RESOURCES: Mammals on the Brink

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Science  11 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5553, pp. 239
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5553.239e

The photogenic black-footed ferret is one of the world's rarest mammals, with no self-sustaining wild population. Once found from Canada to Texas, the ferret had nearly vanished by the early 1980s because of habitat loss and a government-sponsored program to exterminate the prairie dogs that it hunts. Thanks to captive breeding, the black-footed ferret may survive, but as this rundown of rare, threatened, and endangered mammals makes clear, more than 100 other species face extinction. The site, created by Paul Massicot, a water-quality specialist for the state of Maryland, includes familiar animals such as the giant panda and the cheetah and lesser known beasts such as the Yangtze river dolphin, or baiji, and the hispid hare of India and Bangladesh. Each referenced species account provides the lowdown on habitat, appearance, ecology, behavior, reproduction, conservation status, and threats to survival.

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