New Civilization News: 3,000 species join danger list on dying planet    
 3,000 species join danger list on dying planet
18 Nov 2004 @ 13:30, by redstar

More signs of the coming Fall.
Also, I noticed that the Arctic Climate change Report was almost completely buried by all the mainstream media after it was published. Something must have them feeling uncomfortable about it !!
Looking for more details, will post them here as soon as I get them.
Meanwhile Check out the species conditions -

From - Jane Reynolds Environment Correspondant.
MORE than 15,500 plant and animal species across the world are now threatened with
extinction, an increase of 3,000-plus since last year, according to one of the world's
leading conservation organisations.

Almost half the species of freshwater turtles are threatened, as are one in three amphibian
species, one in eight bird species and one in four mammal species, the new "Red List of
Threatened Species" reveals. The list is published by the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), more commonly known as the World
Conservation Union.

From the most impressive predators, such as sharks, to miniscule frogs, the list shows that the world's biodiversity is shrinking at an unprecedented rate.

Among the latest list's observations are the extinction of the Hawaiian crow, which now only exists in captivity, the move from near-threatened to critically-endangered of the Balearic shearwater and the giant Hispaniolan galliwasp lizard, and the outright extinction of the St Helena olive. Almost all species of tortoises and freshwater turtles in east and South-east Asia are in serious decline, and even though only 373 out of a total of around 1,100 species of sharks, skates and rays have been assessed, 18 per cent are already listed as threatened.

On a more positive note, there have been some improvements, such as a rise in population of the European otter, which is native to Scotland. It has been downgraded from the near threatened category to vulnerable, as has the corncrake.

The Red List states: "There are indications of [otter] population recovery in western Europe and viable populations occur in the former USSR.

"However, there is still a lack of information from large parts of the range, past declines (and even local extinctions) and the sensitivity of the species to sudden changes in threats means conservation efforts are still necessary to help further recovery and prevent the species slipping back into the threatened categories."

David Brackett, chairman of the IUCN's species survival commission, said: "Governments are starting to realise the value of biodiversity and the critical role it plays in their peoples' well-being. Species provide food, medicine, fuel and building materials. They help filter water, decompose waste, generate soil and pollinate crops. Recognition of this is growing, but governments need to mobilise far more resources and the private sector also needs to play a central role by actively promoting and pursuing the sustainable use of the world's natural resources."

A possible reason for this year's dramatic rise in species listed as at risk of dying out is that, since the release of the 2003 list, more than 15,633 new species have been assessed and 3,579 species reassessed. There are now 7,266 threatened animal species and 8,323 threatened plant and lichen species.

A total of 784 plant and animal species are now recorded as extinct with a further 60 known only in cultivation or captivity.

Craig Hilton Taylor, the IUCN's Red List programme officer, said: "Although 15,589 species are known to be threatened with extinction, this greatly underestimates the true number, as only a fraction of known species have been assessed. There is still much to be discovered about key species-rich habitats, such as tropical forests, marine or freshwater systems or particular groups such as invertebrates, plants and fungi, which make up the majority of biodiversity."

Human activity is the primary reason for most species' declines. Habitat destruction and degradation are the leading threats but other pressures include over-exploitation for food, pets and medicine, introduced species pushing out natives, pollution and disease. Climate change is also increasingly recognised as a major negative influence.

Achim Steiner, the director general of the IUCN, said: "We can continue to assess and bemoan the loss of the world's biodiversity, or we can act. We must refocus and rethink the way in which society must respond to this global threat. While most threats to biodiversity are human driven, human actions alone can prevent many species from becoming extinct. There are many examples of species coming back from the brink, including the southern white rhino and black-footed ferret, and thousands of dedicated people around the world are doing their utmost to reverse the extinction rate.

"But this cannot continue to be the task of the environmental community alone. Governments and businesses must commit to these activities."

Created in 1948, the IUCN is a partnership of 77 states, 114 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organisations and 10,000 experts from 181 countries. It is the world's largest environmental knowledge network and has helped 75 countries prepare and implement conservation and biodiversity strategies.

Halting the growing extinction crisis is at the top of the agenda for the 1,000-plus organisations attending the World Conservation Congress, which begins in Bangkok today.

There are nine categories in the Red List system: extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, near threatened, least concern, data deficient and not evaluated. In addition to the Red List, the IUCN has also published its Global Species Assessment, which it does every four years.

The 2004 assessment shows that threatened species are often concentrated in densely populated areas, particularly in much of Asia and parts of Africa. A major conservation challenge is therefore to reconcile the demands of large numbers of people with the protection of the biodiversity on which many livelihoods depend.

Most threatened birds, mammals and amphibians live on the tropical continents - Central and South America, Africa south of the Sahara, and tropical South Asia and South-east Asia. These regions contain the tropical broadleaf forests that are believed to harbour most of the earth's living terrestrial and freshwater species.

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Only after the last tree has been cut,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you find that money can not be eaten.

– Cree Indian Prophecy for North America

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