Sharks are always a worry when it comes to climate change and the impacts that it has. But a recent report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (The IUCN) shows some worrisome news. This includes 31 species of animals that have now become extinct and many more animals that have become endangered, including 316 species of shark and manta ray.
The Benefits of Conservation
The report starts on a more happy note, showing that Some species are actually starting to recover as a result of conservation.
"The European bison and twenty-five other species recoveries documented in today’s IUCN Red List update demonstrate the power of conservation,” said IUCN Director General Dr. Bruno Oberle. This is mentioning the European bison's population growing from 1800 in 2003 to 6200 as of 2019.
This is good news, as it shows that conservation efforts not only work but are vital. However, it does need a lot more funding and growth.
The Bad News
All of the world's freshwater dolphins are now considered to be endangered. And all 17 of the freshwater fish in Lake Lanao in the Philippines are considered to be extinct due to overharvesting and invasive predators. Some species of tree frogs in many areas have also been considered to be extinct.
“As a conservationist, the most emotionally impactful news to present is the confirmation of extinction. The causes range from overexploiting to disease, with some threats easier to mitigate than others. The impact of chytrid fungus on amphibian populations has been particularly vexing, challenging conservationists worldwide. There have been successes and recoveries, as noted in the update, and we need to redouble our efforts to address this and other emerging disease threats to biodiversity,” said Dr. Thomas E Lacher, Jr., Texas A&M University.
Plants have also not been immune to this as 45% of the protea genus are now considered vulnerable or endangered, including 3 species of macadamia, some we currently use for food production. 31% of oak tree species are also threatened with extinction. Much of this has to do with habitat loss from agriculture.
But probably the most worrying statistic is the 316 species of shark and manta rays that are threatened with extinction. Biodiversity is extremely important, and the loss of these species can cause huge issues for the environment as a whole.
What Can Be Done to Help?
In terms of individual actions, things such as eating less meat, buying less stuff, buying used when you can, switching to renewable energy, avoiding plastic (especially in clothing due to microplastics), not littering, etc, can help the environment in a small way. We can all do our part with small changes in our lives, but we need to do more.
A lot of factors affect the environment and all that live in it, but individual actions can only go so far. The best thing to do would be to vote locally as well as nationally or to get involved in environmental groups and campaigns near you that help to pressure companies and governments to stop polluting, or to provide more funds to conservation efforts. This is best said by Dr. Jane Smart, Global Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group.
"The conservation successes in today’s Red List update provide living proof that the world can set, and meet, ambitious biodiversity targets. They further highlight the need for real, measurable commitments as we formulate and implement the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.”
Check out more information about the IUCN Red List and why it is so important to the environment and all who live in it below: