Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A long winter's nap...

As I type, the weather outside my window is disgusting. There is no other word for it. The somewhat-delightful snow of this morning has morphed into a cold, pelting sleety rain that pings off the AC unit which still droops from my office window. The sneaky wind has found it's way through the outer walls to breach my office and leave me with cold feet and fingertips.

Which is why I chose today's stories to bring a (very) brief glimpse of the light at the end of the winter tunnel - spring. It seems in this unforgiving season, scientists around the world have been discovering members of the animal kingdom which were long thought to be extinct. Most are still considered very endangered, but the fact they still exist at all is a point of celebration. seems to have collected a few of these stories. The site has a distinct article on the discovery of a rare giant turtle in Vietnam which narrowly avoided becoming soup. Long prized as an ingredient, Swinhoe's soft-shell is on the brink of extinction in the wild. However, one was spotted in a lake in northern Vietnam. A fisherman had caught it, but researchers convinced the man to eschew the large prices dangled by restaurateurs and instead, return the animal to his home.

MSNBC's John Roach also did a slideshow on eight other species which were considered extinct until recently - the Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog, the Banggai crow, the Pyant Cheezar turtle, pygmy tarsiers, Beck's petrel, Armoured Mistfrogs, the long-billed reed warbler, and the ivory-billed woodpecker. Some of them have not been seen since the turn of the 20th century, and their reappearance has caused all sorts of excitement in the scientific and environmental communities.

(Image courtesy of

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