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More than 40 percent of the world's insects could go extinct in the next few decades, according to a report that lead author Francisco Sánchez-Bayo told CNN was the first global review of the threats facing the class that makes up 70 percent of earth's animals.

A third of insects are endangered species, and they are going extinct at a rate eight times that of birds, mammals and reptiles. That amounts to a loss of 2.5 percent of insect mass every year over the last three decades.

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A picture of the Knysna elephant roaming the forest. Lizette Moolman / South African National Parks

A sobering 15-month study on the declining population of the southernmost herd of African elephants has determined only one elephant, a mature female, is free-roaming in the Knysna forest in South Africa.

The analysis—titled And Then There Was One—was recently published in the African Journal of Wildlife Research.

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A caterpillar carrying parasitic wasp eggs. John Flannery / CC BY-SA 2.0

By John R. Platt

Parasite. To most people, the very word is cause for fear or disgust—which is a shame, because most parasites don't actually harm their hosts. In fact their very existence is a sign of a healthy ecosystem, as I discussed on a recent segment of the Green Divas podcast. We also talked about the values some parasites provide, what we can learn from them, and what we lose when they go extinct.

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The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Arizona is a biodiversity hotspot. Bureau of Land Management

Conservation groups filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' approval of a permit that allows a huge master-planned sprawl development project near Benson, Arizona to proceed. The Villages at Vigneto would transform 12,167 acres of largely undeveloped habitat into 28,000 residences, 3 million square feet of commercial space, four golf courses, fountains, lakes and a resort.

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The declining sunflower sea star is vitally important for the health of Pacific kelp forests. Jurgen Freund / Aurora / Getty Images

A sea star once "as common as a robin" off the Pacific coast of the U.S. is now considered an endangered species in the southern part of its range, and new research suggests climate change might be partly to blame.

Since 2013, a sea star wasting disease has devastated around 20 sea star species between Mexico and Alaska. While some species have begun to recover, the vitally important predatory sunflower star has not, a paper published Wednesday in Science Advances found. In fact, its population has decreased by 80 to 100 percent across a 3,0000 kilometer (approximately 1,864 miles) range between California and Canada.

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Illegal deforestation in Pirititi indigenous land, Roraima, Brazil on May 8, 2018. Felipe Werneck / Ibama / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Robert T. Walker

Over the past 25 years that I have been conducting environmental research in the Amazon, I have witnessed the the ongoing destruction of the world's biggest rainforest. Twenty percent of it has been deforested by now—an area larger than Texas.

I therefore grew hopeful when environmental policies began to take effect at the turn of the millennium, and the rate of deforestation dropped from nearly 11,000 square miles per year to less than 2,000 over the decade following 2004.

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