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Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Sixth Animal Mass Extinction Is Approaching, Scientists Warn

A wave of animal mass extinction approaches and with it, an irreversible threat to the survival of civilization.

By Ricardo Gallegos | The sixth great extinction massive animal on planet Earth is already on its way and its cause is the human being, explained a scientific study led by Gerardo Ceballos (UNAM), Paul R. Ehrlich (Stanford University) and Peter H. Raven (Department of Botany in Missouri).

The research examined 29,400 species of land vertebrates and found that 515 of them are on the brink of extinction which is progressing at an accelerated rate.

Normally, the extinction rate of these animals would take thousands of years, but due to human intervention, it could take 20 or 30 years.

Some examples of endangered species are:

Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)
Wagtail of the Clarion (Troglodytes tanneri)
Spanish giant tortoise (Chelonoidis hoodensis)
Harlequin Toad (Atelopus varius). The population of these species is estimated to be less than a thousand individuals.

The gradual loss of these species, in turn, puts pressure on the species with which they interact. It is like a domino effect. These losses trigger alterations in the structure of ecosystems, causing a regional collapse of biodiversity.

In the sights of the next sixth animal mass extinction. Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. Photo: Charles W. Hardin

The ‘human’ factor

The Earth has faced five mass extinctions and each of them eradicated between 70% and 95% of animals, plants and microorganisms on the planet. These events were caused by environmental catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions or the impact of a meteorite. However, the sixth great extinction is being caused by humans.

“The massive losses we are experiencing are caused, directly or indirectly, by Homo sapiens activities. As our numbers grow, humanity has become an unprecedented threat to the vast majority of its living companions, “Professor Ceballos González noted in the study.

Habitat destruction, illegal trade, overexploitation, the increase in human population, the rate of consumption, the introduction of domestic and wild species, and contamination are some of the factors that have led these animals to the brink of extinction.

The cost of overexploiting natural resources is the global decline in ecosystem integrity. This crisis represents a serious threat to civilization, since humans need biodiversity to survive.

What steps to take?

The study published in the newspaper ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ’ indicates that the impact of this problem is largely unknown by governments, the private sector and civil society.

The researchers recommend that the conservation of endangered species be considered a global emergency with the same level of importance as climate change.

To mitigate the impact of the crisis, it is crucial to establish a solid agreement that prevents legal and illegal trade in wildlife. ANDThis must be strictly enforced in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and other Asian countries whose biodiversity losses are enormous. At the same time, preventive measures are recommended to prevent food deprivation of poor communities, especially in Africa.

The current Covid-19 crisis is an indicator of what can happen when humans treat nature recklessly. “We believe that the recent coronavirus pandemic is related to the illegal trade and consumption of animals in China,” the researchers said.

“There is time, but the window of opportunity is about to close. We must save what we can, or lose the opportunity forever. There is no doubt, for example, that there will be more pandemics if we continue to destroy habitats and trade wildlife for human consumption in the form of traditional food or medicine. ”

The objectives established by the United Nations in 2010 to protect and conserve natural systems were not achieved.

Now, the next mass extinction is happening faster than expected, and the future of life on Earth depends on human actions to protect it.

“What is at stake is the fate of humanity and the vast majority of living species. Future generations deserve better from us. “

[ By Explica ]

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