Endangered species news from around the world

Australia's cull of its iconic kangaroos is controversial to say the least. Conservationists are agog and vocally critical of plans to shoot the animals, which have over-bred for their environment. But here's the rub: kangaroos are over-eating important grasslands, which may drive some other key Australian species into extinction. Among the species particularly at risk is the grassland earless dragon, one of the world's rarest lizards. (Of course, many of these species would not be in as much risk as they are if humans had not destroyed their habitats in the first place...)

Moving from the kangaroo to the unrelated but endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing cutting the size of the species' critical habitat by two-thirds -- from 33,000 acres to just 10,500 acres. I hope they like cuddling, because that's quite a downsizing.

Species in the Czech Republic don't have an easy life. According to recent reports, one third of the country's mammal species, more than a half its nesting birds and 60% of its plants are currently threatened with extinction. Among the top threats: man (of course), loss of migration routes, and invasive species.

And finally today, Ontario has a new, tough Endangered Species Act coming into effect at the end of June, and it seems that no one is happy -- not conservationists, and not industry. Environmentalists are upset because the logging industry has, at the last minute, been given a 1-year reprieve from the new law. But loggers are even more upset -- they say they had expected to receive a permanent exception from the law. (Still, the law is good news for any Ontarians with four legs, wings, leaves, gills, etc.)

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