World Condition - Extinction 

Extinction  The endangered wildlife list has expanded by 15% in the past year to include more than 12,000 animal and plant species, according to the latest study by environmentalists.
Current extinction rates are at least 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural rates found in the fossil record, the report stated. The list now includes 12,259 species classed as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable. A total of 762 plant and animal species are now recorded as extinct with a further 58 known only in cultivation or captivity.
Every year, between 17,000 and 100,000 species vanish from our planet, he says. By 2050, rising temperatures exacerbated by human-induced belches of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could send more than a million of Earth's land-dwelling plants and animals down the road to extinction, according to a recent study.
There have actually been five mass extinctions in the Earth's past ó and we're well on our way to number six, says Peter Raven, an expert in plant conservation. As the human population grows and our demand for natural resources increases, more and more habitats are devastated. Today, we may be losing 30,000 species a year -- a rate much faster than at any time since the last great extinction 65 million years ago that wiped out most of the dinosaurs. If we continue on this course, we will destroy even ourselves.
The report, to be published tomorrow, will identify a total of 11,046 species of plants and animals that are known to face a high risk of extinction, including 1,130 mammal species (24 per cent of the total) and 1,183 species of birds (12 per cent of the total). Of Earth's original forest cover, almost half is gone, chopped down to provide fuel, shelter and farmland for a growing human population.
Plant life covering the surface of the world's oceans, a vital resource that helps absorb the worst of the "greenhouse gases" involved in global warming, is disappearing at a dangerous rate, scientists have discovered. There are about 5,000 known mammalian species alive at present. Given the average species lifespan for mammals, the background extinction rate for this group would be approximately one species lost every 200 years.
Frogs, toads, salamanders and other amphibian populations have been mysteriously dying in Oregon for years. Itís estimated that 29 percent of plant species in the United States are at risk of extinction, and similar threats exist in temperate zones throughout the world.


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