Island fauna and flora at risk

Published: Wednesday 31 December 2003

island plants and animals are the focus of the latest 'red list' of the world's most threatened species. The list is updated annually by the World Conservation Union (iucn).

In Hawaii, 85 plant species found nowhere else on the planet could soon become extinct. The same is true for 35 types of snails on the Galapagos Islands. Invasive species are the biggest threat to island wildlife. Goats, pigs, cats and rats eat the natives and destroy their habitat. Worldwide, more than 12,000 species are now a part of the three categories indicative of extinction: vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered.

The list increases every year, as environmental degradation worsens and access to information improves. Plants, in particular, are becoming better studied. This year, the list includes seaweeds and lichens for the first time.

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