Monday, 21 November 2011

Barometer of life shows animal distress

Nearly 4,000 known species are threatened with extinction, shows the
current Red List. While conservationists can achieve success - but
many living things are heading towards its end. And some animals the
world must now say goodbye for ever.

Hamburg - The number of known species threatened with extinction has
increased within a year by just over 300 to 3879th The World
Conservation Union (IUCN) has published on Thursday in its
reassessment of the Red List, however, also covers far more animals
and plants than in 2010 - with around 61 900 species. So will the list
more comprehensive to a "barometer of life", said the IUCN. As "high
risk" are now 5689 species as "endangered" 10 002.

"The updated list shows both good and bad news about the status of
many species worldwide," said Jane Smart, Director of the IUCN Global
Species Programme. One in four mammals is threatened, according to the
list, endangered or critically endangered.

Bad is the situation such as the rhinoceros: the western black rhino
is now officially extinct as the northern white rhino subspecies are
listed as possibly extinct. The Javan rhino, which was originally
native to many Southeast Asian countries, is found now only on the
island of Java. The last specimen in Vietnam in 2010 was killed by

Success story of the Przewalski horse

But there was also success stories, it was announced at the IUCN. So
be the stock of the southern white rhinos from around 100 at the end
of the 19th Century to more than 20,000 grown. Of the Przewalski's
horses, which in 1996 were only in zoos, again, there were more than
300 in the wild. In June, the IUCN reported that the well
ausgetrottete Arabian Oryx in the wild after successful breeding
programs could be resettled in the Arabian Peninsula. "These successes
show that the effort is worthwhile and can be saved in the wild
extinct or highly endangered species," said Stefan Ziegler, species
protection expert at WWF Germany.

The situation of reptiles called the IUCN alarming. In Madagascar, now
40 percent of the land-dwelling reptile species are threatened,
endangered or critically endangered.

The researchers still have to do some work to plant species worldwide
to capture as accurate as the animal world. The updated list is an
inventory of coniferous trees. They show some disturbing trends, the
IUCN. For example, the growing Chinese water spruce, once widespread
in China and Vietnam, barely in the wild. The conversion of forests
into agricultural land has brought the species to the brink of
extinction, they could soon occur only in parks.

Of the 79 species of flowering plants found only in the Seychelles, 77
percent are threatened with extinction.

"The plants we calibrate the barometer of life right now," Tim
Entwisle said of the British Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. "But with
their relatives, the fungi and algae, we still have no idea what it's
all out there and what we lose everything."