Tuesday, October 7, 2008

One-Fourth of World’s Mammals Face Imminent Extinction

According to a new report released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently, nearly one in four species of mammals are facing immediate extinction. And nearly half of the 5,487 known species of mammal (that number is not thought to include Big Foot or that monster in Loch Ness) have negative population growth. (Read: more of them are dying than are being born. Sort of like the population of Japan.) I wonder what category homo-sapiens fall into.

“The new study to assess the world’s mammals shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction. At least 76 mammals have become extinct since 1500.” (iucn.org) But apparently scientists suck at statistics, because “’The reality is that the number of threatened mammals could be as high as 36 percent,’ says Jan Schipper, of Conservation International and lead author in a forthcoming article in Science.” (iucn.org) Either way, I don’t like those numbers.

The report reads like a who’s who in species that are E (endangered), CE (critically endangered, EIW (extinct in wild) or HNBSINFY (has not been seen in nearly forty years). However there is some good news, animals like the black footed ferret and golden lion tamarin (seen here) have been brought back from the brink. “The results also show conservation can bring species back from the brink of extinction, with five percent of currently threatened mammals showing signs of recovery in the wild.” (iucn.org) Well that’s a bit of good news.

Ah crap, looks like I spoke too soon… “But [biologist Jan Schipper] cautions that any conservation success is likely temporary unless the root problems of, for example, deforestation are addressed.” (sciam.com) Oh well. Good try everyone.

[images courtesy of me]

No comments: