Photo: Philippe Huguen Archives Agence France-Presse
103 of 107 species of lemurs are endangered, “primarily because of deforestation and hunting”.
Lemurs of Madagascar, the great hamster of Alsace or even the right whale of the north Atlantic have made a new step towards the extinction, victims of Human activities, warned Thursday the IUCN releasing its new red list.
According to experts on biodiversity of the UN (IPBES), approximately one million animal and plant species on the approximately 8 million estimated on Earth are threatened with extinction, of which ” a lot in the next few decades “.
But these figures are extrapolations based on the evaluations of a fraction of the species, in particular on the famous red list of the international Union for the conservation of nature, the reference in the field which is enriched each year of the study of new species.
Now, on 120 372 species screened, 32 441 are threatened with extinction (13 898 vulnerable, 11 732 in danger and 6811 critically endangered), more than 25 %.
The world must act quickly to stop the decline of populations of species and prevent extinctions caused by Man, “ pleaded Jane Smart, director of the conservation group the biodiversity of the IUCN.
The red list 2020 full particularly in the assessment of african primates, attracting mostly the attention on the lemurs, endemic to Madagascar.
Thus, 103 of the 107 species of lemurs are endangered, “primarily due to deforestation and hunting,” and 33 of them are critically endangered, the final category before extinction.
Without significant human efforts and financial efforts for its conservation (protected areas, reforestation, ecotourism…) some, like the lépilémur of the Sahafary “would probably already be extinct,” says Russ Mittermeier, a specialist on primates for the organization.
But these campaigns have not prevented the 13 species of lemurs of passes in the category ” critically endangered “, like the sifaka and the microcebe cute, smallest primate in the world, both victims of the destruction of their habitat by slash-and-burn and logging.
In the rest of Africa, more than half of the primate species (54 of 103) are also threatened, such as the colobus to long hair now in critical danger.
Mushroom ” the most expensive in the world “
This shows ” that the Homo Sapiens needs to radically change its relationship with the other primates, and with nature as a whole “, stresses Grethel Aguilar, acting director general of IUCN, including the congress, which was to be held in June has been postponed to January 2021 because of the COVID-19.
The new red list is also concerned about the fate of the hamster of Europe, passing also in critical danger. And “if nothing changes, the species could disappear over the next 30 years,” alarmed by the IUCN.
The rodent that was once abundant throughout Europe, to Russia, has now gone three-quarters of its original habitat in Alsace (where it is known under the name of grand hamster d’alsace) and eastern Europe.
A regression related to rate of reproduction in free-fall : a female has today an average of 5 or 6 young per year, compared to 20 during most of the Twentieth century. For multiple reasons related apparently to the expansion of monoculture, industrial development, global warming, or the light pollution.
The red list also sees the entry as “vulnerable” on the caterpillar fungus, ” the most expensive in the world “.
This parasite, which grows out of the body of a larva of butterfly that it has colonized and killed, is prized in traditional chinese medicine. But to meet demand, the crops on the tibetan plateau where it grows have soared and for the past 15 years, the population of this fungus, sometimes called the “viagra of the Himalayas” has decreased by at least 30 %, according to the release.
The red list also underlines the threat to right whales of the north Atlantic for which there were less than 250 adults at the end of 2018 (-15 % from 2011). Victims of collisions with ships and fishing nets, but also the warming of the oceans, they are one step away from extinction.
While many scientists believe that the 6th mass extinction has begun, “the iucn red list a barometer of life on Earth,” said Andrew Terry, of the Zoological Society of London.
Then ” we need to take account of its warnings and take the bold steps necessary to ensure a future in which wildlife and humanity thrive “.