Annual Red List And The New IUCN Red List Web Site Updates The Good and The Bad

red list 01 Annual Red List And The New IUCN Red List Web Site Updates The Good and The Bad

If someone told you the amount of money in your bank account was going to decrease somewhere between 100 and 1,000 times in the next year, the sheer uncertainty of that loss would send you into a panic. That rate is the same speed at which scientists estimate global warming and human pollution are affecting animal extinction each year — yet we all remain oddly at ease.

The World Conservation Union, known as the IUCN, recently released its yearly Red List of species that are facing a higher risk of global extinction. The IUCN lists these species into groups including Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable… categories not too different from those I use to balance my own checking account!

This year the IUCN added 188 new species for a grand total of 16,300 animals, plants, and marine life at risk. According to Craig Hilton-Tailor the Red List’s Manager, this number is still extremely low. “We’ve only really looked at the tip of the iceberg in terms of species that are out there and known to science.” While scientists estimate there could be nearly 15 million species in the world, only 1.8 million are confirmed to exist. Although the IUCN is the world’s largest conservation network, spanning 83 states, 110 international government agencies, 800 private organizations, 10,000 scientists, and 181 countries, they still only have the resources to review just above 40,000 species a year. So what does all this number crunching really mean?

red list 02 Annual Red List And The New IUCN Red List Web Site Updates The Good and The Bad

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The Sumatran Orangutan Gets A Bleak Assessment

orangutan 01 The Sumatran Orangutan Gets  A Bleak Assessment

Their bright orange/red hue may be a sign of their demise. The Sumatran Orangutan is in many ways being treated like the “red-headed stepchild” of Southeast Asia. Which is hard to imagine because their perma-smile instantly puts a smile on my face. But there’s some seriousness in the lives of these happy-natured animals. Their natural habitats are being destroyed in order to clear the land for palm oil production.

If you take a look at any of your favorite snacks, chances are you’ll see palm oil among the list of ingredients. It’s low in trans fat which makes it very appealing to food makers. And with Biofuel becoming more popular, the need for palm oil is off the charts. Therein lies the double edged sword. How do you promote the use of alternative fuels without harming an entire species?

Wikipedia, in 2002 the World Conservation Union put the species into the IUCN Red List with “critically endangered” status – and it’s still there on this year’s list. That’s just one step away from being extinct in the wild.

But before you start tossing out everything in your cupboards that contains palm oil, check out the Orangutan Conservancy’s website. It has a list of brands that use oil from “environmentally sensitive” operations.

orangutan 02 The Sumatran Orangutan Gets  A Bleak Assessment

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