Four out of six great apes one step away from extinction
The Eastern Gorilla -- the largest living primate -- has been listed as Critically Endangered due to illegal hunting, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ released today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawaii.
|Grauer’s gorilla, found only in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been up-listed to |
Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [Credit: WCS]
Today's IUCN Red List update also reports the decline of the Plains Zebra due to illegal hunting, and the growing extinction threat to Hawaiian plants posed by invasive species. Thirty eight of the 415 endemic Hawaiian plant species assessed for this update are listed as Extinct and four other species have been listed as Extinct in the Wild, meaning they only occur in cultivation.
The IUCN Red List now includes 82,954 species of which 23,928 are threatened with extinction.
Mammals threatened by illegal hunting
The Eastern Gorilla (Gorilla beringei) -- which is made up of two subspecies -- has moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered due to a devastating population decline of more than 70% in 20 years. Its population is now estimated to be fewer than 5,000. Grauer's Gorilla (G. b. graueri), one subspecies of Eastern Gorilla -- has lost 77% of its population since 1994, declining from 16,900 individuals to just 3,800 in 2015.
|Eastern Gorilla. Critically Endangered [Credit: Intu Boedhihartono]|
"To see the Eastern gorilla -- one of our closest cousins -- slide towards extinction is truly distressing," says Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General. "We live in a time of tremendous change and each IUCN Red List update makes us realize just how quickly the global extinction crisis is escalating. Conservation action does work and we have increasing evidence of it. It is our responsibility to enhance our efforts to turn the tide and protect the future of our planet."
|Plains Zebra. Near Threatened [Credit: Jean-Christophe Vié]|
Three species of antelope found in Africa -- Bay Duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis), White-bellied Duiker (Cephalophus leucogaster) and Yellow-backed Duiker (Cephalophus silvicultor) -- have moved from Least Concern to Near Threatened. Whilst the populations of these species within protected areas are relatively stable, those found in other areas are decreasing due to continued illegal hunting and habitat loss.
|Bay Duiker Near Threatened [Credit: Brent Huffman]|
Hawaiian plants threatened by invasive species
Invasive species such as pigs, goats, rats, slugs, and non-native plants are destroying the native flora in Hawai'i. The latest results show that of the 415 endemic Hawaiian plant species assessed so far for The IUCN Red List (out of ca. 1,093 endemic plant species), 87% are threatened with extinction, including the Endangered 'Ohe kiko'ola (Polyscias waimeae) -- a beautiful flowering tree found only on the island of Kauai. Thirty Eight have been listed as Extinct, including the shrubs 'Oha Wai (Cyanea eleeleensis) and Hibiscadelphus woodii. Four species have been listed as Extinct in the Wild including the Haha (Cyanea superba) last seen in the wild in 2003. Invasive species are the main threat to all of these species, with many being threatened by more than one invasive species. The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Hawaiian Plant Specialist Group anticipates the remaining species to be assessed will also be highly threatened.
|Ohe kiko'ola. Endangered [Credit: Jesse Adams]|
|Hibiscadelphus woodii. Extinct [Credit: Ken Wood]|
|Haha plant Cyanea remyi.Critically Endangered [Credit: Natalia Tangalin]|
Good news for Giant Panda and Tibetan Antelope
This update of The IUCN Red List also brings some good news and shows that conservation action is delivering positive results.
|Giant Panda. Vulnerable [Credit: Martha de Jong-Lantink]|
|Tibetan Antelope. Near Threatened [Credit: Ahsup]|
|Greater Stick-nest Rat. Near Threatened [Credit: Hj Aslin]|
|Bridled Nailtail Wallaby. Vulnerable [Credit: Fraenata Diverdave]|
Source: International Union for Conservation of Nature [September 04, 2016]