Monarch butterfly in danger, wild tigers more than expected

Good news and bad news. Wild tigers are 40% more numerous in the world than previously thought, and the population of Panthera tigris “appears to be stabilizing or even rising”, although it remains an endangered species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature revealed on Thursday.

On the other hand, the migrating monarch butterfly, a majestic butterfly capable of traveling thousands of miles each year to reproduce, has joined the IUCN Red List, largely due to climate change and its destruction. habitats.

Between 3,726 and 5,578 tigers live in the wild

The latest assessment of the world’s population of tigers living in the wild dates back to 2015, and the new census has estimated the number of these elegant cats with orange fur striped in black to be between 3,726 and 5,578. The 40% jump “is explained by improvements in tracking techniques, which show that there are more tigers than previously thought and that the number of tigers in the world appears to be stable or increasing”, writes the IUCN in its update of its Red List of Threatened species that refer.

“Population trends indicate that projects such as the IUCN’s Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Program are effective and that recovery is possible as long as conservation efforts continue,” notes the IUCN, which has more than 1,400 member organizations. However, the tiger is not out of the woods and remains an endangered species. “Major threats include poaching of tigers, poaching and hunting for their prey, and habitat fragmentation and destruction due to increasing pressure from agriculture and human settlements,” the IUCN points out.

fallen monarch

On the other hand, the migratory monarch butterfly, a subspecies of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), has seen its population in North America decline “by between 22% and 72% over the past decade,” the IUCN notes.

“This red list update highlights the fragility of natural wonders, such as the unique sight of monarch butterflies migrating thousands of miles,” said IUCN Director-General Dr. Bruno Oberle. in a press release. Deforestation, deforestation, but also pesticides and herbicides “kill butterflies and dairy plants, the host plant that monarch butterfly larvae feed on,” the IUCN adds.

“It’s painful to see monarch butterflies and their extraordinary migration sway on the brink of collapse,” said Anna Walker of the New Mexico BioPark Society, who led the assessment of monarch butterflies. The western population has declined by about 99.9% since the 1980s. The larger eastern population has declined by 84% between 1996 and 2014. “The question of whether there are enough butterflies left to sustain populations and prevent their extinction remains a problem,” the IUCN warns. For Anna Walker, “there are signs of hope” in the mobilization of the public and organizations to try to protect this butterfly and its habitats.

Threatened disturbances

The situation for sturgeon – also migratory – has also gone from bad to worse, including the situation of the white whale, which according to this list is known for its eggs made for caviar and its meat. “All sturgeon species that are still alive in the northern hemisphere, including migratory ones, are now threatened with extinction due to dams and poaching,” the IUCN notes.

Of the world’s remaining 26 sturgeon species, 100% are now threatened with extinction, a steeper decline than previously thought due to poaching or migration barriers.

The sea urchin (Acipenser dabryanus) has been moved from critically endangered to extinct in the wild. The review also confirmed the extinction of the Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius).

The Red List classifies species into one of eight threat categories. A total of 147,517 species were assessed in the latest version, with 41,459 species considered to be endangered: of these, 9,065 are critically endangered; 16,094 are at risk and 16,300 are considered vulnerable.

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