Study details ‘global epidemic’ of extinctions

Thousands of species may be at risk of extinction, warn authors of a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, including the cheetah, whose population has dropped to about 7,000. ©Ulrkia

A paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warns that dramatic population declines of thousands of species may be imminent. The study found about 30 percent of land vertebrates are declining. The authors estimate at least 200 species have gone extinct in the past 100 years. Over the past 2 million years, only 2 species typically went extinct in a 100-year period.

The authors looked at reductions in species range due to factors such as habitat degradation, pollution and climate change to determine how many populations have been lost or are in decline.

“It wouldn’t be ethical right now not to speak in this strong language to call attention to the severity of the problem,” co-author Garardo Ceballos, a researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónamo de México, told the New York Times.

Read the New York Times article here.