Posted by: Danielle | August 12, 2010

Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved?

Two scientists  believe that they have finally solved the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. Their research paper,published in the American Journal of Physics, explains that natural gas,specifically methane,is the culprit behind the disappearances of ships and air craft over the years.

Professor Joseph Monaghan researched his theory with honor student David May at the Monash University of Melbourne Australia. They two hypothesized that giant methane bubbles rising from the ocean floor might account for most if not all of the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, and similar sites around the world.

Surveyors of the sea floor have found that the Bermuda Triangle and North Sea area both have significant quantities of methane hydrates, and older eruption sites.

Looking at the existing data the two imagined what would happen if a large methane bubble exploded from natural fissures on the sea floor. The methane that is normally frozen at great pressure embedded within subterranean rock can become dislodged and form gaseous bubbles expanding as they explode upwards. When these bubbles reach the service they continue to expand upwards, and outwards.

Any ships caught in these gigantic bubbles immediately lose their buoyancy, and sink right to the bottom of the ocean. If they bubbles are large enough, and have a high enough density, it is possible for them to knock an aircraft out of the sky with little to no warning at all.

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Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

HIV & AIDS World Wide Facts And Figures

AIDS and HIV are a large problem affecting millions worldwide everyday. Many do not have the accessibility to healthcare like many in first world countries enjoy. This entry will explain to you: what HIV and AIDS are, how it affects people worldwide by region, and some facts and statistics to help you better understand the scale of the problem.

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a medical condition that attacks the immune system and T-helper cells. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and its a medical condition and is diagnosed when someone’s immune system is too weak to fight of infection.

The epidemic has had a devastating impact on societies, in countries that are the most affect the life expectancy has dropped to as little as 20 years. The people most at risk are young adults so this countries are also facing slow economic growth, and well as increases in poverty. Many that die also have children and leave them behind, Africa for example has as many as 14 million orphaned children and that number is growing everyday.

North America and Western and Central Europe:

HIV and AIDS in higher income countries continues to rise , largely due to ARV therapy that prolongs the life of HIV positive people. This also means there is a larger pool of people who are able to transmit the virus on to someone else. It is estimated that 1.4 million people in North America and 850,000 in western and central Europe. In these two regions 38,000 people lost their battle with HIV.

Eastern Europe And Central Asia:

The epidemic in these areas is quickly expanding. In 2008 the number of people newly infected was 110,000, adding to the 1.5 million already living with the disease. Only a small portion of the HIV positive people in these areas have access to ARV therapy so the death rate in these areas is higher than it otherwise might be, the rate stands at around 87,000 people a year.

Asia:

In India alone 2-3.1 million people are HIV positive. The current estimate for the entire continent of Asia is 4.7 million.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

By far the area in the world most severely affected with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  The region has around 10% of the world’s population and 67% of the people living in this region of the world are HIV positive. 1.9 million people became infected in 2008 alone, bringing the total number of HIV positive people in the area to 22.4 million. In 2008 alone, 1.4 million people died as a result of HIV/AIDS. The average survival in the absence of treatment is 10 years after infection. ARV therapy can dramatically extend the survival and allow a person to live many years of healthy life, but this treatment is unavailable to most people living in the area.

North Africa And The Middle East:

In 2008 35,000 people in the area were newly infected with HIV, bringing the estimated number of HIV positives to 310,000 in the area, and 20,000 of these people were killed the same year.

Latin America And The Caribbean:

In these two regions of the world, 2.24 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. In 2008 there were 190,000 new infections, and 89,000 people died the same year. The largest epidemic in the area is Brazil with 730,000.

FACTS AND STATISTICS:

(these are the facts from 2008)

  • 33.4 million people were living with HIV/AIDS
  • 31.3 million adults living with HIV/AIDS
  • 15.7 million women living with HIV/AIDS
  • 2.1 million children living with HIV/AIDS
  • 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV/AIDS
  • .43 million children were newly infected with HIV/AIDS
  • The total amount of deaths were 2 million
  • The total amount of deaths in children were .28 million
  • More than 25 million people have died since 1981
  • Africa alone has over 14 million AIDS orphans
  • In developing and transitional countries 9.5 million are in immediate need of life saving medicine, out of these only 4 million (42%) are receiving these drugs
  • The number of people living with HIV/AIDS has increased from 8 million in 1990 to 33 million today.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa 67% of people are living with HIV
Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

Human Trafficking: The Facts And Figures

Facts, figures, statistics, and a definition of human trafficking, modern day slavery. This is just one of the series of posts I am going to publish on this blog.

The United Nations Office On Drugs And Crime (UNODC) defines human trafficking as:”The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

The sexual exploitation of women and children as a result of human trafficking is estimated to earn 28 billion dollars a year.

27 million people are in modern day slavery across the world.

Anywhere between 700,000 to 2 million people are trafficked across international borders annually. 80% of these victims are women and young girls.

Over 1 million children enter the sex trade each year. Approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation in the last 30 years.

The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14.

50% of transport victims are children. 80% are women and girls.

70% of female victims are trafficked into the commercial sex industry, 30% are forced into labor.

161 countries around the world are affected by human trafficking. 127 countries of origin, 98 transit countries, and 137 destination countries.

The human trafficking industry makes 32 billion dollars a year. 15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries, 9.7 billion is made in Asia, 13,000 dollars per year generated per each laborer. The number can be as high as 67,200 dollars per year per person.

14,500-17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States every year.

Victims of human trafficking are subject to: rape, torture, forced abortions, and starvation, and many other forms of abuse, and threats.

Some of the countries of destination include: Australia,Brazil,Cambodia,France,India,Israel,Japan,The Netherlands,Nigeria,Saudi Arabia,Untied Kingdom,United Arab Emirates,and The United States.

Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

12 Amazing Extinct Animals With Pictures

You have probably never seen most of the animals on this list all of these animals featured have gone extinct within the last 7,000 years, and people are to blame for their extinction, with the exception of a few. Sadly these are just a small handful out of the uncountable many that have been lost.

Here is a list of species most people probably have never seen.

1. Quagga

One of Africa’s most famous extinct animals, it was a subspecies of the plains zebra we see today. They were once found in great numbers in South Africa. The last known wild Quagga was most likely shot in the late 1870s, the last one in captivity died August 12 1883 at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam.

2.Thylacine the Tasmanian Tiger

Thylacine was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times. Native to Australia and New Guinea, it was more commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger do to its tiger like stripes on its back.Intensive hunting encouraged by bounties are generally blamed for its extinction. Other contributory factors may have been disease, the introduction of dogs, and humans encroachment on their habitat.  The last known Tasmanian Tiger died in 1936.

The last Tasmanian tiger (thylacine), a female about 12 years old, which  died in 1936.

