Protect and preserve
This was a grim year for the animal world. At least 22 species have been declared extinct in the wild. That’s more than twice as many as last year. From the Asian sloth bear, to the Madagascan dwarf hippo, many species all over the world have the lost the battle for survival in their natural habitat.
This year’s roll-call includes many lesser known creatures, such as two species of killifish – one native to Algeria and the other to Iran – as well the St Helena giant earwig and the Christmas Island forest skink, the last of which died forlornly in a zoo in May.
Some might ask if any of this matters? Some might wonder if a species like the killifish, for example, is dispensable. They are thumb-size, unexceptional and live in small bodies of fresh or brackish water. But in reality, their disappearance indicates that the ecosystem is unbalanced in some way. It is clearly a cause for concern when so many species disappear at once.
Published: December 30, 2014 04:00 AM