London: A new study has recently revealed that incessant disappearance of species on Earth could lead to sixth mass extinction within 100 years.
The study found that 41 per cent of all amphibian species are threatened with extinction, the highest at risk group. A more modest, but still alarming, 26 per cent of mammal species and 13 per cent of bird species are also threatened, the Independent reported.
Habitat loss and degradation, as well as specific human activity such as hunting pose a significant hazard to wildlife sustainability and these pressures are only increasing. Similarly, it was thought that climate change will accelerate the rate of extinctions in the future.
Current estimates assumed that the rate of extinction was anything from 0.01 per cent to 0.7 per cent of all existing species each year. If this were to continue it would constitute a mass extinction, defined as a loss of 75 per cent of species, in the next few hundred years.
It's not a new trend. Over the past 3.5 billion years more than 95 per cent of all species that have populated the earth have died off.
The most recent Red List of Threatened Species, compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, counts around 46,000 critically endangered species, but it was thought that more species could be at risk.
A major problem in trying to assess the risk to species was the lack of knowledge about how many types of animals there are on the planet. Estimates of the number of species of animals, plants and fungi on earth vary from 2 million to more than 50 million. And very little has been known about certain groups such as insects and fish.
The study is published in journal Nature.