From the ocean to the trees, the destructive impact humans are causing on the planet’s wildlife is consistently pushing more and more species towards extinction. The red list made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the most renowned analysis of species statuses. Around 33 percent of all the species evaluated are threatened with extinction.
Habitat destruction due to plantations and factory farming is causing record levels of carnage; hunting for bush-meat has led just over half a dozen types of primates into decline; overfishing has resulted in dire circumstances for two families of rays; pollution, dams, and over-abstraction have created a significant decrease in river wildlife; and unapproved logging is destroying Madagascar’s rosewoods.
The red list published today had another 9,000 species join the index of endangered wildlife, so far making a total of 105,732 species. None of the species assessed were found to have improved in status.
A planetary health assessment published two months ago came to the conclusion that our human way of life is under threat due to the dwindling conditions of Earth’s natural life-support systems. Wildlife numbers have plummeted by a drastic 60 percent since 1970, and plant extinctions are growing at an alarming pace.
“Nature is declining at rates unprecedented in human history,” says the director of IUCN biodiversity conservation group, Jane Smart. She says that serious action needs to be enforced to reduce the crisis.
The red list notes the unfortunate state of wedgefishes and giant guitarfishes – the most endangered marine fish families on the planet. Six of the seven primate species at risk are found in west Africa, where deforestation and bush-meat hunting is a growing epidemic. Only 2,000 Roloway monkeys remain in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The meat and skin of these large bodied monkeys makes them a distinct target for hunters. The demand for fresh water is severely affecting the conditions of river and lake wildlife. Over 50 percent of the freshwater fish in Japan are close to extinction.
“The loss of these freshwater fish species would deprive billions of people of a critical source of food and income, and could have knock-on effects on entire ecosystems,” says the head of the IUCN freshwater biodiversity unit, William Darwall.
Each person votes for the way our societies function with every choice they make. Government and corporations answer to the trends set by the general public. If change is going to happen, it’s up to every individual to strive for a more sustainable way of living.