03 July, 2009

Wildlife crisis worse than economic crisis

Wildlife crisis worse than economic crisis - that's the very sobering report from the IUCN. In relation to Africa, some of the very dire reports state:
  • ...28 percent of all fishes in Eastern Africa are threatened..
  • The Sidamo Lark (Heteromirafra sidamoensis), from the Liben Plain of Ethiopia, has been moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered and is in danger of becoming mainland Africa’s first bird extinction due to changes in land use.
  • “Across Africa, widespread birds of prey are also disappearing at an alarming rate, and emblematic species such as Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) and Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) have been placed in a higher category of threat as a result,"
  • In Mauritius, the stunning Mauritius Fody (Foudia rubra) has been rescued from the brink of extinction after the translocation and establishment of a new population on a predator-free offshore island. It is now classified as Endangered, rather than Critically Endangered.
The saddest and most frightening of the report states that: .... 869 species are Extinct or Extinct in the Wild and this figure rises to 1,159 if the 290 Critically Endangered species tagged as Possibly Extinct are included. Overall, a minimum of 16,928 species are threatened with extinction. In the oceans, the picture is similarly bleak. The report shows that a broad range of marine species are experiencing potentially irreversible loss due to over-fishing, climate change, invasive species, coastal development and pollution. At least 17 percent of the 1,045 shark and ray species, 12.4 percent of groupers and six of the seven marine turtle species are threatened with extinction. Most noticeably, 27 percent of the 845 species of reef building corals are threatened, 20 percent are Near Threatened and there is not enough data for 17 percent to be assessed. Marine birds are much more threatened that terrestrial ones with 27.5 percent in danger of extinction, compared with 11.8 percent of terrestrial birds.

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