3. The Irish Deer

The Irish Deer or the Giant Deer was the largest deer that ever lived. It lived in Eurasia, from Ireland all the way to Lake Baikal. It was 7 feet tall at the shoulders, and it had the largest antlers of any deer, the antlers having a maximum width of 12 feet from tip to tip, and weighing up to 90 pounds! Discussion of their cause for extinction has focused on their antlers, suggesting that their large antler size restricted their movement in the forests they lived in. Others consider the possibility it was hunted to extinction by man. It is estimated they died out around 7,700 years ago.

4. Steller’s Sea Cow

It formally lived near the Asian coast in the Bering Sea, it was discovered by Georg Steller. The Sea Cow grew up to 25 feet long and weighed up to three tons, much larger than the manatee or dugong. They were widespread among the North Pacific Coast, and reached as far south as Japan and California. The arrival of humans into the area is believed to have caused their extinction. There are still sporadic reports of Sea Cow like creatures seen around the area, but it has never been proven. The last Sea Cow was believed to have died in 1768.

5. The Dodo

The Dodo is probably the best known extinct species by people. It was a flightless bird from the Island of Mauritius. It stood about three feet tall, and was related to modern day pigeons and doves. It survived on eating fruit, and they built nests on the ground. Humans drove this species to extinction in the 17th century.

6. The Caspian Tiger

The Caspian, or Persian Tiger was the westernmost species of tiger. It was found in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Caucasus, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Of all the tigers known to the world, the Caspian was the third largest. Poaching is most likely the cause for this species extinction the last known Caspian Tiger died in the 1970′s.

7. Auroch

The Auroch or Urus were a very large species of cattle. They lived in Poland, Lithuania, Moldavia, Transylvania, and East Prussia. They were hunted for sport by royal families, until the numbers decreased dramatically leaving around 38 left. The last recorded Auroch died in 1627.

8.Giant Auk

The Giant Auk was the only species of the genus Pinguinus to survive to modern times. It was also known as a garefowl or penguin. It stood about 30-34 inches high.They were widespread on islands off the east coast of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, and Great Britain. It was hunted to extinction, and became extinct in 1844.

9. The Cave Lion

The Cave Lion also called by the name of European or Eurasian Cave Lion. This subspecies was known as one of the largest known lion subspecies. A male’s body could reach a length of six feet (not including the tail), they were about 5-10% bigger than modern lions. The species went extinct 10,000 years ago during the Wurm glaciation, although there are indications that the Cave Lion may have survived until about 2,000 years ago in the Balkans.

10. The Bubal Hartebeest

The Bubal Hartebeest was a species of antelope, found in Africa. They stood four feet tall at the shoulder. Hunting in the 19th century dramatically decreased its numbers, sealing its fate. The last Bubal Hartebeest was a female who died in Jardin des Plantes in Paris in 1923.

female_Bubal_Hartebeest_that_lived_in_London_Zoo_from_4_October_1883_until_27_April_1897

11. The Golden Toad

The first recorded account of the Golden Toad was by Herpetologist Jay Savage in 1966. It was native to tropical cloud forests that surround Monteverde, Costa Rica. Characterized by its brilliant golden orange color. The extinction of this species is blamed on global warming and climate change, the last Golden Toad was seen in 1989.

Golden Toad

12. Baiji River Dolphin

The Baiji River Dolphin’s population decreased drastically in recent decades, as China industrialized, and made heavy use of their rivers for fishing, transportation, and hydroelectricity. Industrial and Residential waste flowed into the rivers. Noise pollution caused the nearly blind animal to collide with ship propellers,and most deaths were attributed to entanglement in fishing gear. Only a few hundred were left in the 1970′s which dropped to 400 hundred in the 1980′s and then to 13 were left in 1997. A full fledged search was conducted, and the Baiji River Dolphin was declared extinct in late 2006 when the expedition searched their entire range but failed to record a single individual after their extensive search.

Baiji

Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

16 Unique Animals You Probably Haven’t Seen With Pictures

A list of unique and interesting animals that you have probably have never seen, from all over the world.

1. Happy Faced Spider

The happy faced spider is found in Hawaii (United States), and is instantly recognizable for the “happy face” on its back which is where it got his name.The spider is about 5mm long overall. They have a yellow body and each spider has its own unique markings. The variations may serve as a camouflage against birds to counteract patterns recognized by predators. The pattern can change by what the spider has eaten.

2. Aardwolf

The aardwolf is a small subspecies of hyena that is native to eastern and southern Africa. Its name is dutch for “earth wolf”. Their diet almost completely consists of insects such as larvae and termites.It mainly eats termites and can eat 200,000 in a single night. They hid in their burrows during the day and come out at night to eat.

3. Fossa

A carnivorous mammal only found in Madagascar, it is related to the Mongoose family. The largest mammalian carnivore on Madagascar they hunt medium sized animals such as fish,birds, rodents and small lemurs. Their population is considered vulnerable by the IUCN due to their population decline over that last 20 years.

4. European Ground Squirrel

It also goes by European Souslik, and its found in eastern Europe in Ukraine,Czech Republic,Greece,Romania,Bulgaria, some parts of Asia, and as far north as Poland. They live in colonies in individual burrows, they are diurnal, which means they are active during the day and they sleep at night.They feed on seeds and plant shoots,roots and flightless invertebrates. Their population is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.

5. Blobfish

A deep sea fish that lives off the coast of Australia and Tasmania. It is rarely seen by people and it lives at a depth where the pressure is several dozen times then at sea level. It has a density that is slightly less that water that allows it to float above the sea floor without it having to waste energy swimming. It eats edible matter that floats in front of it.

blobfish.jpg image by Azzedarius

6. Lesser Grison

The lesser grison can be found in South America in: Peru,Argentina,Bolivia,Brazil,Chile and Paraguay. It belongs to the ferret family. They are usually found near water and they live under rocks, and tree roots. They also inhabit vacated burrows. They feed on small mammals, invertebrates,reptile,amphibians,fruit and eggs.

7. Ring-Tailed Cat

The ring-tailed cat is native to north america found in 9 states in the United States(California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico,Nevada, Texas, Utah), as well as three Mexican states (Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz). They can be easily tamed and are legal to keep as pets in some parts of the United States.

8. Blanket Octopus

A unique looking Octopus found off of Australia’s northern coast. Unlike other octopuses this one does not use ink to intimidate predators, it uncurls a large net like membrane which spread out , and this trait is what gives this unusual animal its name.

9. Glass Frog

Glass frogs are found from Mexico to Panama, and through the Andes into Bolivia, and Venezuela some species even live as far as the Amazon basins, Brazil and Argentina. The glass frog gets its name from its translucent skin through which the glass frog’s internal organs including the heart and liver are visible.

10. Hairy Frog

This strange frog comes from central Africa. It gets its name from hair like structures on the body and thighs of the adult males. They are threatened by habitat loss but are not considered endangered by the IUCN.

11. Leafy Sea Dragon

The leafy sea dragon lives along the southern and western coasts of Australia. It gets it’s name from it’s appearance. They feed on plankton, and small crustaceans. A related species is the weedy sea dragon. Like Sea Horses the males in of this species also take care of the eggs. Once they are born the leafy sea dragons are completely independent, only 5% make it to adulthood.

12. Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko

This gecko is only found in Madagascar, it is also known as the eyelash leaf-tailed gecko, and the fantastic leaf-tailed gecko. They come in many colors ranging in hues of purple,orange,tan, and yellow.  They eat a variety of insects. They are considered vulnerable by the IUCN.

13. Angora Rabbit

The angora rabbit is a variety of domestic rabbit raised for its long soft fur, it is also one of the world’s oldest types of domestic rabbit, and it originates in Ankara,Turkey.

– an English angora rabbit

14. Frilled Shark

The frilled shark lives in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. They have several features which some call “primitive” which gives it the nickname “the living fossil”. They are usually found deep in the water, but it has on rare occasions been found on the surface of the water. They are rarely ever encountered alive,so they pose no danger to humans. They are considered Near Threatened by the IUCN, because they are sometimes a bycatch of fishing.

15. Purple Frog

A species of frog that live in the Western Ghats of India, it is also known as the pignose frog. It was discovered in October 2003, and it was found to be unique to India. The frog spends most of the year underground, surfacing only for two weeks during the monsoon to mate. It is listed as endangered by the IUCN.

16. Spiny Turtle

The spiny turtle is found in Brunei, Indonesia,Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Its name comes from the sharp, pointed, spiky edged shell. It is also known as a cog-wheel turtle.It is listed as endangered by the IUCN.

Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

15 Endangered Birds From Around The World With Pictures

Some of these birds are the rarest in the world. And every species on this list is under threat because of activity by people.

1. Crested Ibis

The Crested Ibis also known as the Japanese Crested Ibis or Toki, is a large (up to 30 inches long) white plumed bird. Its head is partially bear showing its red skin.  At one time the Crested Ibis was common throughout Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, and Russia. Its habitat is usually found in the mainlands and wetlands, and they make their nests on treetops. The Crested Ibis has now disappeared from most of its former range. The population in the wild in Korea, Taiwan,Russia and Japan are lost, the last remaining bird in the wild in Japan died in October 2003. The remaining wild population can only be found in Shaanxi province in China. Extensive captive breeding programs in Japan and China have been developed to help save the species. For the last 22 years China has bred and protected this species. In 2002 there were a total 130 colonies in China. There is a plan to introduce 60 Crested Ibis into the wild in Japan in 2015.

Ongoing habitat loss, small population size,limited range,winter starvation, and persecution in the last century have brought this species to the brink of extinction.

2. Kakapo

The Kakapo is one of the few species of flightless birds that have made it into the 21st century. This species is only found in New Zealand, and it is the worlds only flightless parrot.

Historically one of their biggest threats was habitat and the Maori people.(a native group in New Zealand). The Kakapo was considered by Maori to be a delicacy,  and they were hunted for their meat. And also their feathers and skins which were used to make coats, would would require up to 11,000 feathers to make. Presently habitat loss continues to be a large threat, but they also have been threatened by the introduction of dogs and cats into the area.

They are critically endangered as of February 2010 only 123 Kakapo are thought to be alive today, every living individual has been named except for very young chicks. Since 1891 conservation efforts have been started to try to save the species, the most recent project has been ongoing since 1989, attempts to save the species have not been largely successful.

3. Kiwi

The Kiwi is a flightless bird from New Zealand and is a national symbol for them. It is around the size of a domestic chicken, and the smallest living ratite, and lay the largest egg in proportion to their body size. There are five recognized species of Kiwi all of which are endangered.

Historically the Maori had hunted the Kiwi because the feathers were important to them, and were used in ceremonial cloaks. Today the feathers are still used but they are taken from Kiwi that die naturally. One of the biggest threats to the Kiwi are domestic dogs and other imported pets including the stoat (a type of weasel). They are a small flightless bird so their defenses are extremely limited.  Loss of habitat is also a large factor. Not only is it a threat to it’s food resources, but the kiwi has fewer places to hide from its many predators.

The five subspecies of Kiwi (all are considered endangered) and their remaining population are:

Great Spotted Kiwi– around 20,000

Little Spotted Kiwi– extinct in mainland, 1350 remain on Kapiti Island

Rowi– number not known. Species was discovered in 1994.

Tokoeka-300 left

North Island Brown Kiwi-35,000 remaining

4. Atlantic Puffin

A seabird species in the auk family, it is also known as the common puffin, and is the only species found in the Atlantic Ocean.

The population of these birds were greatly reduced in the nineteenth century when they were hunted for their meat and eggs. They are still hunted and eaten today, but this is not as great of a threat as other factors. The more recent population decline can be attributed to the increased population of gulls and skuas, as well as the introduction of: rats, cats,dogs,foxes onto some islands used for nesting, contamination due to toxic residues, drowning in fishing nets, declining food resources, and climate change. An estimated 70,000 birds are left.

5. Maleo

This bird is native to the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi, and is found in it’s tropical lowland and hill forests.

The population of Maleo in recent decades has decreased dramatically from around 25,000 to just 14,000 today. Ongoing habitat loss,limited range,high chick mortality rates (do to introduced animals such as dogs and cats), over hunting, and egg snatching (Maleo eggs are considered a local delicacy)

6. Philippine Eagle

The Philippine Eagle is also known as the Great Philippine Eagle, or the Monkey-Eating Eagle, it also goes by the name of  ”Haribon” which means bird King. It is one of the tallest, rarest, and powerful birds found in the world today. A bird of prey that belongs to the Accipitridae family, it is unique to the Philippines, hence its name.

It is believed that between 180 to 500 survive in the Philippines. They are threatened by deforestation through logging, and the expansion of agriculture in the area. The forest is being lost at a high rate, and much of the Philippines Eagle’s habitat is owned by logging companies. Pollution, mining, exposure to pesticides (which affect breeding), and poaching are also major threats.

7. ‘I’iwi

The ‘I’iwi is also called the Scarlet Hawaiian Honeycreeper is a Hawaiian finch and is a highly recognized symbol of Hawaii.

This species is listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, but it could soon be at threated status if current trends continue. They total number on Hawaii’s eight major islands is 350,000. Although they are still relatively common on Hawaii it is rare on O’ahu, and Molokai, and they are no longer found on Lana’i. The decline can mostly be blamed on habitat loss, as native forest are being cleared for farming,grazing, and development.

They are also susceptible to fowlpox, and avian influenza. A study has shown that 90% of ‘I’iwi that are exposed to either disease die, and the other 10% are weakened but survive. Scientists are hoping to solve this issue by removing alien (non-native) species of plants and animals from critical habitats. Another large threat is avian malaria which is spread by mosquitoes. More than half of ‘I’iwi that die from avian malaria contract it from a single mosquito bite.

8. Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is or was one of the largest woodpeckers in the world. Found in the southeastern forests of the United States, their numbers have dwindled to the point where it is uncertain whether or not any are alive today.

