The International Union for the Conservation of Nature published its annual Red List today. The Red List is the conservationist’s bible, an exhaustive report on the state of the planet’s biodiversity. It includes every known mammal, amphibian, and bird, and new species are added every year as they are assessed.
The bad news is that an increasing number of species are facing extinction; 22% of mammals, 32% of amphibians, 17% of sharks and 14% of all bird species are endangered. 183 different species are more endangered than last year. The Iberian lynx is now critically endangered, so is India’s ‘fishing cat’. The Chinese Pere David deer now extinct in the wild, Holdridge’s toad extinct full stop.
The good news is that several species have moved the other way, proving that conservation iniatives can and do work. Mongolia’s wild horses were extinct in the wild, and have been successfully re-introduced to their natural habitat. The African elephant is no longer considered endangered. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the La Palma lizard, believed to be extinct for 500 years and just re-discovered last year.
- A quarter of all mammals now under threat – my article on Celsias
- To explore more of this remarkable document, visit IUCN.org/redlist.
- Does conservation matter?