More than 40 per cent of the world’s amphibian species, more than one-third of the marine mammals and nearly one-third of sharks and fish are threatened with extinction.
Analysis of the risks faced by the 8,000 or so known amphibian species by the UN and published in the IPBES report has found that up to 50 percent may be at risk of extinction, in a dramatic rise from earlier estimates.
The spike stems from the inclusion of roughly 2,200 species that were previously under-represented due to lack of data; now, based on the new models, researchers say at least another 1,000 species are facing the threat of extinction.
Researchers used a technique dubbed trait-based spatio-phylogenetic statistical framework to assess the extinction risks of data-deficient species.
This combined data on their ecology, geography, and evolutionary attributes with the associated extinction risks of each factor to make a prediction.
Only about 44 percent of amphibians currently have up-to-date risk assessments, the team notes.
‘We found that more than 1,000 data-deficient amphibians are threatened with extinction, and nearly 500 are Endangered or Critically Endangered, mainly in South America and Southeast Asia,’ said Pamela González-del-Pliego of the University of Sheffield and Yale University.
‘Urgent conservation actions are needed to avert the loss of these species.’
According to the researchers, the species most at risk likely also include those we know the least about, further adding to the complexity of their protection.
A study published earlier this year found 90 amphibian species have been wiped out thanks to a deadly fungal disease.
It affects frogs, toads and salamanders and has caused a dramatic population collapse in more than 400 species in the past 50 years.
The disease is called chytridiomycosis which eats away at the skin of amphibians and is threatening to send more animals extinct.
Originally from Asia, it is present in more than 60 countries – with the worst affected parts of the world are tropical Australia, Central America and South America.