Extinct Plant Not So Extinct After All

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Some happy endangered species news this week. A California plant thought to be extinct in the wild was recently upgraded to “endangered” after being accidentally uncovered by construction workers. Apparently, they were clearing brush for road construction near the Golden Gate Bridge and a botanist driving by saw the shrub and did a double take. The Franciscan Manzanita, a pretty red-wooded shrub with dark green leaves and white clusters of flowers, was thought to have gone extinct in the 1940s when its last known habitat, a San Francisco cemetery, was moved to make way for residential development. Because the rediscovery was so unexpected, and because the little plant was right in the middle of an active construction site, its fate is uncertain as local agencies discuss how to best handle the situation. Local conservationists are hoping the federal government can protect it under the Endangered Species Act, and according to the Center for Biological Diversity, they’ll need all the help they can get. The CBD yesterday filed an intent to sue the Obama administration for dragging its feet and failing to make the “required findings to determine whether 144 species warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act…”

In tangentially related news, the koala may not have much time as a non-endangered species. Besides eating only eucalyptus and battling global warming, the fuzzy little guys have another, less expected threat: chlamydia. Yes, it’s true, those cute cuddly marsupials have STDs. The koala population has fallen by nearly half (to around 50,000) since 2003, and many of them died from chlamydia. The koala version of HIV is also becoming more prevalent. Research to develop vaccines for both diseases is underway, but it’s uncertain how scientists are exactly going to administer them to koalas in the wild.

 

Follow Jen Phillips on Twitter.

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate