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September 10, 2018

PernambucoPygmyOwlIt isn’t easy determining when a species have gone extinct. “We haven’t seen it for a while” might just mean we haven’t looked hard enough, or in the right places. So there is some hope for the eight bird species recently declared extinct, based on somewhat stronger statistical criteria. (Cite.) Alas, even if the Pernambuco pygmy-owl (drawing, left) is rediscovered tomorrow is some hideaway nook, it doesn’t much lessen the pace of extinctions we are causing by habitat destruction. Four of those species lived in Amazon forests, rapidly being cleared. Birds are large and noticeable animals. When we destroy enough forest to lose a bird species, we also have lost untold numbers of smaller, less obvious species, from beetles to frogs.

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