Extinction alert issued for 800 species

December 13, 2005

Conservation and environmental groups have compiled a list of nearly 800 species they say face imminent extinction. Most of the threatened species are found mainly in tropical areas, the BBC reported Tuesday.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers say protecting some of the species would cost less than $1,000 per year.

"This is a whole suite of species threatened with extinction," Stuart Butchart, global species program coordinator with Cambridge, England-based, BirdLife International, one of the groups preparing the report, told the BBC.

The list of 13 organizations behind the study include the Zoological Society of London, Conservation International, and the American Bird Conservancy. They have formed a new organization, the Alliance for Zero Extinction, which prepared a list of 595 sites that reportedly contain at least one species classified as "endangered" or "critically endangered."

Each site is either the only place where a specific species or group of species live or it contains at least 95 percent of a species known population.

Because not every organism on the planet has been studied or even identified, the 794 species include only birds, mammals, amphibians, conifers, and some groups of reptiles.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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