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Number of wild tigers higher than previously assumed – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

There are 40 percent more tigers in the wild than previously thought, but with a maximum of 5,578 on the hunt, they remain an endangered species, conservationists said Thursday.

The rise in numbers is due to improved surveillance, with populations considered stable or increasing, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said, but habitat protection projects showed “recovery is possible”.

The tiger’s reassessment came as the IUCN updated its Red List of Threatened Species – the world’s most comprehensive source of information on the global conservation status of plants, animals and fungi, assessing their risk of extinction.

The migratory monarch butterfly is now classified as a Red List Vulnerable species due to climate change and habitat destruction.

And all surviving sturgeon species are now threatened with extinction due to dams and poaching.

“Today’s Red List update underscores the fragility of natural wonders, like the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies migrating thousands of kilometers,” said IUCN Director-General Bruno Oberle.

“To preserve nature’s rich diversity, we need effective, fairly managed, protected and conserved areas, and decisive action to combat climate change and restore ecosystems.”

– Threat of tiger poaching –

The Red List assigns species to one of eight threat categories.

A total of 147,517 were assessed in the current version, with 41,459 species classified as critically endangered.

Of these, 9,065 are critically endangered, 16,094 critically endangered, and 16,300 classified as vulnerable.

The Red List, drawn up in 1964, counts 902 species that are now extinct and 82 that are extinct in the wild.

There are believed to be between 3,726 and 5,578 wild tigers – up 40 percent from the last assessment in 2015.

The increase is mainly due to better surveillance.

While the tiger remains endangered, population trends suggest that projects such as the IUCN’s Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Program are “successful and recovery is possible as long as conservation efforts continue,” the organization said.

The top threats include poaching of tigers themselves, poaching and hunting of their prey, and habitat destruction from agriculture and human settlement, the IUCN said.

“Expanding and connecting protected areas, ensuring their effective management and working with local communities living in and around tiger habitats are critical to protecting the species,” it said.

– Hope for butterflies –

The migratory monarch butterfly, a subspecies of monarch, is known for migrating from Mexico and California to summer breeding grounds in the United States and Canada.

Native populations have shrunk by 22 to 72 percent over the past decade, the IUCN said, with deforestation and deforestation destroying significant areas of their winter quarters.

Meanwhile, pesticides and herbicides used in intensive farming are killing butterflies and spurge — the host plant their larvae feed on.

Climate change is also a rapidly growing threat, with drought, wildfires, extreme temperatures and severe weather all having a significant impact.

“It’s difficult to see monarch butterflies and their extraordinary migration on the brink of collapse, but there are signs of hope,” said Anna Walker, who led the monarch assessment.

“From planting native spurge and reducing pesticide use to helping protect wintering sites and contributing to community science, we all have a role to play to ensure this iconic insect makes a full recovery.”

The western population is most at risk of extinction, the IUCN said, after declining by an estimated 99.9 percent from as many as 10 million to 1,914 butterflies between the 1980s and 2021.

The larger eastern population also shrank by 84 percent from 1996 to 2014.

“Concern remains as to whether enough butterflies survive to sustain populations and prevent extinction,” the IUCN said.

– Sturgeon on the Abyss –

The global sturgeon reassessment found that all remaining 26 sturgeon species are now threatened with extinction, up from 85 percent in 2009.

Their decline over the past three generations is steeper than previously thought.

The Yangtze sturgeon has gone from critically endangered to extinct in the wild, while 17 species are now critically endangered.

The reassessment confirmed the extinction of the Chinese paddlefish.

“Sturgeon have been overexploited for their meat and caviar for centuries,” said the IUCN.

It called for protection under international law to be strengthened, with more than half of the sturgeon species being poached.

Dams impede their migration, while warmer rivers disrupt their reproduction due to climate change.

The IUCN, founded in 1948 and based in Gland in western Switzerland, claims to be the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network.

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