Around one in three freshwater species are estimated to be at risk of extinction, according to a new report published by the world’s leading conservationists.
The report Fantastic Freshwater: 50 landmark species for conservation by Shoal, IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC), the UNODU Fresh water conservation Committee, and the Global Center for Species Survival at the Indianapolis Zoo, emphasises the urgent need for fresh water species conservation.
It highlights species from across the taxonomic spectrum that are set to lose unless urgent action is taken to alleviate threats. The report focuses on 50 species — five each of amphibians, birds, crustaceans, fish, fungi, insects, mammals, molluscs, plants, and reptiles – to dive into a world of fresh water both fantastic and highly threatened. The 50 species were selected through consultation with 21 IUCN SSC Specialist Groups and fresh water fungi experts. Many of them also act as umbrella species for a particular fresh water system, threat, or species group. Conservation of them would likely increase protection to other species living in the same habitats.
Topiltzin Contreras-MacBeath, co-chair IUCN SSC Freshwater Conservation Committee, said: “Now that we have a better understanding of the conservation status of numerous freshwater species, we urgently need to implement conservation actions to prevent further extinctions and contribute to our goal of being nature positive by 2030”.
Meanwhile, Monika Böhm, freshwater coordinator at the Global Center for Species Survival, Indianapolis Zoo, said: “This is a milestone report for us, as it brings together experts working on freshwater species from across the taxonomic spectrum, and from across the IUCN Species Survival Commission – one of the leading bodies on global species knowledge. Because many freshwater species suffer from the same threats, each of these species tells a compelling story of what is happening to our freshwaters, whether they are vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, or tiny fungi. We really would miss a trick by not working together to give a fuller picture of the wonders – and importance – of freshwater diversity”