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531 Endangered American Species On IUCN Red List Not Protected, Study Says

A recent study from the University of Adelaide has shown that approximately 531 American species that are endangered or threatened are not being effectively protected.

| December 15, 2011 | In the Lab

AsianScientist (Dec. 15, 2011) – A recent study from the University of Adelaide has shown that approximately 531 American species that are endangered or threatened are not being effectively protected.

Many countries have their own national ‘red lists,’ which are used to list and protect locally endangered and threatened species. Animals listed on these ‘red lists’ are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which is the world’s most effective biodiversity protection law.

Of the American species included on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, 40 percent of birds, 50 percent of mammals, and 80-95 percent of other species such as amphibians, crustaceans, and insects were not recognised by the ESA as threatened.

“The ESA has protected species since its establishment in 1973, and it may have prevented 227 extinctions,” said study leader Bert Harris, a PhD student at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and School of Earth & Environmental Sciences.

“However, the implementation of the ESA by successive U.S. governments has been problematic, including poor coverage of imperiled species, inadequate funding, and political intervention,” he added.

“The ESA is a powerful environmental law but its impact is limited. With many species being overlooked, this does not bode well for the ESA’s ability to mitigate species decline before they become critically imperiled.”

Harris suggests that a detailed evaluation of the ESA’s coverage of the IUCN Red List is overdue and that threatened species lists must be actively updated in order to mitigate species decline.

The article can be found at: Harris JBC et al. (2011) Conserving imperiled species: a comparison of the IUCN Red List and U.S. Endangered Species Act.

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Source: University of Adelaide.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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