The IUCN World Conservation Congress closed last week in Marseille by urging governments to implement a “nature-based recovery from the pandemic” by investing at least 10% of global recovery funds in nature. The Congress also adopted a series of resolutions and commitments they say are urgently needed to address the link between climate issues and the biodiversity crises. Two of the resolutions adopted by IUCN members included a call to protect 80% of the Amazon by 2025 and to secure a halt to deep-sea mining across the oceans.
At the Congress the IUCN also provided an update to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Red List now includes 138,374 species that have been assessed for their conservation status. According to the IUCN, 38,543, or approximately 36% of these assessed species are threatened with extinction. This includes 37% of the world’s sharks and rays. These species are threatened with extinction primarily due to overfishing. However they are also facing the issues of the loss and degradation of their habit as well as the compounding impacts resulting from climate change.
The global figures for the 2021-2 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species includes:
TOTAL IUCN RED LIST SPECIES ASSESSED = 138,374
(Total threatened species = 38,543)
Extinct = 902
Extinct in the Wild = 80
Critically Endangered = 8,404
Endangered = 14,647
Vulnerable = 15,492
Near Threatened = 8,127
Lower Risk/conservation dependent = 170
Least Concern = 71,148
Data Deficient = 19,404
In comparison, the 2020 IUCN Red List included approximately 120,000 species with over 32,000, or 27% of those species being threatened (those species that fall into the Vulnerable, Endangered and Critically Endangered categories) with extinction. This percentage increase could be random due to the types of species that were assessed. However it could also mean that more species in general are moving from a near threatened status to a threatened status.
The Endangered Komodo Dragon
One species that moved from the Vulnerable category to the Endangered category on the list is the Komodo dragon. The Komodo dragon which is endemic to Indonesia, is found only in the Komodo National Park and neighboring Flores. The IUCN says the Komodo dragon threats include habitat loss due to human activities and the increasing impacts of climate change. The IUCN also says the Komodo dragon’s habitat may be reduced by a least 30% over the next 45 years due to rising global temperature.
According to Dr Andrew Terry, Conservation Director at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) “Komodo dragons were first introduced to the British public by Sir David Attenborough just 60 years ago, on BBC’s iconic series “Zoo Quest for a Dragon” with ZSL. The idea that these prehistoric animals have moved one step closer to extinction due in part to climate change is terrifying – and a further clarion call for nature to be placed at the heart of all decision making on the eve of the COP26 in Glasgow.”
The COP26 is the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties. It will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from October 31 to November 12. COP26 will focus on issues related to the global impacts of climate change.
IUCN Conservation Congress 2024
This year’s IUCN World Conservation Congress is normally held every four years. It was originally scheduled for June of 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19. No official word has been published with regards to the next IUCN Conservation Congress. However will presumably be held in 2024.