While conservationists continue to sound the alarm for species moving closer to the brink of extinction, there’s some good news to celebrate for fin whales, gray whales and mountain gorillas with the latest update of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
According to the Red List, there are now more than 26,500 species threatened with extinction, which is more than 27 percent of all assessed species. While there is a lot to be done to prevent them from disappearing, conservation efforts focused on helping them are paying off.
Fin whales, who were listed as Endangered, are now listed as Vulnerable. Their recovery is being attributed to a moratorium on commercial whaling, in addition to other measures to help them recover. Gray whales, who also suffered severely from over exploitation, have also been bumped up from Critically Endangered to Endangered.
“Fin Whales and Western Gray Whales were severely depleted by hunting, and it is a relief to finally see their populations on the rise. These whales are recovering largely thanks to bans on commercial hunting, international agreements and various protection measures. Conservation efforts must continue until the populations are no longer threatened,”said Randall Reeves, Chair of the IUCN SSC Cetacean Specialist Group.
Whales aren’t the only ones who have benefited from conservation efforts. The latest update also brings home for imperiled mountain gorillas, whose population was estimated to be down to 680 individuals the last time they were assessed in 2008. Now, thanks in large part to anti-poaching patrols and veterinary interventions, they’ve moved from Critically Endangered to Endangered, with an increase in over 1,000 individuals – the highest number ever recorded for them.
“Today’s update to The IUCN Red List illustrates the power of conservation action, with the recoveries we are seeing of the Fin Whale and the Mountain Gorilla,”said Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General.”These conservation successes are proof that the ambitious, collaborative efforts of governments, business and civil society could turn back the tide of species loss. Unfortunately, the latest update also underlines how threats to biodiversity continue to undermine some of society’s most important goals, including food security. We urgently need to see effective conservation action strengthened and sustained. The ongoing UN biodiversity summit in Egypt provides a valuable opportunity for decisive action to protect the diversity of life on our planet.”
At the conference, which is being held through the end of the month, the UN is calling on leaders from more than 190 countries to act to stop the loss of biodiversity and protect ecosystems that sustain both wildlife and us. The good news for these species is unfortunately being tempered by concerns for how overe xploitation is still hurting others, which points to the need to increase efforts to help.
“The recovery of species like Mountain Gorilla, Fin Whale and Rothschild’s Giraffe demonstrates once again that with sustained, long-term conservation action, we can not only prevent extinctions, but also achieve considerable population recoveries”, said Dominic Jermey, CVO, OBE Director General of Zoological Society of London.”As the world’s governments convene in Egypt to continue discussions around forging a new and ambitious strategic plan for biodiversity, we hope that these examples will embolden countries to make strong commitments that will put the world’s wildlife on a path to recovery.”
This article was first published by Care2.com on 15 Nov 2018.