Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Global Extinction Continues: Report

This year's IUCN Red List of Threatened Species update shows more than one-third of the assessed species are threatened with extinction. A recognized environmental leader, the IUCN has assessed the conservation status of 47,677 species around the world.

BirdLife International is the Red List Authority for birds. Of the world's 9,998 bird species, 669 are Vulnerable, 362 are Endangered and 192 are Critically Endangered - 2 more than last year. However, BirdLife also tells us about some conservation success stories:

In Brazil, Lear's Macaw Anodorhynchus leari has been downlisted from Critically Endangered. Named after the English poet, this spectacular blue parrot has increased four-fold in numbers as a result of a joint effort of many national and international non-governmental organisations, the Brazilian government and local landowners. In New Zealand, Chatham Petrel Pterodroma axillaris has benefited from work by the New Zealand Department of Conservation and has consequently been downlisted from Critically Endangered. And in Mauritius the stunning, Mauritius Fody Foudia rubra has been rescued from the brink after the translocation and establishment of a new population on to a predator-free offshore island. It has now been downlisted to Endangered.

The results of the full Red List update reveal 21% of mammals, 30% of amphibians, 12% of birds, 28% of reptiles, 37% of freshwater fishes, 70% of plants and 35% of invertebrates assessed so far are under threat.

Nature Canada is the Canadian co-partner with Bird Studies Canada in BirdLife International. As BirdLife in Canada, we deliver the Important Bird Areas Program, which aims to identify, conserve and monitor a network of sites that provides essential habitat for bird populations.