New statistical analysis by the NGO BirdLife International has revealed that there have been eight confirmed or highly likely extinctions this century. According to the latest “red list” assessment more than 26,000 of the world’s species are now threatened.
BirdLife International’s chief scientist Stuart Butchart says that while historically 90% of bird extinctions have been from small populations and remote islands, the latest evidence suggests there is a wave of extinctions largely in South America driven by habitat loss and unsustainable agriculture. Recent trends don’t bode well. In 2017 the Brazilian government abolished an Amazon reserve the size of Denmark. In addition, the far-right front-runner in the 2018 election Jair Bolsonaro has been heavily critical of environmental protections and promised to open up the Amazon to industry.
Does this further signal that we are entering a sixth mass-extinction event? Can the tide be turned to help improve conservation efforts? And to what extent is the rise of the far-right a threat to biodiversity?