New Species In Danger Of Going Extinct

flying frog

A mouse found in the mountains of Madagascar, a lizard that can run across water and a flying frog have all been added to this year’s ‘red list’ of species in danger of going extinct. Every year the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) compiles a list of the animals and plants that are in danger of being lost forever.This year the list is longer than ever, with 17,921 species in danger of going extinct including well known mammals such as pandas, tigers and rhinos.

Recent additions to the list include the eastern voalavo, a newly-discovered rodent that lives in the mountain forests of Madagascar but is being driven out by slash and burn agriculture. The Philippine sail-fin water lizard, that has flattened toes to enable it to run across water, is targetted for the pet trade and local cosumption. Rabb’s fringe-limbed treefrog from Panama, that uses its huge webbed hands and feet to sail down from the canopy, is also in danger from deforestation.

The IUCN carried out its most ambitious assessment this year, looking at almost 48,000 species in total. The number of animals in danger rose from 16,928 to almost a third at 17,921.

Amphibians are the most threatened group with 1,895 out of 6,285 species in danger of extinction, mostly because of a dangerous new fungus that is killing rare frogs and toads.Already the golden toad from Costa Rica has gone extinct and hundreds of brightly coloured treefrogs in the Amazon are endangered.

Reptiles are dying out fast due to agriculture and development. This year 293 lizards and snakes only found in the Philippines were added to the list including the Panay monitor lizard. Insects are also suffering and there are now 7,615 invertebrates on the red list. This year scientists added 1,360 dragonflies and damselflies, including the Giant Jewel dragonfly found in Nigeria and southwest Cameroon, largely due to deforestation.

Climate change is thought to be affecting many plants and animals. The Queen of the Andes, one of the 8,500 plants in danger of extinction, only produces a seed every 80 years and is dying out due to temperature rise.

Of the world’s 5,490 mammals, 79 have already gone extinct and a further 1,142 are threatened with dying out.

Already since the 16th Century, 875 known species have died out, including 11 that were reported extinct this year.

The kihansi spray goad, that once gathered in their thousands beneath the waterfalls of Eastern Africa, is now extinct in the wild. Ten Polynesian tree snails have also gone extinct in the last year.

Craig Hilton-Taylor, Manager of the IUCN Red List Unit, blamed habitat loss due to agriculture or expanding human population, pollution and climate change.

“These results are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. We have only managed to assess 47,663 species so far; there are many more millions out there which could be under serious threat. We do, however, know from experience that conservation action works so let’s not wait until it’s too late and start saving our species now.”

Five species added to the IUCN red list this year:

:: Panay monitor lizard (Philippines) – One of 293 reptiles only found in the Philippines added to the list.

:: Rabb’s fringe-limbed treefrog (Panama) – One of the latest amphibians to submit to a dangerous new fungus and deforestation.

:: Sail-fin water lizard (Philippines) – Hatchlings are heavily collected both for the pet trade and for local consumption.

:: Giant jewel dragonfly (Nigeria) – One of 1,360 dragonflies and damselflies added this year.

:: Eastern voalavo (Madagascar) – A newly-discovered rodent that is being driven out by deforestation of its mountain home.


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