We are undergoing the 6th mass extinction of plants and animals

20% of endemic species in Mexico are endangered
Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
13/07/2017
15:58
Newsroom
Mexico City
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In the last 100 years, the vertebrate species that have become extinct must have disappeared, if we had stayed on the natural extinction track, for at least 10.000 years.

In Mexico, climate change, population growth, pollution, trafficking and hunting of species cause that more than 20% of the endemic species are at the brink of extinction, warns Dr. Gerardo Ceballos González, a researcher at the Institute of Ecology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

"Mexico is one of the three richest countries of the planet in diversity of flora and fauna. A significant proportion of the country's species are endangered, around 20% or 25%, and in the 20th century we lost significant populations of species, such as the Mexican grizzly bear, the Mexican wolf, the California condor, the sea otter, the ivory-billed woodpecker, the tanape which was a bird of the River Lerma... these species disappeared due to the actions and activities of man.”


Courtesy of dint.unam.mx

When a species becomes extinct, the whole environment is disturbed. The subject is very serious.

"When a species disappears, what happens first is that the structure and function of biological and ecological systems are affected and one might think, 'well there is some impact on nature, but nothing is going to happen to the human being.' This is an incorrect perspective because what we know now is that these species of plants and animals are fundamental to maintain environmental purposes. Humans get great benefits from these environmental purposes thanks to the good functioning of nature. And we have affected nature in such a way with the impact of our activities and extinction, that it might threaten civilization as we know it."

The researcher says that it is urgent to address this mass extinction issue, otherwise, by 2050 we could face the collapse of civilization.

With information from Radio UNAM, Cristina Godínez

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