Over 600 species of animals not included in the Red Book are still on the verge of extinction, according to scientists who published an article in the journal Conservation Biology.
“When experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature update the Red Book, they do not always have enough time to process data for all 90 thousand species (included in it. – Ed.). Often this information is outdated or simply of poor quality. This is inevitable leads to the fact that they do not notice a significant part of endangered species “, – says Luca Santini from the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands).
Approximately five thousand species of plants and animals included in the Red Book are under direct threat of extinction. This number, as a rule, is constantly growing, but sometimes the efforts of ecologists and authorities cause some species to leave the list.
For example, two years ago, environmentalists discovered that the number of tigers and snow leopards in Russia and Asian countries increased several times due to the protection of habitats of big cats and the active fight against poachers. On the other hand, every year several species of birds, invertebrates and amphibians disappear completely from the face of the Earth.
Santini and his colleagues noticed that the condition of many species of animals, which they actively studied, was often underestimated by the Red Book. Despite a sharp decline in abundance and a decrease in habitat, they were categorized as “vulnerable” species, at the risk of minimal extinction.
On September 14, 2017, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources announced the exclusion of the snow leopard from the list of endangered species.
Scientists decided to use computer models to calculate the probability of the extinction of one or another representative of the fauna and flora according to how their habitat changes, their numbers and what prevents them from spreading.
In general, the “extinction ratings” formulated by experts of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, almost completely coincided with the predictions of Santini and his colleagues. At the same time, calculations have shown that the Red Book significantly underestimates the total number of endangered species – they turned out to be six hundred more.
The absence in the list of a number of species associated with two things. First, the Red Book is rarely updated, and animals in recent years have begun to die out faster and faster. Secondly, the statistical methods of experts of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, as scientists believe, are already outdated.
For this reason, Santini and his colleagues hope that the environmentalists working on the list will soon adopt their methodology. According to the press service of the Red Book, its experts agree with this idea and plan to start using computer and satellite maps of animal habitats in the very near future.