly climbed up a tree and then scrambled up a cliff side to go and hunt for goats. Another group also spotted it when it darted in front of their scooter before quickly claiming another tree and disappearing from sight for good. Even though the group didn’t manage to see it again, at least they know it exists and was able to report back about it.


Wikipedia article on Neofelis nebulosa brachyura:

In February 2019, Taiwan News reported two unconfirmed sightings by two different groups of rangers in Taitung County, both made in the summer of 2018. One report was of an individual climbing a tree and climbing a cliff in order to hunt goats, while another was of an individual darting past a scooter on a road before climbing into a tree. has more.

31 Jul 2013

Gone, But Not Forgotten

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Isabella Kirkland, Gone

Still weeping into your handkerchief over missing Carolina parakeets, Heath Hens, and Passenger pigeons? Studio 360 tells us that modern science is working on bringing extinct species back.

Bringing extinct animals back has usually been left to the world of science fiction. But a group of biologists is attempting it in the real world. The organization Revive & Restore, a project of the Long Now Foundation, held a day-long TEDx conference on de-extinction a few months ago at the National Geographic Society. This is not quack science; some of the research involves Harvard University, UC Santa Cruz, and Wake Forest University, among other institutions.

Painter Isabella Kirkland, who is also a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, opened the event with an image of her painting Gone. It looks like a Dutch master’s oil painting, depicting 63 extinct New World species arrayed on a table elegantly: the Carolina parakeet, the golden toad, and in the central place of honor, Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who died in 1914.

The passenger pigeon is the preoccupation of Revive & Restore’s Ben Novak, a genetic biologist. “It’s my job to bring the bird back to life.” Novak began thinking about resurrecting animals in junior high school, when he did a science fair project on the dodo bird. “It’s the icon of extinction — ‘dead as a dodo,’ as they say — and I learned that the dodo is actually a giant extinct pigeon. It gave me the pigeon bug.” The techniques are complicated and untried, but de-extinction is simple in concept: take DNA from a dead sample in a natural history museum somewhere, and plant it in the egg of a living relative — in this case, the band-tailed pigeon. If it works, the living bird will hatch an egg out of which will come the clone of a long-dead bird.

I would vote for bringing back Pleistocene megafauna, which would provide some excellent hunting trophies. Bringing back the Passenger pigeon seems like a bad idea to me. We already have plenty of Mourning Doves which fill the Passenger pigeon’s ecological niche pretty satisfactorily. Besides, it seems possible, speaking historically, that Passenger pigeons (and Carolina parakeets) were, at least in part, intentionally eradicated because they were voracious flock feeders on crops.

Hat tip to Daniela Imre.

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