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California builds a ‘Noah’s Ark’ to protect wildlife from extinction by fire and heat

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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Globally, more than a million plants and animals face extinction due to habitat loss, climate change and other factors related to human activity, and this alarming loss of biodiversity is only accelerating. In California, conservationists and biologists have identified scores of species in potential peril, including many icons of the state’s beloved wildlands — chinook salmon, giant sequoias, Joshua trees, desert tortoises, California red-legged frogs, gray whales. Now, a hellish summer of extreme fire activity, drought and heat are again pushing some species to the brink of oblivion. Seized by a newfound urgency, state and federal biologists, research institutions, conservation organizations and zoos have been racing to save the most threatened species with a bold campaign of emergency translocations, captive breeding programs and seed banks. Some have likened the effort to a modern-day Noah’s Ark.

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