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Overfishing and hunting pushing iconic species to extinction
Increasingly intense and unregulated coastal fishing is pushing rhino rays to the brink of extinction.

IUCN updates Red List of Threatened Species

Iconic species are being driven to extinction thanks to unsustainable fishing and hunting, according to the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


For the first time, the IUCN Red List has broken the 100,000 species barrier and includes assessments for over 105,732 species, of which 28,338 are threatened with extinction.

The update shows that rhino rays are now the most imperilled fish families on the planet, with all of the 16 species assessed as Critically Endangered. It also reveals that hunting combined with habitat loss has pushed seven species of primate closer to extinction.

“With more than 100,000 species now assessed for the IUCN Red List, this update clearly shows how much humans around the world are overexploiting wildlife,” said IUCN acting director-general, Dr Grethel Aguilar. 


“We must wake up to the fact that conserving nature’s diversity is in our interest, and is absolutely fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. States, businesses and civil society must urgently act to halt the overexploitation of nature, and must respect and support local communities and Indigenous Peoples in strengthening sustainable livelihoods.” 


Jane Smart, global director of the IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group, added: “Both national and international trade are driving the decline of species in the oceans, in freshwater and on land. Decisive action is needed at scale to halt this decline; the timing of this assessment is critical as governments are starting to negotiate a new global biodiversity framework for such action.”

Closely related to sharks, rhino rays live in the waters of the Indian and West Pacific Oceans as well as the East Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Experts say that increasingly intense and unregulated coastal fishing is driving their decline, with most caught with other fish as “bycatch”. 


Rhino ray meat is locally sold, while the fins are highly valued and traded internationally for shark fin soup.

In West and Central Africa, 40 per cent of primate species are threatened with extinction. The rollaway monkey, for example, has shifted from Endangered to Critically Endangered owing to the value of its meat and skin.  


It is believed that Western primates are also suffering severe habitat loss as land is converted to food crops. Road access is facilitating hunting and the transportation of bushmeat to local markets and distant urban centres. 

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Cats Protection launches Christmas animation

News Story 1
 Leading feline charity Cats Protection has launched a heartwarming Christmas animation to raise awareness of the important work it does. The animation is based on a true story of a kitten that went missing earlier this year. Freezing cold and hungry, the kitten was dumped in a box on a roadside and somehow became separated from her brother and sisters.


Thankfully there is a happy end to this tail, and Libby - now named Misty - was eventually reunited with her littermates. Misty’s owner, Amy Smith, said: “Misty has settled amazingly well into our home, she has found a best friend in my daughter Lily and likes to follow her around the house. She also loves to chase bugs in the garden. We feel very lucky to have her.” 

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WSAVA launches certificate programme focusing on companion animals in One Health

The first certificate programme focusing specifically on the role of companion animals in One Health has been launched by the One Health Committee (OHC) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).

The online programme, which is free of charge for WSAVA members, has been developed in recognition of the growing impact of companion animals in human society. Pet ownership is becoming more popular globally, and this has increased the implications for One Health, regarding the human-companion animal bond. The WSAVA OHC hopes that this course will bridge the knowledge gap between veterinary surgeons and human physicians. New modules are being added weekly, with a total of 20 modules expected to be available by early 2020.