Eight bird species, including one from Hawaii, have most likely gone extinct this century, The Guardian reports. This announcement is the result of a new statistical analysis of critically endangered birds by BirdLife International, whose findings were published in the journal Biological Conservation.
Five of these species are native to South America, where much of the forest has been destroyed by practices like unsustainable agriculture and logging. While four of the eight species have been labeled by BirdLife as extinct or near-extinct, the nonprofit organization reports that three species have been completely wiped out. These include two Brazilian birds—the cryptic treehunter and the Alagoas foliage-gleaner—and the Hawaiian poo-uli.
Also known as the black-faced honeycreeper, the poo-uli (alternately spelled poʻo-uli) was last spotted on the Hawaiian island of Maui in 2004. There have been some attempts to breed them in captivity, but those were unsuccessful.
There is still a glimmer of hope for the Spix’s macaw, a bright blue Brazilian parrot that's extinct in the wild. Captive macaws are currently being bred in hopes of eventually reintroducing them to their habitat.
Other species on BirdLife’s extinct or near-extinct list include the Pernambuco pygmy-owl from Brazil and the glaucous macaw from Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.
These findings are especially worrisome because bird extinctions typically occur on isolated islands where they're vulnerable to invasive predators—not on major continents like South America. Not only are extinctions continuing, but they’re also “accelerating,” according to BirdLife International chief scientist Stuart Butchart. He told The Guardian he hopes the new classification will “inspire a redoubling of efforts to prevent other extinctions.”
You already know they’re cute, compact, and smart. But there’s a lot more to these beloved little dogs that you might not know.
1. THERE ARE TWO DISTINCT BREEDS OF CORGIS.
There are two types of Welsh corgis: the Pembroke Welsh corgi and the Cardigan Welsh corgi. They are considered two entirely different breeds because they come from different ancestors. Their remarkable resemblance is a result of crossbreeding in the 19th century.
If you’re trying to tell the two breeds apart, the most notable difference is that the Pembroke does not have a tail. On top of a tail, Cardigan Welsh corgis also have rounded ears, while Pembrokes generally have pointy ears.
2. THE CARDIGAN WELSH CORGI IS THE OLDER BREED.
A warrior tribe of Celts brought the corgis in their aboriginal form to Cardiganshire, Wales around 1200 BCE, which means corgis have been in Wales for over 3000 years. This early breed was a member of the Teckel family of dogs that went on to include the dachshund.
3. PEMBROKE WELSH CORGIS HAVE A CONSIDERABLE HISTORY AS WELL.
Although no one knows for sure, most agree that the Pembroke Welsh corgi dates back to 1107 CE when Flemish weavers migrated to Wales. The Spitz-type dog bred with the original Cardigan corgis to produce the Pembroke Welsh corgis we know today.
4. THE KENNEL CLUB ORIGINALLY LUMPED THE TWO BREEDS TOGETHER.
The two types of corgis were registered as one in 1925, leading to a lot of stress among breeders. Often a judge would favor one breed over the other, which would lead to controversies at dog shows. After nearly a decade of (pretty adorable) strife, the breeds gained separate recognition in 1934.
5. CORGIS WERE ORIGINALLY USED AS HERDERS.
The Welsh used the short dogs as herders as early as the 10th century. In those days, pastures were considered common land, so there were no fences. In order to keep a farmer’s cattle together and separated from other herds, corgis would nip at their legs to herd them. Because of their closeness to the ground, corgis had easy access to the cows’ ankles and were difficult targets of the retaliatory kicks of cattle.
6. ACCORDING TO WELSH LEGEND, FAIRIES RIDE THEM.
Some say that the corgi is an “enchanted dog” favored by fairies and elves. At night the magical creatures would use the dogs to pull their carriages and be their steeds in battle. According to legend, the markings on a corgi’s coat suggest the faint outline of a saddle and harness.
7. THE ROYAL FAMILY LOVES THE PEMBROKE WELSH CORGI.
Queen Elizabeth II has had more than 30 corgis in her lifetime. Though her last two corgis—Whisper and Willow—have both recently passed away, she does still have two dorgis (corgi/dachshund mixes) named Candy and Vulcan.
The Queen met her first corgi when King George VI brought a male pooch home from a kennel in 1933. Named Dookie, the dog was an immediate hit with the future queen and her sister, Princess Margaret.
After a second corgi named Jane entered the picture, the canine couple had a litter of puppies, two of which were kept. The Queen received another dog named Susan for her 18th birthday—from there, the collection of corgis really gained momentum. Some of the royal corgis bred with Princess Margaret’s dachshund Pipkin to create dorgis.
8. CORGIS WERE USED TO PREDICT PRINCESS CHARLOTTE'S NAME.
In the spring of 2015, when Prince William and Kate Middleton were awaiting the birth of their second child, people are already taking bets on the name. Gambling company Ladbrokes used corgis in an attempt to predict what the name would be. The company’s ad featured 10 corgis wearing vests with different names in a race to predict what the name of the child would be. The corgi sporting the name Alexandra won the race. Princess Charlotte was born on May 2, 2015.
9. CORGI MEANS "DWARF DOG" IN WELSH.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, cor means dwarf and gi means dog.
10. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HOSTS A ENORMOUS CORGI MEETUP.
SoCal Corgi Beach Day started as a humble meet-up event at Huntington Beach in 2012. The first event attracted just 15 dogs; the last one had more than 1100 corgis in attendance. The event happens three times a year.
Amendment 13, which bans dog racing in Florida, may seem like a win for animal rights, but now greyhounds in the state are facing a new set of challenges. As NBC reports, thousands of former racing dogs will be left without homes between now and when the ban goes into effect in 2020.
The new law, which Floridians voted in favor of on Tuesday, November 6, will lead to the closure of 11 of the 17 remaining active dog tracks in the U.S. Despite dog racing's connections to animal cruelty, not all animal rights groups were supportive of the legislation. Greyhounds as Pets, a Jacksonville-based nonprofit that specifically works to place retired racing dogs with families, outright opposed it. Because the amendment made no mention of planning or funding the adoptions of the greyhounds that will be abandoned, the organization argued that the ban will do more harm than good.
Other groups are more optimistic. The Florida Humane Society has reportedly received a flood of phone calls from prospective greyhound adopters since Election Night. Whether or not they supported the ban, shelters and animal adoption groups throughout the state are organizing to accommodate the thousands of greyhounds that will be entering the system in the near future.