Hawaii plant diversity faces immense threat

©David Elckhoff

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is currently holding its conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, announced that 38 plant species found only in Hawaii had gone extinct and hundreds more are threatened. The IUCN says invasive species such as pigs, rats, slugs and other plants are responsible for this. As part of the IUCN’s Red List assessment of threatened species, 415 plant species were surveyed and 87 percent were classified as being threatened with extinction including the ohe kiko ola (Tetraplasandra waimeae), a flowering tree found in Kauai and the flowering haha (Cyanea profuga) plant. According to the IUCN’s latest Red List announcement, four of the six great ape species are also facing extreme threats, and further, two subspecies of gorilla and two subspecies of orangutan are one step away from extinction. However, it wasn’t all bad news. According to the latest assessment, giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) populations in China, which used to be listed as endangered, are now not considered vulnerable, meaning they have no imminent threat of extinction. Read more about some of the findings at the ongoing IUCN conference at the Honolulu Civil Beat.