In 2019, there were hundreds of endangered earless dragons in Australia. This year, scientists counted just 11.

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Australia’s grassland earless dragon is no bigger than a pinkie when it emerges from its shell, but the little lizard faces an enormous challenge in the years ahead: avoiding extinction.
As recently as 2019, scientists in Canberra counted hundreds of grassland earless dragons in the wild. This year, they found 11.
In other areas of the country, the lizard has not been seen for three decades.
The earless dragon — which is light brown and has long white stripes down its body — measures about 15 centimeters, which is roughly the size of a $1 bill, when fully grown. It lacks an external ear opening and functional eardrum, hence the name.
This picture taken on March 25, 2024, shows a grassland earless dragon lizard at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Canberra. DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images
Australia has four species of earless dragons. Three are critically endangered, the highest level of risk, while the fourth is endangered.
Last year, the Australia government said it was using

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