Another species goes extict.... - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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Another species goes extict....

After five years of futile efforts to find or confirm sightings of any Caribbean monk seals — even just one — the U.S. government on Friday announced that the species is officially extinct and the only seal to vanish due to human causes.

"Humans left the Caribbean monk seal population unsustainable after overhunting them," Kyle Baker, a biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, this led to their demise and labels the species as the only seal to go extinct from human causes."

A Caribbean monk seal — the only subtropical seal native to the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico — had not been seen for more than 50 years. The last confirmed sighting was in 1952 at Seranilla Bank, between Jamaica and the Yucatan Peninsula.

The United States listed the species as endangered in 1967. The fisheries service will now have the species removed from the list.

"Caribbean monk seals were first discovered during Columbus’s second voyage in 1494, when eight seals were killed for meat," the fisheries service noted. "Following European colonization from the 1700s to 1900s, the seals were exploited intensively for their blubber, and to a lesser extent for food, scientific study and zoological collection. Blubber was processed into oil and used for lubrication, coating the bottom of boats, and as lamp and cooking oil. Seal skins were sought to make trunk linings, articles of clothing, straps and bags."

Hawaiian, Mediterranean species at risk
Just two other monk seal species remain: Hawaiian and Mediterranean monk seals, both of which are endangered and at risk of extinction. Populations have fallen to below 1,200 and 500 individuals, respectively, the fisheries service stated.

"Worldwide, populations of the two remaining monk seal species are declining," said Baker. "We hope we’ve learned from the extinction of Caribbean monk seals, and can provide stronger protection for their Hawaiian and Mediterranean relatives."

The Hawaiian population is declining at a rate of about four percent per year, with challenges "such as lack of food sources for young seals, entanglement in marine debris, predation by sharks, and loss of haul-out and pupping beaches due to erosion," the service said.


Gordon Olayvar / Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources via AP
These two Hawaiian monk seals were found washed up on Oahu's Makua Beach on May 27, 2007. The one trapped in fishing lines died from drowning. The other survived, following the dead animal's carcass to shore and barking loudly at people as they approached to disentangle the body.
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"The Hawaiian monk seal is a treasure to preserve for future generations," said NMFS biologist Bud Antonelis. The "fisheries service has developed a monk seal recovery plan, but we need continued support from organizations and the public if we are to have a chance at saving it from extinction. Time is running out."

"The fate of the Caribbean monk seal is a wake-up call for us to act quickly to protect other endangered monk seal populations. We must learn from our mistakes," Vicki Cornish of Ocean Conservancy echoed in a separate statement. "We must act now to reduce threats to existing monk seal populations before it's too late. These animals are important to the balance and health of the ocean — we can't afford to wait."

Other species of marine mammals that have gone extinct in modern times include the Atlantic gray whale (1700s or 1800s) and stellar sea cow (late 1700s), presumably due to overhunting by whalers, the fisheries service stated.

Climate connection
The Ocean Conservancy said some of the threats, especially erosion and debris, are tied to the El Nino weather pattern and rising sea levels, which in turn is tied to global warming.

"El Nino events, which cause storms similar to those expected to occur with increasing frequency as a result of climate change, drive marine debris closer to monk seal beaches and nearshore waters," it added. "Seal pups play with trash, which can lead to entanglement and eventual death. Increased numbers of Hawaiian monk seals have been found entangled in marine debris after El Nino events."

Entanglement happens even in "one of the best-protected ocean places in the United States," the conservation group said, referring to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Monument created by President Bush in 2006.



And I wonder how many we never know about...
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 06:21 PM
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There are thousands of species going extinct every years, but practically all of them are insects. When a mammal goes extinct, it's sad.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 06:44 PM Thread Starter
 
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But each of those insects has a niche in the enviroment, also. It is just not the furry cuties that are going extict that is detrimental but the lizards, snakes and even beetles.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 07:23 PM
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It's so very sad that we caused the extinction of this animal.




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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 07:54 PM
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It's life. We've screwed over the planet so much that this sort of thing is becomming common.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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I firmly believe the earth is getting very ,um, angry -I can't use the words i really want and we are gonna start feeling her wrath, if we haven't already.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-06-2008, 11:02 PM
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Personlly, I don't miss the bugs. I wish mosquitoes and flies would go extinct. There's still plenty of other bugs for the birds to eat.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-07-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nerilka
But each of those insects has a niche in the enviroment, also. It is just not the furry cuties that are going extict that is detrimental but the lizards, snakes and even beetles.
This is from an article in this weeks Newsweek magazine:

Biologists draw an analogy between ecosystems and airplanes. The latter can fly without some of their rivets, and the former can survive without some of their species. But in neither case can you tell how many, or which ones, are dispensable until the thing crashes. "Some 99.99 percent of spe- cies that ever existed have disappeared, and nature moves on," notes Wheeler. "But you can never predict what the consequences will be in the short term, especially for humans who rely on the services that invertebrates provide." But after a species' numbers plummet, the effects haven't been pretty. For instance, as freshwater mussels have declined (70 percent of their species are threatened or endangered), taking with them their filtration services, water quality in streams, rivers and lakes has deteriorated badly. In the Chesapeake Bay, each adult oyster once filtered 60 gallons of water a day, packaging sediment and pollutants into blobs that fell harmlessly to the bay floor. Before the population crashed in the 1990s, oysters filtered 19 trillion gallons—an entire bay's worth—once a week. The survivors struggle to do that in a year. The result is cloudy, more polluted water, and a loss of fisheries and baymen's livelihoods.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by coaster
Personlly, I don't miss the bugs. I wish mosquitoes and flies would go extinct. There's still plenty of other bugs for the birds to eat.
I can understand about the mosquitoes, but if the flies were to be extinct, then what would we do about the things that their larva eat? Let's face it, nobody likes to talk about maggots, but in reality, they are very much in need.
I don't particularly like flies either, but they do serve their purpose.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 06-11-2008, 01:13 PM
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Mosquitoes serve a purpose, too. Everything does. So I guess it's just a matter of personal preference which one could "do without."
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