February 24, 2024

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Humans threaten the world's migratory species: NPR

Humans threaten the world's migratory species: NPR

Ninety-seven percent of migratory fish species face extinction. Whale sharks, the largest living fish in the world, are considered an endangered species.

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Ninety-seven percent of migratory fish species face extinction. Whale sharks, the largest living fish in the world, are considered an endangered species.

Olstein Bild/Olstein Bild

Every year, as the seasons change, billions of animals set off on journeys to find food, reach better habitats or reproduce. They migrate in groups and individuals, flying, swimming, crawling and walking across international borders and across habitats to survive, transporting seeds and nutrients.

A major new UN report concludes that humans are not only making those journeys more difficult, but are putting many migratory species in a precarious state.

Nearly half of the world's already threatened migratory species are seeing their numbers decline The first United Nations report of its kind is found. More than a fifth of the nearly 1,200 migratory species monitored by the United Nations — whales, sea turtles, monkeys, songbirds and others — are threatened with extinction.

“These are amazing species that make incredible, and in some cases economically beneficial, journeys [for humans]As well as poetry, song and cultural significance,” said Amy Frankel, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.

The report, prepared by conservation scientists, is the most comprehensive assessment of the world's migratory species ever. It looked at 1,189 different species already protected under the Convention on Migratory Species — a 1979 treaty aimed at conserving species that move across international borders — to see whether conservation efforts were successful.

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In some cases, they are. Wildlife crossings help animals cross roads and fences. Regulations help prevent overfishing and over-consumption of some threatened fish and mammals. Protecting habitats gives species space to move and thrive.

However, to reverse population decline, these “efforts need to be strengthened and expanded,” the report's authors said.

The publication is the latest global report to raise concerns about the planet's non-human inhabitants. A 2019 assessment of the world's biodiversity found that 1 million of the estimated 8 million species on Earth are at risk of extinction, many within decades, due to human activities such as overconsumption, deforestation, pollution and development. A 2022 report by the World Wildlife Fund found that wildlife populations have declined by at a rate of 69% In the past fifty years.

For migratory species, threats from human activities can be magnified. Species protection varies from country to country. Enforcement of conservation laws can vary depending on the region.

According to the new report, hunting and fishing – overexploitation – and habitat loss due to human activities have been identified as the two biggest threats to migratory species. The report found that invasive species, pollution — including light and sound pollution — and climate change also have profound impacts.

Many species migrate with the change of seasons. Human-caused climate change is Change of seasonsLengthening summer, shortening winter, and changing the timing of spring and fall. Scientists have documented animals, Like birds in North AmericaAnd adjust the timing of their migrations to match those shifts. Not everyone keeps up with the rate of change, leading to what scientists call phenological asynchrony.

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World leaders from 133 countries that have signed the Convention on Migratory Species are meeting this week in Uzbekistan to chart the way forward.

Frankel said the new report should give parties a sense of urgency, but it should also be a guide for anyone who “wants to keep seeing birds flying and whales jumping in the water.” “Look at this report and find something [you] “It can be done to help these amazing species continue to survive.”