How many sharks are extinct

Red list of threatened species | First shark extinct

The good news first: Rigorous protective measures bring good news for the bison at the end of the year! The animal, also known as the European bison, is less endangered than before, reported the World Conservation Union (IUCN) on Thursday in Gland near Geneva. It maintains the Red List of Endangered Species and updates it on an ongoing basis.

The bison (Bison bonasus) has been downgraded from category three (“endangered”) to category two (“potentially endangered”). The number of bison rose from 1,800 in 2003 to 6,200 last year, reported the IUCN. The species was already extinct in the wild at the beginning of the 20th century, but survived in breeding and was reintroduced into the wild in the 1950s. The largest populations are in Poland, Belarus and Russia.

▶︎ But then comes the bad one: the first shark species, Carcharhinus obsolerus, is now thought to be probably extinct. And that's an alarm signal!

“Every time the Red List is updated, we see the global loss of biodiversity more clearly. Nevertheless, the downward spiral goes on and on. The species in the sea are also becoming more and more difficult due to overfishing, habitat destruction and the climate crisis, ”says Heike Vesper, Head of Marine Protection at WWF Germany. "The greatest extinction of species since the dinosaurs is taking place before our eyes."

Sharks and rays are particularly among the losers on the red list. With over 420 additional evaluations today, a total of 1194 shark and ray species have been evaluated. Of these, 154 species are again or recently classified as threatened. These include four species of hammerhead sharks and four types of angel sharks, which are endangered or threatened with extinction and thus belong to the most threatened shark families, as well as the giant manta ray, which is now acutely threatened with extinction. Since the shark and ray Red List was last updated in 2014, these cartilaginous fish are rapidly becoming one of the most endangered groups of vertebrates on the planet.

“The new update shows how bad things really are for sharks and rays. Many species were assessed that could not previously be assessed due to a lack of data, as well as new species that have only now been described. This creates a new picture: the more species are classified, the more dramatic the situation becomes. Before we have a chance to protect the species, we have already lost them, ”says Heike Vesper.

They are particularly affected by fishing, which often ignores sharks and rays, only manages them as bycatch species and only acts when it is too late. More and more edible fish are disappearing near the coast, so that artisanal fishing is increasingly turning to sharks and rays, often without any regulations.

“Today's update of the Red List and also the current Living Planet Report from the WWF show that biodiversity has never been as bad as it is today. The seas are threatened by overfishing, pollution and devastating coastal development, plus the effects of global warming. We urgently need effective protective measures and better fisheries management in order to save the species from disappearing, ”urges Heike Vesper.

The IUCN lists animals and plants in eight categories, from "extinct" to "not endangered". Some species cannot be classified because insufficient data are available. The list now includes almost 129,000 animal and plant species, of which almost 36,000 are critically endangered.

The IUCN reports that three species of frogs have become extinct in Central America. In one of the largest lakes in the Philippines, Lake Lanao, 15 of the 17 freshwater fish that were once native there are now extinct. 30 percent of the rays and sharks are threatened with extinction, reported the Marine Megafauna Foundation. This is a consequence of unsustainable fishing.