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IUCN: 10% of marine life at risk of extinction

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Jakarta, IO – The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) issued a red list of endangered species. It says 10 percent of marine plants and animals are at risk of extinction due to human activities, climate change and worsening pollution.

The list includes more than 1,550 of 17,903 known marine flora and fauna. The list serves as a barometer of biodiversity and is published several times a year.

“This shows we are having a devastating impact on marine species,” said IUCN Red List chief Craig Hilton-Taylor, reported Merdeka, Monday (12/12).

The report was released to coincide with the United Nations summit on nature in Montreal, Canada. At the summit, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged countries around the world to end destruction of marine species and ratify an agreement to stop and restore endangered habitats.

Craig said the number of endangered marine species is likely to be much larger than the latest estimate because the analyses carried out so far tended to include widely distributed fish species, which were not currently under threat.

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For example, the population of dugong, a herbivorous sea mammal commonly known as sea cows, has fallen to fewer than 250 adults in east Africa and less than 900 in New Caledonia. The threat faced by this species is the loss of its main food source – seaweed – due to oil and gas exploration.

The new list also includes abalone, a type of mollusc sold as a luxury seafood. It is found that about 44 percent of the species are facing extinction. According to IUCN, increasingly severe and frequent marine heatwaves are causing mass death of marine life, causing disease and depriving them of their food sources. (un)

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