Preserving Endangered Species

Article excerpt

Byline: Malcolm Ritter Associated Press

NEW YORK -- On average, 52 species of mammals, birds and amphibians are taking a significant step toward extinction each year, a huge new analysis says.

But if not for conservation efforts, the march would be even faster, researchers reported Tuesday.

Efforts to save endangered animals are making a difference, even as about 1 in 5 of the world's backboned species -- mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish -- are threatened with extinction, according to a study published online in the journal Science.

The report was released as delegates from more than 190 nations meet at a United Nations conference in Nagoya, Japan, to set 20 measurable targets to combat the loss of many diverse species.

"Our results should be a timely wake-up call to governments in Nagoya," said Stuart Butchart, a study author and global research coordinator at BirdLife International. "Biodiversity is in a desperate state. Its situation is getting worse . but our results show we can turn the situation around. We just need greater political will and resources."

The study considered almost 26,000 species of vertebrates -- animals with a backbone -- whose conservation status is on the "Red List" of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. …