The International Union for Conservation of Nature has updated its Red List of Threatened Species.

By PEOPLE
Updated July 14, 2020
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature has updated its list of critically-endangered species.

Last week, the IUCN announced that their Red List of Threatened Species had been updated to include a number of new species, several of which are now just one step away from total extinction.

Almost a third of all lemur species are now on the brink of extinction, including the Madame Berthe's Mouse Lemur, the world's smallest primate. In addition to the 33 lemur species that have now been labeled as critically endangered, another 103 lemur species are currently considered endangered—with deforestation and hunting in Madagascar playing a major role.

Additionally, an estimated 53 percent of all primate species have also been deemed close to extinction.

The European Hampster, which was once commonly found in Europe and Russia, is also a new addition to the critically endangered list, as is the North Atlantic right whale.

There are currently fewer than 400 North Atlantic right whales left in the world, and only about 95 of those remaining whales are breeding females.

"This plight of North Atlantic right whales is entirely attributable to human actions," Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, and Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, wrote on their joint blog.

Only 22 calves have been born since 2017, while a total of 41 have died within the same time frame, according to the Humane Society.

"This IUCN Red List update exposes the true scale of threats faced by primates across Africa. It also shows that Homo sapiens needs to drastically change its relationship to other primates, and to nature as a whole," said Dr. Grethel Aguilar, IUCN's Acting Director-General. "At the heart of this crisis is a dire need for alternative, sustainable livelihoods to replace the current reliance on deforestation and unsustainable use of wildlife. These findings really bring home the urgent need for an ambitious post-2020 biodiversity framework that drives effective conservation action."

"The dramatic declines of species such as the North Atlantic Right Whale included in today's IUCN Red List update highlight the gravity of the extinction crisis," added Dr. Jane Smart, Global Director of the IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group. "Saving the fast-growing number of threatened species from extinction requires transformational change, supported by action to implement national and international agreements. The world needs to act fast to halt species' population declines and prevent human-driven extinctions, with an ambitious post-2020 biodiversity framework which the upcoming IUCN Congress will help define."

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