Survival of the rarest

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You don't know what you've got till it's gone, so the old aphorism goes. And it was very nearly the case with the Bavarian pine vole, Pitymys bavaricus, which almost became extinct before very many of us had heard of it. Now that we do know of its, albeit threatened, existence, we should rejoice that it is back from the brink.

You don't know what you've got till it's gone, so the old aphorism goes. And it was very nearly the case with the Bavarian pine vole, Pitymys bavaricus, which almost became extinct before very many of us had heard of it. Now that we do know of its, albeit threatened, existence, we should rejoice that it is back from the brink.

Much the same emotion must be felt about the rediscovery off the coast of Australia of the Lord Howe Island phasmid (Dryococelus australis), a type of stick insect. And the marbled toadlet (Uperoleia marmorata), an inhabitant of a remote part of Western Australia, makes a welcome return to the land of the living, as amphibians are particularly vulnerable to habitat destruction.

We may never be lucky enough to see any of these creatures in the flesh, but we should be greatly relieved that, against the odds, they are still with us.

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