An analysis by scientists warn the sixth mass extinction of wildlife is accelerating, which may be the tipping point for the collapse of civilization.
More than 500 species of land animals were found on the brink of extinction and may be lost within 20 years. The same number were lost too, in the last century.
There are less than 1,000 individuals left of land vertebrates, including the Sumatran rhino, the Clarion wren, the Espanola giant tortoise, and the harlequin frog. Scientists found these species to have lost about 94% of their populations.
“Extinction breeds extinctions,” the researchers warned, noting that the loss of one species may tip others.
They said the coronavirus pandemic serves as an extreme example of the dangers of ravaging the natural world. The growing human population, destruction of habitats, illegal wildlife trade, pollution and climate crisis must be urgently tackled.
“When humanity exterminates other creatures, it is sawing off the limb on which it is sitting, destroying working parts of our own life-support system,” said Prof Paul Ehrlich, one of the researchers from the Stanford University in the US. “The conservation of endangered species should be elevated to a global emergency for governments and institutions, equal to the climate disruption to which it is linked.”
The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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