As Many As 690 Species Went Extinct This Week

Written by Brittany Greenquist

The journal Nature just published an in-depth look at the threats faced by wildlife around the globe. It seems what we thought was bad is even worse. Estimates suggest that somewhere between 500 and 36,000 species could disappear each year (or 10 to 690 a week).

While that number spans a large gap, even at the lowest end of the spectrum it’s an ugly picture. It’s further complicated by the fact that the information covers 1.7 million species — so assessing individual threats is virtually impossible.

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What is made clear is that up to 26 percent of mammal species, 13 percent of bird species and 41 percent of amphibian species are listed as “threatened” with extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

And that doesn’t even take into account the creatures we haven’t yet discovered. It’s predicted that anywhere from two million to 11 million animals species exist undetected. This is likely the reason for the large gap in estimated extinctions.

Nature reports that mass extinctions, or the loss of 75 percent of existing species, have happened five times in our planet’s history. At the rate species are currently disappearing, we could potentially experience a sixth mass extinction by the year 2200.

Surprisingly, climate change isn’t the number one threat towards animals. According to the report, the average decline is a result of about 37 percent exploitation — things like hunting and fishing — 31 percent is from habitat degradation and change, and just 13 percent is from habitat loss.

Climate change accounts for just seven percent of Nature’s estimation, although it plays a role — along with human use — in habitat changes. However, as climate change gets worse, it could start to play a larger role. In the last 40 years alone, we have killed half of all wildlife — making conservation efforts difficult.

It will take more than just minor human efforts to reverse or at least slow these estimates, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying.

This post originally appeared on RYOT.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

194 comments

Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

Humanity has been the worst for the planet, shame shame!!

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven4 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Ian F.
Ian F4 years ago

There should be more efforts done to reduce the World's "human population" and more done to help to conserve and restore the Natural World.

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Barbara Idso
Barbara Idso4 years ago

For the enlightened members, please keep signing petitions and doing what you can to protect wildlife. If it means a bee box or planting some native plants in an empty lot, it all adds up. No effort is too small. Please help!!

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Elizabeth Z.
Elizabeth Z4 years ago

So very sad. The human race has done a number on the planet. As a result, we are losing those that make it an interesting place--other species.

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

Humans are the new locust. Infesting and destroying all reaches of the planet. I really hope that I never start to think like David F. African wildlife in Texas thriving and waiting to be killed for a price of $3000. It should not be considered acceptable and to me is disgusting.

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Vivianne Mosca-Clark

This is hard to read

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Karen P.
Karen P4 years ago

Makes you feel all jolly and festive, don't it though? Isn't it great that humans were gifted with great big brains to work out how to destroy everything? I for one feel very lofty and superior. Humans, a pack of twats. Merry Christmas to the animals not yet wiped from the face of the earth.

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Friedrich Kling Hauss
Frank Kling4 years ago

Among the consequences of taking down a few hundred species each day, and a mushrooming human population that swells by 80 million every year; at some point, we are the species we take into the abyss. The vanishing point draws nearer every day. Our response: More toys. Burn all fossil fuels. Clear-cut the rain forests. Strip-mine the soil. Pollute the water. Foul the air. Go shopping. And, most importantly, figure out how we can make a few more bucks as the world burns.

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Friedrich Kling Hauss
Frank Kling4 years ago

Dan B.

An immediate red flag goes off whenever an anthropomorphic global climate change denier tells me with certainty not to worry. Example: The Earth WILL NOT go Venus; Mankind CAN NOT affect global temps. by more than one or two degrees. Oh really? Are you privy to scientific data the rest of us are not? Meanwhile, NOAA predicts that 2014 will be the hottest year in recorded history and all 10 of the hottest years on record have occurred since 1998.

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