ENDANGERED SPECIES: INTRODUCTION
People share our planet with at least 15 million other species, all of which interact in various ways with the environment to provide the living systems upon which we all depend. The world's species face an unprecedented crisis…
- the rate at which they are being lost is alarming, even when compared with the extinction episode of 70 million years ago when the dinosaurs disappeared;
- no-one knows exactly what the current extinction rate is, but recent calculations by leading scientists put it at between 1,000 and 10,000 times greater than it would naturally be;
- the rate of extinction also appears to be increasing. Species are threatened in every habitat on every continent, though the severity of threat varies from place to place;
- evidence suggests that freshwater habitats, particularly rivers, and oceanic islands are very severely affected by species extinction;
- Tropical Asia and Australia appear to suffer particularly high extinction rates.