Earth Science News  





. 'Global extinction crisis' predicted by conservation group

The new Red List, unveiled in Paris, placed the spotlight on these species: The Yangtze river dolphin, or baiji (Lipotes vexillifer), hit by pollution, fishing, river traffic and habitat destruction.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Sept 12, 2007
Gorillas, China's baiji dolphin, Asian vultures and Pacific corals on Wednesday joined the list of species hurtling to oblivion as the World Conservation Union (IUCN) warned of a fast-track "global extinction crisis."

In an update of its famous Red List of biodiversity, the Swiss-based IUCN said it had identified 41,415 species at threat.

Of this, 16,306 species -- equivalent to 39 percent of the total -- are in danger of extinction, 188 more than last year.

"The invaluable efforts made so far to protect species are not enough," said IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lefevre. "The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing and we need to act now to significantly reduce it and stave off this global extinction crisis."

The Red List is one of the most authoritative markers of biodiversity.

It is compiled by conservationists, who apply strict criteria to evaluate sightings of the species and the state of its habitat.

Threat risk is graded according to a descending order of categories: "Extinct, or Extinct in the Wild"; "Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable," applying to degrees of threats of global extinction; "Near Threatened"; "Least Concern," meaning that there is a low risk of extinction; and "Data Deficient", meaning that information is lacking to make an assessment.

One in four mammals, one in eight birds, a third of amphibians and 70 percent of the world's assess plants are in jeopardy, the IUCN said.

The new Red List, unveiled in Paris, placed the spotlight on these species:

-- The Yangtze river dolphin, or baiji (Lipotes vexillifer), hit by pollution, fishing, river traffic and habitat destruction.

A long search for the mammal last November and December proved fruitless, causing it be listed on Wednesday as "Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)."

Its extinction can only be confirmed after further surveys are carried out; a possible sighting of the creature, reported last month, is being investigated by Chinese scientists, the IUCN said.

-- The western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), which moves from Endangered to Critically Endangered. Researchers have uncovered a sudden fall in numbers of the main subspecies, the western lowland gorilla, decimated by the bushmeat trade and Ebola virus.

-- African and Asian vultures, five species of which have moved categories. They include Asia's red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), which moves from Near Threatened to Critically Endangered, its decline driven by fatal ingestion of the drug diclofenac, used to treat injured livestock.

-- The gharial (Gavialis gangeticus), a crocodile native to India and Nepal, has moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered due to threats to its habitat from dams, irrigation projects and artificial embankments. Its numbers have fallen from 436 breeding adults in 1997 to just 182 in 2006.

-- Reptiles: In an exceptional move, the IUCN decided to add 723 turtles, snakes and other North American and Mexican reptiles to the Red List.

They include a Mexican freshwater turtle called the Cuatro Cienegas slider (Trachemys taylori), endangered by habitat loss, and the Santa Catalina Island rattlesnake (Crotalus catalinensis), persecuted by illegal collectors.

-- The Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni), a species that is only found near the Banggai islands near Sulawesi, Indonesia. The fish enters the Red List for the first time, listed as Endangered. Demand from the aquarium trade means that 900,000 of these fish are being hauled out of the sea each year

"Ninety percent of this species' population has vanished in just a dozen years because of aquariums," said Jean-Christophe Vie, deputy head of the IUCN's species probramme.

Only one species has moved to a lower category of threat: the Mauritius echo parakeet (Psittacula eques).

Fifteen years ago, it was one of the world's rarest parrots; this year, though, it has moved Critically Endangered to Endangered.

"The improvement is a result of successful conservation action, including close monitoring of nesting sites and supplementary feeding, combined with a captive breeding and release programme," the IUCN said.

The IUCN said that the total number of extinct species stands at 785, and further 65 are only found in captivity or in cultivation.

Estimates of the world's biodiversity vary between 10 and 100 million species, with 15 million the most commonly-cited figure. Only 1.7 million species have been described.

related report
Biodiversity: Nearly 200 species are added to bible of threatened wildlife
Nearly 200 species have been added to the catalogue of Earth's imperilled wildlife, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) said on Wednesday, warning that nearly 40 percent of its biodiversity list was in danger of extinction.

Species that have moved towards oblivion include the Yangtze river dolphin, now officially described as "critically endangered (possibly extinct)", as well as Africa's lowland gorillas, Asian vultures, Pacific corals and numerous North American reptiles.

In an update of its famous Red List, the Swiss-based IUCN said it had identified 41,415 species at threat. Of this 16,306 species, equivalent to 39 percent of the total, are in danger of extinction, 188 more than last year.

"The invaluable efforts made so far to protect species are not enough," said IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lefevre.

"The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing and we need to act now to significantly reduce it and stave off this global extinction crisis."

The Red List is one of the most authoritative markers of biodiversity.

It is compiled by conservationists, who apply strict criteria to evaluate sightings of the species and the state of its habitat.

