Otautahi – The world needs to thick seriously how it can protect so many plants and animals which are on the verge of extinction.
More than one million plant, bird and animal species face extinction, including the New Zealand fairy tern.
The critically endangered fairy tern is the most threatened of New Zealand’s birds, with only about a dozen pairs surviving on beaches between Whangarei and Auckland.
Others in that category include the Antipodean wandering albatross, the Chatham Island black robin, oystercatcher, shag, kākāpō, storm petrel, orange-fronted parakeet and the kōtuku.
Scientists at Southampton University say a combination of poaching, habitat loss, pollution and climate change will cause more than 1000 larger species of mammals and birds to become extinct over the next century. Among the species threatened with extinction are rhinos and eagles.
Many animals will be extinct by 2050 including orangutans who play an important role in their environment by feasting on fruit and spreading out the seeds around the ecosystem.
Others include lemurs, who have been around for 70 million years, making them the longest living mammals on the planet. Others set to be extinct are the Hawksbill turtle, rhinos, polar bears, gorillas and cheetahs.
Some conservation efforts including schemes to help jaguars, gibbons and the Tasmanian devil, have been successful though and show that all is not lost.
In the tropical sub-regions of the Americas wildlife populations have plummeted by 94 percent since 1970. Almost 90 percent of the world’s animal species will lose some habitat to agriculture by 2050.
It’s a serious situation, but there is hope in the form of people striving to boost biodiversity through rewilding and conservation efforts.
The Tasmanian devil was wiped out in mainland Australia around 3000 years ago. Confined to of Tasmania they then suffered a 90 percent population collapse.
Gibbons in China and the South American jaguars are just holding on.
The jaguar is the world’s third-largest cat and South America’s largest predator. Like other big cats, it has come close to extinction.
The Somali elephant shrew was last seen almost 50 years ago, until August last year. A team of researchers reported that these tiny, odd-looking creatures were alive and well.