We’re living in an age when conservation of nature is more important than ever. Recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature released its updated list of critically-endangered species known as the Red List of Threatened Species. On the new version, there are a number of new species that have been included – a few of which are so under threat that they’re a hairpin away from complete extinction!
Making the list is nearly a third of all lemur species. These adorable mammals are facing total extinction, including the Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur, which is known to be the world’s smallest primate. Not only are there 33 species of lemurs that are now considered critically endangered, but there are also 103 other lemur species that are being listed as endangered due to all the deforestation and hunting that is happening in Madagascar.
The news gets even worse since 53% of all primate species everywhere are predicted to be teetering on the edge of extinction.
Other animals that are new additions to the newly updated critically endangered list are the European Hampster – normally found across Europe and Russia – and the North Atlantic right whale. It is estimated that there are less than 400 North Atlantic right whales left – with only 95 of them being females of breeding capacity.
On a joint blog, the President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Kitty Block, and President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, Sara Amundson, called the North Atlantic right whale crisis one that is an entirely human construct because of our activities.
As the Humane Society reported, since 2017 there have only been 22 North Atlantic right whale calves born. However, at the same time, there have been 41 right whale deaths within the same timespan.
Dr. Grethel Aguilar, IUCN’s Acting Director-General, articulated that the updates to the IUCN Red List really point to a major threat facing the primates in Africa. She stated that humans need to reassess their relationship with nature if we’re to turn the tide in extinction.
Dr. Aguilar said, “At the heart of this crisis is a dire need for alternative, sustainable livelihoods to replace the current reliance on deforestation and unsustainable use of wildlife.”
She further went on to stress the importance of what a post-2020 conservation effort should look like, noting that humans would need to be committed to making ambitious changes for the betterment of the environment and all its species.
Another conservationist, Dr. Jane Smart, who is the Global Director of the IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group, stated that the addition of species like the North Atlantic Right Whale to the IUCN Red List are dire reminders of the extinction crisis facing our planet. She pointed out that if we want to save the “fast-growing” figures of endangered animals then were need to get very serious about making major changes at a global level – something that would see an implementation of change at both national and international levels. She reiterated that this is a global problem and it is something that the entire globe needs to focus on as it will eventually affect all of us. She stated that there is an upcoming IUCN Congress which will discuss the post-2020 biodiversity framework, hoping that there will be more definitive changes to come.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.