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Threats: Human presence is closely correlated to increasing extinction rates. Exploitation, habitat destruction, climate change, disease, and invasive introductions are the major effects of anthropogenic interference that are driving the sixth extinction.  Through my case study of four endangered mammals, the black-footed ferret, golden tamarin monkey, Tasmanian devil, and saiga antelope, I was exposed to specific examples of the above which led me to further my understanding of threats to global biodiversity loss.

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Briefing:   The Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica) are the only species under the Saiga genus. There are two subspecies in five different populations, none of which overlap in range and show little to no gene flow (Milner-Gulland et al 2001). The saiga are found in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Mongolia (Figure 1). Some of the ranges are within the same country but some cross country boundaries. Previously a population also existed in China, but by the 1960s that population was extinct (SCA).

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Briefing: The Tasmanian devil is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial, residing south of mainland Australia in the island of Tasmania.  Wild populations have faced major declines since 1996, with as much as a 95% decrease in numbers (Hawkins et al. 2008, STDP).

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