IUCN Red List Updates 31 Species as Extinct and Thousands as Threatened

The planet has been morphing with the changing climatic patterns and it is affecting every being of the earth. Many wildlife species are threatened and many are facing extinction due to these changes. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently released an updated Red List of Threatened Species, which includes 31 species as extinct.

The IUCN is the global authority on the status of biological diversity of species. The new list accounts an additional 31 species as extinct in the wild including species of fishes, sharks, and frogs. Currently, there are 128,918 species on the IUCN Global Species Program and nearly a third or 35,765 of them are threatened with extinction.

The growing list of extinct species is a stark reminder that conservation efforts must urgently expand. To tackle global threats such as unsustainable fisheries, land clearing for agriculture, and invasive species, conservation needs to happen around the world.

Bruno Oberle, IUCN’s director-general, said.

The species included in the Red List consist of all of the world’s freshwater dolphins, about one-third of all oak trees, about 45 percent of a whole family of flowering plants found in the Southern Hemisphere, 26 percent of all mammals, 40 percent of all amphibians, 14 percent of all birds, 33 percent of all sharks and 33 percent of corals.

IUCN Red List Updates 31 Species as Extinct and 35765 as Threatened

IUCN Red List updates 31 species as extinct and 35765 as threatened | Image: Ashok kr. Das

The global body divides species into various categories according to population number with ‘Extinct’ describing a complete disappearance and the category ‘Least Concern’ on the opposite end. Out of the total 128,918 species assessed by IUCN, in descending order of threat, 902 are ‘Extinct,’ 89 are ‘Extinct in the Wild,’ 7,762 are ‘Critically Endangered,’ 13,285 are ‘Endangered,’ 14,718 are ‘Vulnerable,’ 7,644are ‘Near Threatened,’ and 66,469 are of ‘Least Concern.’

The highest numbers of threatened species are in China and Mexico, followed by Vietnam, the United States and Malaysia. Land clearance for agriculture and logging are the most common threats in China, Mexico and Southeast Asia. Invasive alien species and diseases and climate change are the key threats to oaks in the United States.

The update said.

In India, the list categorizes 1,174 species as threatened with extinction, including golden langur and Javan rhinoceros. Three frog species from Central America were declared Extinct, and 22 species across Central and South America were classified as ‘Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct).’

The lost shark (Carcharhinus obsoletus), which was only properly described last year, is now termed as ‘Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)’. It was previously observed in 1934. Its local habitat is the South China Sea, which has been a prey to widespread overfishing for over a century.

Lake Lanao, in Philippines, was habitat to 17 freshwater fishes; of which 15 are ‘Extinct’ and 2 are ‘Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct)’. The extinctions in this lake were caused by the predatory non-native species and overfishing as well. Additionally, nine oak species from Asia are marked as ‘Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct or Possibly Extinct in the Wild)’.

All the five freshwater dolphin species — Ganga, Amazon, Indus, Irrawaddy and Tucuxi — are threatened with extinction.

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