One in four mammal species face extinction – 10/06/2008

  • December 13, 2013 at 5:13 pm #1781

    One in Four Mammals at Risk of Extinction
    Kimberly Johnson for National Geographic News
    October 6, 2008

    One in four of the world’s 5,487 known mammal species face extinction,
    according to a new conservation “report card” unveiled today. Marine
    mammals face even steeper odds, with one in three species at risk of
    disappearing, according to the study.

    The assessment, done as part of the International Union for
    Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Species, took
    more than 1,700 experts from 130 countries five years to complete.

    The report’s findings were released today in conjunction with this
    week’s IUCN meeting in Barcelona, Spain, and will appear later this
    week in the journal Science. “Our results paint a bleak picture of the
    global status of mammals worldwide,” the study authors wrote.

    (See photos of animals on the new list\

    Humans are mostly to blame, as habitat loss, pollution (chemtrails? toxic metal aerosols? — MC), and hunting continue to squeeze at-risk species.

    Under Threat

    The new report updates the last IUCN survey conducted in 1996 and adds
    700 species not previously assessed.

    “Perversely, the species that humans show greatest affinity toward—the
    largest mammals such as primates, big cats, and whales—are
    significantly more likely to be threatened with extinction,” Barney
    Long, a biologist at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C., said
    in an email.

    Some of the most threatened species are found in Asia, a region
    undergoing rapid human population and economic growth.

    “This is leading to habitat loss due to agricultural expansion;
    development of infrastructure such as roads, which fragment critical
    landscapes; and increasing areas for industrial crops such as oil palm
    and pulp for paper,” said Long, who helped create the new assessment.

    Currently, 79 percent of Asia’s primate species face extinction.
    (Read: “Extinction Threatens Half of Primate Types, Study Says”
    [August 5, 2008] )

    Worldwide, habitat loss affects roughly 40 percent of threatened
    mammal species, while human hunting affects 17 percent, Long said.

    Seventy-eight percent of marine mammals are threatened by accidental
    deaths, such as becoming bycatch in fishing nets intended for other
    species. Marine mammals are “threatened purely because humankind does not care enough to mitigate deaths that do not even benefit our species,” Long said. “All these threats represent human-driven activities that, if not controlled, will soon lead to a dramatic
    increase in the 76 species of mammal that are known to have gone
    extinct since 1500,” Long said.


    Timothy Ragen is executive director of the U.S. government’s Marine
    Mammal Commission in Bethesda, Maryland.

    “We are causing a period of excessive decline or loss in the diversity
    of nonhuman life over time,” he said, adding that the problem will
    only get worse as human populations grow. “If we expect to be good
    stewards, we will have to reexamine our relationship with other forms
    of life and be willing to make the changes needed to conserve our
    natural world,” Ragen said.

    The IUCN Red List is apolitical in scope, but political will is
    required to reverse species’ downward spirals, added lead study author
    Jan Schipper, director of global mammal assessments for IUCN and the
    nonprofit Conservation International based in Arlington, Virginia.

    “The species that are recovering are the ones we’re focusing
    restoration and recovery efforts on,” he said. According to the
    report, 5 percent of threatened species have seen rebounds due to
    conservation efforts.


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