Lemurs, North Atlantic right whales and European hamsters are critically endangered

North Atlantic Right Whale Marianna Hagbloom Fundy

The North Atlantic Right Whale is at risk from collisions with ships and fishing nets.

Anderson Cabot Center / IUCN

The North Atlantic right whale, 33 species of lemurs and even the European hamster are considered endangered, according to the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN), which released its latest Red List of Threatened Species on Thursday. The new list includes more than 32,000 species that are currently threatened with extinction.

According to the new list, it was estimated that over 250 adult North Atlantic right whales were alive at the end of 2018, with the total population decreasing by 15% since 2011. This decrease is due to deaths from entanglement in fishing gears or hits from ships. The decline is also due to the lower reproduction rates of whales compared to previous years.

“The dramatic decline in species like the North Atlantic right whale underscores the severity of the extinction crisis,” said Jane Smart, global director of the IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group, in a statement on Thursday. “In order to keep the rapidly growing number of endangered species from extinction, transformational changes are required, which are supported by measures to implement national and international agreements. The world must act quickly to stop the population decline of the species and the man-made extinction prevent.”


The Sifaka Lemur des Verreaux found in Madagascar is threatened with extinction.

Nick Garbutt / IUNC

Lemurs like Verreaux’s Sifaka and Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (which is considered the world’s smallest primate) are also at risk of extinction. The new list shows that a total of 33 species of lemurs are now threatened with extinction, with “103 of the 107 surviving species threatened with extinction due to deforestation and hunting in Madagascar”.

“The IUCN Red List update shows the importance of protecting the diversity of life around the world, especially groups such as lemurs, which are geographically very limited, making these species less resistant to habitat destruction,” said Sean T. O’Brien, President and CEO of NatureServe, said in a statement. “We need to protect the unique biodiversity of our planet and look for ways to use data, science, and technology to prevent global extinction.”

In Africa, an estimated 53% of primate species (54 out of 103) are also threatened with extinction. This includes all 17 species of red colobus, making it the most endangered species of monkey in Africa.


Even the European hamster could die out in 30 years.

Mathilde Tissier / IUNC

In Europe and Russia, the European (or ordinary) hamster “is likely to die out within the next 30 years” unless its situation changes, according to the IUCN. The European hamster (Cricetus cricetus) has suffered a sharp decline in population due to impaired reproductive rates. The growth of monoculture plantations, the increase in industrial developments and global warming are being examined by scientists as possible causes.

Animals are not the only ones in trouble. The most expensive mushroom in the world, caterpillar fungus (Ophiocordyceps sinensis), is considered vulnerable because it is over-harvested to meet the growing demands on traditional Chinese medicine to treat many lung and kidney diseases. The expensive mushroom can often be sold for up to $ 50,000 a pound.

Unfortunately, the Bonin Pipistrelle bat, the splendid poison frog, the Jalpa-Falschbach salamander and the dwarf mantis are all species that have now been declared extinct on the latest IUCN list.

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