Thursday, August 09, 2007

Not a Good Day for wildlife

So if you're a wildlife lover yesterday pretty much sucked.

First the news about the Yangtze River Dolphin. Another species extinct and let's be blunt, more are on the danger list including tigers, pandas, polar bears and many more that aren't quite so famous or popular.

Then the horrendous story from the Democratic Republic of Congo about the shooting dead of four mountain gorillas. Not for their meat, or their skin, or anything else that might drive desperate people to poach animals, but just because a human had a gun and could shoot them.

Man may be the most advanced animal on the planet, but sometimes when you see what we're doing to our fellow creatures it just doesn't seem like it.


Anonymous said...

It's important to note that the fight hasn't ended for the Yangtze River Dolphin - people will continue to search for it and it cannot be declared extinct for 50 years. The future has looked bleak for some time, and I don't think this study adds anything new - it just says a bunch of people went looking for it and didn't find it.

The problem is that the area surrounding the Yangtze is very overcrowded with human settlement, and in addition one sixth of all China's exports travel on this river.

You're right, there's a large number of species out there which are threatened - one third of all amphibians, a fifth of all mammals and an eighth of all birds [source:BBC].

Interestingly, the same article says 90% of large predatory fish have gone since the beginning of industrial trawling - kinda hammers home the message about who is most at risk while the tabloids are whipping up a pathetic frenzy about great whites in Cornwall.

The current rate of extinction is 100-1,000 times the rate in the fossil record (the 'natural' rate), and is anticipated to grow to 1,000-10,000 times in the next 100 years.

Of course, we're only talking about approx 10% of the species on the planet as that's the extent of man's knowledge.

You've gotta guess the other 90% are better off as what we don't know about, we can't shoot, trap, experiment on, create myths about it's danger to humans, or generally make life a misery - not knowingly anyway.

Anonymous said...

Or lock in dingy zoos ...

Anonymous said...

The new red list has downgraded the Ethiopian Wolf from CR to EN (critically endangered to endangered). While the tv programme was only recent, Born Free and Graham Norton are to be congratulated.

The Red Wolf, in North Carolina is still critical - although it has come back from 'extinct in the wild' since 1980 thanks to US Fish & Wildlife.