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More than half of the least documented species may be endangered

Extinction threatens more than half of species whose conservation status cannot be proven due to lack of data – reports a study in the scientific journal Communications Biology.

More than half of the species examined are threatened with extinction

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which compiled the Red List of Threatened Species, currently has data on 150,000 plant and animal species — about 41,000 of which, 28 percent of all species, are at risk of extinction, according to the study published Thursday.

41 percent of amphibians are at risk of extinction,

It affects 38 percent of sharks and rays and 27 percent of mammals.

More than forty percent of amphibians are endangeredSource: John P Clare

However, for thousands of other species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature does not have enough data to determine the conservation status of the species in question – to decide whether a particular species falls into the category of “least concern”, “critically threatened” or even “extinct”.

Tropical ‘invader’: the black-spotted great white shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus)Source: Wikimedia Commons

Using machine learning techniques, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have generated estimates for 7,699 species for which no data is available. It was found that more than half of the studied species, a total of 4,336, are in danger of extinction.

In the medium and long term, up to one million species may disappear

This means that 85 percent of amphibians and 61 percent of the mammals on the list are at risk.
We see that the proportion of endangered species in terrestrial and coastal areas worldwide may be higher, including species for which we have no data, lead author of the study Jan Bourget told AFP.

Many mammal species are also considered endangeredSource: Wikimedia Commons

The analysis also indicates that the risk is greater in some regions with rich and unique fauna, such as Madagascar or southern India.

The study may help the IUCN develop a strategy to conserve insufficiently documented species

Jan Burgelt expressed his hopes. A 2019 United Nations report notes that in the medium and long term, one million species are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss, climate change, invasive species and overexploitation.

(Source: MTI / AFP)

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