TOKYO – Two types of New Zealand kiwi birds are rare bright spots in a mostly grim assessment of global species at risk of extinction.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature upgraded the Okarito kiwi and the Northern Brown kiwi from endangered to vulnerable thanks to New Zealand's progress in controlling predators like stoats and cats.
But the conservation group's latest update Tuesday mostly detailed grave threats to animals and plants due to loss of habitat and unsustainable farming and fisheries practices.
It said three reptile species are now considered extinct in the wild. The whiptail-skink, the blue-tailed skink and Lister's gecko from Australia's Christmas Island all have mysteriously disappeared. The group said a disease or the arrival of an invasive species, the yellow crazy ant, might be to blame.