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Humans' Over-Exploitation Causes Widlife Extinction More than Climate Change

Aug 12, 2016 04:10 AM EDT
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Humanity knows how important it is to save the planet. However, a new study shows that human activity and its over-exploitation of wildlife resources affects severe wildlife extinction than climate change does.

The Conversation reports that climate change affects 19 percent of globally threatened and near-threatened species -- including Australia's critically endangered mountain pygmy possum and the southern corroboree frog.

However, a new study published in the journal Nature reveals that human's harvesting of species and our over-expanding agricultural footprint is the main driver of wildlife extinction, not climate change.

Scientists found that three-quarters of nearly 9,000 "threatened" or "near threatened" species are being over-exploited for human needs.

The Western gorilla and Chinese pangolin are on high demand for their meat and body parts that cause them to near extinction. 

In order to suffice the growing commodity for livestock and crops, 50 percent of the plants and animals observed in the study had their habitat converted into industrial farms or plantation.

"Addressing the old foes of over-harvesting and agricultural activities are key to turning around the biodiversity extinction crisis," said lead author Sean Maxwell, a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia, told Science Daily.

The team, from the University of Queensland, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), studied information on 8,688 species on the IUCN Red List.

The study revealed that about over-exploitation of humans have put plants and animals in danger by 72 percent while 62 percent of species are in danger due to agricultural activity. The root cause of all of these shocking statistics is human needs and demand. 

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