From: Ben Block, Worldwatch Institute, More from this Affiliate
Published November 4, 2009 10:17 AM

Degraded Habitats Push More Species to Extinction

The latest global assessment of biodiversity ruled yesterday that an additional 11 species are either fully extinct or extinct outside of captivity.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) updated its Red List of Threatened Species, considered the authority on the status of the world's species, to an all-time high of 17,291 species threatened with extinction. The annual index has become a consistent indicator of how environmental change is altering natural habitats worldwide.



Among assessed animal groups, 37 percent of freshwater fish species, 35 percent of invertebrates, 30 percent of amphibians, and 28 percent of reptiles are threatened. In addition, 21 percent of known mammals and 12 percent of known birds are under threat.

"A serious extinction crisis is mounting," said Jane Smart, director of IUCN's biodiversity conservation group. "We're rapidly running out of time."

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