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extinction

Last known wild tigers estimated to last only 12 years

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According to the Associated Press, the World Wildlife Fund estimates no tigers will survive in the wild by 2022 – ironically, the next Chinese Zodiac year of the tiger.

The WWF estimates there are currently only approximately 3,200 tigers alive in the wild, compared to nearly 100,000 a century ago. Three tiger subspecies, the Bali, Javan, and Caspian, are already extinct.

The main reasons for the decline in wild tiger populations are poaching and habitat loss. The 2022 date is only for wild tigers; there are currently more tigers estimated to live in U.S. zoos than in their native, wild habitat.

Eastern U.S. bats on verge of extinction

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Bats in eastern parts of the United States and Canada are dying out from a new disease.

White-nose syndrome, named for the white fungi on muzzles and wings, makes bats restless, depleting their reserves of body fat during hibernation. The fungi – first found in February 2006 in a New York cave – are considered the likely cause of the disease.

According to a Wired article, biologist Winifred Frick said: "Yes, we had the empirical observations that cave floors were littered with dead bats. [...] But nobody had quantified the impact to the populations. We didn’t know what those die-offs meant to population viability as a species."

Frick and her colleagues analyzed the last 30 years of population data for the most common and most-studied species of bat in North America, the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus). If recent trends continue, the researchers predict a "99 percent chance of regional extinction of little brown myotis within the next 16 years."