Issue 9
Monday, 04 November 2019
Charles Darwin University
Dr Peter Kyne, Dr Carla Eisemberg and Professor John Woinarski at the leaders’ summit in Abu Dhabi
Dr Peter Kyne, Dr Carla Eisemberg and Professor John Woinarski at the leaders’ summit in Abu Dhabi

Urgent call to save species from brink of extinction

By Patrick Nelson

Three of CDU’s top scientists have attended a global conservation leaders’ meeting that has repeated an urgent call for greater action around the world to protect wild species from human activity.

Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods Researcher and Science Outreach Manager Dr Carla Eisemberg said more than 300 species conservation experts attended the high profile International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Leaders’ Meeting in Abu Dhabi recently.

“The key message was that the global community must share the responsibility and scale up efforts to ensure the survival of all species on our planet,” Dr Eisemberg said.

Delegates were told that the Red List of Threatened Species warned that a quarter of all species faced a high risk of extinction. Human activity has severely altered more than 75% of the Earth’s land and freshwater areas, and 66% of the oceans.

Dr Eisemberg, the Red List Coordinator for the Tortoise and Freshwater Turtles Specialist Group, said 74% of the 102 species of South Asian turtles she has been assessing in the past year were considered threatened.

“Some 42% are critically endangered, which means we need to do something now.”

Dr Eisemberg said climate change, unsustainable levels of consumption and illegal trade were exacerbating the decline in biodiversity across the planet.

“While we might be at crisis point, it is not too late to act. Conservation action has worked in the past and many species have been saved from extinction. Through sharing experience and expertise, we can scale up success for species survival, but we need to act now.”

CDU colleague Dr Peter Kyne attended the meeting as Red List Authority Coordinator for the Shark Specialist Group and Professor John Woinarski as Chair of the Australian Marsupial and Monotreme Specialist Group.