Heavy logging and hunting devastated their populations in the late 1800s. It was generally considered extinct in the 1920′s but two were found only to be shot to be taken as specimens. In 1938 20 individuals where found to be found living in a forest owned by the Chicago Mill And Lumber Company. The company brushed aside pleas from four southern governors, and the National Audubon Society, that the land should be publicly purchased and set aside as a reserve, and completely cut down the forest. In 1944 the last known Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, a female, was lost. Since then there have been many reported sitings of this bird. And since that day their have been many expeditions to find a single bird, but they have all been unsuccessful. It seems very unlikely that this species is still alive today.

9. Prairie Chickens

Both the greater prairie chicken and their subspecies attwter’s prairie chicken are endangered. And the other subspecies was the Heath Hen which is extinct.

Greater Prairie Chicken-A large bird in the grouse family, the Greater Prairie Chicken was once abundant in the Untied States being found mainly on the great plains, and on a small portion of the eastern coast.

They are now threatened, habitat loss, and over hunting are blamed for this step decline in population. They were almost extinct in the 1930s, and now live on small reserved parts of the prairie.The population is thought to be around 459,000 individuals.

They are not effected by the severe winter weather, but the threat to them is the heavy spring rains, which heavily affect the chick population. Another natural threat is drought, which destroys food. Human interactions are by far their greatest threat.

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken-A highly endangered subspecies of greater prairie chickens. 100 years ago, well over a million Attwater’s Prairie chickens were found in the western gulf coastal grasslands. Today less than 1% of their habitat remains. In 1998 only 260 remained, with less than 60 living in the wild.

Loss of habitat is the main cause of this dramatic decline in numbers. There were once 6 million acres of coastal grassland today less than 200,000 remain.

AttwaterPrairieChicken.jpg

Heath Hen-The Heath Hen lived on the eastern coast of the United States.  During the time when America was first being colonized the Heath Hen was extremely common. By the 18th century they were called “poor mans food” because they were so cheap and plentiful.

They were hunted intensely and by 1870 there were only 300 left. By 1890 the population had declined to 120-200 mainly due to predation by feral cats, and poaching. By the end of the century only 70 remained. By 1927 only a dozen were left, only two of these were females. By the end of that year only a handful of them remained, all males. By 1928 only one male remained, he was nicknamed “Booming Ben”, he died in 1932.

Heath Hens were the first bird America tried to save from extinction. And although the attempts to save this species ultimately failed, it paved the way for conservation of other species.

10. Takahe

The Takahe, also known as the South Island Takahe is a flightless bird native of New Zealand. It was thought to be extinct after the last four specimens were taken in 1898. But after a carefully planned and thorough search was conducted by Geoffrey Orbell in 1948 the bird was rediscovered.

225 Takahe are alive today. Their near extinction is due to loss of habitat, over hunting, and introduced predators to the area. The birds are long lived and they reproduce slowly meaning it takes several years to reach maturity. And present recovery efforts are being hampered by infertility among the remaining birds as a result of inbreeding.

A related species the North Island Takahe is extinct and it is only known from skeletal remains.

11. Gorgeted Puffleg

An extremely rare hummingbird, found only in Colombia. This species was discovered in 2005 but not confirmed as new until 2007. Its only known habitat is the cloud forests of the Serrania Del Pinche (Choco region).

Its main threat because forests are being cleared for agriculture, especially coca farming. The current numbers are unknown but the species is believed to be near extinction.

12. Bengal Florican

The Bengal Florican is also known as the Bengal Bustard. A very rare bird species from tropical southern Asia. They are now almost extinct with anywhere between 500 to 1,000 being alive today.

Their decrease is due to being restricted to tiny fragments of grassland scattered throughout South and South East Asia. Their habitats are being converted for agriculture particularly rice production. Poaching remains an ever present threat to the remaining population.

13. Imperial Woodpecker

Its closely related and similar looking to the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker (also found on this list see #8), and is often called the “Mexican Ivorybill”,and the Pale-Billed Woodpecker. If this species isn’t extinct it is the world’s largest woodpecker species.It was widespread until the early 1950′s found in parts of Mexico.

The last known confirmed Imperial Woodpecker was shot in 1956. Its former habitat is almost completely gone and it has not been seen in 50 years, which have led many ornithologists to believe it is extinct. But a study in 2006 showed that the Imperial Woodpecker did in fact survive into the 1990′s, though that report states that the chance of their continued survival is unlikely. However it has yet to be confirmed, and there is a slim possibility.

14.Kagu

Found only in New Caledonia, it is the only surviving member of the family Rhynochetidae. It is an almost flightless bird and it builds a ground nest made of sticks.

The Kagu has been threatened because of the introduction of cats,pigs,rats, and dogs. New Caledonia lacked mammals prior to the arrival of humans with the exception of bats. Rats have had a major impact on the Kagu’s nests, accounting for 55% of nesting losses. The initial decline of this species was due to substance hunting, and by capture as pets. Habitat loss caused by the mining and foresting industry have also had negative effects on the Kagu.

15. Recurve-Billed Bushbird

The Recurve-Billed Bushbird is found in the dense stands of secondary vegetation at the northern part of the Andes in Colombia and Venezuela. The bird is listed as endangered by the IUCN.

Habitat loss is a major threat to the species. A large part of extremely important, uninhabited forest is being rapidly taken down to make room for short term cash crops. And the Venezuelan government has made little effort to control or regulate the illegal deforestation.

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Facts About Extinction And Endangerment:

– 1 in 4 mammals, 1 in 8 birds species are at a high risk of extinction in the near future

-1 in 3 amphibians and almost half of all tortoises and fresh water turtles are threatened

-The current rate of extinction is estimated to be between 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural extinction rate

-16,928 plant and animal species are known to be threatened with extinction. This may be a gross underestimate because only less than 3% of the worlds 1.9 million species have been assessed by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)Red List Of Threatened Species

-In the last 500 years, human activity has forced at least 869 species into extinction or extinction in the wild

-Habitat loss and degradation affect 83% of all threatened birds, 83% of all threatened mammals, and 91% of all threatened plants

-All 22 species of Albatross are under threat as as a result of long line fishing

-A total of 8,457 plants are under threat of extinction, this accounts for 3% of the world’s described plants. As only 4% of the earth’s plants have been described the number could be much higher

-The total number of known animal species under threat of extinction has increased from 5,205 in 1996 to a total of 8,462 today

-Indonesia, China, and Brazil are the countries with the most threatened birds and mammals

I’ve decided to make another list, of species that could soon become extinct if action is not taken.All of the species on this list are facing extinction do to  actions of people, whether it is because of poaching, or habitat loss, or many of the other man made causes. If people do not act fast, these wonderful species, and the thousands of others not included will be lost. Remember extinction is forever.

