October 08, 2008
Nearly Quarter Of Mammals Threatened With Extinction

This looks like a sign of human over population to me.

Barcelona, Spain, 6 October, 2008 (IUCN) – The most comprehensive assessment of the world’s mammals has confirmed an extinction crisis, with almost one in four at risk of disappearing forever, according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, revealed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona.

Some claim to believe that every additional human life is an asset to us all. But if all the people in countries with rapidly growing populations had fewer babies I think we'd be better off.

I expect this problem to get worse because the human population looks set to increase by at least a couple billion more people.

The new study to assess the world’s mammals shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction. At least 76 mammals have become extinct since 1500. But the results also show conservation can bring species back from the brink of extinction, with five percent of currently threatened mammals showing signs of recovery in the wild.

“Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. “We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives.”

The real situation could be much worse as 836 mammals are listed as Data Deficient. With better information more species may well prove to be in danger of extinction.

“The reality is that the number of threatened mammals could be as high as 36 percent,” says Jan Schipper, of Conservation International and lead author in a forthcoming article in Science. “This indicates that conservation action backed by research is a clear priority for the future, not only to improve the data so that we can evaluate threats to these poorly known species, but to investigate means to recover threatened species and populations.”

Asian industrialization adds to the demand for timber and food crops. This results in more habitat loss. World demand growth for energy pulls more land into biomass crop production and further reduces habitat for wild animals. Plus, population growth pushes humans into more areas which previously were wild. The human footprint has become too large.

Less visibly, the oceans were once far more full of fish and other marine creatures. Now they show more signs of plastic waste and fewer signs of fish. While privately owned fisheries might help some for the oceans I do not see how private ownership of land is going to save many land species.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 October 08 11:08 PM  Trends Extinction

David Govett said at October 9, 2008 10:36 AM:

Fear not. Once I get my GenomeMan from Sony, I'll be creating new mammals every day. How about a lion with a human brain?

Lono said at October 9, 2008 11:18 AM:

Heh Heh! - you jest - but I would not be surprised if Humans predisposition to fool with Mammalian genetics will not lead to some real overpopulation problems.

I must admit I secretly look forward to seeing "uplifting" of common household pets in my lifetime - although I am quite sure it is a bad idea on many levels.

The Future is Wild indeed!

JoeKing said at October 9, 2008 11:20 AM:

This sounds exactly like a press release from 1970's Paul Ehrich or the Club of Rome. To refresh those who weren't there... it was predicted that by 2000 the majority of the species on earth were going to be forced from their habitats by we rapacious humans & would be going extinct at a rate approaching a few hundred....A DAY. I opined that perhaps a cabinet level post would have to be created (Dept. of Spieces Extinction) to facilitate the orderly process.

Well, here we go again...and just like 40 years ago...it WON'T happen. Does anyone really believe that the much more powerful & fociferous environmental movement of today will countenance the loss of..1... large mammel..PLEASE... Look at what is going on with the cuddly Polar bears, who aren't even endangered?

GrannyJ said at October 9, 2008 1:20 PM:

There certainly must be a limit to the amount of biomass that the earth can support. If humans make up more of that biomass, then wouldn't it be sort of logical that other criters will make up less? That's presuming 1)that there is an upper limit to the total amount of biomass and 2)that we are already at that limit.

Bob Badour said at October 9, 2008 9:37 PM:


Assumption 2) is clearly wrong. We still have lots of oil and coal in the ground that used to be biomass.

cancer_man said at October 9, 2008 11:26 PM:

For whatever reason, Randall sometimes goes into Club of Rome thinking. He has been hysterical about oil (now back to $85/barrel), but it spills over into other areas at times.

Briggitte said at October 12, 2008 5:31 AM:

Try enough doom scenarios, eventually you may get one right. Recycled Club of Rome et Paul Ehrlich doomsday tales lack the impact they once had. There is a group of folks living in a commune near Eugene that are thinking along the same lines. Might want to check them out.

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