Is earth experiencing another 'mass extinction event'?

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Dec 12, 2019, 07:04 PM IST

Coral reef (representative image). Photograph:(Reuters)

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Scientists believe the earth is experiencing another 'mass extinction event' since non-avian dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.

International Union for Conservation of Nature recently updated their red list of threatened species putting a spotlight on hundreds of plant and animal species who are facing the threat of habitat destruction.

Here we explain the process of mass extinction.

Scientists believe the earth is experiencing another "mass extinction event" since non-avian dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.

More than 40% per cent of amphibians and one-quarter of all mammals are currently at risk of disappearing entirely from our planet.

It’s the result of changes set in motion by human activity and climate change, with life in the oceans particularly affected.

Coral reefs, home to over a quarter of all marine species, could disappear by 2050, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which compiles an annual ‘red list’ of the world’s most endangered wildlife.

Antarctic blue whales, the largest creatures on the planet, are critically endangered, just one step away from extinction.

With possibly as few as 10 left in the world, the vaquita, the planet’s smallest porpoise, is probably the species most at risk of extinction. The mammal gets caught in illegal fishing nets and drowns.

Some 60 per cent of freshwater species such as crocodiles, hippos, and river dolphins are classified as threatened and lacking adequate protection.

The reclusive pangolin has become the most trafficked mammal on earth due to soaring demand in Asia for its scales for traditional medicine and its meat which is considered a delicacy.

More than half of all primates are under threat of extinction due to habitat destruction, the illegal wildlife trade and hunting.

Four out of six of the Earth’s great apes are endangered or critically many wild cats are also on the cusp of extinction, including the Sumatran tiger and Javan leopard.

All five surviving species of rhinoceros in the wild are threatened, mainly by poaching. The northern white rhino is already extinct in the wild, with less than a handful left in captivity.

The number of Asian elephants has fallen by at least 50% over three generations, there are less than 50,000 left in the wild.

The future of four out of eight bear species is also cause for concern: the giant panda and polar bears are both vulnerable’.

Source: International Union for the conservation of Nature, CITES, WWF, International Rhino Foundation.