1. Bonobo

Bonobo’s are arguably are closest relatives, and they are found only in the Congo Basin Rainforests of the central Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Due to the area they live in, it is hard to get an exact number but the Bonobo population is estimated to be anywhere between 60,000, to fewer than 5,000 individuals, their population has seen a rapid decline during the last 30 years. They are under threat from bushmeat hunters and habitat loss. Solonga National Park protects 36,000km² of forest located in the heart of the Bonobo range. This is the only park doing so, harboring this species. The area being protected has not stopped heavily armed gangs of poachers from entering the park, and killing Bonobos however. Most conservation efforts in this area are being hampered by the civil unrest, and wars prevailing in the region.

2. Tree Kangaroo

This unique macropods (the same family the Kangaroo belongs to) have adapted to life in the trees.They can be found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. Many of the 14 species of tree kangaroo are near extinction. The Wondwoi Tree Kangaroo is thought to be critically endangered if not extinct with as few as 50 individuals left in the world. The Dingsio another subspecies, has seen a drop in population in excess of 80% over the last 30 years. Habitat loss, and uncontrolled hunting have led to their endangerment. They are hunted for food by indigenous communities living across their range, for some of the species this is there main causes of their sharp decline in numbers. Their habitat has been cut down for logging and timber production, or the area was cut down to be converted to coffee,wheat,or rice production areas. This loss of habitat has also exposed Tree Kangaroos to predation from domestic dogs.

3. Amur Leopard

A subspecies of leopard, this cat is found in the temperate forests, in Russia’s far east. This species is listed as critically endangered, and less than 40 individuals are left. Many factors have contributed to the near extinction of the Amur Leopard. Habitat Loss, and fragmentation of their habitat is one of many factors. It is estimated between 1970-1983 this species lost an unbelievable 80% of its territory. Indiscriminate logging,  forest fires, and removal of forest for farming are the main causes of their habitat loss. Prey scarcity is another large factor. The amount of prey in their hunting grounds is not enough for the Amur Leopard, Tigers, and other predators in the region. Yet another factor is poaching and illegal trade,they are poached for their beautiful coat. Conflict with humans has been another trouble for the leopards over the years. The Amur Leopards main prey is deer, and natural preference but this has proven deadly for this species, because farmers in the Russian Far East where they live raise deer for human consumption, and to produce antlers for the Asian medicine market. Because of the absence of their wild prey, leopards often venture into these deer farms in search of food. The farmers are quick to protect their investments and kill the leopards. This is the biggest immediate threat to the leopards. Additionally they are threatened by vulnerable population size and inbreeding. Due to their incredibly small population size (less than 40), there are few options for mates, and inbreeding leads to many genetic problems, one of them includes decreased fertility. Studies have shown that the cubs per female has decreased from 2 in 1973 to just 1 in 1991.

4. Saiga Antelope

Instantly recognized because of its unique nose, the Saiga Antelope is found in Kalmykia, 3 areas of Kazakhstan, and 2 isolated areas in Mongolia. In the early 1990′s their population was over a million but today, there are only 50,000 left and the numbers are still sharply declining. Hunting is a major problem for them. After the breakup of the USSR. Increased rural poverty in the area, led to uncontrolled hunting of the species for food.Demand for their horn, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine, skewed the sex ration dramatically leading to a catastrophic drop in birth rates. The saiga has also had difficulty because of habitat loss. Their grazing grounds are being taken over for farming. The population of saiga antelope has had difficulty recovering because of harsh winters followed by summer droughts in recent years.

5. Snow Leopard

Another subspecies of leopard, the snow leopard is an expert at navigating the steep and rocky mountains in central Asia. There are 6,000 snow leopards in the wild spread across 12 different countries, and their numbers continue to decline today. The 12 countries are: China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia. China contains about 60% of the remaining snow leopard’s habitat. Human conflict is a big factor affecting the future of the snow leopard. They are often killed by local farmers because they prey on livestock such as sheep,goats,horses, and yak calves. In some areas, domestic animals make up 58% of the species’ diet. They have to prey on these animals because their natural wild prey has become scarce. The animal they would typically hunt in the wild is the Argali sheep, but the sheep are also hunted by local communities. Poaching is also to blame, they are hunted for their fur, and for their bones which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Habitat loss is another large factor, as more people move into the area, their habitat is becomingly increasingly fragmented.

6.Przewalski’s Horse

A rare and endangered species of wild horse found in central area, in China and Mongolia. They are the last surviving subspecies of wild horse left. There are only 238 of this species left in the wild, but many of these animals are in protected facilities, there are 1,500 in captivity. The greatest threats to this species is the small population and the possible genetic defects that will result from a small gene pool. The Przewalski’s Horse was almost brought to extinction by hunting, loss of habitat, and losing their water sources to domestic animals.

7.Sea Otters

This aquatic member of the weasel family is found along the coast in the pacific ocean in north america and asia. In the 1990s sea otters were hunted for their fur almost to extinctions with only 1-2,000 remaining. Today 150,000 to 300,000 are protected by law, but they are still threatened. Oil pollution is one of their biggest threats. But they also face orca predation, poaching, and conflict with fisheries – sea otters can drown if caught in fishing nets.

8. Red Panda

These pandas grow to about the size of a house cat and they have 18 inch tails. They live in central China, the mountains of Nepal, and northern Myanmar (Burma) . They spend the majority of their life living in the trees. There are an estimated 11,000 – 20,000 left in the wild, and 800 found in zoos around the world. Their threats are direct harvesting from the forest (alive or dead), competition with domestic livestock resulting in habitat degradation, and habitat loss due to deforestation. In southwest China, they are hunted for their fur, and their bushy tails are highly valued and are used to make hats. In these areas the fur is often used for local cultural ceremonies and in weddings the groom traditionally carries their hide. Red Pandas have naturally low birth rates (usually a single or twin birth per year), they also have a high death rate in the wild.

9. Giant Anteater

The giant anteater have no teeth, they use their long tongues to lap up, 35,000 ants and termites each day that they swallow whole. They are found in central and south america. There are only 5,000 left in the wild, and only 90 live in zoos across the U.S.  They are often killed by humans either intentionally through hunting or unintentionally through collisions with cars.

10. Sun Bear

This reclusive species of bear, is the smallest species in the bear family. It lives in the dense lowland forests of southeast Asia. They is not enough data to have their exact numbers or how far to extinction they are presently, but scientists fear the worst. Their habitat is being lost rapidly to due to deforestation. Poachers hunt them mercilessly for their fur and body parts. Farmers kill them because they often eat crops such as oil palm, coconuts, and bananas. Additionally adult females are often killed so the cubs can be taken, and raised as pets.

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Facts About Extinction And Endangerment:

– 1 in 4 mammals, 1 in 8 birds species are at a high risk of extinction in the near future

-1 in 3 amphibians and almost half of all tortoises and fresh water turtles are threatened

-The current rate of extinction is estimated to be between 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural extinction rate

-16,928 plant and animal species are known to be threatened with extinction. This may be a gross underestimate because only less than 3% of the worlds 1.9 million species have been assessed by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)Red List Of Threatened Species

-In the last 500 years, human activity has forced at least 869 species into extinction or extinction in the wild

-Habitat loss and degradation affect 83% of all threatened birds, 83% of all threatened mammals, and 91% of all threatened plants

-All 22 species of Albatross are under threat as as a result of long line fishing

-A total of 8,457 plants are under threat of extinction, this accounts for 3% of the world’s described plants. As only 4% of the earth’s plants have been described the number could be much higher

-The total number of known animal species under threat of extinction has increased from 5,205 in 1996 to a total of 8,462 today

-Indonesia, China, and Brazil are the countries with the most threatened birds and mammals

Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

Iconic Animals That Could Soon Go Extinct With Pictures

Imagine a world without Lions, Tigers, Elephants,Pandas, and many other iconic animals we grew up knowing and loving. This day may be sooner than you think! Many of the animals on this list can still be saved, if people put forth the time and effort to save them. Remember: extinction is forever. This is a short list of many animals we may lose in the not to distant future:

1. Lion

The lion population has decreased 30% in the last twenty years because of indiscriminate killing, and prey depletion. Another large factor is climate change. Heavy droughts, are often the cause of major outbreaks in disease. In 1994 the Serengeti lion population was hit by two major diseases at once. CDV  (canine distemper virus), and a tick borne blood parasite infection known as Babesia, which wiped out a third of the lion population.

2.Tiger

There are possibly as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild. The largest of Asia’s big cats, they are at the top of the food chain, and one of the most culturally important, and beautiful animals in the world, they are now also one of the most threatened species on earth.

For millions of years the tiger flourished in a territory stretching from eastern Turkey to far eastern Russia. But in the last 70 years, the Bali, Javan, and Caspian tigers, were lost forever. Tragically the remaining six subspecies, including face the same fate in the near future, because of illegal trade, poaching,and conflict with people, which includes habit loss. If major steps are not taken to protect the tiger, we lose all tigers within our lifetime.

The remaining subspecies are:

The Siberian Tiger: No more than 40 are left in the wild.

The Bengal Tiger

Indochinese Tiger

Malayan Tiger

South China Tiger: These tigers are deemed functionally extinct with only 47 left in zoos, and no known South China Tigers in the wild.

Sumatran Tiger

3. African and Asian Elephant

African elephants once numbered in the millions across Africa, they have been reduced to anywhere between 400,000-700,000. Their population was devastated by poaching.  They are still being poached for their meat and ivory. And loss of habitat has also led to a reduction in their numbers.

The Asian elephant although revered in many Asian cultures, is being pushed to extinction. Very few are left and the numbers are decreasing with the ever increasing, human encroachment in their habitat. Confrontations between elephants and humans often led to deaths on both sides, and poaching has remained one of their greatest threats.

-An Asian elephant.

4. Giant Panda

The giant panda, found exclusively in China, is the rarest member of the bear family. There are less than 2,500 mature pandas in the wild. With China rapidly developing the panda faces a number of threats. First habitat loss, its forest habitat in the mountainous areas of southwest china have become increasingly fragmented by roads, and railroads. And poaching remains an ever present threat to one of the worlds most beloved animals.

5. Rhinos

Rhinos once roamed all throughout Eurasia and Africa. Today very few Rhinos survive outside of protected areas. There are five species of Rhino, three found in Asia, two in Africa, all are endangered here is a list of the Rhinos:

Black Rhinos:

The black rhino found in Africa was once so common that it would not be unusual to see several dozen of them a day.  There are around 3,725 left.

Sumatran Rhino:

The smallest species of rhino. Once widespread on Borneo it is now only found in the state of Sabah in Malaysia. A 2005 survey of the area found evidence of only 13 Sumatran Rhinos,  and no more than 25 are believed to be alive today.

Indian Rhino:

Found in Asia, only 2,400 are left. Its population increased from 600 in 1975 to the present day number today. Even with their increase in numbers, poaching remains a major threat.

Javan Rhino:

Another species of Rhino found in Asia. Fewer than 60 are thought to survive in the wild, and there are none in captivity. They were once the most common Asian rhino.

White Rhino:

The second of Africa’s two species of rhino and the most populous of any rhino species with 14,538. Thought to be extinct in 1895 a centuries, worth of effort has led to the increase in population. They are the only species of rhino not currently endangered, but they are classified as Near Threatened. I included this to show people that conservation can work!

6. Mountain Gorilla

Listed as critically endangered,the mountain gorilla has fewer than 700 living in the wild. Habitat loss is a major factor, not only are humans moving in and taking over their habitat, but the forests are being cut down for charcoal production. Poaching is another contributing factor, they are hunted for their meat, as well as trophies and live infant gorillas. Disease is also to blame, as more tourists come to see them, they have been increasingly exposed to human ailments. Gorillas suffer severe conditions of human diseases, and can die from the common cold.

7. Sumatran Orangutan

There are 12-15,000 Orangutan’s living in Borneo, and 4-6,000 living in Sumatra. Orangutans live around 45 years, but a single female will have no more than three offspring in her lifetime! Habitat Loss, and poaching is decreasing their numbers dramatically, and some experts suggest that Orangutans could become extinct as soon as 10 years from now.

8. California Condor

The largest flying bird in North America, there are only 160 California Condors left in the wild. Threats to them include habitat lost, shootings, pesticide residue, lead poisoning, and collisions with power lines.

9. Black Footed Ferret

Once common in North America, the number of Black Footed Ferrets has decreased to 750 in the wild, and another 250 in captive breeding facilities. The threat to the black footed ferret is related to the threats of the prairie dog. One black footed ferret will eat 100 prairie dogs in a year. And the prairie dog population has decreased dramatically over the years do to habitat destruction, poisoning, shooting, and disease. So loss of prairie dog, means loss of the black footed ferret, just one example of how animal populations are interrelated.

10. Cheetah

In 1900 there were over 100,000 cheetahs in the wild, today that number is down to 9-12,000.  Habitat loss due to human encroachment is their biggest threat. Their numbers are also suffering due to conflicts with humans and decline in prey. There is a high cub mortality rate due to Lions and Hyenas that are in competition with the Cheetah for prey. Genetic inbreeding due to their decreased numbers has led to abnormalities, further decreasing their numbers.

11. Clouded Leopard

There is 7,500 clouded leopards in captivity, and there is thought to be around 2,300 in the wild. And one of the four subspecies is thought to be extinct, while the other three are listed as Critical. Habitat loss due to deforestation, illegal hunting for traditional Chinese medicine, and poaching because of the high demand for its beautiful pelt.

12. Polar Bear

There are about 20,000 polar bears left in the world. Experts think that the polar bear could be extinct by 2050 as their habitat decreases due to global warming. Their survival is dependent on the sea ice, as a platform for hunting. Loss of sea ice leads to high energy requirements to locate prey, and a shortage of food. Seals which are a primary source of food for the polar bears, also require ice to breed and raise their young.  Changing ice conditions have forced the seals to move and give birth in different locations, making them more difficult to find.

