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 Post subject: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:14 am 
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Trying to find an answer to the latest quiz question on the Extinct Creatures Quiz, I came across the following. We don't like to acknowledge such things - it is tragic and sad - but it is even more reason to visit our nature reserves, and related conservation areas, more regularly and to support them:

Extinction crisis continues apace
03 November 2009 | News - Press Release


The latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ shows that 17,291 species out of the 47,677 assessed species are threatened with extinction.

The results reveal 21 percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of all known amphibians, 12 percent of all known birds, and 28 percent of reptiles, 37 percent of freshwater fishes, 70 percent of plants, 35 percent of invertebrates assessed so far are under threat.

“The scientific evidence of a serious extinction crisis is mounting,” says Jane Smart, Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group. “January sees the launch of the International Year of Biodiversity. The latest analysis of the IUCN Red List shows the 2010 target to reduce biodiversity loss will not be met. It’s time for Governments to start getting serious about saving species and make sure it’s high on their agendas for next year, as we’re rapidly running out of time.”

Of the world’s 5,490 mammals, 79 are Extinct or Extinct in the Wild, with 188 Critically Endangered, 449 Endangered and 505 Vulnerable. The Eastern Voalavo (Voalavo antsahabensis) appears on the IUCN Red List for the first time in the Endangered category. This rodent, endemic to Madagascar, is confined to montane tropical forest and is under threat from slash-and-burn farming.

There are now 1,677 reptiles on the IUCN Red List, with 293 added this year. In total, 469 are threatened with extinction and 22 are already Extinct or Extinct in the Wild. The 165 endemic Philippine species new to the IUCN Red List include the Panay Monitor Lizard (Varanus mabitang), which is Endangered. This highly-specialized monitor lizard is threatened by habitat loss due to agriculture and logging and is hunted by humans for food. The Sail-fin Water Lizard (Hydrosaurus pustulatus) enters in the Vulnerable category and is also threatened by habitat loss. Hatchlings are heavily collected both for the pet trade and for local consumption.

“The world’s reptiles are undoubtedly suffering, but the picture may be much worse than it currently looks,” says Simon Stuart, Chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission. “We need an assessment of all reptiles to understand the severity of the situation but we don’t have the $2-3 million to carry it out.”

The IUCN Red List shows that 1,895 of the planet’s 6,285 amphibians are in danger of extinction, making them the most threatened group of species known to date. Of these, 39 are already Extinct or Extinct in the Wild, 484 are Critically Endangered, 754 are Endangered and 657 are Vulnerable.

The Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis) has moved from Critically Endangered to Extinct in the Wild. The species was only known from the Kihansi Falls in Tanzania, where it was formerly abundant with a population of at least 17,000. Its decline is due to the construction of a dam upstream of the Kihansi Falls that removed 90 percent of the original water flow to the gorge. The fungal disease chytridiomycosis was probably responsible for the toad’s final population crash.

The fungus also affected the Rabb’s Fringe-limbed Treefrog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum), which enters the Red List as Critically Endangered. It is known only from central Panama. In 2006, the chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) was reported in its habitat and only a single male has been heard calling since. This species has been collected for captive breeding efforts but all attempts have so far failed.

Of the 12,151 plants on the IUCN Red List, 8,500 are threatened with extinction, with 114 already Extinct or Extinct in the Wild. The Queen of the Andes (Puya raimondii) has been reassessed and remains in the Endangered category. Found in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia, it only produces seeds once in 80 years before dying. Climate change may already be impairing its ability to flower and cattle roam freely among many colonies, trampling or eating young plants.

There are now 7,615 invertebrates on the IUCN Red List this year, 2,639 of which are threatened with extinction. Scientists added 1,360 dragonflies and damselflies, bringing the total to 1,989, of which 261 are threatened. The Giant Jewel (Chlorocypha centripunctata), classed as Vulnerable, is found in southeast Nigeria and southwest Cameroon and is threatened by forest destruction.

Scientists also added 94 molluscs, bringing the total number assessed to 2,306, of which 1,036 are threatened. All seven freshwater snails from Lake Dianchi in Yunnan Province, China, are new to the IUCN Red List and all are threatened. These join 13 freshwater fishes from the same area, 12 of which are threatened. The main threats are pollution, introduced fish species and overharvesting.

There are now 3,120 freshwater fishes on the IUCN Red List, up 510 species from last year. Although there is still a long way to go before the status all the world’s freshwater fishes is known, 1,147 of those assessed so far are threatened with extinction. The Brown Mudfish (Neochanna apoda), found only in New Zealand, has been moved from Near Threatened to Vulnerable as it has disappeared from many areas in its range. Approximately 85-90 percent of New Zealand's wetlands have been lost or degraded through drainage schemes, irrigation and land development.

