'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.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
News
Sir James Dyson: 'Students must be inspired to take up the challenge of engineering'
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Engineer - Python / Node / C / Go

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: *Flexible working in a relaxed ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Bookkeeper

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This accountancy firm have an e...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Developer / Mobile Apps / Java / C# / HTML 5 / JS

£17000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Junior Mobile Application Devel...

Recruitment Genius: LGV Driver - Category C or C+E

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This national Company that manu...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?