Au revoir. Auf wiedersehen. Sayonara. Don’t you hate goodbyes? The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently concluded that nearly one-third of species across the globe are threatened with extinction. Are you ready to say farewell?
For over 40 years, the IUCN has been the world’s authority on the conservation status of species around the world. The most recent assessment brings the total number of species assessed to 47,677 with 17,291 of those threatened with extinction. Moreover, with millions more wildlife species out there, this is likely only a glimpse of how dire the situation really is.
Without question, this planet is ecologically diverse, but to think that over 17,000 species could be wiped out of existence is unimaginable. The IUCN assessment shows that species extinctions are continuing at a shocking pace. Which species are most at risk of extinction?
• 70 per cent of the plants assessed are at risk.
• Of the 12,151 plants on the Red List, 8,500 are threatened with extinction and 114 are already extinct or extinct in the wild.
• 37 per cent of freshwater fishes are at risk.
• IUCN added 510 new freshwater fish species to the list this year, bringing the numbers up to 3,120. Of those, 1,147 are listed as being at risk of extinction.
• 35 per cent of the invertebrates assessed are at risk.
• In October 2009, IUCN put 7,615 invertebrates on the Red List, 2,639 of which are threatened with extinction.
• IUCN added 1,360 more dragonflies and damselflies, as well as 94 more molluscs to this year’s list.
• 30 per cent of the amphibians assessed are at risk.
• Of the 6,285 amphibian species around the globe, a staggering 1,895 are at risk of extinction. As such, amphibians are the most threatened group of species in the world.
• To date, 39 of these species are already extinct or extinct in the wild, 484 are critically endangered, 754 are endangered and 657 are listed as vulnerable.
• 28 per cent of the reptiles assessed are at risk.
• According to IUCN, 469 reptiles are on the brink of extinction, and 22 have already gone extinct or extinct in the wild.
• The IUCN added 293 more reptiles to the Red List, bringing the tally of at-risk reptiles to 1,677.
• 21 per cent of the mammals assessed are at risk.
• With 5,490 mammals roaming the Earth’s terrain and watery depths, 79 species are extinct or extinct in the wild, 188 are critically endangered, 449 are endangered and 505 are vulnerable.
• 12 per cent of the birds assessed are at risk.
• Since 1500, 133 bird species have gone extinct or extinct in the wild.
It is CWF’s goal to provide supporters with the facts on these issues and how we can make a change. And that change is already underway! Through our Backyard Habitat Certification Program, now boasting over 8,000 acres that meet the needs of wildlife and support Canada’s native species, we encourage all Canadians to get involved in creating wildlife-friendly properties. Want to help species at risk? Learn more about our own Endangered Species program and what you can do to make a difference in your community.