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‘Sixth Extinction’ of Wildlife Much Faster Than Feared

Agence France-Presse
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July 12, 2017
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“This time, humans are the asteroid.” The New Yorker journalist Elizabeth Kolbert says we may be triggering a mass extinction on earth. Here’s why. (Fusion)

The sixth mass extinction of life on Earth is unfolding more quickly than feared, scientists have warned.

More than 30 per cent of animals with a backbone — fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals — are declining in both range and population, according to the first comprehensive analysis of these trends.

“This is the case of a biological annihilation occurring globally,” said Stanford professor Rodolfo Dirzo, co-author of a study published this week in the peer-reviewed US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Around a decade ago, experts feared that a new planetary wipeout of species was looming.

Today, most agree that it is under way, but the new study suggests that the die-out is already ratcheting up a gear.

It provides much-needed data about the threat to wildlife, mapping the dwindling ranges and populations of 27,600 species. For 177 mammals, researchers combed through data covering the period 1900 to 2015.

The mammal species that were monitored have lost at least a third of their original habitat, the researchers found.

Forty per cent of them — including rhinos, orangutans, gorillas and many big cats — are surviving on 20 per cent or less of the land they once roamed.

The loss of biodiversity has recently accelerated.

Read the rest at Gulf News

Related: The Sixth Mass Genesis? New Species Are Coming Into Existence Faster Than Ever Thanks to Humans (The Conversation)

Related: Changes in Conservation Planning Can Benefit Vulnerable Mammals (Science Daily)

Related: Move Over, Cockroaches! Scientists Identify Final Survivor of Earth Apocalypse (Sputnik News)


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