Today, the World Conservation Union, a coalition of leading conservation groups who study the world's biodiversity, released its annual "Red List" which they have called, "the most comprehensive evaluation ever undertaken of the status of the world's biodiversity."
The 2004 report reveals startling results, including 15 new species going extinct, bringing the total of documented extinctions since AD 1500 to 784, with the new updates revealing an alarming acceleration of extinction rates more than a hundred times as quickly as the "natural" rate.
The report concludes that humans are the #1 reason for most species declines. They add, "Habitat destruction and degradation are the leading threats, but other significant pressures include over-exploitation, introduced species, pollution, and disease. Climate change is increasingly recognized as a serious threat."
The following is also mentioned:
* 15,589 species (7,266 animal species and 8,323 plant and lichen species) are now considered at risk of extinction, which is an increase of 3,330 species since the 2003 Red List.
* One in three amphibians and almost half of turtles and tortoises are known to be threatened with extinction, along with one in four mammals, one in five sharks and rays, and one in eight birds.
* Australia, Brazil, China, Indonesia and Mexico hold particularly large numbers of threatened species
* Most threatened birds, mammals and amphibians are found in the tropical areas of Central and South America, Africa south of the Sahara, and tropical South and Southeast Asia.
* While the vast majority of extinctions since AD 1500 have occurred on islands, over the past 20 years continental extinctions have become as common as island extinctions.
So now, where do we go from here? What must be done, as Russ Mittermeier, the head of Conservation International, proposes for nations and international groups to step forward and help in particular these regions of the world most affected by the decrease of biodiversity?
I feel first things first. Our administration needs to be environmentally responsible (which I don't see happening anytime soon unfortunately) for cleaning up begins at home.
"You'll find something that's enough to keep you
But if the bright lights don't receive you
You should turn yourself around and come back home" MB20