Asian dolphins among species at risk of extinction

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The Red List by the  has been updated with thousands of species that are now at risk of extinction due to human activity.

Such activities include unsustainable farming and fishing methods and climate change.

Species at risk of going extinct include various animals such as the Irrawaddy Dolphin, Finless Porpoise and Ringtail Possum, while plants under threat include two species of wild wheat and 17 species of yam.

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Species at risk of going extinct include various animals including the Irrawaddy Dolphin (pictured), Finless Porpoise and Ringtail Possum, while plants under threat include two species of wild wheat and 17 species of yam

Species at risk of going extinct include various animals including the Irrawaddy Dolphin (pictured), Finless Porpoise and Ringtail Possum, while plants under threat include two species of wild wheat and 17 species of yam

SPECIES AT RISK 

The IUCN report highlights several species that are now at risk of extinction: 

– Three species of wild rice

– Two species of wild wheat

– 17 wild yam species

– Irrawaddy Dolphin

– Finless Porpoise

– Australian Ringtail Possum 

– Kikuzato’s Stream Snake 

– Banded Ground Gecko

– Miyako Grass Lizard

The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species has been updated today, revealing thousands of species now at risk of extinction.

Inger Andersn, IUCN Director General, said: ‘Healthy, species-rich ecosystems are fundamental to our ability to feed the world’s growing population and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 – to end hunger by 2030.

‘Wild crop species, for example, maintain genetic diversity of agricultural crops that can adapt to a changing climate and ensure food and nutritional security.

‘Today’s IUCN Red List update raises the alarm about their decline and stresses the urgency to address it – for the sake of our own future.’

The list reveals that three species of wild rice, two species of wild wheat and 17 wild yam species are threatened.

A report by the IUCN suggests that deforestation and urban expansion, alongside intensive agriculture are the primary threats to these species.

These wild varieties are extremely important for cross-breeding, which can improve the resistance to drought, disease and pests in new strains.

Numbers more than halved over the past 60 years for the Irrawaddy Dolphin, and over the past 45 years for the Finless Porpoise (pictured)

Numbers more than halved over the past 60 years for the Irrawaddy Dolphin, and over the past 45 years for the Finless Porpoise (pictured)

Numbers more than halved over the past 60 years for the Irrawaddy Dolphin, and over the past 45 years for the Finless Porpoise (pictured)

GOOD NEWS FOR KIWIS 

The report did have some good news.

Two species of Kiwi – the Northern Brown Kiwi and Okariot Kiwi – have been recovered thanks to conservation efforts on small New Zealand islands.

Both species have been facing threats including habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals, such as stoats and feral cats.

But government and community conservation efforts have focused on predator control, and removing and incubating eggs for release into the wild.

Because of this, the Okarito Kiwi has increased from 160 individuals in 1995 to between 400 and 450 adults today.

Mr Nigel Maxted, co-chair of the IUCN SSC Crop Wild Relative Specialist Group, said: ‘The genetic diversity provided by crop wild relatives will allow us to develop more resilient crops in the era of climate change, helping ensure food security. We ignore the fate of these species at our own peril.

‘Assessing crop wild relatives for The IUCN Red List gives us in-depth information on the threats these species face.

‘Thanks to the new assessments, we can now act systematically to conserve crop wild relatives by reducing overly intensive agricultural practices such as overgrazing and indiscriminate herbicide use.’

One of the animal species found to be under threat is the Australian Ringtail Possum – which has moved from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered due to a fall in species number by over 80 per cent in the past ten years.

One of the animal species found to be under threat is the Australian Ringtail Possum – which has moved from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered due to a fall in species number by over 80 per cent in the past ten years

One of the animal species found to be under threat is the Australian Ringtail Possum – which has moved from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered due to a fall in species number by over 80 per cent in the past ten years

One of the animal species found to be under threat is the Australian Ringtail Possum – which has moved from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered due to a fall in species number by over 80 per cent in the past ten years

The IUCN report suggest that Australia’s increasingly dry and hot climate has led to this dramatic decline.

