From physorg.com comes this interesting summary
of a new study showing that the human penchant for rarity can lead to unexpected exploitation of endangered species, with "alarming implications for species survival." An excerpt:
This phenomenon, the authors explain, resembles an ecological process called the Allee effect, in which individuals of many plant and animal species suffer reduced fitness at low population densities, which increases their extinction risk. The authors' model now shows that humans can trigger an "anthropogenic Allee effect" in rare species through a paradox of value. When rarity acquires value, prices for scarce species can skyrocket, even though continued exploitation will precipitate extinction. And as long as someone will pay any price for the rarest of the rare, market price will cover (and exceed) the cost of harvesting the last giant parrot, tegu lizard, or lady's slipper orchid on Earth.
I can’t help but wonder how this "anthropogenic Allee effect" relates to the historical decline of my favorite endangered or extinct (depending on your point view) species of the moment, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. The full study, published in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, can be viewed here