"Creatures living in freshwater have long been neglected. This year we have again added a large number of them to the IUCN Red List and are confirming the high levels of threat to many freshwater animals and plants. This reflects the state of our precious water resources. There is now an urgency to pursue our effort but most importantly to start using this information to move towards a wise use of water resources,” says Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Head of the IUCN Species Programme.

“This year’s IUCN Red List makes for sobering reading,” says Craig Hilton-Taylor, Manager of the IUCN Red List Unit. “These results are just the tip of the iceberg. 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.”

The status of the Australian Grayling (Prototroctes maraena), a freshwater fish, has improved as a result of conservation efforts. Now classed as Near Threatened as ctes opposed to Vulnerable, the population has recovered thanks to fish ladders which have been constructed over dams to allow migration, enhanced riverside vegetation and the education of fishermen, who now face heavy penalties if found with this species.

For more information please visit www.iucnredlist.org.

Notes to editors

Photos available to download below.

The latest review of the IUCN Red List, “Wildlife in a Changing World: an analysis of the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species” can be downloaded here: http://iucn.org/about/work/programmes/s ... st/review/

Global figures for 2009 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:
Total species assessed = 47,677
Total Extinct or Extinct in the Wild = 875 (2%) [Extinct = 809; Extinct in the Wild = 66].
Total threatened = 17,291 (36%) [Critically Endangered = 3,325; Endangered = 4,891; Vulnerable = 9,075].
Total Near Threatened = 3,650 (8%).
Total Lower Risk/conservation dependent = 281 (<1%) [this is an old category that is gradually being phased out of the Red List]
Total Data Deficient = 6,557 (14%)
Total Least Concern = 19,023 (40%)

Global figures for 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:
Total assessed = 44,838
Total Extinct or Extinct in the Wild = 869 (2%) [Extinct = 804 ; Extinct in the Wild = 65]
Total threatened = 16,928 (38%) [Critically Endangered = 3,246; Endangered = 4,770; Vulnerable = 8,912]
Total Near Threatened = 3,513 (8%)
Total Lower Risk/conservation dependent = 283 (<1%) [this is an old category that is gradually being phased out of the Red List]
Total Data Deficient = 5,570 (12%)
Total Least Concern = 17,675 (39%)

NB: Not all species on the IUCN Red List are threatened. There are now more species on the IUCN Red List. This means that the overall percentage of threatened species has gone down by two percent. This is not because the status of the world’s biodiversity is improving, but because we have assessed more species. In the past, Red List assessments often focused on species that were already thought to be threatened, but as the Red List grows to include more complete assessments across entire groups, we are beginning to have a better idea of the relative proportion of species which are threatened against those which are not threatened.

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:

Sarah Horsley, IUCN Media Relations Officer, t +41 22 999 0127 , m +41 79 528 3486 , e sarah.horsley@iucn.org
Lynne Labanne, IUCN Species Programme, t +41 22 999 0153 , m +41 79 527 7221 , e lynne.labanne@iucn.org
About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,000 government and NGO members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.

www.iucn.org

About The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (or The IUCN Red List) is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of plant and animal species. It is based on an objective system for assessing the risk of extinction of a species should no conservation action be taken.

Species are assigned to one of eight categories of threat based on whether they meet criteria linked to population trend, population size and structure and geographic range. Species listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable are collectively described as ‘Threatened’.

The IUCN Red List is not just a register of names and associated threat categories. It is a rich compendium of information on the threats to the species, their ecological requirements, where they live, and information on conservation actions that can be used to reduce or prevent extinctions.

www.iucnredlist.org

About the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) and Species Programme

The Species Survival Commission (SSC) is the largest of IUCN’s six volunteer commissions with a global membership of 7,000 experts. SSC advises IUCN and its members on the wide range of technical and scientific aspects of species conservation and is dedicated to securing a future for biodiversity. SSC has significant input into the international agreements dealing with biodiversity conservation.

The IUCN Species Programme supports the activities of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and individual Specialist Groups, as well as implementing global species conservation initiatives. It is an integral part of the IUCN Secretariat and is managed from IUCN’s international headquarters in Gland, Switzerland. The Species Programme includes a number of technical units covering Species Trade and Use, the Red List Unit, Freshwater Biodiversity Assessments Unit, (all located in Cambridge, UK), and the Global Biodiversity Assessment Unit (located in Washington DC, USA).

www.iucn.org/ssc

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:49 pm 
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The latest South African Plant Red Data list has been published. It is shocking just how much we stand to lose in South Africa unless the right steps are taken.
However there are errors in the in list with plants be listed as extinct in the wild, extinct or pressumed extinct which are still suriving in the wild.

