The International Union for Conservation of Nature warns of the growing threats caused by human action.
TheRed List of Threatened Speciesproduced since 1963 byInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has surpassed in its edition of this year the barrier of 25,000 varieties ofanimalsYplantsfound inDanger of extinction. Specifically, the update published on September 14 by theIUCNindicates that so far the conservation status of 87,967 species has been analyzed, of which25,062 are in danger of extinction. The edition of the IUCN Red List presented a year ago presented data for 85,604 species, of which 24,307 were considered low threat of extinction.
Among the most striking data of the new annual report of the IUCN highlights the fact that the abundant species ofash treesof the United States andantelopeAfrica are now in danger of extinction.
”The most widespread and valuable ash species in North America are on the brink of extinction due to an invasive beetle that is decimating their populations, while the loss of wilderness and poaching are contributing to the decline of five species of African antelopes, according to the most recent update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The latest update to the IUCN Red List also reveals a dramatic decline in Madagascar's endemic grasshoppers and millipedes, and the extinction of the Christmas Island bat.
"Our activities as humans are pushing species to the brink of extinction so rapidly that it is impossible for conservationists to assess declines in real time," says Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General. “Even those species that we thought were abundant and safe, such as antelope in Africa or ash in the United States, are now in imminent danger of extinction.
And while conservation measures work, conserving the forests, savannas and other biomes that we depend on for our survival and development is not given enough priority for funding. Our planet needs urgent action on a global scale, based on Red List data, to ensure the survival of species and our own sustainable future ”.
Five of the six most prominent ash species in North America are listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, just one step away from extinction, and the sixth species is assessed as Endangered. These are being decimated by an invasive species, the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). Three of them - the American green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), American white ash (Fraxinus americana) and American black ash (Fraxinus nigra) - are the most dominant ash trees in the country, with about nine billion trees in the wooded lands of the continental United States. The once abundant American white ash (Fraxinus americana) is one of the most valuable timber trees in North America for its use in the manufacture of furniture, baseball bats, and hockey sticks.
Ash trees are a key component of North American forests. They provide habitat and food for birds, squirrels and insects, including pollinating species such as butterflies and moths.
The rapidly expanding emerald borer came to Michigan from Asia in the late 1990s on infested wooden pallets, and has already destroyed tens of millions of trees in the United States and Canada. It is likely to destroy more than 8 billion ash trees, since it spreads very rapidly and can destroy almost an entire ash forest within six years of infestation.
Due to global warming, areas that were previously too cold for the beetle are becoming increasingly suitable for it to thrive, making it impossible to know how far it could spread in the future.
Five species of antelope in decline
Although the status of most antelope species remains unchanged, five species of African antelope - four of which were previously assessed as Least Concern - are declining dramatically as a result of poaching, habitat degradation and competition with domestic cattle. This decline reflects a broader downward trend for large African mammals as they compete with the growing human population for space and resources.
The largest antelope in the world, the giant eland (Tragelaphus derbianus) - previously rated Least Concern - is now Vulnerable. Its world population is estimated to be between 12,000 and 14,000 at most, with less than 10,000 mature animals. This species is declining due to poaching for bushmeat, human occupation of protected areas, and expansion of agriculture and grazing. Political instability and armed conflict in the Central African Republic are the main barriers to the protection of this species.
Also previously classified as Least Concern, the mountain redunca (Redunca fulvorufula) has seen a decline of nearly 55% in its South African population over the past 15 years. It is now classified as Endangered in that similar declines are likely to occur throughout its range. The expansion of human settlements leading to increases in poaching and sport hunting with dogs are believed to be the main causes of its decline. Other threats may include widespread disturbances by ranchers and their livestock and increased frequency and duration of droughts associated with climate change. More monitoring data is needed, especially outside protected areas, to more accurately quantify the population decline of this species.
Grasshoppers and millipedes of Madagascar
While the conservation status of most invertebrate species is still unknown, recent assessments are beginning to reveal the impact of deforestation on Madagascar's invertebrates. An assessment of the 71 species of pygmy grasshoppers endemic to Madagascar shows that almost 40% of them are in danger of extinction. Seven of these species are listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered, including the Rumplestiltskin pygmy grasshopper (Agkistropleuron simplex). This flightless species is only known from the Manakambahiny forest in eastern Madagascar. The only recent record of the species dates from 1995. Its decline is due to the loss of its forest habitat.
More than 40% of the 145 endemic millipedes in Madagascar are also in danger of extinction, with 27 of them assessed as Critically Endangered. These include the Shiny Giant Pill millipede (Sphaeromimus splendidus), which requires a very specific habitat of sandy soil in coastal forested areas. Its only habitat - the Sainte Luce rainforest - is partially degraded due to timber extraction and grazing. However, a planned open pit mining project - which will likely cause the destruction of most of its remaining habitat - represents the greatest threat to its survival.
New facts about the snow panther
Thanks to the new data available, the snow panther (Panthera uncia) has moved from the Endangered category to the Vulnerable category. However, its population continues to decline and it still faces a high risk of extinction due to habitat loss and degradation, declining prey, competition with livestock, persecution, and poaching for the illegal trade in life. wild.
Thanks to significant investments in the conservation of this species, including anti-poaching efforts, initiatives to reduce conflict with livestock, and awareness programs, conditions have improved in parts of its range. Conservation efforts must continue and expand to reverse its downward trend and prevent this iconic feline from continuing its march toward extinction.
The bat of Christmas Island goes extinct
The latest update declares the bat of Christmas Island (Pipistrellus murrayi), a species of bat endemic to Christmas Island in Australia, as Extinct. The population of this species declined rapidly from common and widespread in the 1980s to four to twenty animals in January 2009. Only one individual remained in August 2009, and it disappeared at the end of that month. Since then there has been no trace of this bat, despite extensive searches on the island. The reasons for the decline are unclear, but it may have been a combination of increased predation by introduced species, the impacts of the invasive yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) about their habitat and their prey species, or possibly an unknown disease.
By Joaquim Elcacho