PARIS,(Pakistan Point News - APP - 11th Augst,2016) - The main driver of wildlife extinction is not climate change but humanity's rapacious harvesting of species for food and trophies, along with our ever-expanding agricultural footprint, said researchers pleading for a reset of conservation priorities. In an analysis of nearly 9,000 "threatened" or "near-threatened" species, the scientists found that three-quarters are being over-exploited for commerce, recreation or subsistence.
Demand for meat and body parts, for example, have driven the Western gorilla and Chinese pangolin to near extinction, and pushed the Sumatran rhinoceros -- prized in China for bogus medicines made from its horn -- over the edge. And more than half of the 8,688 species of animals and plants evaluated are suffering due to the conversion of their natural habitats into industrial farms and plantations, mainly to raise livestock and grow commodity crops for fuel or food.
By comparison, only 19 percent of these species are currently affected by climate change, they reported in a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature. Conservation budgets, the researchers argued, must reflect this reality. "Addressing the old foes of overharvesting and agricultural activities are key to turning around the biodiversity extinction crisis," said lead author Sean Maxwell, a professor at the University of Queensland in Australia.