WWF balance sheet: Sharks and cranes are losers of the year

As of: 12/29/2021 11:22 a.m.

The environmental protection organization WWF speaks of the “greatest extinction of species since the end of the dinosaur era” with a view to the number of threatened species worldwide. In her annual balance sheet she lists the gray crane as the loser.

More and more animal and plant species are on the red list of threatened species – with more than 40,000 there are now more species than ever before. In view of the development, the environmental protection organization WWF warned of “a catastrophic escalation of the global extinction of species”. The “greatest extinction of species since the end of the dinosaur era” is under way, the organization formulated at the time of its annual balance sheet of winners and losers in the animal kingdom. There are bright spots where people are intensely committed to protecting nature and species.

“Species protection is no longer just about eliminating an environmental problem, but rather the question of whether humanity will someday end up on the red list in a hazard category and become the loser of its own way of life,” said Eberhard Brandes, Managing Director at WWF Germany.

Many losers due to climate change or habitat loss

On behalf of many others, the environmentalists cite the African forest elephants as the losers in their balance sheet, whose populations have plummeted by 86 percent over the past 31 years. The species has officially been considered “critically endangered” since this year. The smaller relative of the African elephant plays an important role in the preservation of forests and thus also in climate protection.

The WWF also put the gray crane on its list of losers. Although it is not yet classified as endangered, its future is uncertain in the opinion of the organization. As a result of climate change, the nesting sites of the largest native bird in Germany increasingly fell dry. The death of insects also causes a lack of food in the offspring.

Overfishing, habitat loss and climate change – these are also the main causes of the poor condition of many shark and ray species. According to the International Red List, a third has been considered threatened since 2021, reports the WWF.

Lynx and Great Bustard as winners

The environmentalists are citing the Iberian and Eurasian lynx as winners. In the past 18 years, the population of the Iberian lynx has increased more than tenfold, writes the WWF. There were now more than 1000 of these animals in their homeland Spain and Portugal. In Germany, the stocks of the related Eurasian lynx have recovered. There are now around 130 full-grown and around 60 young animals at home here.

According to the WWF, the Great Bustards are also among the winners. Above all, they suffer from the intensification of agriculture. This has led to the heaviest airborne birds in the world, weighing up to 17 kilograms, becoming extinct or acutely threatened in many countries. In Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, however, 347 of these birds were counted in 2021 – the highest level in 40 years.


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