of Threatened Species Tops 12,000
It's the list animals are dying, literally, to get on. Every year the so-called Red List, published by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), catalogues species threatened by extinction and the latest iteration features more than 12,000 entries. Of particular note this year are the indications that native flora and fauna of islands--from Hawaii to the Galapagos--are being put in jeopardy by invasive species.
In total, 12,259 species--characterized as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable--had the misfortune of making the list. What is more, 762 plant and animal species are recorded as already having gone extinct and 58 remain in existence only in cultivation or captivity. "While we are still only scratching the surface in assessing all known species, we are confident this figure is an indicator of what is happening to global biological diversity," says IUCN director general Achim Steiner.
Islands often harbor species found nowhere else, many of which have made their way onto the updated Red List. Some 85 plants endemic to Hawaii are threatened, according to the report; and the Newcomb snail, which lives solely on the island of Kauai, is now considered vulnerable. Meanwhile, more than 30 snail species that call the Galapagos islands home are also at risk. "The Red List tells us that human activities are leading to a swathe of extinctions that could make these islands ecologically and aesthetically barren," Steiner remarks.
Some larger animals that have fared worse over the past year include three species of Neotropical primates: the Mexican black howler monkey is now considered endangered, with 56 percent of its natural habitat lost already; the variegated spider monkey of Colombia and Venezuela moved up to critically endangered; and under threats from urban growth, agriculture and cattle grazing, the pied tamarin (see image) is also now critically endangered. Marine animals that are at risk include all 21 species of albatross, 57 species of shark and the Mediterraneon short-beaked common dolphin.
The number of threatened species is increasing, in part, because the number of known species that scientists know about has also gone up. A botanical survey of Ecuador led to the assessment of 1,164 new plant species, more than 800 of which are in danger. "Above all, the Red List is a wake-up call to all of us," notes IUCN program officer Craig Hilton-Taylor. "By working together we can help conserve what remains of the earth's biodiversity.
By Sarah Graham
to Identify An Idiot?
He spends twenty minutes looking at an orange juice box because it said,
When I look at the
I look upon the
The darkness of
the night grips me with fear
The moonlight flows
out on the land beneath
By Farah Laika Islam
All those days we
Every time I see
a new spring,
Whatever I do, wherever
I sit and wonder
only about you,
By Adity Das Gupta
The location: The local VCD club
How to get there: Anybody aware of one's neighbourhood will know where the VCD club is located, unless you're a nerd and prefer staying indoors all day.
Pre-requisites: You need to be into movies and should be willing to loiter around with friends discussing petty movies.
The Adda: The adda is basically about movies since movies are all that you'll see around you. The adda can be quite lively if you're accompanied by some friends and even if there are no buddies of yours around, there's always the ever-so-amiable club manager to chat with. You can talk on various subjects, like which Hindi film was "marafied" from which English film, which film features Heather Graham in the most heavenly way and various other stuff. Then there are the usual expert commentary on why the sequel to some movie was worse than the first part (take The Matrix for example), why Stephen Spielberg is better than James Cameron or why Stanley Kubrick is not the average filmmaker for your whole family. Another interesting topic of discussion is the heroic act of some common acquaintance, one who had managed to bag several CDs from the club without getting caught. This isn't something you better not discuss in front of your club manager. He may judge by the company you keep. (Which he rightfully should!)
The pros: The adda is a great way to show off your knowledge on movies. In my case, I play the part of the audience while I witness my friends speaking on movies with the air of sophisticated movie experts who had just missed out the chance of being on the judges' panel of the Academy Awards.
cons: A large portion of the adda can be wasted behind persuading
the manager rent you CDs for free i.e. if you have empty pockets or
have already enough "baaki". You need to be an expert negotiator
(not like the guys from UN) in order to please the grouchy club manager.
By Hamdu Mia
Why are planets round?
Derek Sears, professor
of cosmochemistry at the University of Arkansas, explains.
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