The latest IUCN Red List has declared 31 more species extinct, and about 30% of plant and animal species on the Red List are at risk of extinction. While much of the news is grim, there were a few bright spots, with several species showing signs of recovery for their populations.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature regularly updates the list to reflect ongoing changes in plant and animal populations. The newly declared extinct species included three species of Central American frogs, which have been decimated by chytridiomycosis disease. Seventeen kinds of freshwater fish endemic to the Philippines also made the list. These fish were lost due at least in part to human errors: introducing predatory fish species to the lake and overfishing. The lost shark joined the list this year as critically endangered (possibly extinct). This rare species dwelled in the extensively fished South China Sea and hasn’t been recorded since 1934. It may have already been extinct for decades.
“The growing list of extinct species is a stark reminder that conservation efforts must urgently expand,” said Bruno Oberle, director-general of the IUCN, in a statement. “To tackle global threats such as unsustainable fisheries, land clearing for agriculture, and invasive species, conservation needs to happen around the world and be incorporated into all sectors of the economy.”
Last Thursday’s release showed more than 35,700 species as threatened with extinction. This includes more than 30% of oak trees. A whopping 45% of the protea family — plants with massive, prehistoric-looking flowers that grow mostly in the Southern Hemisphere — were listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. Every type of freshwater dolphin is also now classified as endangered.
On the plus side, populations of at least 26 species have increased. The European bison was upgraded from vulnerable to near threatened. The IUCN emphasizes that when people commit to conservation, it makes a difference. “The conservation successes in today’s Red List update provide living proof that the world can set, and meet, ambitious biodiversity targets,” said Jane Smart, global director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group, in a statement. “They further highlight the need for real, measurable commitments as we formulate and implement the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.”
Via Huffington Post
Image via Fernando Trujillo / IUCN