Since the demise of dinosaurs, the world has not seen such ruthless exploitation of our biodiversity, with levels decreasing 35% in just 35 years.
The findings are emerging after audits by the WWF, that used to be known as the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, they warn that man’s exploitation is simply unsustainable, with more species wiped out in the last thirty five years than in the previous three centuries.
One of the best known is the Yangtze river dolphin, it was declared ‘extinct’ last year, becoming the first large vertebrate disappearing in the last fifty years.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently released a list of species that are close to extinction –
Species under threat.
Iberian Lynx – Portugal & Spain
Parachute Spider – India
Elephant Frog – Australia
Cuban Crocodile – Cuba
Dama Gazelle – Sahara Desert
Scottish Wildcat – United Kingdom
WWF’s Living Planet Index highlights the population trends among nearly two thousand species of reptiles, mammals, birds, fishes and amphibians. From 1970 to 2005 a drop of 25% of land based species is seen, with freshwater species losing 29% and marine species dropping by 28%. Habitat destruction contributes greatly to this problem, an example is rain forest, de-forestation gives a short term profit for the timber company, but destroys an important resource that benefits the whole world. Individual calculations are showing that the world is consuming 24% more natural resources than the world can replace.
Demand by large countries such as China, have directly led to the loss of specific species such as the West African black rhino, people regard the rhino horn as an aphrodisiac, driving on the poachers. Recent extinctions also include the Panamanian golden frog and the Caribbean monk seal, declared extinct after five years of searching.
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