The Global Red List Updated: 2,413 Species Including A NSW Butterfly Are Now Under Threat Of Extinction

The Kiikatuura fresh tuna market in Japan. Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

Pacific Bluefin Tuna, Chinese Pufferfish, American Eel, Chinese Cobra and an Australian butterfly have been placed on the threatened with extinction warning list.

The latest update of the Red List of Threatened Species was released at the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) World Parks Congress in Sydney.

The IUCN Red List, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, now includes 76,199 assessed species, of which 22,413 are threatened with extinction.

“Each update of the IUCN Red List makes us realize that our planet is constantly losing its incredible diversity of life, largely due to our destructive actions to satisfy our growing appetite for resources,” says IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre.

“But we have scientific evidence that protected areas can play a central role in reversing this trend. Experts warn that threatened species poorly represented in protected areas are declining twice as fast as those which are well represented. Our responsibility is to increase the number of protected areas and ensure that they are effectively managed so that they can contribute to saving our planet’s biodiversity.”

With the update, the Pacific Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus orientalis) has moved from the Least Concern category to Vulnerable, which means that it is now threatened with extinction.

The Chinese Pufferfish (Takifugu chinensis) has entered the Red List as Critically Endangered. Its global population is estimated to have declined by 99.99% over the past 40 years due to overexploitation.

A popular food fish in Japan, it is among the top four fugu species consumed as sashimi.

The Black Grass-dart Butterfly (Ocybadistes knightorum) has entered the Red List as Endangered.

The Black Grass-dart Butterfly (Ocybadistes knightorum) Image: CSIRO

Found only in the northern New South Wales coastal region, the species is threatened primarily due to the invasion of introduced weeds and coastal development.

A significant proportion of its habitat exists in protected areas such as Bongil Bongil National Park and Gaagal Wonggan (South Beach) National Park, and the effective management of these areas could play an important role in securing the species’ future.

The threat from weed invasion is being managed in some reserves where key habitat patches have responded well to weeding, resulting in successful habitat rehabilitation.

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