Rare river dolphin 'now extinct'
A freshwater dolphin found only in China is now "likely to be extinct", a team of scientists has concluded.
The researchers failed to spot any Yangtze river dolphins, also known as baijis, during an extensive six-week survey of the mammals' habitat.
The team, writing in Biology Letters journal, blamed unregulated fishing as the main reason behind their demise.
If confirmed, it would be the first extinction of a large vertebrate for over 50 years.
The World Conservation Union's Red List of Threaten Species currently classifies the creature as "critically endangered". MORE>>>
Swifter decline for coral reefs
Coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian oceans are disappearing faster than had previously been thought, a scientific study has shown.
Nearly 1,554 sq km (600 sq miles) of reef have disappeared each year since the 1960s - twice the speed at which rainforest is being lost.
The corals are vanishing at a rate of 1% per year, a decline that has begun decades earlier than expected.
Details of the survey appear in the journal Plos One.
Historically, coral cover, a measure of reef health hovered around 50%. Today, only about 2% of reefs in the region looked at by the study have coral cover close to this historical level. MORE>>>
Lost forest reveals new species
An expedition to a remote forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo has uncovered six new animal species.
Conservationists discovered one new bat species, a new rodent and two new species each of shrews and frogs.
The region, which is in eastern DR Congo, near Lake Tanganyika, has been off limits to researchers since 1960 because of instability in the area.
The survey, led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), was carried out between January and March 2007.
WCS researcher Dr Andrew Plumptre said: "If we can find six new species in such a short period it makes you wonder what else is out there." MORE>>>