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UN Report Warns: Over 20% of Migrating Species Face Extinction Due to Climate Change and Human Activities

The United Nations released its inaugural report on migrating animals on Monday, revealing a stark reality: more than a fifth of the world’s migrating species are at risk of extinction due to the combined impacts of climate change and human encroachment.

Billions of animals undertake migratory journeys across deserts, plains, and oceans annually for breeding and feeding purposes. However, unsustainable pressures exerted on these species not only threaten their populations but also jeopardize food supplies and livelihoods, according to the report.

Of the 1,189 species covered by a 1979 UN convention aimed at protecting migratory animals, 44% have witnessed population declines, with up to 22% facing the prospect of disappearance altogether, the report revealed. These figures were derived from assessments and data provided by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Living Planet Index.

The report, which offers crucial insights into preserving migratory species, underscores the urgent need for government action. Amy Fraenkel, executive secretary of the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, emphasized the imperative of implementing measures to safeguard these species.

Human activities pose the most significant threat, with hunting, fishing, and other forms of overexploitation impacting 70% of species on the UN list. Furthermore, habitat loss affects up to 75% of these species, highlighting the necessity for enhanced connectivity between isolated ecosystems.

The report’s authors urged governments to prioritize habitat and migration path preservation when planning infrastructure projects like dams, pipelines, or wind turbines.

The challenges facing migratory species are exacerbated by temperature fluctuations, which disrupt migration timing, induce heat stress, and escalate destructive weather events such as droughts and forest fires.

While the Convention convenes every three years to review species for its watchlist, this week’s meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, will deliberate on species like the giant Amazon catfish. Additionally, the agency will unveil a program aimed at assisting countries in more effectively protecting habitats.

Conservationists implored governments to uphold their pledge under the 2022 global biodiversity agreement to allocate 30% of the world’s land and sea territories for conservation by 2030. Susan Lieberman, vice-president of international policy at the Wildlife Conservation Society, emphasized that fulfilling these commitments is vital for ensuring positive outcomes in future reports. Source: Reuters

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