Indian spiders in IUCN Red List

October 6th, 2008 - 10:33 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 6 (IANS) Indian tarantulas, hairy and large spiders, are now in the “Red List” of species threatened with extinction, according to a leading global environmental network as it unveiled its latest global study of threatened species. Highly prized by collectors and threatened by international pet trade, tarantulas are also facing habitat loss due to new roads and settlements, according to the report of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The report was released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona Monday.

The Rameshwaram parachute spider has also been listed as critically endangered as its natural habitat has been almost completely destroyed, the report said.

The fishing cat, found in India, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sumatra and Java also moved from vulnerable to endangered due to habitat loss in wetlands.

“The new study to assess the world’s mammals shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on earth are known to be threatened with extinction. At least 76 mammals have become extinct in the last 500 years,” the IUCN said in a statement.

However, the report says there are rays of hope as results also show conservation can bring species back from the brink of extinction, with five percent of currently threatened mammals showing signs of recovery.

For the first time, all 161 grouper species have been assessed by IUCN, of which 20 are threatened with extinction.

The Squaretail Coral Grouper (Plectropomus areolatus) from the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific has been listed as vulnerable. The fish is seen as a luxury food and is typically fished unsustainably at its spawning aggregations, a major threat for many grouper species.

The assessment of the world’s mammals has confirmed an extinction crisis, with almost one in four at risk of disappearing forever, says the report.

“Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live,” said Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN director general.

“We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives.”

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