ftE NewsClip: Six African Vulture Species Uplisted

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ftE NewsClip: Six African Vulture Species Uplisted

Scientists are more worried than ever about the future of Africa’s vultures. In fact, their concern is so great that they have changed the status of six African Vulture species to reflect a greater possiblity that these species may become extinct in the near future.

Changing the conservation status of a species because of worsening conditions is called uplisting. In October 2015, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) uplisted six species of African vultures. Four of the species (Hooded Vulture, White-Backed Vulture, White-Headed Vulture and Ruppell’s Vulture) are now considered “critically endangered.” The other two species—Cape Griffon and Lappet-Faced Vulture—are now considered “endangered.”

What Does “Critically Endangered” Mean?
IUCN defines a species as “critically endangered” when it is determined that it faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. The fact that the species could continue to survive in zoos or animal parks does not matter; the IUCN is focused on the species’ existence in the wild.

The IUCN looks at several things when determining the status of a species. Here are some of the factors IUCN uses when it labels a species as “critically endangered”:

  • scientists have observed or suspected that the species has suffered a drop in population of more than 90% over the last 10 years or three generations;
  • the entire population is found in an area totaling less than 100 square kilometers, which is about 40 square miles. This is especially true if that area is either severely fragmented or in a single location;
  • the population size is less than 250 mature individuals with continuing decline either observed or expected;
  • scientific determine that the probability of extinction in the wild is at least 50% within 10 years or three generations.

 

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