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|