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Gorillas head race to extinction

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Gorillas head race to extinction
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website


Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.
The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.
The IUCN says there is a lack of political will to tackle the global erosion of nature.
Governments have pledged to stem the loss of species by 2010; but it does not appear to be happening.
"This year's Red List shows that the invaluable efforts made so far to protect species are not enough," said the organisation's director-general, Julia Marton-Lefevre.
"The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing, and we need to act now to significantly reduce it and stave off this global extinction crisis."

The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing


Julia Marton-Lefevre


One in three amphibians, one in four mammals, one in eight birds and 70% of plants so far assessed are believed to be at risk of extinction, with human alteration of their habitat the single biggest cause.
Critical list
The tone of this year's Red List is depressingly familiar. Of 41,415 species assessed, 16,306 are threatened with extinction to a greater or lesser degree.
The main changes from previous assessments include some of the natural world's iconic animals, such as the western lowland gorilla, which moves from the Endangered to the Critically Endangered category.
Numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20-25 years.
RED LIST DEFINITIONS
Extinct - Surveys suggest last known individual has died
Critically Endangered - Extreme high risk of extinction - this some Critically Endangered species are also tagged Possibly Extinct
Endangered - Species at very high risk of extinction
Vulnerable - Species at high risk of extinction
Near Threatened - May soon move into above categories
Least Concern - Species is widespread and abundant
Data Deficient - not enough data to assess
Forest clearance has allowed hunters access to previously inaccessible areas; and the Ebola virus has followed, wiping out one-third of the total gorilla population in protected areas, and up to 95% in some regions.
Ebola has moved through the western lowland gorilla's rangelands in western central Africa from the southwest to the northeast. If it continues its march, it will reach all the remaining populations within a decade.
The Sumatran orangutan was already Critically Endangered before this assessment, with numbers having fallen by 80% in the last 75 years.
But IUCN has identified new threats to the 7,300 individuals that remain.
Forests are being cleared for palm oil plantations, and habitat is being split up by the building of new roads.

Governments know they are going to fail to reach that target


Jean-Christophe Vie


In Borneo, home to the second orangutan species, palm oil plantations have expanded 10-fold in a decade, and now take up 27,000 sq km of the island.
Illegal logging reduces habitat still further, while another threat comes from hunting for food and the illegal international pet trade.
So fragmented have some parts of the Bornean forest become that some isolated orangutan populations now number less than 50 individuals, which IUCN notes are "apparently not viable in the long term".
Straight to zero
The great apes are perhaps the most charismatic creatures on this year's Red List, but the fact they are in trouble has been known for some years.
Perhaps more surprising are some of the new additions.

The first formal assessment of corals shows many are at risk
"This is the first time we've assessed corals, and it's a bit worrying because some of them moved straight from being not assessed to being possibly extinct," said Jean-Christophe Vie, deputy head of IUCN's species programme.
"We know that some species were there in years gone by, but now when we do the assessment they are not there. And corals are like the trees in the forest; they build the ecosystem for fish and other animals."
IUCN is now embarking on a complete assessment of coral species, and expects to find that about 30% to 40% are threatened.
The most glaring example of a waterborne creature failed by conservation efforts is probably the baiji, the Yangtze river dolphin, which is categorised as Critically Endangered, Possibly Extinct.
This freshwater species appears to have failed in its bid for survival against the destructive tides of fishing, shipping, pollution, and habitat change in its one native river.
Chinese media reported a possible sighting earlier this year, but the IUCN is not convinced; with no confirmed evidence of a living baiji since 2002, they believe its time on Earth may well be over.

Last rites for river dolphin
If so, it will have become a largely accidental victim of the various forces of human development.
Not so the spectacular Banggai cardinalfish; a single decade of hunting for the aquarium trade has brought numbers down by an astonishing 90%.
Many African vultures are new entrants on this year's list.
But birds provide the only notable success, with the colourful Mauritius echo parakeet making it back from Critically Endangered to Endangered.
Intensive conservation work has brought numbers up from about 50 to above 300.
But the gharial, a crocodilian found in the major rivers of India and Nepal, provides a cautionary tale of what can happen when conservation money and effort dry up.
A decade ago, a programme of re-introduction to the wild brought the adult population up from about 180 to nearer 430.
Deemed a success, the programme was stopped; numbers are again hovering around 180, and the gharial finds itself once more on the Critically Endangered list.

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A very informative post...More and more species are being added to endangered list.
As long as governments just make noise about protecting endangered species, nothing will get done. Impact studies on development and expansion should take place prior to encroaching upon vital habitats. If results show negative impact then plans should be altered, not just proceeding onward while disregarding the harm that will be caused to fellow life-forms.

Never ones to let "life" get in the way of money, the real decision makers move ever-forward in the pursuit of more wealth. The general masses of humans are more than happy to fill the consumer role and also populate encroached areas. We are relentless breeding machines, hell bent to continue flooding this Earth with vast numbers of more humans. More people means more wealth for the upper echelon. So, don't expect the folks who really call the shots on this planet to encourage a reduction of human population. That would cost them profits.

I certainly don't advocate forced reductions, or heavy handed population control methods, but there will eventually be a stage of critical overload of humans (long after we decimate many other species of life forms) that governments will have to impose for the survival of our race. Evolved humans shouldn't need to allow that time to come. We should be able to see that our own increasing numbers steadily cheapen the value of the human life.

As in anything, the more there is of something the less it's worth. When there's 10 humans for every one job, the job will be worth nothing. Life will be cheap. When you currently see "certain countries" that are vastly over populated, you see people working for 25 cents an hour. If they don't like it, there are nine more standing in line for that job.

More population also means LESS consumers (at least less consumers of "non-essential products" because no one will be able to afford anything non-essential. As non-essential consumerism falls, the number of jobs will fall as population continues to grow. A vicious circle in human survival. I have probably labored the point (as usual, lol) but I see no benefit in continuing to increase number of humans on this planet.

Every two humans make only one child. No more.
In 2-3 generations we would see vast improvement in available resources, and much strain taken off of our fellow life-forms.
I wished the world we live in could be a better place :(
Considering the current alternatives, it's not too bad of a place. :)
Just needs some tidying up ;)
Indeed on all counts. Our time is running out. All these points were previously made in the very early 1970s in Mother Earth and National Geographic magazines. 40 years later it is still talk, and large corporations are still running the show (and running governments) with no regard to anything but profits. I hope enough of the human species meet their evolution...uhm, TODAY! :)

Catman said:
Considering the current alternatives, it's not too bad of a place. :)
Just needs some tidying up ;)
A "medium sized" ice age would thin us down ... Just sayin' ...
indeed lol would possibly thin us all out

Catman said:
A "medium sized" ice age would thin us down ... Just sayin' ...
I watched a PBS (surprise - the only channel I watch) program about the survivors of the ice age. I would need more dogs and cats in my bed to keep me warm!

I have also been following the discovery of "new species." I have no proof, but I think perhaps some of those "new species" are actually evolved versions of species that seem to be lost to us. Just a theory.

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