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Planet Earth

One Quarter of World's Mammals Are Threatened With Extinction

80beatsBy Eliza StricklandOctober 6, 2008 7:15 PM

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An international group of researchers has issued a dire warning about the state of the world's wild animals. A new report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists one in four land mammals as endangered, as well as one in three marine mammals.

Life on Earth is disappearing fast with man inflicting most of the damage.... On land more species face oblivion because of loss of habitat, hunting and climate change while in the oceans pollution and the side effects of fishing are taking a huge toll [Telegraph].

The new assessment -- which took 1,700 experts in 130 countries a total of five years to complete -- paints "a bleak picture," leaders of the project wrote in a paper being published in the journal Science. The overview ... covers all 5,487 wild species identified since 1500. It is the most thorough tally of land and marine mammals since 1996 [Washington Post].

The IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species lists 29 species that have been flagged as possibly extinct; that group includes animals like Cuba's little earth hutia, a small rodent that hasn't been spotted in the wild in almost 40 years. There are 188 mammals in the critically endangered category, including the Iberian lynx; only about 100 adult Iberian lynxes remain in the wild. The next threat category, endangered species, includes almost 450 species, including the Tasmanian devil, which has lost 60 percent of its population in the past decade due to an infectious face cancer. The estimate that one-quarter of mammalian species overall are threatened

may be an under-estimate, the authors caution, as there is not enough data to make an assessment in more than 800 cases. The true figure could be nearer to one-third [BBC News].

Images: IUCN Related Posts: New Threat to Primates Worldwide: Being "Eaten Into Extinction"Tasmanian Devils Have Precocious Sex to Beat Cancer

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