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Earth Science

Artificial Misting System Allows Reintroduction of Extinct Toad 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the spritzing-back-to-life dept.
terrancem writes "The Kihansi Spray Toad went extinct in the wild in 2005 when its habitat in Tanzania was destroyed by a dam. However conservationists at the Bronx Zoo managed to maintain a captive population which is now large enough to allow a bold experiment to move forward: reintroducing the toad into its old habitat. To make the once tropical gorge moist again, engineers have designed an artificial misting system that should allow toads to survive in the wild. The effort marks what may be the first time conservationists have ever re-established an 'extinct' species in a human-engineered ecosystem."
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Artificial Misting System Allows Reintroduction of Extinct Toad

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  • Extinct? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rotorbudd (1242864) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:10AM (#41851153)

    If there was a captive population all along how could the species be extinct?
    Good job editors.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:47AM (#41851279) Homepage
    This is what happens when dams are built. It doesn't matter if it's meant to prevent flooding or generate electricity. Either way, animals are genocided and humans benefit. Maybe we could use less electricity so we don't need so many damn dams.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @06:58AM (#41851313)

    You go ahead and use less electricity. I suggest starting with turning off your computer. You're not using it for anything worthwhile anyway.

  • Extinct again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ByteSlicer (735276) on Friday November 02, 2012 @07:57AM (#41851559)
    I hope they keep a few captive, because otherwise they will go extinct again the first time that artificial mist breaks down (things tend to break in time, especially in the tropics).

    Actually, a bit of googling told me this happened before in 2003 [nhm.ac.uk].
  • by dywolf (2673597) on Friday November 02, 2012 @08:31AM (#41851729)

    Microecosystems are very fragile yes. But they are also not typically that common. that is micro-ecological systems where a species is severely restricted one waterfall, one pool (Devils Hole Pupfish), etc. Such critters are essentially relics, that got super attached to one thing, and that one thing is now cutoff. In essence, they overadapted in the wrong direction, and are thus naturally headed to extinction even if we didn't build the dam (unless the system somehow reverses itself and their small little niche grows once more).

    It's like if a three legged cat in a world of dogs managed to still exist by only living on top of a high butte above the plain...and then an earthquake leveled the butte and now the cats are on the same level as the dogs, and thus now become dogchow.

  • by rainmouse (1784278) on Friday November 02, 2012 @08:33AM (#41851747)

    If a species has gone extinct in the wild should humans reintroduce them? I assume species go extinct because they are nonviable...who the heck are we to play God when the reintroduced species will most likely suffer and/or perish again.

    They became nonviable because we destroyed their habitat. It seems strange that you consider undoing damage we have caused as somehow playing God, but not the actual acts of habitat destruction, extinction of species and land modification. What is it about Bible thumping that goes hand in hand with corporate cash flow without moral recompense?

  • Re:Extinct? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arth1 (260657) on Friday November 02, 2012 @08:48AM (#41851839) Homepage Journal

    Once humans die out or someone turns off the system, then these toads are toast.

    Mmm, toasted toad...

    Seriously, if an artificial misting system is needed to keep them alive, the chances of their survival is none. I give it max 20 years before it gets turned off for budgetary concerns or maintenance neglect, or conflicts with local people who wants the land and its resources.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=failed+conservation+efforts+in+tanzania [google.com]

    Any which way, they'll croak.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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