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Report shows life on Earth under serious threat

The latest international report on threatened species shows that life on earth is under serious threat from increased extinction rates.

"The report Wildlife in a Changing World gives an extremely sobering prognosis for our planet's wellbeing," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today.

The release today of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, which is published every four years, comes just before the deadline world governments set themselves to evaluate how successful they were in achieving the 2010 target to reduce biodiversity loss.

"This IUCN report shows that the 2010 target will not be met, and that governments' current worldwide efforts to reverse biodiversity loss are not working," said Senator Siewert.

"Out of 44,838 species currently featured on the IUCN Red List, 16,928 are threatened with extinction. This equates to one third of amphibians, one in eight bird species and a quarter of all mammals found on earth. Even accounting for those species not yet known to us, this is a staggeringly large percentage."

"Australia is right up there near the top of the chart - with a staggering 788 species listed in the most threatened categories, including 40 known extinctions, 66 species critically endangered, 148 endangered and 519 listed as vulnerable."

"The analogy given by those in the IUCN should hit home for many world leaders who have just signed off on giant economic stimulus packages - the efforts put into saving the environment should at least equal if not exceed those put into bailing out the financial sector," she said.

"With our tourism, fisheries and agricultural industries and our Aussie way of life all threatened by environmental degradation and species loss, Australia is long overdue for an environmental stimulus package."

"Our nation leaders should not take this as an indication of our impending doom - far from it. It is time our governments, industry, communities and society in general recognise the fundamental importance of our biosphere, and act immediately to preserve our planet," concluded Senator Siewert.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

The IUCN report Wildlife in a Changing World can be found here.

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