(ORDO NEWS) — American and Mexican ecologists followed fluctuations in the abundance of nearly 30,000 species of land vertebrates and found that over 500 of them are now on the verge of extinction, according to PNAS.
According to scientists at Stanford University, when humanity destroys another population or species of other living creatures, it saws off the branch on which it sits, and destroys the most important parts of our own life-support system, and the preservation of endangered species should be an equally important task for all countries and civilization, as is the fight against global warming.
Five years ago, researchers announced that the sixth mass extinction of animals had begun on Earth. Their calculations showed that in past erases, about 2 mammal species for every 10,000 animal species existing at that time disappeared every 100 years.
In the last two centuries, after the beginning of the so-called Anthropocene, the century of mankind, this figure has grown by about 114 times. According to their estimates, the rate of extinction of animals is now approaching the rate at which representatives of the flora and fauna disappeared 66 million years ago, when dinosaurs, marine reptiles and pterosaurs disappeared.
Now eclogues have focused their attention on those animals that are threatened with extinction directly in the near historical perspective. To this end, environmentalists analyzed how the number of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians has changed over the past 120 years, and identified those representatives of the fauna whose number is less than a thousand individuals.
A total of 515 species of animals that have reached this level have been identified, which is 1.7% of the total species diversity of the Earth. Another 388 species of animals are on the verge of extinction, having a total population of one thousand to five thousand individuals.
About a third of endangered vertebrates live in South America, and another 20% live on the islands of Oceania and in various regions of Asia. In the first region, most of the endangered birds are concentrated, and in the last two – mammals.
A study of the history of declining populations of these animals indicates that in almost all cases, human activity was the main driving factor in this process. This includes not only poaching, but also the destruction of natural areas, which is associated with deforestation, road construction and many other factors.
The extinction of these animals will lead to the extinction of several hundred species from the second list, since most of them live in the same regions of the Earth as 515 endangered vertebrates, and are exposed to the same threats. Their extinction will significantly increase the likelihood of death of other vulnerable species of animals and accelerate the pace of extinction.
Scientists suggest listing all these animals in the Red Book, as well as seriously consider proposals for a complete ban on the sale of wild and rare animals. This will not only protect them from extinction, but also prevent outbreaks of diseases, such as the current global pandemic of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, allegedly arising on the market in Wuhan, China, which sell exotic meats.
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