Threat risk is graded according to a descending order of categories: "Extinct, or Extinct in the Wild"; "Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable," applying to degrees of threats of global extinction; "Near Threatened"; "Least Concern," meaning that there is a low risk of extinction; and "Data Deficient", meaning that information is lacking to make an assessment.

One in four mammals, one in eight birds, a third of amphibians and 70 percent of the world's assess plants are in jeopardy, the IUCN said.

The new Red List, unveiled in Paris, placed the spotlight on these species:

-- The Yangtze river dolphin, or baiji (Lipotes vexillifer), hit by pollution, fishing, river traffic and habitat destruction.

A long search for this Chinese mammal last November and December proved fruitless, causing it be listed as possibly extinct.

Confirmation of its extinction can only be made when further surveys are carried out; a possibly sighting of the creature, reported last month, is being investigated by Chinese scientists, the IUCN said.

-- The western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), which moves from Endangered to Critically Endangered. Researchers have uncovered a sudden fall in numbers of the main subspecies, the western lowland gorilla, decimated by the bushmeat trade and Ebola virus.

-- African and Asian vultures, five species of which have moved categories. They include Asia's red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), which moves from Near Threatened to Critically Endangered, its decline driven by fatal ingestion of the drug diclofenac, used to treat injured livestock.

-- Reptiles: In an exceptional move, the IUCN decided to add 723 turtles, snakes and other North American and Mexican reptiles to the Red List.

They include a Mexican freshwater turtle called the Cuatro Cienegas slider (Trachemys taylori), endangered by habitat loss, and the Santa Catalina Island rattlesnake (Crotalus catalinensis), persecuted by illegal collectors.

-- The Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni), a species that is only found near the Banggai islands near Sulawesi, Indonesia. The fish enters the Red List for the first time, listed as Endangered. Demand from the aquarium trade means that 900,000 of these fish are being hauled out of the sea each year.

Only one species has moved to a lower category of threat: the Mauritius echo parakeet (Psittacula eques).

Fifteen years ago, it was one of the world's rarest parrots; this year, though, it has moved Critically Endangered to Endangered.

"The improvement is a result of successful conservation action, including close monitoring of nesting sites and supplementary feeding, combined with a captive breeding and release programme," the IUCN said.

The IUCN said that the total number of extinct species stands at 785, and further 65 are only found in captivity or in cultivation.

Estimates of the world's biodiversity vary between 10 and 100 million species, with 15 million the most commonly-cited figure. Only 1.7 million species have been described.

Source: Agence France-Presse
Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Migrating Squid Drove Evolution Of Sonar In Whales And Dolphins
Berkeley CA (SPX) Sep 12, 2007
Behind the sailor's lore of fearsome battles between sperm whale and giant squid lies a deep question of evolution: How did these leviathans develop the underwater sonar needed to chase and catch squid in the inky depths? Now, two evolutionary biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, claim that, just as bats developed sonar to chase flying insects through the darkness, dolphins and other toothed whales also developed sonar to chase schools of squid swimming at night at the surface.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • When The Levees Fail
  • Japan holds disaster drills to prepare for big quake
  • Devastated New Orleans mourns Katrina dead two years on
  • NKorea searches for fugitives after floods: aid group

  • Slash global meat consumption to tackle climate change: Lancet paper
  • Air pollution causes bigger, more destructive hail
  • Mediterranean's rich marine life under threat: study
  • China leads charge against Australian climate pact

  • New Faraway Sensors Warn Of Emerging Hurricane's Strength
  • Key Sensor For Northrop Grumman NPOESS Program Passes Critical Structural Test
  • Air France And ESA Join To Offer Passengers Unique View Of Voyage
  • NASA Scientist Treks To Burning Man Festival

  • Analysis: Venezuela, China boost oil ties
  • Make energy-efficient technology mandatory, UN expert says
  • C-17 Alternative Fuel Research Tests To Begin
  • Tiny Tubes And Rods Show Promise As Catalysts

  • Expert says climate change will spread global disease
  • Northern Iraq battles cholera 'epidemic'
  • Researchers Discover New Strategies For Antibiotic Resistance
  • Yale Scientists Use Nanotechnology To Fight E. Coli

  • 'Global extinction crisis' predicted by conservation group
  • Auto Immune Response Creates Barrier To Fertility; Could Be A Step In Speciation
  • Migrating Squid Drove Evolution Of Sonar In Whales And Dolphins
  • Study Reveals Predation-Evolution Link

  • Indian court says 'asbestos-laden' ship can be broken up
  • Acid Rain Has a Disproportionate Impact on Coastal Waters
  • MIT Unraveling Secrets Of Red Tide
  • Malaysia culls 50,000 pigs over smell, pollution

  • Toddler And Ape Study Reveals Higher Social Skills Are Distinctly Human
  • Primates Expect Others To Act Rationally
  • Study Identifies Key Player In The Body's Immune Response To Chronic Stress
  • Human Testes May Multiply Mutations

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement