Giant Panda the next to die?

Has the Giant Panda already started an irreversible route toward extinction too? Who cares – sort out the Yangtze River Dolphin – if it’s still there! Come on WWF – couldn’t you put more pressure on China to help you succeed?

Actually, WWF are the only charity that I’ve found, so far, who are doing some big conservation project at the Yangtze River. Maybe they will be able to do something for the Baiji,  so here’s an advert! (As seen at the Guardian website.)

Seriously, the IUCN’s Red List alerts us to a vast range of threatened species. The furry, cute things are just part of our planet’s biodiversity – so why do they take up so much of the list? Take a look at last year’s table from the IUCN below.

Invertebrate animal species outnumber vertebrates by a huge amount. Yet according to the IUCN they don’t seem to be as threatened -(or so important?)- as the vertebrates. There are more types of insect in this world than all other types of animal, plant or mushroom species added together. Yet we see only 623 insects on the Red List, while mammals have 1,093 places. Just the mammals!

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Table: (Source IUCN)
Numbers of threatened species by major group (1996-2004)

Number of described species

Number of threatened species in 1996 / 98

Number of threatened species in 2006

Vertebrates

Mammals

5,416

1,096

1,093

Birds

9,934

1,107

1,206

Reptiles

8,240

253

341

Amphibians

5,918

124

1,811

Fishes

29,300

734

1,173

Subtotal

58,808

3,314

5,624

Invertebrates

Insects

950,000

537

623

Molluscs

70,000

920

975

Crustaceans

40,000

407

459

Others

130,200

27

44

Subtotal

1,190,200

1,891

2,101

Plants

Mosses

15,000

80

Ferns and allies

13,025

139

Gymnosperms

980

142

306

Dicotyledons

199,350

4,929

7,086

Monocotyledons

59,300

257

779

Subtotal

287,655

5,328

8,390

Others

Lichens

10,000

2

Mushrooms

16,000

1

Subtotal

26,000

3

TOTAL =

1,562,663

10,533

16,118

Article copyright © 2008 Jason P Ball.

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One Response to “Giant Panda the next to die?”

  1. Organism of the month Nov 2008 - Sumatran Rhino « the natureheads blog Says:

    […] get as much attention as they deserve. And yes, I have complained about the fact that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) focus far too much on mammals in the IUCN Red List (it was encouraging to see the Purple […]

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