UN report warns. Migratory animals in danger of extinction

Zwierzęta wędrowne

Every year, migratory animals cross land and oceans, sometimes traveling thousands of kilometers to reproduce and find food. Unfortunately, this may soon change. The groundbreaking United Nations (UN) State of the World’s Migratory Species report leaves no illusions – unsustainable human activity threatens the future of migratory species.

UN report is first review of conservation status and population trends of migratory animals

On February 12, during the 14th. The United Nations Conference on the Conservation of Wildlife (CMS COP14), which is currently taking place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, and will run until February 17, has unveiled its first-ever assessment of the state of the world’s migratory animals.

The report considers 1189 species covered by the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), which has been in effect since 1979. It was prepared by conservation scientists at the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC), using the most reliable species datasets and with support from BirdLife International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), among others.

More than one in five migratory animal species are threatened with extinction

The latest UN report presents alarming data. The population of almost half (44 percent) of CMS-listed species has declined in recent years, and as much as 22 percent. Are threatened with extinction. These data clearly indicate that the number of migratory animal species is steadily decreasing, and thus the risk of their disappearance from our planet is dramatically increasing.

According to the document, the threat of extinction particularly affects fish. Population 97 percent. of the 58 species covered by the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals has decreased by 90 percent. Compared to data from the 1970s. In the 1970s. You can mention sharks, sturgeons or stingrays, among others. Significantly, a number of migratory animals that are not currently listed by CMS but are included in the report are also threatened with extinction. This is nearly 400 species worldwide, of which 35 (4 percent) are classified as critically endangered.

Migratory animals may become extinct due to human activities

According to the United Nations report presented, the biggest threat to migratory animals is humans and their activities. Their migrations are primarily disrupted by environmental pollution with chemicals and plastics, hunting, as well as climate change and habitat destruction and defragmentation due to agricultural activities. In addition, migratory animals are also gradually losing the ability to move freely along their migration routes due to expanding road, rail and agglomeration infrastructure.

What should be done to protect migratory animals from extinction?

Migratory animals are an important part of the balance of complex ecosystems on our planet. Through their migrations, they help, among other things, to store carbon dioxide, transport nutrients between marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, or pollinate plants. Migratory species are also an important source of food for other animals and populations found along their migratory routes.

Therefore, it is necessary to prevent the extinction of endangered animal species by taking appropriate measures as soon as possible to eliminate the pressure they face. The related recommendations in the UN report cover five areas of action:

  • Protection, connection and restoration of natural habitats for migratory animals;
  • Reduce overexploitation of migratory species by humans;
  • Reducing the harmful effects of environmental pollution;
  • delaying climate change, as well as its effects;
  • Expanding the lists of species covered by the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) to include species not included in the list but threatened with extinction.

Among other things, the measures are to identify key sites for migratory species along their migration route, and to increase conservation coverage (up to 30 percent) of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and other important habitats by 2030. It is also important to take action to reduce the impact of overfishing, the incidental capture of marine migratory species, or to help all migratory species adapt to a changing climate through targeted efforts to restore natural ecosystems.

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