The world is heading for the biggest mass extinction event since the dinosaurs within the next decade, pushing millions of plants and animals to the bring of extinction, the WWF has claimed.
Elephants, polar bears, sharks, frogs and fish are all under threat according to the environmental organisation in its Winners and Losers of 2021 report.
They said: ‘Around one million species could go extinct within the next decade —which would be the largest mass extinction event since the end of the dinosaur age.’
There are currently 142,500 species on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and 40,000 of them are ‘threatened with extinction’.
This is the largest number since the list was set up in 1964.
The WWF warns of a ‘catastrophic escalation of the global extinction of species’ and calls for a new global conservation pact.
The African forest elephant is among the animals most at risk of extinction after its numbers declined by 86 per cent in 31 years.
Polar bears are also under threat due to the rapid melting of the Arctic Ocean pack ice, according to the WWF.
They estimate the Arctic could be completely free of ice by the summer of 2035.
Overfishing, habitat loss and the climate crisis has led to the reduction of all sharks and rays by 30 per cent, the animal organisation says.
It is feared tree frogs and toads in Germany will not survive the mass extinction event, with half of the country’s native amphibian species currently listed as endangered due to construction.
The noble pen shell, the largest clam in the Mediterranean Sea, is also included on the list.
Despite the stark warnings, the WWF says there is a ‘ray of hope’ after a number of success stories this year.
The numbers of Indian rhinoceros have grown in Nepal thanks to a dedicated conservation effort.
In cooperation with the government, protection measures were introduced that have seen their numbers boost by 16 per cent since 2015.
The Iberian lynx has also increased tenfold in the past 18 years with 1,111 animals now in Spain and Portugal after it was on the brink of extinction.
A resettlement programme has led to a surge in bearded vulture numbers in the Alps, with 300 flying over the region.
This article by Jack Newman was first published by The Mail Online on 31 December 2021. Lead Image: The African forest elephant is among the animals most at risk of extinction after its numbers declined by 86 per cent in 31 years.
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