Ground Report | New Delhi: 28% of species are in danger; The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has presented during the World Conservation Congress, which is held these days in Marseille (France), an update of its Red List of endangered animals, a world reference in the matter of biodiversity. The document indicates that 28% of the classified species are in danger of extinction.
The destructive impact of humanity has put in check the existence of more than 38,500 species, of the 138,374 studied. The researchers also revealed that 37% of the world’s shark and ray species could become extinct, an increase of 13% compared to the figure in 2014. For the IUCN, the main factors that threaten their Survival are fishing, the degradation or loss of its habitat (which represents 31% of the cases), and climate change (with 10% of the cases).
Five species of sawfish – whose snouts become entangled in discarded fish at sea – and the renowned short-finned mako shark are among the most threatened.
However, the report showed a glimmer of hope by reporting that fishing quotas have contributed to the recovery of four species of tuna. Among them are the Atlantic bluefin tuna, which went from the category “endangered” to that of “least concern” and the southern bluefin tuna, which went from “critically endangered” to “endangered”.
Thus, Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General stated that “species can recover if States implement sustainable practices”.
28% of species are in danger
Sadly, the organization also highlighted the case of the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), the world’s largest lizard, which has gone from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered on the Red List. The species, which is endemic to Indonesia and found only in the World Heritage-listed Komodo National Park and neighboring Flores, is increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Rising global temperatures and subsequent sea levels are expected to reduce suitable habitat for the Komodo dragon by at least 30% over the next 45 years.
Furthermore, while the subpopulation in Komodo National Park is currently stable and well protected, Komodo dragons outside of protected areas in Flores are also threatened by significant habitat loss due to ongoing human activities. United Nations experts have indicated that nearly a million species of animals and plants are in danger of extinction. In 2019, they warned that nature “is declining faster than ever in human history.”
This situation endangers human existence on Earth and contributes to the multiplication of climatic disasters linked to global warming. Recent studies prove that several of the planet’s ecosystems have been seriously affected by human activities such as deforestation, habitat degradation, and pollution, among other threats.
It is estimated that more than half of all species of raptors globally are declining in population and 18 species are critically endangered. Also, rising temperatures and melting ice are expected to endanger 70% of emperor penguin colonies by 2050 and 98% by 2100.
Unit for biodiversity
French President Emmanuel Macro asked this weekend to resume unity and commitment to protecting biodiversity at the World Conservation Congress held in Marseille (southern France). “The bad news is that there is no vaccine for a sick planet,” said Macron, who participated at the beginning of this meeting to announce that France will strengthen the protection of its waters in the Mediterranean by 5% until 2027 (so far in 0.2%).
Unesco Director-General Audrey Azoulay pledged to protect 30% of the planet between now and 2030, as well as to “respect indigenous peoples”, something shared by Macron, and raised in the debate by the Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, which has been documenting this reality for 40 years.
For their part, the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin presented a motion to protect 80% of this region by 2025, against the threat of territorial invasions, drug trafficking, and deforestation.
The World Conservation Congress will have the participation this Tuesday of the Minister of Ecological Transition. Teresa Ribera will speak in the high-level panel “Mobilizing nature and society to address the climate emergency: the way forward”, where she will value the role of nature and the solutions it offers us to face environmental challenges to those we face, including climate change.