Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Good News Tuesday

First up, this:

With 800 offspring, ‘very sexually active’ tortoise saves species from extinction

Fifty years ago, there were 14 members of Chelonoidis hoodensis, in Española, an island of the Galapagos Islands — 12 females and two males. They did not even need the other guy. Since 1976, Diego has fathered more than 800 young — 2 of every 5 hooded tortoises in existence, according to genetic testing.

Good heavens. Well, it’s rather a population bottleneck, but hey, the species can deal with lack of genetic diversity better than extinction, I’m sure.

Similar story, but cuter:

These adorable foxes, once nearly extinct, have made a record-breaking comeback

The Channel Islands, off the coast of Southern California, are the only home of a species of tiny fox that looks like a plush toy. How the island foxes got there from the mainland is up for debate — maybe with Native Americans, maybe on storm debris. But fossils show they’ve lived on the islands for many thousands of years.

Along the way, these descendants of mainland gray foxes evolved into four-pound “island dwarves” whose size was better suited to survival in their isolated habitat with its slim resources. Though they are omnivores the size of a cat, in this environment they were long the top predators. They ate lizards, birds, deer mice and plants.

Imagine a four-pound fox being a top predator. Wow. That’s not the size of a cat despite the statement above. Who the heck has an adult cat that weighs as little as four pounds? Anyway, they’re off the endangered species list. It took a major effort to remove feral pigs from the islands — not surprised — pigs are even worse than cats or goats when introduced to islands. Good for everyone involved in this effort!

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2 Comments Good News Tuesday

  1. Elaine T

    Those foxes are awfully cute. And I’ve seen six pound guinea pigs, which helps me get their size: tiny! (pauses to look up average non-dwarf fox size. 8-16 lbs)

    Did you see the newest dinosaur fossil news: Zilantophis schuberti a ‘winged serpent’? Dinosaur fossils are good news, right?

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