Not all is unwell, and many species have been saved; they are not always doomed to extinction. Ever since 1993, conservationists have had their valiant efforts rewarded with the successful conservation of up to 48 species of birds and mammals.
However, scientists still say that more still needs to be done to stop the loss of biodiversity.
Extinction Not Destined
If no interventions have been conducted in the past decades, there would have been 3 to 4 times more extinctions for this wildlife, said the authors.
Success Amidst a Negative General Outlook
According to Newcastle University biodiversity policy postdoctoral researcher and lead study author Friederike C. Bolam, such positive news are nice to hear, especially since it gives hope that conservationists can make a difference. She says that knowing that things can be turned around, even for just a few species, is powerful.
Still, wildlife species have generally been declining instead of rebounding. A report by the World Wildlife Fund published last Wednesday stated that the period of 1970 up to 2016 saw populations of almost 4,400 wildlife species declining at a rate of 68% on the average.
According to a new study that was published last June, mass extinctions have been rapidly accelerating, with 500 species possibly facing extinction in the next two decades.
The purpose of Dr. Bolam's research team's study was to determine how the world succeeded in this goal.
To undertake the study, the researchers made a list of the IUCN critically endangered species of birds and mammals from 1993 onwards. They then specifically chose species that have almost become extinct.
They consulted 28 species experts to see if conservation efforts had significantly saved them from extinction. They then averaged the scores of the experts.
Study Results and Implications
The study's findings showed that since the year 2010, there were nine to 18 bird species that have been saved through conservation. For mammals, the number is two to seven species.
Meanwhile, 23 other species were saved since the convention was organized in 1993 up to the agreement of 2010.
Fifteen species of birds and mammals have been known or thought to have become extinct since 1993 and one since 2010. Despite this, however, some progress has been made, according to Dr. Bolam.
According to the National University of Córdoba ecologist Sandra Díaz, the highest value provided by the study is the proof of concept that extinctions can be prevented by conservation and are not unavoidably destined. She was not part of the research.
Dr. Díaz adds, however, that the goal of explicitly targeting every species on the planet for conservation is unrealistic. She also says that many of the species that the study considered successfully saved are still classified as critically endangered, and some of them can even eventually disappear.
Dr. Díaz says that we can find inspiration in the study's findings to ramp up scientists' efforts in tackling the danger of extinction of species.
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