IUCN Red List update: Nearly 2,000 species added


The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added almost 2,000 more plants and animals to its latest Red List of Threatened Species.

Several of the new additions are considered to be at urgent risk of extinction, the Scientific American reported: for example, Colombia's "purring" Caquetá titi monkey and the Myanmar snub-nosed monkey, both of which have gone straight into the "Critically Endangered" category.

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Others have been classed as "Vulnerable," such as the ruby-eyed green pit viper, native to Vietnam and Cambodia.

A total of 10 percent of snakes endemic to China and South-East Asia are now threatened with extinction, the IUCN says

According to the BBC, the new data confirms the region's status as "the world's main 'extinction hotspot.'" Not only are East Asia's natural habitats under pressure from growing, wealthier, more urban human populations, certain of its vulnerable animals such as snakes are hunted for meat, medicine, skin and the pet trade.

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Four species were declared "Extinct" on this year's Red List: an American river mollusk, the ovate club shell; the Fish Springs marsh snail, found only in Utah; and two plants, Acalypha dikuluwensis and Basananthe cupricola, both endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The 2012 edition of the Red List was unveiled as part of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which opens in Brazil tomorrow.

IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lefevre described the latest list as "a clarion call" to world leaders to protect the planet's ecosystems.

The IUCN has now assessed the conservation status of 63,837 species in total. Of those, 19,817 are classed as at risk of extinction, including 41 percent of amphibians, 25 percent of mammals and 13 percent of birds.

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