Wildlife & Biodiversity

Global Eco Watch: Major ecological happenings of the week (December 29, 2019 – January 5, 2020)

Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of global ecology

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Sunday 05 January 2020
A Chinese paddlefish. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Chinese paddlefish found in the Yangtze declared extinct

The Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius), native to the Yangtze, Asia's longest river, and one of the world's largest species of freshwater species has been declared extinct by Chinese scientists, according to a media report

The last confirmed sighting of the fish was in 2003. It is thought to have become functionally extinct — which means there are no breeding pairs left — in 1993. The last individuals of the species are thought to have died between 2005 and 2010.

Two other notable Yangtze species — reeves shad, a type of fish and the baiji, or Yangtze River dolphin — were declared 'functionally extinct' in 2015 and 2006 respectively.

The paper written by the Chinese scientists that declared the extinction of the paddlefish said the reasons were overfishing and habitat loss.

Half a billion animals might have died in Australia bushfires

Almost half-a-billion wild animals could have died in the recent bushfires in Australia, according to conservative estimates by experts. The actual figures would perhaps never be known, a media report has said.

A study by the University of New South Wales has said that 480 million animals could have died in the state since September 2019, when the fires began. 

Andrew Beattie, a professor from Macquarie University near Sydney, told AFP that the number of fatalities could be in the billions.

Particularly worrying is the plight of the Koala, one of Australia's icons. According to the media report, Koala numbers had already dropped by 42 per cent between 1990 and 2010, even before the current bushfires began. 

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