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IUCN “Red List”: nearly 30% of listed species are threatened – Le Monde

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To what extent are animal and plant species on the verge of extinction forever? Meeting in Congress in Marseille, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) made public, on Saturday, September 4, a long-awaited update of its “red list”, real barometer of the state of life on our planet. Its latest edition lists 138,374 species, including 38,543, sor some 28%, are classified in the different categories “Threatened”. Specialists warn of an ongoing collapse of biodiversity, some citing a “Sixth mass extinction”.

“These ‘red list’ assessments demonstrate how closely our lives and livelihoods are linked to biodiversity.”, said IUCN Director General Bruno Oberle in a statement. The IUCN Congress is an opportunity for policy makers and civil society to multiply the messages on this link between the ongoing collapse of biodiversity and the living conditions of humans on the planet, also threatened by change. climate.

Among the iconic endangered species, the Komodo dragons, the largest lizards in the world, have seen their status change from “Vulnerable”, lowest of the threatened categories, to ” in danger “. A few thousand Komodo dragons live on a group of Indonesian islands, part of which is covered by a national park. Their fate illustrates the link between these two processes, increasingly emphasized by IUCN.

A Komodo dragon searches for prey on the shore of Komodo Island, December 2, 2010.

The living conditions of these giants, which measure up to three meters in length and weigh 90 kg, are thus threatened by both global warming and human activity. “Rising temperatures and therefore sea level should reduce their habitat by at least 30% over the next 45 years”, warns IUCN. What if the dragons present in the national park are “Well protected”, those outside “Are threatened with a significant loss of their habitat due to human activities”.

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Improvement of the bluefin tuna situation

Other victims of humans: sharks and rays (which are part of the same family), for which an overall reassessment has shown that 37% of the 1,200 species studied are now threatened. All the species thus classified face overfishing; 31% are also faced with degradation or loss of habitat and 10% with the consequences of climate change, again according to the IUCN.

“Far too many sharks and rays are being killed and the measures against overfishing are woefully inadequate” with a farm “Often legal even if it is not sustainable”, according to a member of Simon Fraser University of Canada, author of a study on which this reassessment is based. However, the last assessment, carried out in 2014, estimated that 24% of the species studied were endangered.

However, the “red list” notes an improvement in the situation of several tuna species: IUCN is pleased to see “Four commercially fished tuna species in the process of recovering thanks to the implementation of regional quotas” developed by specific organizations. Out of the seven most fished species, these four have thus seen their ranking down in the list. The Atlantic bluefin tuna even made a dramatic turnaround, going straight from ” in danger “ To “Minor concern”, three categories below. But the organization warns “That despite an overall improvement, many regional tuna stocks remain depleted”.

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“These assessments are proof that sustainable fishing approaches work, with huge long-term benefits for economic activity and biodiversity”, according to Bruce Collette, IUCN chair of the tuna focus group.

The organization also presented its new “Green status of species”, intended to measure the regeneration of species and to know the impact of conservation programs. It currently has 181 evaluated species, still far from the “red list” to which it will subsequently be integrated. Despite everything, the new “red list” “Shows that we are very close to a sixth mass extinction”, insists Craig Hilton-Taylor, responsible for its development. “If the increase continues at this rate, we will soon be facing a major crisis. “

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The World with AFP

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