20% of all world’s species under threat of extinction

BBC News reports: A fifth of animals without backbones could be at risk of extinction, say scientists.

Almost 80% of the world’s species are invertebrates, meaning they lack a spinal column.

Reviewing over 12,000 species known to be threatened, biologists found that freshwater ones are most at risk.

Researchers urged for comprehensive studies of those vulnerable, to help inform conservation and protect species.

Human pressures, ranging from habitat disruption to increased temperatures, were key concerns according to the report published by the Zoological Society of London.

“We knew that roughly one fifth of vertebrates and plants were threatened with extinction, but it was not clear if this was representative of the small spineless creatures that make up the majority of life on the planet,” said Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s director of conservation.

“The initial findings in this report indicate that 20% of all species may be threatened.

“This is particularly concerning as we are dependent on these spineless creatures for our very survival,” he said. [Continue reading…]

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