A first ever – 100,000 animal specie are now declared on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
With 9,000 species recently added, the numbers have skyrocketed to 105,732 with over 28,000 of these being threatened with extinction.
Assessing the conservation status of animals, insects and plant life since 1964, the IUCN has noted this year being the highest numbers have ever been.
In a statement, IUCN Acting Director General Dr Grethel Aguilar said:
With more than 100,000 species now assessed for the IUCN Red List, this update clearly shows how much humans around the world are over exploiting wildlife.
We must wake up to the fact that conserving nature’s diversity is in our interest, and is absolutely fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
A massive number of these species seem to be freshwater fish, with almost half of all Japanese species under threat of extinction and a third of those native to Mexico following suite.
Mostly due to agricultural and urban pollution, invasive species and a tremendous loss of flowing rivers and dams and with looming unsustainable fishing practices, things aren’t looking up.
William Darwall, Head of the IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Unit, said:
The world’s freshwater fish species, which number almost 18,000, are undergoing a dramatic and largely unrecognized global decline, as made apparent in the high levels of extinction threat to freshwater fish species in Japan and Mexico.
The loss of these species would deprive billions of people of a critical source of food and income, and could have knock-on effects on entire ecosystems. To halt these declines, we urgently need policies on the human use of freshwaters that allow for the needs of the many other species sharing these ecosystems.
Primates are also feeling the brunt, with 7 species being forced to the brink of extinction and six of these occurring in West Africa alone, hunting and deforestation are causing tremendous damage to numbers.
Russ Mittermeier, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group, said:
West Africa is one of the very highest priority areas on Earth for primate conservation.
Maintaining the amazing primate diversity of this region will require the creation of new protected areas, better management of existing ones, more effective enforcement of protective legislation, and economic alternatives that value primates as something more than a source of meat, with primate-watching ecotourism, based on successful models elsewhere in Africa, high on the list.
Dr Grethel Aguilar added:
States, businesses and civil society must urgently act to halt the over exploitation of nature, and must respect and support local communities and Indigenous Peoples in strengthening sustainable livelihoods.
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