Friday, July 17, 2015

Populations Declining Despite Some Conservation Successes

Conservation programs have definitely increased populations of threatened and endangered species: Lesser-Prairie Chicken, Oregon Chub, and Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog are just a few of the species which have begun to rebound.  For many species, conflicts with humans, either directly or though habitat disturbance, is a primary cause of population decline.  In fact, habitat destruction is the main threat to 85% of the species assessed on the ICUN Red List.  As such, habitat restoration is a major part of most conservation plans and this has lead to population increases and delisting of some species.

Lion (Panthera leo) by Joy Viola, Northeastern University,
However, not all endangered species are part of conservation programs and many are protected are continuing to decline.  Big cats are very charismatic and are "poster animals" for conservation programs and endangered species.  Despite conservation efforts, many species are still declining due to prey animal population decline, human-animal conflict, and poaching.  Many species of plants are also impacted by human activities, not only habitat destruction, but also poaching.  Almost all of the 84 species of Asian slipper orchid are threatened by over-collection and habitat loss.

While 14 new species have been assessed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct), no new species have been listed as Extinct.

Source Article: Conservation successes overshadowed by more species declines – IUCN Red List update