100 threatened animals, plants face extinction by 2020
London: An international consortium of more than 8,000 scientists has called for urgent help to save Earth's 100 most threatened animals, plants and fungi, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.
While nature has always operated by survival of the fittest, humanity's increasing need for space is adding to the stresses on the natural kingdom, they said in a report.
The document blamed a loss of habitat, caused by a rising human population and other factors such as expanding cities, deforestation, pollution and climate change, for driving more and more species of animals and plants to extinction.
The 100 species, from 48 countries are first in line to disappear completely if nothing is done to protect them.
They range from the Jamaican rock iguana - originally reported extinct, but now found to be clinging on with two small populations, to the suicide palm of Madagascar, which dies exhausted after producing tiny yellow flowers on a stem up to 16 feet long.
Many on the list, such as the Ethiopia's liben lark, or the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat, may not be as familiar to us as lions or whales, but each adds something to the planet which, once lost, is gone forever.
The report, "Priceless or Worthless?", says all the species need to be much better protected or face extinction by 2020.
The 124-page report will be presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in South Korea this week, and hopes to push the conservation of "worthless" creatures up the agenda that is set by NGOs from around the globe, according to the Mail.
The list of the 100 most endangered species included others such as the Cayman Islands ghost orchid, and the Javan rhino.