Okapi, Flufftail face extinction: IUCN ‘Red List’

GENEVA, November 26, 2013 (AFP) – The giraffe-like Okapi and the White-winged Flufftail, one of Africa’s rarest birds, are on the verge of extinction, conversation body the IUCN warned on Tuesday. But it has been given a helping hand by the US National Park Service, via captive breeding, reintroduction, vaccination against canine diseases and relocation of Golden Eagles.

“This IUCN Red List update shows some fantastic conservation successes, which we must learn from, for future conservation efforts,” said Jane Smart, global director of the IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group.

“However, the overall message remains bleak. With each update, whilst we see some species improving in status, there is a significantly larger number of species appearing in the threatened categories,” she added.

Of the 71,576 species assessed by the IUCN, 21,286 are threatened with extinction. In an update to its “Red List” of threatened species, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature said the animals had been driven to ever closer to destruction.

The Okapi, a smaller cousin of the giraffe, is unique to the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where poaching, habitat loss, and