Extinction of species: the list of the next victims


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has just updated its list of endangered species. And this information does not achieve the media success it deserves …

Emblematic of Alsace, once nicknamed “the Strasbourg marmot”, the common hamster has almost disappeared from France. Yesterday classified among the harmful species and as such eliminated, the small animal was severely damaged by the monoculture of corn, considerably reducing its last habitats. Since 1993, it is a protected species in France. (Source: site) (Click to enlarge)

It is about the extinction of species like global warming: we know it’s fucked up, but that does not prevent us from continuing to run headlong into the wall. And, it seems, with even more indifference to the death of the beasts than to the rise of the thermometer. This is shown by the little media noise generated by the latest update of the list of threatened species drawn up by the IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

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Out of some 120,000 species studied, we learn that nearly a third are threatened with imminent extinction (and even worse: given that this is an estimate, a much larger number of species go under the radar. ). In this kind of morbid announcement, you obviously need stars to move the general public. Difficult to make the headlines with the disappearance of a Thai gnat or a Peruvian toad. Very often, we discover the name of these species on the day of their death. We say to ourselves “hey, this thing existed”  ? C ‘ is for example the case of hamster to ‘ Alsace, the ‘one of the newcomers to the IUCN update. Who, apart from a few experienced naturalists, knew of the existence of wild hamsters in Alsace  ? The day o ù is the ‘ learns, c ‘ is almost the pass ed .

Habitat destruction on the front line

Among the most fragile species, monkeys have long been known to be in bad shape (out of 104 species of African primates, 53 are threatened with extinction), but UCIN reveals that the situation is already apocalyptic in Madagascar, where, out of 107 species of lemurs, 103 are tumbling down the fateful slope of extinction.

Habitat destruction is one of the primary causes of species extinction. But there are many others, such as hunting (for lemurs…) or pesticides (for hamsters…). Cetaceans, on the other hand, suffer mainly from collisions with ships and accidental catches in fishing nets. On the front line, we find the so-called “North Atlantic right whale”, extremely poorly with a population of less than 250 adults at the end of 2018 – which earned it its nomination in the disastrous list of the IUCN.

Maki cattaMaki catta (Lemur catta, also called Maki mococo, ring-tailed lemur or ring-tailed lemur). Photo: JLS (Click to enlarge)

And alternative medicine …

Also included in this update is the caterpillar fungus ( Ophiocordyceps sinensis ), which survives on the Tibetan high plateau. His problem is traditional Chinese medicine. Indeed, it is supposed to cure erectile disorders, hence its nickname “Himalayan Viagra” (these aphrodisiac properties would have been discovered by the shepherds, quite astonished to see their animals indulge in frantic fornications after having eaten these aphrodisiacs. mushrooms – suddenly, they started to eat them too). Because of these properties blessed by gods and gurus, this magic mushroom is sold for 100,000 euros per kilo. Hence overexploitation. Hence the programmed disappearance.

And these announcements of near death are not empty words. According to the latest report from the Ipbes (Intergovernmental Scientific and Political Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), 435 species have permanently become extinct over the past ten years, and 41 others have already disappeared from the natural environment, only remaining in parks or zoos. In short, we have reached the absurd situation where we must put nature in a cage to protect it …


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