According to ecologist/conservationist Gerardo Ceballos, animal species are going extinct at 100x times the natural rate.
In a BBC report, Ceballos states, “We have entered the sixth mass extinction. Based on our research and what we’re seeing, the extinction crisis is so bad that whatever we do in the next 10 to 50 years is what will define the future of humanity.”
Unlike asteroids and volcanoes, the sixth mass extinction, also called The Holocene Extinction, is almost entirely caused by human activity, and not just from burning fossil fuels. Logging/deforestation, habitat loss and poaching have pushed 500 mammals, birds, reptiles to the brink of extinction.
Recent data from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List shows that there are 16,306 species (including plants) currently listed as endangered.
-1,300 endangered species are in the U.S. alone.
-There are around 3,900 tigers left in the entire world.
-Almost a third of all sharks are at varying levels of near-extinction.
Some Good News:
In 2018 IUCN assessed 116,000 species of animals. And these studies have created positive change! Their 2012 report of known lemur species led directly to a $7.65 million conservation investment, which now protects lemurs through the IUCN SOS–Save Our Species initative.
Human intervention brought these species to near annihilation and it will take human intervention if we want to save them.
Protected areas: a hope in the midst of the sixth mass extinction