Scientists credit human-induced global warming with causing many marine and terrestrial wildlife species — such as the chamois mountain goat of the Italian alps — to become scrawnier with each successive generation. Credit: Fulvio Spada, FlickrCC Dear EarthTalk: Could global warming really already be a factor in the evolution of wildlife species? - Vince Dominick, Camden, NJ No doubt the quickly changing climate is already triggering various evolutionary shifts in a wide range of species. And while we can’t be sure just how different wildlife species will adapt (or not), scientists are already noticing some surprising changes as a result of warming surface and ocean temperatures thanks to human-induced global warming. To wit, a recent study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Global Change Biology, by scientists from the University of British Columbia, found that the body size of larger fish species decreases 20 to 30 percent for every one-degree … [Read more...] about Could global warming really already be a factor in the evolution of wildlife species?
Iucn red list of endangered species
The Rabb's fringe-limbed tree frog, only discovered four years ago, is one of 1,895 amphibian species that could soon disappear from the wild because of deforestation and infection, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said. The Switzerland-based group surveyed 47,677 animals and plants for this year's "Red List" of endangered species, determining that 17,291 of them are at risk of extinction. More than one in five of all known mammals, over a quarter of reptiles and 70 percent of plants are under threat, according to the survey, which featured over 2,800 new species compared with 2008. "These results are just the tip of the iceberg," said Craig Hilton-Taylor, who manages the list. He said many more species that have yet to be assessed could also be under serious threat. The only mammal added to the list this year was the Eastern Voalavo, a rodent that lives in the mountainous forests of Madagascar. IUCN classified it as "endangered" - two steps from extinction in the … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo 17,000 Species Face Extinction, Group Says
Rangers at Cocos Island, a Costa Rican national park in the Pacific Ocean, say they recently found an endangered green sea turtle hooked by fishermen in protected waters. The turtle was released alive, but injured, and conservation officials say the episode highlights the threat of illegal long-line fishing. "Pirate fishermen are wreaking havoc on sea turtles and sharks of the Pacific, even at this remote 'protected' site, more than 350 miles from the mainland, destroying one the most incredible hotspots of marine biodiversity in the Pacific," biologist Todd Steiner, executive director of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, said in a statement this week. These "pirate fisherman" are often trying to catch sharks for their fins, which are shipped to Asia to make shark fin soup, a popular delicacy. When the fishermen sneak long-lines (lines that have hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks) inside the protected waters around Cocos Island, they risk unintentionally killing wildlife … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Endangered sea turtle saved from “pirate fishermen”
Climate change predictions paint a bleak picture for much of the world's flora and fauna: Species that can't keep up with a warming world will be pushed toward extinction unless conservation efforts can save them, the thinking goes. But a new study warns that many of the creatures most vulnerable to climate change are not currently considered conservation priorities. A group of researchers with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assessed all of the world's birds, amphibians and warm-water reef-building corals -- 16,857 species in total -- and analyzed their exposure to climate change, as well as a long list of biological and ecological characteristics that would affect each species' sensitivity and adaptability to changes in their natural habitat. These wildlife groups were chosen because they are relatively well-studied and they cover terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. Up to 83 percent of birds, 66 percent of amphibians and 70 percent of corals … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo More species at risk from climate change than thought
One of the world's rarest sea lions, a reclusive cat and some of the most beautiful orchids are among hundreds whose status worsened under the latest update to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, a biannual count released on Monday that gives a snapshot of the world's biodiversity. The Red List now includes 77,340 assessed species, of which 22,784 are threatened with extinction, up 371 from November. The increase comprises 100 new species listed as critically endangered, 184 endangered and 87 vulnerable. Some were up- or downgraded, while most were not previously assessed. Habitat loss was the main reason for species decline, along with over-collection of valuable plants. The IUCN also said the illegal wildlife trade and invasive species were blamed for putting many species on the list. It wasn't all bad news. Thirty-seven species saw their status upgraded, including the the Iberian lynx and the Guadalupe Fur Seal. "This IUCN Red List update confirms that effective conservation … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Sea lions, orchids among hundreds downgraded on threatened species list