More than a fifth of the world’s migratory animals are at risk of extinction due to climate change and human exploitation, a United Nations (UN) State of the World’s Migratory Species report revealed on Monday.
Every year, billions of animals travel deserts, forests, and oceans to feed and breed. According to the report, human activities have placed unsustainable pressures on these animals. Hunting, fishing, and other forms of human exploitation affect 70% of the animals listed by the UN.
“As the first-ever State of the World’s Migratory Species Report, this really shows the importance of taking action for these species,” said Kelly Malsch, lead author of the report.
“So these species range from birds to sea turtles to whales to gorillas. But really, it’s about understanding the key threats to these species, and we found that it’s overexploitation and habitat loss,” she added.
The report’s authors urge governments to consider the impact on habitats and migration paths when installing infrastructure such as wind turbines, dams, or pipelines.
The report notes that of the 1,189 animals protected by the 1979 UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), 44% have seen a decline in numbers, with as many as 22% facing the possibility of extinction.
“The same types of threats that raise the risk of extinction for migratory species are the same threats, in fact, that raise the risk of zoonotic disease being transferred,” said Amy Fraenkel, executive secretary at CMS.
“Those are the destruction of habitat, bringing people closer to nature, and taking of species without, you know, safe handling,” she added.
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