Bold new targets needed to halt biodiversity loss

Friday, October 15, 2010
Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
As leaders from around the world gather in Nagoya, Japan for the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org) is pushing for bold targets that will halt global biodiversity loss and species extinctions by 2020.

“Species are being lost at a faster rate than ever before, despite decades of conservation efforts,” said Peter Pueschel, IFAW Director of International Conventions. “From tigers, elephants and marine mammals to frogs, primates and sharks, the average population of wild species fell by almost one-third over the last four decades.”

IFAW urges adoption of a comprehensive strategy for the next decade that will eliminate rates of habitat loss, threatened species decline and extinctions, while improving the conservation status for at least 10% of currently endangered species by 2020. Targets should also be established to ensure that neither wild species nor ecosystems are endangered by international trade.

Earlier this year, the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook found that the Millennium Development Goal of significantly reducing biodiversity loss by 2010 had not been met. The Outlook made clear that biodiversity pressures show few signs of easing and, in many cases, are increasing as a result of human activities, including pollution, habitat destruction and wildlife trade.

“Species that people use as commodities are inherently at risk of population depletion or even elimination,” said Pueschel. “If we are to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, humankind must recognize that it is easier and far less costly to avoid depleting species than to try to save them once they have become critically endangered.”

IFAW also advocates for greater focus on the significant emerging threat of ocean noise on great whales and other marine species. Recent studies have found that growing ocean noise pollution is drowning out the calls of whales and other marine mammals with life-threatening consequences for finding food, mating, nurturing young, navigating, and communicating across vast distances.

“Time is running short,” said Pueschel. “We must proactively protect the welfare of animals and focus on strategies that benefit both animals and people, before it’s too late.”

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