Environment

Congo's 'forest giraffe' on brink of extinction

Wednesday, November 27, 2013    

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GENEVA (AP) — The International Union for Conservation of Nature says Congo's national symbol, the okapi, is on the brink of extinction.

The Switzerland-based group says the population of the okapi, also known as the "forest giraffe", has dwindled because of poaching and habitat loss.

IUCN's Red List of endangered species, updated twice a year, rates it as endangered -- two steps away from extinction in the wild.

The update published yesterday also labels the sub-Saharan white-winged flufftail as critically endangered. Just a few hundred birds still survive in Africa.

Meanwhile, the leatherback turtle has benefited from conservation efforts and is now rated vulnerable.

Two albatross species and California's island fox also have recovered.

IUCN says 21,286 of the 71,576 species surveyed are threatened with extinction.

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