16 000 species face imminent extinction as biodiversity die.

– It appears that our food and fuel production is happening at the expense of other species, IUCN says.

John Cassim

HARARE, Zimbabwe – At least 16 000 species are feared could become extinct soon as the number of endangered species continues to increase year after year.

Some endangered species, such as tigers, are known across the globe but there are so many others that fly under the radar, the recent International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, reveals.

Established in 1964, the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species.

It is a powerful indicator used by governments, NGOs, and natural resource planners, to inform and catalyse action for biodiversity conservation and policy change.

It is critical to protecting the natural resources we need to survive. 

The Red List provides information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use or trade, threats, and conservation actions that will help inform necessary conservation decisions

Ironically the annual and perennial non-timber crops are posing the biggest threat to endangered species, with 254 different animal species affected by this practice. 

Despite being a useful human resource, it appears that our food and fuel production is happening at the expense of other species. 

Livestock farming and ranching, logging and wood harvesting, alien diseases and veld fires are some of the threats to endangered species.

“The bad news, is that biodiversity is declining and currently, there are more than 150,300 species on The IUCN Red List, with more than 42,100 species threatened with extinction, including 41% of amphibians, 37% of sharks and rays, 36% of reef building corals, 34% of conifers, 27% of mammals and 13% of birds,” the report says.

Of these 16 000 face immediate extinction.

– leading countries

Mexico and Indonesia are leading the global list of countries with endangered species with 665 and 583 respectively.

Madagascar is in third position with 553, Tanzania is on 11th with 364 while South Africa sits on 18th position with 241 endangered species.

“Despite the high proportions of threatened species, we are working to reverse, or at least halt, the decline in biodiversity. Increased assessments will help to build The IUCN Red List into a more complete ‘Barometer of Life’

To do this, we need to increase the number of species assessed to at least 160,000. This will improve the global taxonomic coverage and thus provide a stronger base to enable better conservation and policy decisions,” IUCN says.

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