Conservation

Remembering Karak: the other Commonwealth Games mascot

It’s Commonwealth Games madness here in my home city of Gold Coast. Excitement is building. As a testament to the extent of my love for sport, I am leaving the city the morning after the Opening Ceremony to head back to Kangaroo Island for the 2018 glossy black-cockatoo breeding season. Black-cockatoos might seem like a convenient way for me to avoid the chaos of the Games (which is true), but there’s actually a connection between black-cockatoos and the Games:

The south-eastern red-tailed black-cockatoo was the official mascot of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

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Vaquita on the verge of extinction

For a long time, I have wanted to write of the tragedy of the vaquita. This cryptic porpoise has been keeping a spot in my mind and my heart for a number of years, since I first learned of its imminent extinction. The story of the vaquita is so depressing, so overwhelming, that I find it hard to write about. Sadly, it’s also a predictable and all-too-common story.

Right up, here’s the punchline: the vaquita is about to become extinct.

There’s no time to really dawdle on speaking about it.

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The real threats to species

The real threats to species

Anyone working in conservation science today will tell you that climate change is a central theme in a lot of our work, and for good reason. In almost all cases, modelling predicts that species will be negatively affected, sometimes catastrophically so. The Great Barrier Reef is hurtling towards being listed as World Heritage in Danger, thanks two massive coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 brought on by warming sea temperatures. Polar bears and ringed seals are losing their Arctic home, and the Bramble Cay Melomys has already gone the way of the dodo.

But what if I told you that exploitation – not climate change – was actually the largest threat to most species worldwide?

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