One In Five Migratory Species Are Threatened With Extinction

Every year billions of animals migrate across continents and national borders to feed and breed. Migratory species play an essential role in maintaining the world’s ecosystems, and provide vital benefits, by pollinating plants, transporting key nutrients, preying on pests, and helping to store carbon.

Also Read, The Great Migration : Animal Migration On The Planet

The United Nations (“UN”) has published a report titled State of the World’s Migratory Species (“Report”), the first ever report on migrating animals. The Report was launched at the UN wildlife conservation conference in Samarkand. Uzbekistan. The Report focuses on 1,889 species covered by the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (“Convention”) and on more than 3,000 migratory species not covered by the Convention.

The Report states that more than one in five migratory species listed under the Convention are threatened with extinction. This means they are facing the possibility of complete disappearance. While some migratory species listed under the Convention are improving, 44% are showing population decline.

The Alarming Numbers: 

According to the Report:

40% of the 158 mammals listed under the Convention are threatened across the globe.

97% of the fish species (like sharks, sturgeons, and rays) listed under the Convention, are threatened with extinction.

3/4 species are affected by habitat loss.

399 species out of the 3,000 migratory species not covered by the Convention are threatened or near threatened with extinction.

The extinction risk is growing for migratory species globally including the species not listed under Convention. The Report has stated that human activities like hunting, fishing, noise pollution, light pollution, use of pesticides, destruction of habitat especially for agriculture are some of the most important causes for this threat. Construction of roads, railways and fences also disrupt migration routes. Another big reason for the threat to the migratory animals is climate change caused by humans.

Some Good News

Only 14 species listed under the Convention have recorded an improvement in conservation status. These include blue and humpback whales, white-tailed sea eagle and the black-faced spoonbill!

Way Forward

The Report states that things can be changed if countries work together. The Report has made the following recommendations:

  • Countries should work towards meeting their commitments to tackle climate change,
  • Increase actions to identify, protect, connect, and effectively manage important sites for migratory species;
  • Reducing plastic, light, and noise pollution;
  • Reducing the use of pesticides;
  • Tackle illegal hunting and fishing;
  • Take more efforts to restore the ecosystem, and
  • Find more key sites and routes that migratory species use.

Word Check 

At certain times of the year, many mammals, fishes, birds, and other animals move from one place to another. This is called migration. Migration is an important part of the life cycle of animals.

Can you name some migratory animals?

Also can you think of more reasons why animals migrate?

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