The lemur has a grey body and a white underbelly, and its tiny hands and feet are lightly colored.

In our recent perspective article,  we noted that most (approximately 60 percent) terrestrial large carnivore and large herbivore species are now threatened with extinction, and we offered a 13-point declaration designed to promote and guide actions to save these iconic mammalian megafauna (Ripple et al. 2016). Some may worry that a focus on saving megafauna might undermine efforts to conserve biodiversity more broadly.

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Functional trait diversity is increasingly used to model future changes in community structure despite a poor understanding of community disassembly's effects on functional diversity. By tracking the functional diversity of the North American large mammal fauna through the End-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction and up to the present, I show that contrary to expectations, functionally unique species are no more likely to go extinct than functionally redundant species. This makes total functional richness loss no worse than expected given similar taxonomic richness declines.

Islands are ideal systems to model temporal changes in biodiversity and reveal the influence of humans on natural communities. Although theory predicts biodiversity on islands tends towards an equilibrium value, the recent extinction of large proportions of island biotas complicates testing this model. The well-preserved subfossil record of Caribbean bats—involving multiple insular radiations—provides a rare opportunity to model diversity dynamics in an insular community.

Urgent action is needed to stop the cheetah – the world’s fastest land animal – becoming extinct, experts have warned.

Despite the rapid increase in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in marine mammal research, knowledge of the effects of UAVs on study animals is very limited. We recorded the in-air and in-water noise from two commonly used multi-rotor UAVs, the SwellPro Splashdrone and the DJI Inspire 1 Pro, to assess the potential for negative noise effects of UAV use. The Splashdrone and Inspire UAVs produced broad-band in-air source levels of 80 dB re 20 μPa and 81 dB re 20 μPa (rms), with fundamental frequencies centered at 60 Hz and 150 Hz.

The pangolin, now recognised as the world’s most trafficked mammal, is currently undergoing population collapse across South and Southeast Asia, primarily because of the medicinal value attributed to its meat and scales. This paper explores how scarcity and alterity (otherness) drive the perceived value of these creatures for a range of human and more-than-human stakeholders: wildlife traffickers, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, Asian consumers of their meat and scales, hunters and poachers, pangolin-rearing master-spirits, and conservation organisations.

In the face of climate change, the life history traits of large terrestrial mammals will prevent them from adapting genetically at a sufficient pace to keep track with changing environments, and habitat fragmentation will preclude them from shifting their distribution range. Predicting how habitat-bound large mammals will respond to environmental change requires measurement of their sensitivity and exposure to changes in the environment, as well as the extent to which phenotypic plasticity can buffer them against the changes.

The pangolin – the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal – might have a new champion: rats that will be trained to sniff out trafficked pangolin parts in shipments heading from Africa to Asia.

A novel highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 virus, first detected in January 2014 in poultry and wild birds in South Korea, has spread throughout Asia and Europe, and caused outbreaks in Canada and the United States by the end of the year. The spread of H5N8 and the novel reassortant viruses, H5N2 and H5N1 (H5Nx), in domestic poultry across multiple states in the U.S. pose a potential public health risk. To evaluate the potential of cross-species infection, we determined the pathogenesis and transmissibility of two Asian-origin H5Nx viruses in mammalian animal models.

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