A Mass Extinction in on the Cards, and Humans are Responsible

Is it too late to stop this mass extinction?

We are teetering on the brink of a sixth mass extinction according to a new report published in Nature magazine.

Without immediate intervention, there is little, to no hope of recovering tens of thousands of species threatened by human activities. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has predicted the possible extinction of 61,000 animal species.

The previous five mass extinctions were caused by meteorites, volcanoes and ice ages over a period of 500 million years. The sixth mass extinction will be caused by human activity and without action in the next 50 years will be irreversible.

Urgent conventional and proactive approaches to conservation are needed to ensure that sufficient habitats will remain to preserve the viability of these species in the long term and to guarantee that such habitats are well managed.

Currently, culling, poaching, deforestation, hunting, pollution, loss of habitat, introducing invasive species and climate change are the leading causes of extinction in mammals and a third of amphibians and birds. The animal population has decreased by 60 percent, with the human population projected to reach 10 billion by 2060.

The report suggests that efforts made to conserve animals and the environment will have greater benefits for humans in the long run. Including shelter, food, and clean air among others.

According to the study, by intensifying current conservation policies, there is a chance to save some of our more threatened species:

All species could benefit from the intensification of current conservation policies, as well as from policies that reduce underlying anthropogenic threats. Developing and enacting such policies, however, will require an unprecedented degree of engagement between stakeholders, policymakers, natural scientists and social scientists.

This is dependent on immediate global intervention, it is up to the global community to take action.

Header: A female of the orangutan with a cub in a native habitat. Rainforest of Borneo, shutterstock

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