The 74 largest terrestrial herbivores are on the verge of extinction, a new worrying study has found. All in all, over half of all large terrestrial herbivores are on the verge of extinction – and we’re to blame.
”I expected that habitat change would be the main factor causing the endangerment of large herbivores. But surprisingly, the results show that the two main factors in herbivore declines are hunting by humans and habitat change. They are twin threats.”
“The big carnivores, like the charismatic big cats or wolves, face horrendous problems from direct persecution, over-hunting and habitat loss,” David Macdonald, an Oxford scholar and co-author, told the BBC, “but our new study adds another nail to their coffin — the empty larder. … It’s no use having habitat if there’s nothing left to eat in it.”
“Growing human populations, unsustainable hunting, high densities of livestock, and habitat loss have devastating consequences for large, long-live, slow-breeding, and, therefore, vulnerable herbivore species,” Ripple added, expressing his hopes that policymakers will step in and prevent further damage. “We hope this report increases appreciation for the importance of large herbivores in these ecosystems,” Ripple added in the release. “And we hope that policymakers take action to conserve these species.”
“This slaughter is driven by the high retail price of rhinoceros horn, which exceeds, per unit weight, that of gold, diamonds, or cocaine,” according to the study.
“Now is the time to act boldly,” the article concluded. “Saving the remaining threatened large herbivores will require concerted action,” the study concluded. “The world’s wealthier populations will need to provide the resources essential for ensuring the preservation of our global natural heritage of large herbivores. A sense of justice and development is essential to ensure that local populations can benefit fairly from large herbivore protection and thereby have a vested interest in it.”