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Mass extinction is in full swing on Earth: who is under threat

Yulia PoteriankoNews
People continue to destroy animal habitats

Life on Earth has gone through several stages of mass extinction in its history. And scientists are sounding the alarm that right now the world is going through another stage. And it's all down to people and human activity. Approximately 20% of migratory animals are under threat.

According to Mail Online, such data are contained in the report "The State of the World's Migratory Species" published by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). According to the researchers, 22% of such species in the world are threatened with extinction, and the number of almost half is at least declining.

Migratory animals usually travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers. Depending on the season, they move in search of food or to breed. But now their natural habitat is shrinking due to human exploitation of the environment. This is affecting the bissa tortoise and the addax antelope, among others.

"Today's report clearly shows us that unsustainable human activities are jeopardizing the future of migratory species," said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program. According to her, living creatures are not only indicators of environmental change, but also play an important role in maintaining the functioning and sustainability of our planet's complex ecosystems. In particular, through constant migration. Such living creatures bring benefits, for example, through pollination of plants and transportation of nutrients in ecosystems.

CMS experts used a variety of data sets to write the report. They used research from conservation organizations BirdLife International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). According to this data, one in five species in Europe alone is endangered.

Of the 1189 species recognized by CMS as being in need of international protection, 260 species (22%) are considered to be endangered. Another 520 species (44%) show population declines.

Of the 260 species on the IUCN Red List, 68 are assessed as Critically Endangered. Another 78 species are officially threatened with extinction and 114 are listed as vulnerable. Many of these species are traditionally hunted by humans. This applies, for example, to the already mentioned basking shark and hammerhead shark, addax, European eel, southern right whale, etc.

According to the report, man-made obstacles such as bridges and roads are physical barriers to migration for many of these animals. Such structures reduce their chances of successful migration, which in turn reduces their chances of survival. Such barriers include non-physical ones, such as shipping routes. Removing these barriers or mitigating their environmental impact could improve the situation.

Other threats include pollution, including pesticides, plastics, heavy metals, and excess nutrients, as well as underwater noise and light pollution. All of this prevents different species from carrying out their seasonal migration properly.

The situation with fish is of particular concern. A whopping 97% of the fish species on the CMS list are threatened with extinction. The researchers say that "coordinated international action is urgently needed" to reverse population declines and conserve these species and their habitats. "Given the plight of many of these animals, we cannot afford to delay and must work together to put the recommendations into action," Andersen concluded.

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