'A quarter of the world's mammals risk extinction'

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A A A

A quarter of the world's mammals are at risk of extinction, the latest global analysis of threatened species revealed today.









At least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are under threat, largely as a result of hunting and the destruction of their habitat by humans, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



The latest IUCN Red List of Endangered Species showed 188 species are critically endangered - including the Iberian lynx which has seen numbers drop to between just 84 and 143 adults.



There is evidence that more than half of all mammal species are experiencing declines in populations, according to the new study.



Recent analysis focusing on primates painted an even gloomier picture for them, with around half the world's monkey and ape species facing extinction - a figure which rises to four fifths of those found in South and South East Asia.



And conservationists warned the overall proportion of threatened mammals could in fact be as high as a third, because there isn't enough information on around 836 species to tell if they are in danger of extinction.



The news of the plight of mammals prompted IUCN director general Julia Marton-Lefevre to call for conservation action "to ensure our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives".



"Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," she warned



China's Pere David deer is listed as extinct in the wild in the first comprehensive analysis of mammals since 1996, although there are some hopes the species could reintroduced into the wild from captive populations.



But it may be too late to help a further 29 species which are flagged as critically endangered, possibly extinct - because it is thought they have in probability already died out in the wild.



Other species such as the Tasmanian devil, the Caspian seal and Southeast Asia's fishing cat have also seen their fortunes plummet, and are now among the 450 mammals which are listed as endangered.



One of the major impacts on mammals is destruction of their habitat, which affects two fifths of land species, according to the research published at the IUCN's world conservation congress and in the journal Science.



Other threats include hunting for food, medicine and materials, while marine mammals are most at risk of being caught by mistake by fishing boats, colliding with vessels and from pollution.



Jan Schipper, of Conservation International and lead author of the study, also said climate change would also have an impact on some species.



But there is good news for some mammals, with around 5% showing signs of recovery - suggesting conservation efforts can make a difference.



The black-footed ferret was moved from extinct in the wild to endangered after a successful reintroduction programme in the US, while the wild horse has come back from extinction in the wild to critically endangered following similar schemes in Mongolia.



And in another piece of good news, the African elephant was downgraded from vulnerable to extinction to the lower category of near threatened, because of recent increases in population in southern and eastern Africa.



Overall, the IUCN Red List now includes 44,838 species, of which almost two fifths fall into the three categories - critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable - which mean they are at risk of extinction.



The Rameshwaram parachute spider has been listed as critically endangered because its natural habitat has been almost entirely destroyed while the Cuban crocodile has become critically endangered because of illegal hunting for its meat and skin.



And amphibians are facing a global extinction crisis, with a third of species threatened or extinct, the 2008 Red List shows.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Negotiator - OTE £23,000

£13500 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning, Bolton base...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future