Every fourth mammal enlisted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature is in danger of extinction, the newest version of the Red List shows. They have 61,900 species under analysis now, a number which could decrease rapidly.
The list puts animals and plants into different categories ordered by the least concerned to be extinct to the most. Even in the least concerned group, many living creatures are believed to be having a “decreasing population”, bringing them closer and closer to the next category: “near threatened”. The list in general is growing because species keep being discovered.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are 669 animals which are fully extinct, dissapeared, over. Scrolling through I can spot kangaroos, gazelles, many types of fish, monkeys and sea lions. The newest addition: “the reassessments of several Rhinoceros’ species show that the sub-species of the Black Rhino in western Africa … have officially been declared extinct.”, the IUCN writes. More types of rhinos are likely to dissapear. “A lack of political support and willpower for conservation efforts in many rhino habitats, international organized crime groups targeting rhinos and increasing illegal demand for rhino horns and commercial poaching are the main threats faced by rhinos.”
Also, destroying habitats means the loss of biodiversity. “The current Red List reveals that an alarming 40% of Madagascar’s terrestrial reptiles are threatened.” To conserve our rainforests is crucial if we want to keep the diversity of plants and animals which still remains today. Similarly, the pollution of our oceans is threatening the habitat of many fish and plants in places like the Seychelles.
Nevertheless, “this update offers both good and bad news on the status of many species around the world,” says Jane Smart, Director, IUCN Global Species Programme. What she is trying to say is that there are success stories. Animals whose numbers have allowed the list to reduce their status from critically endangered to endangered. Which then again, I personally would not be too excited about.
Jane Smart is not stupid. She knows that the time is ticking for many species out there:“We have the knowledge that conservation works if executed in a timely manner; yet, without strong political will in combination with targeted efforts and resources, the wonders of nature and the services it provides can be lost forever.”