The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species for 2008 has just been published.
The 2008 Red List is obviously a very lengthy report covering the list of endangered species, from extinct and extinct in the wild to those that fall under the classification of not enough data.
A selective look of some of the results:
– 20% + of reptiles are struggling to survive
– 20% + of mammals, including marine mammals, are also threatened with extinction
– Of the nearly 50,000 species listed (fauna and flora) over 35% are threatened.
But there are a few of things that are worth while highlighting:
Bad news sells and shocking news sells shockingly.
In the Red List this would be those species that are extinct or critically endangered and those that show a deterioration in their status. This is both good and bad news for endangered species as whole.
It is good news for those that are under fire, but it is bad news for those that “appear” to be holding on. Those species that may today be classified as Least Concerned can later on become critically endangered.
A very quick and selective highlighting of the report is by looking at some of the statistics:
1. Mammal: 37 species have shown an improvement. 144 have deteriorated (17 have gone to Critically Endangered status).
2. Birds: 2 species have shown an improvement. 24 have deteriorated.
3. Reptiles: No improvements, only deterioration report. These are six reptiles, all of them have gone to critical.
4. Amphibians: One improvement while 7 have deteriorated (4 Critically).
So in this grouping we have 40 improvements, and 181 have deteriorated.
Makes you wonder.
Species in the world are at risk due to many factors, in fact to many human created factors. Amongst these are:
– habitat loss due to human settlement, agricultural expansion;
– hunting and poaching for skins and meat;
– depletion of food sources;
– habitat degradation coming from overgrazing;
– climate change;
– and many others.
The overall message we should take from this, apart from recognizing the efforts of the IUCN, is that all species deserve our care, and this care is really reflected by respect and looking after the environment.
Although the number of improvements may look small, and perhaps they are in the overall sense, there is a tremendous amount of effort behind these results.
In the long term, that is what it is all about. As long as we don’t run out of time.