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Endangered Species: The way of the Dodo

media clip
The once plentiful Dodo bird was wiped out in a relatively short time span and has since become a symbol of extinction. Life on earth has been shaped by a cycle of evolution and extinction, yet in the recent past the rate of extinction has accelerated, due in large part to the impact of human beings. In this CBC Radio clip author and naturalist David Quammen discusses man's handling of the environment and what this may mean for our future. Is Earth headed the way of the Dodo? 
. After just over a century of sharing its habitat with humans and other introduced species, the Dodo bird became extinct in 1681.
. Many species have already become extinct or extirpated from Canada, including the sea mink, the great auk, the Labrador duck, the passenger pigeon, the blue walleye, the timber rattlesnake and the black-footed ferret.

. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) is made up of a group of scientists from across the country responsible for the assessment and designation of species at risk in Canada.
. COSEWIC was created in 1977 and meets each year to evaluate the status of Canadian species.
. COSEWIC lists indicate the status of species in Canada, but do not have any legal standing on their own.

COSEWIC defines its designations as follows:
. Extinct: A species that no longer exists.
. Extirpated: A species no longer existing in the wild in Canada, but occurring elsewhere.
. Endangered: A species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
. Threatened: A species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.
. Special Concern: A species that is particularly sensitive to human activities or natural events but is not an endangered or threatened species.

. Naturalist David Quammen is the author of several books including The Song of the Dodo (1996), Flight of the Iguana (1998), Wild Thoughts From Wild Places (1998), The Boilerplate Rhino (2000) and Monster of God (2003).
. According to Quammen, as pockets of biological diversity become increasingly isolated and rare, each generation will live on a planet that is uglier, lonelier and simpler.
. Biological diversity or biodiversity is crucial in the maintenance of a healthy environment.

. Conservation International defines biodiversity as "the variety of plants and animals and other living things in a particular area or region. Biodiversity is important because plant and animal species interact and depend upon one another for food, shelter, oxygen and soil enrichment."
. Biodiversity is necessary for adaptation, survival and the continued evolution of species. As species become extinct, biodiversity declines.
Medium: Radio
Program: The Current
Broadcast Date: Nov. 22, 2002
Guest(s): David Quammen
Host: Bernard St. Laurent
Duration: 7:50

Last updated: February 15, 2012

Page consulted on November 6, 2014

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