IN THE NEWS: More animals declared extinct as human toll on wildlife continues to grow according to IUCN Red List

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IN THE NEWS: On JUL 2, 2013

A FURTHER three animal species have been declared extinct in this year's IUCN Red List of threatened species.

They are a Cape Verde lizard, the Santa Cruz pupfish once found in Arizona and a freshwater shrimp.

The updated International Union for Conservation of Nature list shows worrying declines for conifers - the world's oldest and largest organisms - freshwater shrimps, cone snails and the Yangtze finless porpoise.

A further 4807 species have been added, bringing the total number of assessed species to 70,294, of which 20,934 are threatened with extinction.

Australia has 96 critically endangered animal species and scientists have raised concerns that many will come under further pressure due to the Queensland Government increasing land clearing, allowing grazing and development in national parks and a major dingo poisoning and trapping campaign.

Researchers say as dingo numbers decline, cats and foxes which hunt endangered animals such as the bilby, Julia Creek dunnart, dusky hopping mouse and plains rat numbers, will boom.

IUCN biodiversity conservation group director Jane Smart said the updated red list pointed to an alarming extinction crisis.

It found that 34 per cent of the world's cedars, cypresses, firs and other cone-bearing plants were threatened with extinction - an increase by 4 per cent since the last assessment in 1998.

The conservation status of 33 conifer species has declined. Conifers are the oldest and largest species on the planet, with the redwood growing to 110m.

IUCN's primate specialist group chairman Russell Mittermeier said the update was invaluable.

"Once again, it demonstrates that the IUCN Red List is our most fundamental tool in stemming the extinction crisis (and) maintaining global biodiversity,'' Dr Mittermeier said.

Cone snails, found in tropical marine environments, have been assessed for the first time, with 8 per cent threatened with extinction.

As predators, they are an important element in marine ecosystems and are highly valued for their lethal toxins which are used in the development of drugs to treat pain.

They have beautiful shells which have been collected for centuries.

A global reptile assessment is under way.

 
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