Over 1,000 fish species ‘threatened with extinction’

According to an updated global “Red List” of endangered species more than 1,000 freshwater fish species are being threatened with extinction. This situation is a seen as reflection of the strain on global water resources. “Creatures living in freshwater have long been neglected,” said Jean-Christophe Vie, deputy head of species programme at the IUCN.”This year we have again added a large number of them to the IUCN Red List and are confirming the high levels of threat to many freshwater animals and plants”. Covering more than 47,000 of the world’s species this list is the most respected inventory of biodiversity.

1,360 out of 1,989 species of dragonflies and damselflies were also added to the list. 261 are at risk of disappearing altogether. A cause for deep concern, as many dragonfly species are very sensitive to freshwater ecosystems and provide us with a good gauge as to status of these systems. The tiny Kihansi Spray Toad is now on the list of extinct creatures in the wild, thanks to the dam built upstream of the Kihansi Falls in Tanzania. A population of 17,000 used to exist at the Kihansi Falls until the dam removed 90 percent of the water flow to the gorge.

According to the IUCN, the overall situation may be worse as the survey covers only a fraction of the world’s species and insufficient data was recorded for 14 percent of species surveyed. “These results are just the tip of the iceberg. We have only managed to assess 47,663 species so far; there are many more millions out there which could be under serious threat,” said Craig Hilton-Taylor, manager of the IUCN Red List unit.