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:55 pm 
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The loss of biodiversity ultimately means the end of the human race .

As a simple example - alien ant species eliminate certain ants which pollinate certain plants which will also cease to exist as a result hereof .

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Short and sweet,...

By not caring and looking after what we have got, we are committing suicide! :wall:


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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:54 am 
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Come on , let's vote on it! Percentage-wise, what chance do you think the human-race has of surviving on earth till 2100?
Personally, I give it a 30% chance. That's my future grandchildren's time-period - not far away at all!! :( :(

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:59 am 
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Thanks for the thought provoking thread OWN! Sorry I missed it first time around.

Sad state of affairs I'm afraid, and it doesn't look very positive at the moment. Lets hope we can all help in some way to turn things around.

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:04 am 
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onewithnature wrote:
Come on , let's vote on it! Percentage-wise, what chance do you think the human-race has of surviving on earth till 2100?
Personally, I give it a 30% chance. That's my future grandchildren's time-period - not far away at all!! :( :(


With the the rate that the worlds population has increased (anyone have the facts on how long it took initially for the worlds population to double and how quickly each subsequent doubling happened ?) and the effects which we yet do not see of this on the environment ... I doubt that the human race will survive much longer than 2100 .
The world will be at war over food and water , space for cultivating food , open space where we can breathe fresh air ....

By then wildlife and natural areas will be of little importance .

The main cause is human greed , we are creating ever ingeneous ways to make more profit by subtle means - we promote a more prosperous , healthier lifestyle for the worlds ever increasing population thus generating more income for the ever increasing rich ..

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:54 am 
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Very perceptive, Ndloti! :thumbs_up:

After the Black Death in Europe in the 14th century, the world's population has been steadily increasing, "exacerbated" by leaps in medicine and technology. In 1800, the world's population was just under a billion. In the 1920s, it doubled to 2 billion, and by 1950, it had topped two-and-a-half billion. This despite the slaughter of the second world war!
Then things went crazy: by 1999, it was a tad under SIX billion, and as of this year, it has reached 6.8 billion! By 2050, it is expected to be 8.9 billion, and by 2100 9.5 billion.
Currently, 61% of all people live in Asia, 14.5% in Africa, 11% in Europe, 5% in North America, and 8.5% in the rest of the world! China and India alone account for more than one third of total population growth, and 4 out of every 10 people on Earth are Chinese or Indian! This is where the greatest threat to the ecosystems lie.

I cannot see the Earth being able to sustain water and food supplies at these growth rates; if nothing significant comes along to plateau the growth and/or reverse it, I fear the human condition on this planet will be no more in a relatively short while.

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:56 am 
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Even though I have not visited this thread for months , atopic reply notification arrives ...

A bit of trivia , the human population of Tanzania has increased from 23.1 million in 1988 to 34.6 million in 2002 ...

A study of lion attacks on humans in Tanzania found an increase - three guesses why ?

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:11 am 
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:big_eyes: statistics there ... thank Ndloti. :thumbs_up: Wonder how the rest of Africa is doing - I suppose it is reasonable to assume that similar trends are occurring in some other African countries?

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:25 am 
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Mail & Guardian 11 June 2010
The East Rand was an hour away from an environmental disaster this week, when acid mine water started to flood the Grootvlei mine owned by the embattled empowerment company, Aurora Empowerment Systems.

Workers angered by months of working without pay had downed tools, bringing the 10 pump stations at the mine to a standstill for the first time in 75 years.

The toxic water would have led to the contamination of the East Rand’s groundwater resources within three years and potentially caused sinkholes near Nigel and Springs.

Underground water must be pumped out continually for mining to continue. When it flows over the mined rocks, it becomes toxic.

General maintenance has not been conducted at the mine since March, when most Grootvlei workers went on strike over non-payment of wages and the mine’s insurance for their workers had also lapsed.

On Monday 100 remaining workers Grootvlei mine’s care and maintenance unit went on strike. The unit is responsible for pumping acid water out of Shaft 3 to prevent the flooding of the East Basin on the East Rand.

On Wednesday water began flooding the underground pump station room. With an hour to go until the station became inaccessible to workers, management pleaded with workers to return to work, offering them 25% of their May wages.

“We decided to go back again, because it was the ethical thing to do,” said one employee. A small band of workers ventured down Shaft 3 again to restart pumping.

