Without conservation efforts, at least 28 species of birds and mammals have disappeared on Earth since 1993.
Black stilts (left) and Puerto Rican parrot. Photo: Creative Commons / AP.
The announcement comes September 9 after researchers from the University of Newcastle and British conservation organization BirdLife International analyzed 73 of the world’s most seriously threatened animals. Among the species revived from the brink of extinction, notably Puerto Rican parrots, Mongolian wild horses, Iberian lynx and black stilts.
Animal species are threatened by many factors such as habitat loss, over hunting, epidemics, or climate change. Successful conservation strategies in these cases include controlling invasive animals, building sanctuaries, regenerating wildlife, and breeding.
Iberian lynx. Photo: Migue llm.
Also in a report this week, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (WWF) emphasized that the global wildlife population has declined by more than two-thirds since the 1970s. Without conservation efforts, survival, the extinction rate could be 3 to 4 times higher.
According to study lead author Rike Bolam, a biodiversity expert at Newcastle University, about 28 to 48 animal species have been saved from extinction since 1993, including 21 to 32 species of birds and 7 – 16 species of mammals.
Conservationists, though, admit to having failed to fulfill the goal set by the United Nations a decade ago. Aside from the rescued species, there are still dozens of other birds and mammals that have either disappeared or are suspected of extinction.
Some, meanwhile, exist only in captivity. Researchers still hope that one day they can be returned to their natural environment, as is the case with Mongolian wild horses.
Mongolian wild horse. Photo: EPA.
This endemic mammal to the Mongolian steppe was reported to be extinct in the wild in the 1960s, but thanks to conservation and breeding campaigns, its population has grown to 760 and is “re-wild”. in 1996.
“What is encouraging is that some of the species we work on are recovering very well. The study gives a clear message that conservation has significantly reduced the extinction rate in animals,” Bolam said. .