Thousands of species are newly threatened with extinction this year, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature — many as a result of changes wrought to the climate as the planet warms.
The IUCN announced updates to its Red List of Threatened Species on Monday at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai. In total, the group says, roughly 44,000 species face some threat of extinction. Some 2,000 species were added to this list this year.
A wide range of variables that make up a species' environment may affect its ability to thrive. Certain turtles, for example, are now threatened because rising sea levels are flooding their nesting grounds, and because warmer ocean waters diminish the growth of their seagrass food supplies. Freshwater fish species face threats from salt water intrusion up freshwater streams and rivers.
Overall, the IUCN says, 6,700 species on the Red List are faring worse thanks to changes in the climate.
Two species of antelope are doing better overall this year. The scimitar-horned oryx, which was once considered extinct in the wild, has gained a foothold of a few hundred individuals in a nature reserve in Chad, where pressures like poaching and conflict with traffic are reduced.
IUCN officials say taking action to protect biodiversity is proven to work — and they say one of the most significant actions we might take is to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
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