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Earthwatch: A Diary of the Planet

September 21, 2000

Primate Extinction

Scientists from New York's Wildlife Conservation Society have reported that a type of red colobus monkey previously found in West Africa is now extinct. The group said it had failed to find the Miss Waldron's red colobus in forest surveys conducted over the last six years in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The announcement makes the monkey the first primate of the new century to be declared extinct.

Tropical Cyclones

At least five people in the coastal region of southern China were killed when typhoon Wukong roared over Hainan Island. Wukong leveled more than 1,000 homes and injured scores of people there. The storm also caused two deaths in northern Vietnam. Super typhoon Saomai brought central Japan's heaviest rainfall on record, swamping streets where residents had to wade through neck-deep water. The storm was expected to skirt China's coast near Shanghai late in the week, then lose force over North Korea.

Southern Snow

Heavy snow fell over Argentina's southwestern provinces for a sixth consecutive day, leaving hundreds of travelers stranded and blocking major border crossings into Chile. The unseasonably cold weather was accompanied by wind gusts of up to 125 mph and temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Feline's Return

Fufu, a Siamese cat on the Italian island of Sicily, suddenly reappeared at her owner's door after having disappeared eight years earlier. The cat ended its protracted absence in the company of a new mate and three kittens. The Giornale di Sicilia reported that the feline had presumably left because she found the family dog intolerable. Her owner told the paper that Fufu put up with the dog for six months before deciding to leave the village of Ragusa. The owner reported that there was no mistaking Fufu's identity, as she was missing two teeth knocked out in a fall from a tree and had a distinctive scar on her tail. The dog that drove Fufu from her home died last January.


A magnitude 6.2 earthquake in eastern Taiwan's Hualien County blocked a tunnel near the Taroko Gorge, damaged roads and disrupted power supplies across the island.

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake hit the northwestern Turkish province of Balikesir, breaking windows and cracking walls in the city of Savastepe.

Earth movements were also felt in Sumatra, the southern Philippines, northwest China's Qinghai province, the Greek capital of Athens, northeast Colombia and south-central Alaska.

Mysterious Exodus

Hundreds of endangered giant sable antelope have suddenly fled toward Angola's active war zone from their last remaining sanctuary in the Cangandala National Park. Wildlife experts said they have no idea why the rare animals have left the safety of the park. The large black antelope have migrated as far as 125 miles, into an area where government and rebel forces fought bloody battles last week in the country's 25-year-old civil war.

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