Latest IUCN news on threats to species everywhere !
Lemur image; Credit: © Shutterstock
The IUCN reported again in November on threats to species, through their Red List. For a full list of their changes, see this document. Despite the tragic situations of whole groups such as the smaller cat species, we should definitely start with some invertebrates from endangered habitats like the rainforest. An unusual snail from PNG, the Manus Island green tree snail, Papustyla pulcherrima, has been collected so much by avid conchologists that it has been classed as near threatened. Given the great numbers of shelled animals that have been lost forever, it is about time we all looked at any collection of these colourful or magnificent creatures as guarantees of extinction. If people cant get these extremely rare shells, beetles, or even the heads of mammals, dont they drive off and find one that they can obtain by hook or by crook?
Butterflies from the Mediterranean have also been hit hard this year. 2 Hipparchia, the Karpathos and the Ponza graylings, have been variously moved sadly to endangered status. A Mediterranean pillow coral (madreporite), Cladocora caespitose joins them there, as well as the scarlet or tooth coral Balanophyllia europaea. What a bad year for Europe.
5 of the 12 species of wobbegongs from the Indo-Pacific and Australia have a pleasant and literal rise to fame. These carpet sharks are almost totally harmless although they certainly bite hard if disturbed on the bottom! Whether that helps survival is debateable, but they are all now classed as of least concern! That categorisation would be welcome to the more obvious ocean going and coastal members of their cartilaginous sub-class. However, the catsharks are also
on the up. 7 species, such as the North Atlantic Apristurus aphyodes have been upgraded to LC (least concern) after extensive research. In Africa, freshwater fish and many other species have been found to be increasingly endangered. One in particular is the Clanwilliam sandfish, Labeo seeberi, critically endangered now in the Olifants river. Near the magnificent Kruger National Park, the many large dams have taken a toll of freshwater habitat.
For those waiting for the emblematic characters, Malagasy species have to be high on the list. The little-known bokiboky,Mungotictis decemlineata, deserves a mention because it is a mongoose (the narrow-striped species) and has been losing habitat rapidly (it is now classed as CR) since the coup in Madagascar in 2009. It can only mean worse conditions too for the lemurs, chameleons and all the others we treasure as marvels of natural selection on the magic island!
Eagles such as the steppe eagle and vultures (eg. the hooded vulture Necrosyrtes monachus or Rüppell's vulture) have become critically endangered too.
Common species such as the meadow pipit, the European turtle dove as well as several other equally well-known animals have to be seen nowadays as near-threatened (NT) and vulnerable (V) respectively. Meanwhile, the tigers and elephants and all the rest of our icons (now including the red panda) continue as before, with little change in their status, their prospects of survival or our attitudes.
More has to be done, before we begin losing a mammal or a bird species every day! The WWF certainly keep asking for help and there are innumerable other ways to invest in your disappearing habitats.
To compare our last report on these terribly-threatened species, including leatherbacks, foxes and okapis, glance at the 2013 lists.