Happy New Year? Maybe Not For Some Species

We are busy now trying to actualize what we resolved, champagne glass in hand, to accomplish in 2015. But how about this sobering news found in a blog by Anastasia Pantsios in EcoWatch?

Anyone who has ever visited a zoo has probably seen the charts depicting how this or that animal’s habitat has shrunk, thanks to human encroachment, climate change or both. And while some animal rights activists oppose zoos and animal captivity, if we don’t address the disappearance of their territory, many animals themselves could disappear from the face of the Earth—many of them as early as this year.

Tiger
Habitat destruction in rapidly developing areas has threatened animals such as the South China tiger. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Center for Biological Diversity says there’s an “extinction crisis” underway that threatens our planet’s biodiversity.

“Our planet is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals—the sixth wave of extinctions in the past half-billion years,” says Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural ‘background’ rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day. It could be a scary future indeed, with as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century.”

And the reason for species extinction has been upended.

“Unlike past mass extinctions, caused by events like asteroid strikes, volcanic eruptions and natural climate shifts, the current crisis is almost entirely caused by us—humans,” says Center for Biological Diversity. “In fact, 99 percent of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities, primarily those driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species and global warming.”

The disappearing species include mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds and invertebrates such as corals, earthworms and butterflies…

Continue reading here.

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