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Sage spending to save species (commentary)

22 / 04 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

Weeks ago, new research uncovered that “the most deadly pathogen known to science” has, conservatively, caused the decline of more than 500 amphibian species, of which 90 are presumed to have gone extinct in the past 50 years. Now considered a “chic” and celebrity species, the vaquita porpoise, known in Spanish as the “little cow” of the Sea of Cortez, is also vanishing. Classified as the most endangered marine mammal on the planet, half of all vaquitas were lost in 2015 and 2016, with just ten estimated to remain today. Cautionary tales of lightning-fast, human-induced wildlife decline are frighteningly ubiquitous and increasingly symptomatic of a fissure in the global conservation paradigm, specifically the ways in which species are prioritized, receive funding, and garner international awareness due to how close they sit to the precipice of extinction. The architecture of the current conservation funding structure is in need of an overhaul to allow greater distribution of resources across all species, regardless of their conservation status, in order to strategically and wisely allocate the life-saving dollars bestowed upon the environmental community. Since its evolution in 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species has been considered the globally recognized authority on the conservation status of animal and plant species, ranking them from “Not Evaluated” to “Extinct.” This “Barometer of Life” very much guides the global barometer of conservation funding, with the most threatened species on one end of the scale receiving the vast majority of dollars ($211.8…

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