The “red list” for the threatened species has been updated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The list looks like good news for certain species and bad for others.
The Okapi or forest giraffe has some bad bad news on its way. The animal with stripes on its legs, like those of a zebra is found in Democratic Republic of Congo. Animal activists are of the opinion that their protection cannot be carried out successfully with the civil conflict that is going on. Conservationists say that armed rebels, elephant poachers and illegal miners inhabit the areas in okapi’s range.
Noelle Kumpel, manager of the Zoological Society of London’s Okapi conservation project, say it is sad that because of DRC’s civil conflict the Okapi habitat is widely degrading. The locals also hunt for the animal’s meat and skin due to poverty.
The IUCN also gives a grim signal regarding the white-winged flufftail (Sarothrura ayresi), a small bird seen in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The issue is the same as Okapi’s for this little creature, habitat destruction. Flufftail is now among the listed 200 birds that are critically endangered, the last category before extinction.
The species that saw an increase in population are the black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophrys) and the black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), which went from the endangered to near threatened. The subspecies of the once-critically endangered island fox (Urocyon littoralis) found in California’s Channel Islands is now on the near threatened list after captive breeding efforts, vaccinations and the relocation of golden eagles.
However these success stories do not apply for subpopulations of certain species. For instance, though the leatherback turtle improved from critically endangered to vulnerable on a global level when compared with the abundant leatherbacks in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, the east and west Pacific Ocean subpopulations are drastically declining because of egg harvesting and incidental capture, says IUCN.
IUCN says it assessed more than 70,000 species for their Red List , and found out that almost 21,286 are re-threatened with extinction. Jane Smart, the global director of the IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group says that the IUCN Red List update shows some fantastic conservation successes, which we must learn from, for future conservation efforts. But, Smart adds that each update shows that there is a larger number that is added in the threatened category. We must urgently scale up efforts to avert this devastating trend, he says.