13. Red Wolf

Red Wolves once common in North America, were almost hunted to extinction. There are only 100 red wolves in the wild, and 207 in captive breeding facilities.

14 Lynx

Lynx are found in the United States and around 1,000 are left in the wild. The Lynx’s biggest threat is habitat lost due to logging. Global Warming and a decrease in prey are also to blame for their decrease in population.

15. Iberian Lynx

The Iberian Lynx is found in Europe. It could be the first wild cat (not counting subspecies of tigers, and lions), to go extinct since the saber toothed tiger that went extinct around 10,000 years ago. Iberian Lynxes are either extinct or functionally extinct in the wild. 150 Iberian Lynxes in total are left. The loss in population was due to habitat loss, feral dogs, poisoning, road causalities and poaching.

16. Ring Tailed Lemur

They are found only on the African island of Madagascar,and some tiny neighboring islands. Humans were introduced to Madagascar around 2,000 years ago, and since then around 90% of the forests have been lost. That, along with hunting are the greatest threats to the Ring Tailed Lemur population. This species is listed as near threatened.

17. Komodo Dragon

There are between 4-5,000 komodo dragons living in the wild. They live on the islands of Gili Motang, Gili Dasami, Rinca, Komodo, and Flores. Loss of habitat, volcanic activity,  earthquakes, fire, loss of prey, tourism and poaching have all contributed to the decrease in population.

18. Leatherback Turtle

Listed as critically endangered, the exact number is hard to know. Once they reach adulthood (which few do) they have no natural predators, but they are under threat from humans in direct and indirect ways. They are a few that are caught for their meat by subsistence fisheries, and nests are raided by people in Southeast Asia. They are indirectly in danger by: fishermen accidentally catching them in nets as a bycatch (unintended catch), pollution chemical and physical can be fatal to the Leatherback Sea Turtle.

-A picture of a man with a leatherback sea turtle.

Those were some of the more iconic animals that are endangered, but there are thousands more.

FAQs

“Extinction is a natural part of life on earth, whats the big deal?”

Extinction is happening at a much quicker rate than is natural, or it has in the past, this is due largely to poaching, and habitat loss, directly caused by humans.

“Why should we care about Endangered Species?”

There are many reasons to care, including your own survival. Many of our foods, and medicines are derived from wild species. Every animal or plant has an essential part of the ecosystem, that without it, would cease to function. A simple example of this is animal and pests would become a large problem if predators wouldn’t naturally keep the numbers down.

“How can I help?”

There are many ways you can help, not only endangered species, but animals in your area too! Think about animals globally and locally. Most of these tips will help all kinds of wildlife. Most of these anyone can do, no matter your budget!

Habitat loss is a major cause for endangered species. You can help prevent that by recycling paper.

Recycle things like games,electronics, books, and toys

Try to buy food without packaging when possible

Build birdhouses, or make a bird bath for birds

Plant trees in your backyard

If you have a garden, start a compost, that will reduce the need for chemical fertilizers that are harmful to animals

Avoid using chemicals, there are many natural options for cleaners, pest control, and other things now a days, research this online

Support national parks and wild life reserves.

Donate to animal conservation organizations

You can also help by spreading the word, start a blog, tell your friends, do anything to make your voice heard.

The world wildlife fund,  is a good place to go to. But this is just one of many. Here is the website: http://www.worldwildlife.org/

If you want to know about other endangered species there is a list here:

http://www.earthsendangered.com/list.asp

Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

12 Of The World’s Most Polluted Cities With Pictures

A list of the some of the world’s most polluted cities, most of these are the results of careless treatment of the environment. Needless to say you probably won’t want to be visiting most of these anytime soon. Quick fact: 16 out of 20 of the worlds most polluted cities (judging by air quality) are in China.

The cities aren’t numbered in any specific order, I just numbered them as I went along.

1. Haina, Dominican Republic

Number Affected: 84,700

Haina, also known as Bajos de Haina, has often been called ” The Dominican Chernobyl” . It is home to a closed automobile battery recycling smelter, and almost all of the population suffers from lead poisoning, with some experts claiming it has the highest levels of lead contamination in the world. It is common for the citizens to have nine to ten times more lead in their blood than what is deemed safe by the EPA . The source of the lead is believed to be the old factory, the factory has since moved to a different area.

Blacksmith Institute~A factory in Haina

2. La Oroya,Peru

Number Affected: 30,000

The smelter in this town is the leading employer and the cause of the cities pollution. Every year 70,000 tonnes of copper, 122,000 tonnes of lead and 45,000 tonnes of zinc are produced.

How bad is the problem? Many people in this town are dying from lead poisoning.  The very air they breath is toxic, some residents of the town say that on some days they have to stay inside because the air is so heavy it is impossible to breathe.A 1999 study showed extremely high levels of pollution with 85 times more arsenic, 41 times more cadmium, and 13 times more lead than is generally considered safe to breathe. Most children under the age of six had toxic levels of lead in their blood six times higher than the maximum safe limit as set by the World Health Organization (which is 10 micrograms). Many were also diagnosed with high levels of other toxins such as: cadmium,arsenic, and mercury. Despite all of these the residents of the town don’t want the smelter shut down because it provides jobs.

~a picture of a factory and the surrounding mountains

3. Linfen,China

Number Affected: 4,000,000+

Linfen China is considered to be the world’s most polluted city, with a heavy cloud of smoke that covers the city at all times.  The main factor causing the pollution is their coal production.

The citizens suffer from choking clouds of dust and smoke.  It is said that if clothes are left out to dry they will turn black before they dry, so one can imagine the affect it has on anything outside, including people. Local clinics are seeing cases of bronchitis, pneumonia, and lung cancer increase at an alarming rate. The children in this city have high rates of lead poisoning. Arsenicosis, a disease caused by drinking water contaminated with arsenic is epidemic in all areas, 52% of all drinking water in the city is considered unsafe to drink.

The World’s Top 20 Most Polluted Cities

~The picture above is of a street in Linfen the most polluted city in the world

4. Chernobyl,Ukraine

Number Affected: 500 (in Chernobyl), and 5,000,000 in areas covered in radioactive fallout

The world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred in 1986, and the affects are still being seen today. After the nuclear plant’s meltdown it has been estimated 100  times more radiation was released into the air than the fallout than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Chernobyl and the areas in the immediate area suffer from high levels of radiation, and the 19 mile radius around the plant remains uninhabitable. The facts on the effects of the accident is subject to an intense debate, although one thing is generally accepted by everyone: thyroid cancer has been seen in excess of what would be considered normal since this accident, children have been affected most by this. I would suggest looking up the accident yourself and choosing what you would like to believe as accurate information.

– a picture of the site where the nuclear reactor once stood.