The Western Ringtail Possum is susceptible to heat stress and can overheat at temperatures above 35°C (95°F) – which is becoming common in Australia.

Possum numbers have also been impacted by urban development, logging and fire outbreaks.

The Irrawaddy Dolphin and Finless Porpoise have also been added to the Endangered category of the list.

Numbers more than halved over the past 60 years for the Irrawaddy Dolphin, and over the past 45 years for the Finless Porpoise.

Kikuzato's Stream Snake is now listed as Critically Endangered, while the Banded Ground Gecko and Miyako Grass Lizard (pictured) have entered the list as Endangered 

Kikuzato's Stream Snake is now listed as Critically Endangered, while the Banded Ground Gecko and Miyako Grass Lizard (pictured) have entered the list as Endangered 

Kikuzato’s Stream Snake is now listed as Critically Endangered, while the Banded Ground Gecko and Miyako Grass Lizard (pictured) have entered the list as Endangered 

PLANTS AT RISK 

The list reveals that three species of wild rice, two species of wild wheat and 17 wild yam species are threatened. 

A report by the IUCN suggests that deforestation and urban expansion, alongside intensive agriculture are the primary threats to these species.

These wild varieties are extremely important for cross-breeding, which can improve the resistance to drought, disease and pests in new strains.

Mr Nigel Maxted, co-chair of the IUCN SSC Crop Wild Relative Specialist Group, said: ‘The genetic diversity provided by crop wild relatives will allow us to develop more resilient crops in the era of climate change, helping ensure food security. We ignore the fate of these species at our own peril.

‘Assessing crop wild relatives for The IUCN Red List gives us in-depth information on the threats these species face.

‘Thanks to the new assessments, we can now act systematically to conserve crop wild relatives by reducing overly intensive agricultural practices such as overgrazing and indiscriminate herbicide use.’

Both species live in shallow waters near shore, and both have populations confined to freshwater systems – making them extremely vulnerable to human activities, such as fishing.

Mr Randall Reeves, Chair of the IUCN SSC Cetacean Specialist Group, said: ‘The Irrawaddy Dolphin is revered by many communities and dolphin tourism is an important feature of local economies in parts of India and Cambodia.

‘While the protected status of both species means that deliberate hunting or capture is rare or non-existent, protection from entanglement and other threats is either lacking entirely or largely ineffective.

‘Without practical solutions to this problem, the declines of dolphins and porpoises are bound to continue for the foreseeable future.’

Several species of Japanese reptiles have also been added to the list as ‘threatened’, mostly due to the loss of habitat from agriculture and urban development.

Kikuzato’s Stream Snake is now listed as Critically Endangered, while the Banded Ground Gecko and Miyako Grass Lizard have entered the list as Endangered.

Unfortunately, three reptile species endemic to Australia’s Christmas Island have gone extinct in the wild – Lister’s Gecko, the Blue-tailed Skink and the Christmas Island Forest-skink.

Both species have been facing threats including habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals, such as stoats and feral cats

Both species have been facing threats including habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals, such as stoats and feral cats

The Okarito Kiwi has increased from 160 individuals in 1995 to between 400 and 450 adults today

The Okarito Kiwi has increased from 160 individuals in 1995 to between 400 and 450 adults today

 The report did have some good news. Two species of Kiwi – the Northern Brown Kiwi (pictured left) and Okariot Kiwi (pictured right)  – have been recovered thanks to conservation efforts on small New Zealand islands

While the reason for their demise remains unclear, the report suggests that the introduction of the invasive Wolf Snake to the island may be to blame.

The report did have some good news.

Two species of Kiwi – the Northern Brown Kiwi and Okariot Kiwi – have been recovered thanks to conservation efforts on small New Zealand islands.

Both species have been facing threats including habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals, such as stoats and feral cats.

But government and community conservation efforts have focused on predator control, and removing and incubating eggs for release into the wild.

Because of this, the Okarito Kiwi has increased from 160 individuals in 1995 to between 400 and 450 adults today.

 





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