The updated Red List is out and it doesn’t look good for thousands of species
The International Union for Conservation of Nature just released an updated version of the Red List, a list of more than 100,000 species that are endangered worldwide. The updated list contains a host of previously unlisted species, many of which are more important than ever.
The Red List was started in 1964 and is now the best source of information on endangered species, as well as the status of conservation efforts for those species. The list is used by many to effect change in conservation policies that could help save endangered species globally, and monitors such aspects as habitat and ecology, population size, range, and threats to the species, among other things.
This particular Red List update includes species from ecosystems that the conservationists hadn’t considered before, or at least not extensively. As a result, numerous species of fish and fungi, and made it to the list, as well as a weird-looking deep-sea snail.
So why are these species so important, in comparison to others on the list?
To start, fungi in particular often form the base of food chains. This means that if these fungi species go extinct, or even become more critically endangered, a domino effect will likely result. The animals and trees that depend on the fungi won’t have enough food, and if they can’t find or adapt to another source, these species too would likely become threatened and die out. This, in turn, would lead species further up the food chain to suffer the same fate.
Sadly, however, while the list has been updated and conservationists are working overtime to classify all species that need to be on it, head of the Red List Unit at the IUCN, Craig Hilton-Taylor, said:
“[Many species] probably have been overlooked.”
According to the report, fungi is extremely sensitive to environmental changes, such as pollution, and the changes to the European environment especially is having a detrimental effect.
Other species added to the list include those in areas being mined for natural resources. For instance, a weird looking snail that lives only next to hydrothermal vents on the seafloor. The areas surrounding the vents are “being explored for deep-sea mining,” which conservations believe could further endanger the threatened species.
Also included on the Red List are about half of the freshwater fish found in Japan, as well as a third of Mexico’s freshwater fish, and “about 500 deep-sea bony fish species.” According to the report, mismanagement and neglect have a lot to do with it these particular additions.
While the Red List is a great way to keep track of our natural resources and plan conservation efforts, more needs to be done to be able to save these important species. This is why it’s extremely important that we all do what we can now to make changes. Otherwise, there may come a day when there will be nothing left to save.
Featured Image: Screenshot via WWF