Thursday, September 13, 2007

Red Listed

"A quarter of the world’s mammal species is headed towards oblivion," reads the headline in today's Times of London. Occasion for this bleak news is the 2007 version of the Red List of threatened flora and fauna, published annually by the World Conservation Union, a Geneva-based network comprising 83 national governments, 110 government agencies, more than 800 NGOs, and 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries.
Sure enough, the statistics underlying the list reveal that, in the Union's words, 1/4 of all mammals, 1/8 of all birds, 1/3 of all amphibians, and 7/10 of all plants "are in jeopardy." Among those most threatened are gorillas, under siege by poachers and a lethal Ebola virus; crocodiles; and several varieties of corals. A dolphin species is suspected already to be extinct.
Julia Marton-Lefèvre (right), the Union's Director General, stated what ought to be obvious but bears repeating:

[E]fforts made so far to protect species are not enough. The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing and we need to act now to significantly reduce it and stave off this global extinction crisis. This can be done, but only with a concerted effort by all levels of society.

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