|Tigers & Lions -
- The population of tigers is believed to have declined by 95 percent in the last century. Tigers continue to face challenges imposed by poaching, retributive killings and habitat loss. Tiger bone is in high demand for traditional medicines in China and some other parts of the world. The Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers are already classified as extinct.
- The lion is also dwindling in numbers. The BBC reports (October 2003) that fewer than 20,000 lions now survive in Africa, compared to 200,000 in the early 1980s. Sport or trophy hunting was cited as a major cause, whereby males, older or younger, were often targeted. Another reason was the population pressures that have meant encroachment onto lands closer to lions
- Rhino poaching worldwide is poised to hit a 15-year-high driven by Asian demand for horns. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is finding some 3 rhinos a month are being killed. In some places that number is even higher. In Africa, the total rhino population is estimated to be around 18,000 and in India/Nepal only 2,400.
- BMA News, published by the British Medical Association (BMA), reported on the near-extinction of several vulture species in India (July 9, 2005). In the last 12 years, the population had crashed by 97%. The anti-inflammatory, diclofenac, (similar to ibuprofen), was used by cattle farmers as a popular cure-all to treat a variety of diseases. Vultures feeding on carcasses of cows treated with the drug died of kidney failure as it was a poison for the vultures.
- The World Wildlife Fund for Nature lists toxic pollution, oil exploration, and hunting, as well as climate change, as threats to the polar bears' fate. In 2006, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) put the polar bear on their Red List of Threatened Species, and the Bush Administration proposed to enter them on the endangered species list. The melting ice caps in Antarctica (a major effect of global warming) are causing the polar bears to starve and drown.
In the Falkland Islands alone, the species numbers have dropped from 600,000 to 420,000 in just 6 years, and down from 1.5 million in 1932. But from all their habitats millions have recently vanished. Causes of the drops in numbers include starvation due to overfishing.
The Golden Toad of Monteverde, Costa Rica was among the first casualties of amphibian declines. Formerly abundant, it was last seen in 1989. This extinction was caused by climate changes (global warming).
Monkeys, Apes & other Primates
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