US reports ‘one of the worst droughts’ in living memory

This story was originally published on CNN.com. The world has lost more than 200 species of plants and animals so far this year in what’s believed to be one of the worst droughts in…

This story was originally published on CNN.com.

The world has lost more than 200 species of plants and animals so far this year in what’s believed to be one of the worst droughts in living memory, a new report from government agencies says.

Plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals — species that nest near rivers, flood plains, grasslands and forests — are especially at risk this year from a lack of rain, according to a report jointly released Saturday by the Government Accountability Office, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

As of last week, according to an online search, only 18 of the more than 1,000 species assessed by the government agencies still remained on the endangered species list.

The researchers determined that 19 more species were no longer considered threatened.

Since 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity, which includes 154 countries, has banned invasive species imports and exports and reduced human interaction with the rarest habitats of every species, according to the report.

Earlier this month, the United Nations announced it will combat global warming by using a biodiversity budget — one model that relies on “fundamental changes in human behaviour.”

In the United States, a University of Nebraska scientist said it’s “incredibly frustrating” to see governments and private citizens “throwing money at failed interventions.”

The National Parks Conservation Association said in a statement the researchers “totally missed what is happening on the ground,” citing 85 new additions to the endangered species list.

What’s worse is that these 17 years “have been one of the warmest on record,” conservation director Michael Rowan said.

Rowan said he wanted to remind conservationists to consider climate change.

“Climate change needs to be incorporated into the work we’re doing to save species that are in distress and may be headed toward extinction,” he said.

“It isn’t just plants; it’s all of our life.”

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