“The mine is incredibly unsafe and basically a time bomb,” said Gideon du Plessis, Solidarity deputy general secretary. “The workers are on a suicide mission. They are true heroes for risking their lives.”


Michael Hulley, Aurora non-executive director, has promised in a letter that the worker’s full May salaries will be paid by June 21 and that third party insurance will be reinstated on June 16. Du Plessis said the workers would quit on June 21 if the latest promises were broken.

Khulubuse Zuma, President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Hulley, Zuma’s lawyer, and Zondwa Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, feature on the Aurora board, giving the company heavy political clout.

Aurora has a management agreement with the liquidators to operate its East Rand and Orkney assets, after its bid to buy the liquidated Pamodzi mines was accepted. But the cashstrapped company had been running into trouble amid allegations of asset stripping, mismanagement and questionable financial transfers.

Aurora’s first investor withdrew, while a second investor will release funds only once it lists on the JSE. It is expected to do so only in August. This week a Chinese consortium put in a new bid of $51-million for the Pamodzi assets, but sources close to the deal are worried that there may soon be no mine to operate.

Environmental reports on the East Rand’s East Basin have warned of acid water bubbling into the street of Nigel and Springs within three years and destroying the East Rand’s groundwater resources.

The Vaal River barrage could also be at risk. The Grootvlei pumps are the last operating in mostly abandoned mines on the East Rand and carry responsibility for all the East Basin’s acid mine water.

Marius Keet, deputy director of water quality management at the department of water affairs, said his department was extremely concerned about the situation at Grootvlei and would have to intervene if pumping ceased again.

“Although it’s the mine’s responsibility to ensure that the pumps are all operational, the department will not allow the mine to flood the pumps as this will result in the flooding of the basin and subsequently the decanting of acid mine drainage,” he said.

“Apart from the negative impact on the environment, sinkhole formation is not excluded.” He said Aurora would be held accountable for any future environmental disaster if pumping stopped. It already faces criminal charges for pumping acid water into the Blesbokspruit.

But Enver Motala, the Pamodzi liquidator, played down the pump station fiasco. “We had heard about the threats that the pump stations would be switched off, but Aurora assured us that pumping was continuing,” he said.

“As far as we’re concerned, the situation is under control.” Thulani Ngubane, Aurora director and spokesperson, did not respond to questions.

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KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.


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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:58 am 
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War rarely cuts teh numbers to a sufficient solution. Spanish flu, malaria, aids etc these are what might cut teh numbers down.

Yes, with technology and a "subtle" effort to increase profis will ultimately be teh main threat to life on Earth.

Statistics will tell you anything you want to hear.

We only have to look at blackened buildings in inner cities, vast areas slowly becoming deserts through overgrazing.etc these pattern replicate themse;lves whereever man lives. The latest oil spill off teh south coast of USA has more or less spelled it out to us - We dont need statistics anymore to understand the extent, or gravity of teh situation.

I have a theory though...no matter what we as man do to teh earth, there will always be life, and life itself will regrow, renew. Not necesarily with the same species, but life will find a way.

Diseases like teh hantaviruses (Ebola, arburg etc) are being "discovered" ( I like to think of it as stirred from thier slumber)...as a rsult of man deforesting the habitat.
Mother nature will bite back eventually. Something has gotta give.

Man will see 2100, i.e. when my grandkids someday will graduate from highschool. I have no doubt about that, as we must take into account teh various factors - education, pestilince, technology, new tools, new eans of protecting teh earth. However, I give us a 5% chance of seeing the year 3000. (i.e. the time since teh dark ages tuil now) - that y chums is still a VERY VERY short time in teh span of "mankind" - 1.5 illion years.

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:00 am 
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forgive the spelling...I have sacrificed accuracy for speed. and im still shaking from us scoring the first goal of the 2010 world cup :redface:

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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:03 am 
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It's "tick-tock" time for our global environment with catastrophes almost everywhere! :cry:

Our oceans are turning black like in the Gulf of Mexico! :( :(

From a spiritual point of view I think our time is almost over....the signs are everywhere! :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Life on Earth Threatened
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:10 pm 
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NickyG, I agree with you that life on earth will survive irrespective of what damage Man does to the environment. Whether it will be intelligent life is a matter of debate. :hmz: One thing I know is that then micro-organisms are far more adaptable than we give them credit, and I think many insets will also surprise us!
For example, after the first nuclear reactors were developed, viruses were found living inside the reactors at a temperature of several thousand degrees Celsius, where no other living tissue could survive!
And insects are to be found in virtually every nook and cranny of planet Earth!

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