Some 37 percent of sharks and rays threatened with extinction; The Komodo dragon now classified as endangered
The Komodo dragon is now endangered according to the latest IUCN Red List. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Some 902 species are officially extinct according to the latest Red List published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France on September 4, 2021.
The Red List also shows that 30 percent of the species (38,543) it assessed (138,374) are threatened with extinction.
Some 80 species are extinct in the wild, 8,404 are critically endangered, 14,647 are endangered, 15,492 are vulnerable and 8,127 are near threatened. Some 71,148 species are of least concern, while 19,404 are missing data.
Four of the seven most commercially fished tuna species have shown signs of recovery, IUCN said in a press release. This is thanks to countries which apply more sustainable fishing quotas and successfully fight against illegal fishing.
Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) changed from threatened to less concern while southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus macoyii) has gone from Critically Endangered to Endangered.
Albacore (Thunnus alalunga) and yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) both have gone from near threatened to less of concern.
The statement noted that despite a global improvement in the species level, many regional tuna stocks remain severely depleted. For example, the largest eastern population of Atlantic bluefin tuna, native to the Mediterranean, had increased by at least 22 percent over the past four decades.
However, its smallest native population in the western Atlantic, which spawned in the Gulf of Mexico, declined by more than half during the same period. Yellowfin continues to be overexploited in the Indian Ocean.
Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) has changed from vulnerable to near threatened due to the availability of more recent data and stock assessment models.
Other tuna species such as bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) remain vulnerable while skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) remains the least worrying.
The update of the Red List also showed that 37% of shark and ray species in the world are threatened with extinction.
He added that all endangered shark and ray species were overexploited, with 31% more affected by habitat loss and degradation and 10% affected by climate change.
The largest living lizard in the world, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), went from vulnerable to endangered.
The species is endemic to Indonesia and only occurs in the World Heritage-listed Komodo National Park and neighboring Flores.
The increase in global temperature and the resulting sea level is expected to reduce suitable habitat for the Komodo dragon by at least 30% over the next 45 years.
In addition, Komodo dragons living outside the protected areas of Flores are threatened with significant habitat loss due to ongoing human activities.
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