At least 15 species have gone extinct in the past 20 years
Slender loris (Loris tardigradus) from Sri Lanka is assessed as Endangered. Between 1956 and 1993, Sri Lanka lost more than 50% of forest cover to human activities, followed by a similar rate of decline in the remaining forest cover between 1994 and 2003. Photo © Anna Nekaris.
The pomegranate tree (Punica protopunica) is a close relative of the cultivated pomegranate and is endemic to Soqotra, Yemen. Although the population is apparently stable at present, it has evidently declined in the past, for reasons that are not certain. It has a severely fragmented distribution and over large areas the tree is absent except for small relict populations with no obvious regeneration. The tree is listed as Vulnerable. Photo © Anthony G. Miller
The worlds biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, according to the 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and a companion study of the data, the Global Species Assessment (GSA). The GSA is the most comprehensive evaluation ever undertaken of the status of the worlds biodiversity. Its findings include the following:
The Red List and the GSA were unveiled today at the opening of the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress. Halting the growing extinction crisis will be a major focus of the 3,500 delegates attending the worlds largest conservation gathering.
"This sobering new report should serve as a wake-up call to take immediate action to prevent further species loss," says Russell A. Mittermeier, president of Conservation International and chairman of the IUCN Species Survival Commissions Primate Specialist Group. "It is not too late to act. But we cannot assume that any conservation activities will automatically prevent extinctions. We need better-funded efforts focused specifically on those animals and plants on the brink of extinction, and on those areas where such species are concentrated."
Luba Vangelova | EurekAlert!
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