Climate change is a problem that not only affects humanity, but also all of the planet’s biodiversity. In the last two decades, the Red List of Threatened Species The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has documented the disappearance of more than 500 species. These are some of the animals that have become extinct in recent decades due to human intervention.
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The entity divides the species into nine categories: not evaluated; insufficient data; minor concern; near threatened; vulnerable; in danger; critically endangered; extinct in nature; and extinct. According to the IUCN, more than 38,500 species are in danger of extinction, that is, a third of the 138,000 evaluated. Among the most threatened are amphibians (41%), sharks and rays (35%) and mammals (26%).
According to the IUCN, more than a list of species and their status, the Red List is a “powerful tool to inform and catalyze actions for biodiversity conservation and policy change, essential to protect the natural resources we need to survive.” .
The ivory-billed woodpecker, once considered the largest woodpecker in the United States, was declared extinct in September 2021. It had been listed as an endangered species in 1967, although it was last seen in April 1944 at Singer Tract, in the Tensas River region of northeast Louisiana. Despite decades of searching in the southeastern United States and Cuba, it has not been found. The main threats that led to their extinction were habitat loss and forest destruction.
The melomys rubicola was a nocturnal rodent endemic to the coral island of Bramble Cay in Australia and is considered the first mammal to become extinct due to man-made climate change: its population was depleted due to the erosion of its habitat and vegetation , due to the rise in sea level.
The melomys rubicola was large for a rodent. Its body measured between 14.8 to 16.5 centimeters and its tail, between 14.5 and 18.5 centimeters, while its weight varied between 78 and 164 grams. The last sighting dates from 2009, and was declared extinct in 2015. Scientists are hopeful that an identical or similar species inhabits Papua New Guinea.
The splendid poison frog (Oophaga speciosa) was an endemic species of the Talamanca mountain range, in western Panama. Of an intense red color, it measured between 2.6 and 3 centimeters in length. It was last seen in 1992, it was declared extinct in 2020. Researchers believe that deforestation and habitat degradation, as well as a fungus outbreak in 1996, were the main causes of its extinction. Because it was captured to be commercialized, it is possible that there are live specimens in captivity.
The bucardo, as the Iberian mountain goat of the Spanish Pyrenees was called (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica), was declared extinct in 2000 after the death of Celia, the last female of the species. Their population declined due to centuries of indiscriminate hunting, disease, and the difficulty of competing with other species. Along with the mueyu from Portugal, it is one of the two extinct ibex subspecies. In 2003, it was declared as “not extinct” or “extinct”, after scientists achieved the birth of a cloned specimen. However, he died minutes later, due to lung failure.
The West African black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes) it was declared extinct in 2011. Sport hunting dramatically reduced its population during the 20th century, going from nearly a million individuals and four subspecies in the African savannah to just 2,300 in 2001. Industrial agriculture ended up destroying many habitats rhino history, according to Scientific American.
The giant tortoise of Pinta (Chelonoidis abingdonii) was a species of tortoise native to the Pinta Island of the Galapagos archipelago, Ecuador. It was hunted by sailors and fishermen for food during the 19th and 20th centuries. The goats, introduced in the late 1950s, ended up destroying the habitat. The species was declared extinct in June 2012 with the death of Lonesome George, the last specimen that had been in captivity since 1972.
A series of actions caused by man ended with the declaration in 2009 of the extinction in the wild of the partula suturalis, better known as the viviparous moorean snail and that inhabited the tropical island of Moorea, in French Polynesia. The African land snail was introduced in 1967 as a food source, but it escaped and began destroying crops. Biologists wanted to control it in 1977 with the introduction of the queen conch, but this ended up eradicating all native snails, including the viviparous moorean snail. Polynesian tree snail species only exist in captivity.
China’s baiji dolphin (Lipotes vexillifer) was declared “functionally extinct” in 2007, after conservation scientists found no surviving species along the Yangtze River. The decline in the baiji dolphin population is attributed to factors such as overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss, among others.
The last documented record of the species, also known as the “Yangtze Goddess,” dated from 2002, when the last specimen died in captivity. However, in 2018 a team of conservationists released a photograph of a specimen that resembles the freshwater dolphin, of a bluish-gray color with a long trunk and a small triangular dorsal fin.
The Spix’s macaw (Cyanopsitta spixii) was declared extinct in late 2020, following the death of Jewel, the last female of the species. Animal trafficking and deforestation of Brazilian forests are considered the main factors of their extinction. Spix’s Macaw, one of eight species presumed to be confirmed or highly probable extinction, became known through the animated film River.