5. Sukinda, India

Number Affected: 2,600,000

Sukinda contains 97% of India’s chromite ore deposits, and has one of the largest chromite ore mines in the world. Twelve mines continue to operate today without any environmental management plans. 3o million tons of waste rock have been spread out in surrounding areas and the nearby Brahmani riverbanks.

The mine discharges untreated water into the rivers, which flow through an area that is flood prone which results in further contamination. In the area 70% of the surface water, and 60%% of the drinking water are contaminated with Chromium at more than two times the safe drinking level internationally. It has been recored at 20 times the safe drinking limit several times over the years. The air and soil in the area has also been contaminated.

The workers at the coal mine are heavily exposed to the contaminants daily. Tuberculosis, gastrointestinal bleeding and asthma are common, birth defects, infertility and still births have also been on the rise. 84.7% of the deaths in the mining areas, and 86.4% of the deaths in nearby industrial villages are due to chromite mine related diseases.

~ Untreated water in Sukinda

6. Kabwe, Zambia

Number Affected: 255,000

Located in southern Africa, Kabwe was found to have an abundance of lead and zinc in 1902. Soon after, mining and smelting industries moved in and ran almost continuously until 1994 without ever dealing with any of the lead contamination that had occurred. There are no more running mines, in the area and the city is now suffering from poisoned soil and water. A recent study found that the soil in a 12 1/2 mile radius (20 km) had lead, cadmium,copper, and zinc at much higher rates than those recommended by the World Health Organization. There is a waterway that was once used by the smelters to carry away waste, that has no restrictions or safeguards to stop people from entering the water and local children use this for bathing.

On average the children of Kabwe have 5-10 more lead in their blood then the permissible maximum as set by the EPA, and in many cases it is potenially fatal. Younger men often search for scrap metals to sell and also suffer lead poisoning. A recent flood in the area washed years of built up waste into people’s gardens and homes, as well as the city streets. Now many homes are contaminated with lead.

~Men search for scrap metal in Kabwe

7. Dzerzhinsk, Russia

Number Affected: 300,000

Until the end of the cold war, Dzerzhinsk was one of Russia’s principal sites for chemical weapon productions, and today it still remains a significant center for chemical manufacturing. An estimated 300,000 tons of chemical waste carelessly and improperly disposed of between 1930 and 1998. 190 different identified chemicals were released into the groundwater, in places these chemicals have turned the water into a white sludge containing dioxins, and phenol the levels are reported to be 17 million times the safe limit.

Because a number of industries are no longer in operation, groundwater has risen as well as the water level in canals which threaten to release massive amounts of arsenic, mercury,lead, and dioxins into the Oka river basin a source of drinking water for the nearby city Nizhny Novgorod. Drinking supplies in this area and adjoining areas are heavily laced with contamination.

A quarter of the cities residents are still employed at factories that produce toxic chemicals. There is a shocking amount of deaths below 40 in local cemeteries. And the death rate has exceeded the birth rate by 260%. There are 900 deaths a year in a city of 300,000. The average life expectancy for a man is 42, and 47 for a women.

The city has been labeled by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most chemically polluted city in the world.

~ a factory in Dzerzhinsk

8. Mailuu-Suu, Kyrgyzstan

Number Affected: 25,000

There are twenty three tailing dumps and thirteen waste rock dumps located throughout Mailuu-Suu. During the Soviet era there was a Uranium plant which produced more than 10,000 metric tons of Uranium in twenty years. Millions of people in Asia could be affected by this because the area is highly prone to seismic activity. An estimated 300,000 cubic meters fell into a river after an earthquake in 2005. 1.9 cubic meters of contamination are still in the dumps.

A 1999 study showed that the number of cases of any form of cancer in this area is twice the average of the rest of Kyrgyzstan.

ens-newswire.com~A factory in Mailuu-Suu

9. Tianying,China

Number Affected: 140,000

Tianying produces about half of all the lead in China, but low level technology, illegal operations, and almost no pollution control has led to severe lead poisoning in Tianying’s residents. It is also believed that some small scale recycling plants are located in the area, which have a reputation for their heavy polluting. The lead producers have been pressured by local residents and officials to shut down production. The average lead levels in the air and soil are (respectively) eight and a half, and ten times higher than health standards allow. Local farms are also contaminated with lead dust with as much as 24 times the amount of the national standards.

Many residents, with children being the largest part, suffer from lead poisoning and is common effects such as: lower IQ, learning disabilities, hyper activity, short attention spans,hearing and visual problems, stunted physical growth,kidney malfunction and failure,stomach aches, and brain damage. There are also premature births and cases of women giving birth to smaller, underdeveloped infants.

The city was labeled one of the eight most polluted cities in China.

(no picture available)

10. Sumgayit, Azerbaijan

Number Affected: 275,000

Sumgayit used to be a major soviet industrial center, it was home to more than forty factories that produced industrial and agricultural chemicals. Some of the products included: synthetic rubber,chlorine, aluminium, pesticides and detergents. While these factories where active they released more than 70-120,000 tons of harmful emissions into the air a year. Little to no precaution was taken to ensure safety the focus was instead on low cost production. Untreated sewage and mercury contaminated sludge are still dumped in the area.

During the Soviet era Sumgayit had one of the highest mortality rates, and it still persists today. Sumgayit has 22-51% higher cancer rates than the rest of Azerbaijan, and there is an 8% increase in the cancer related mortality rate compared to the rest of the country. A high percentage of babies are born still born or premature, and they suffer genetic defects, such as down syndrome,bone disease,spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and anencephaly, and mutations such as: club feet,cleft palate, and additional digits.

~A view of an industrial area of Sumgayit Azerbaijan

11. Norilsk, Russia

Founded as a slave camp in 1935, Norilsk is Russia’s northernmost major city. The mining and smelting process in this area stared in the 1930′s and today it is the world’s largest heavy metals smelting complex. 500 tons of copper oxides, 500 tons of nickel oxides, and 2 million tons of sulfur are released into the air each year. The city is one of the worst polluted cities in Russia, the snow there is black, the air tastes and smells of sulfur and the average life expectancy in Norilsk is at least 10 year below the average in Russia. The pollution affects the 37 mile (60 km) radius around the city.

Respiratory disease rates are high in this region, especially among children.Children also suffer from ear, nose and throat diseases. Chronic diseases of the lungs, respiratory tracts, and digestive systems are not uncommon and these can result in lung cancer. Premature and late term pregnancy complications are frequent.

Norilsk~ A deserted Norilsk street.

12. Ranipet, India

Number Affected: 50,000+

Ranipet is a medium sized community located 100 miles from Chennai , the fourth largest area in India. The soil and groundwater of Ranipet are dangerously contaminated after decades of solid waste and runoff from local factories. There is an estimated 150,000 tons of solid waste accumulated in two decades are stacked in an open yard on the facility premises. Drinking wells in the area have been abandoned and crops fail to grow in this area. Mere contact with this water causes painful skin lacerations.

Blacksmith Institute~ A river in Ranipet

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