IUCN releases update to official list of endangered species
Climate change may indeed cause the demise of many animal and plant species worldwide. This is the conclusion of the latest update to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, released by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Habitat degradation is highlighted as a main threat to many fungus species and overfishing as the key driver of decline for marine bony fish. The IUCN Red List now includes over 79,800 (77,340 in June 2015) assessed animal and plant species, of which 23,250 (22,784 in June 2015) are threatened with extinction.
IUCN has named the loss of sea ice due to climate warming as the most important threat, progressing faster and with more dire consequences than many experts had previously predicted.
The latest scientific studies have shown that the decline of sea ice may reduce the polar bear population by more than one-third in the coming decades. Numerous other species and even entire ecosystems are also threatened by the rapid, climatic changes.
biodiversity in the Caribbean © ranzablitz
In addition to climate change, The IUCN Red List update also highlights the threats to endangered fish species, caused by widespread prevalence of overfishing. In fact, some bony fish species are no longer being used as fish stocks by the fishing industry due to their population collapse, as a result of overfishing. Similarly, some fish species have been so decimated that they are considered “threatened with extinction”.
Off the western coast of Africa, this status concerns about three percent of the 1,400 species studied, while in the Caribbean, the numbers are five percent of the 1,340 species. As a special threat to biodiversity in the Caribbean, IUCN makes mention of the invasive lionfish species, which is placing further pressure on the population there.