Research shows global wildlife is more at risk than previously thought


The world’s wildlife could be in more trouble than scientists have reported so far, according to a new study published Thursday.

While scientists have assessed the status of more than 147,000 plants and animals, there are thousands of species considered too “data deficient” for a full assessment. As a result, these species have not been included in the list of threatened or endangered species, updated annually by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Among these undervalued species are the toothy predator of the ocean, the killer whale, as well as the Argentine pink fairy armadillo and nearly 200 species of bats worldwide.

But in some cases, this lack of data itself is a red flag – suggesting the species may be hard to find as its population has declined, according to a team of international scientists who used data on environmental conditions and human threats to map extinction patterns. threat among the assessed species.

The team then looked at the 7,699 undervalued species and estimated that about 56% faced conditions that likely also put them at risk of extinction, said the study, published in the journal. Communications Biology.

This is almost double the 28% of global species classified as “threatened” by the IUCN.

There are millions of other plant and animal species that have never been reviewed by the IUCN, and scientists estimate that around 1 million of them are at risk of extinction, according to a 2019 report from the Platform. United Nations Science-Policy Intergovernmental Conference on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Of the ‘data-deficient’ plants and animals at risk, many ‘are small-scale species in remote locations’, including many in central Africa, Madagascar and South Asia, the author said. study Jan Borgelt, ecologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. .

The state of nature “could be worse than we think if these predictions are true,” he said. The worst off are probably the undervalued amphibians, with around 85% estimated to be threatened, according to the study. Species classified by the IUCN as threatened or endangered often become a focus of protection for national governments.

Studies like this “highlight where conservation resources should be allocated,” said Pamela Gonzalez del Pliego, an ecologist at the University of Évora in Portugal who was not involved in the research.

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