UN’s biodiversity treaty, Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), released the first-ever State of the World’s Migratory Species report has left the world concerned about the fate of migratory animals across the world.
The report released on Monday, February 12, at the UN Wildlife Conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan stated that around 44% of migratory species worldwide are facing decline and are on the verge of extinction.
“These are species that move around the globe. They move to feed and breed and also need stopover sites along the way,” said the report’s lead author Kelly Malsch.
Songbirds, whales, turtles, sharks and many such migratory animals move around changing habitat with changing seasons and in accordance with their biological needs. However, anthropogenic activities have resulted in environmental degradation triggering issues like habitat loss, pollution, climate change. Furthermore, activities like fishing and poaching have also put the animal kingdom at risk. With such rapid environmental changes on the rise, the migratory animals are under a severe threat of going extinct.
The global assessment has found that “more than one-in-five (22 per cent) of CMS-listed species are threatened with extinction”. Meanwhile “nearly all (97 per cent) of CMS-listed fish are threatened with extinction”. 51% of the areas that are designated as crucial for the CMS-listed migratory animals do not have protected status while 58% monitored sites are threatened by human activities.
Habitat loss and overexploitation have been found to be the most detrimental cause behind the extinction of these animals, with three-out-of-four CMS-listed species being impacted by “habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation” and seven-out-of-ten CMS species being affected by overexploitation. The report additionally stated that, “The extinction risk is growing for migratory species globally, including those not listed under CMS”.
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said: “Today’s report clearly shows us that unsustainable human activities are jeopardizing the future of migratory species – creatures who not only act as indicators of environmental change but play an integral role in maintaining the function and resilience of our planet’s complex ecosystems. The global community has an opportunity to translate this latest science of the pressures facing migratory species into concrete conservation action. Given the precarious situation of many of these animals, we cannot afford to delay, and must work together to make the recommendations a reality.”
Agreement To Protect Migratory Species
The CMS was came into force in 1979 with an aim to safeguard terrestrial, aquatic, and avian migratory species. A project involving the collaboration of governments and wildlife experts, the convention now has 133 members including countries like India, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Djibouti and so on.
The report has put forward a few recommendations which include, mapping migration corridors, reducing infrastructural developments that affect the lives of migratory species, developing biodiversity areas and restoration of degraded land and marine areas.
As per BBC, the recent findings have prompted government officials to hold meeting in Uzbekistan to effectively come up with plans that will help mitigate the ongoing environmental problems.