Wild tigers are 40% more numerous in the world than previously thought and the population of Panthera tigris “appears to be stabilizing or even increasing”, even though it remains an endangered species, revealed on Thursday (21) the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
On the other hand, the migratory monarch butterfly, a majestic butterfly capable of traveling thousands of kilometers a year to reproduce, has become part of the IUCN Red List, mainly because of climate change and the destruction of its habitat.
The last assessment of the world’s wild-living tiger population dates back to 2015, and the new count estimated the number of these felines with black-striped orange fur at between 3,726 and 5,578.
The 40% jump “is explained by improvements in tracking techniques, showing that there are more tigers than previously thought and that the number of tigers in the world appears to be stable or increasing,” the IUCN writes in its Red List update. Endangered species.
“Demographic trends indicate that projects such as the IUCN Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Program are effective and that recovery is possible as long as conservation efforts continue,” notes the IUCN, which has more than 1,400 member organizations.
However, the tiger is not out of danger and remains an endangered species.
“The main threats include the hunting of tigers and the hunting of their prey, as well as the fragmentation and destruction of their habitat due to increasing pressures from agriculture and human settlements”, underlines the IUCN.
“To protect this species, it is essential to expand and connect protected areas, ensure they are managed effectively and work with the local communities that live in and around tiger habitats,” he adds.
On the other hand, the migratory monarch butterfly, a subspecies of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), has seen its population in North America decline “by between 22% and 72% in the last decade”, the IUCN notes.
“This Red List update highlights the fragility of natural wonders, such as the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies migrating thousands of kilometers,” comments IUCN Director-General Dr. Bruno Oberle, in a press release.
Logging, deforestation, but also pesticides and herbicides “kill butterflies and milkweed, the host plant on which monarch butterfly larvae feed”, adds the IUCN.
“It’s heartbreaking to see monarch butterflies and their extraordinary migration on the brink of collapse,” said Anna Walker of the New Mexico BioPark Society, who led the assessment of the monarch butterfly.
The western population has declined by about 99.9% since the 1980s. The eastern population, which is larger, has declined by 84% between 1996 and 2014.
“The question of whether there are enough butterflies to maintain populations and prevent their extinction remains a concern,” warns the IUCN.
For Anna Walker, “there are signs of hope” in the mobilization of the public and organizations to try to protect this butterfly and its habitats.
The plight of sturgeons — also migratory — is also going from bad to worse, including that of the beluga, famous for its caviar roe and meat, according to this list.
“All sturgeon species still alive in the Northern Hemisphere, also migratory, are now threatened with extinction due to dams and hunting,” notes the IUCN.
Of the world’s 26 remaining sturgeon species, 100% are now threatened with extinction, a steeper decline than previously thought due to poaching or barriers to migration.
The Yangtze Sturgeon (Acipenser dabryanus) has moved from the Critically Endangered category to Extinct in the Wild. The reassessment also confirmed the extinction of the Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius).
“It says a lot that a species that survived the dinosaurs is doomed to disappear by humans, who exist for a short time,” Beate Striebel-Greiter of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said of the sturgeons.
The Red List classifies species into one of eight threat categories. A total of 147,517 species were evaluated in the latest version, 41,459 of which are considered endangered species: of these, 9,065 are critically endangered; 16,094 are endangered and 16,300 are considered vulnerable.
Created in 1964, the Red List includes 902 species already extinct and 82 species extinct in the wild.