Sharks and Rays are the World’s Most Endangered Animals

Sharks and Rays are the World’s Most Endangered Animals

by Editorial Animalia

The study was conducted in coral reefs. For researchers at Simon Fraser and James Coock Universities, the main culprits are overfishing and climate change. The most critical areas are Brazil, Tasmania and Indonesia

Sharks and rays are the most endangered specimens of the marine life found around the coral reef. Not only that, they face twice the risk of extinction as similar species living in different environments. And that makes them the most endangered group of animals in the world. This is the result of a joint study by two universities, Canada’s Simon Fraser University and Australia’s James Cook University, which was published today in the journal Nature Communications.

The research team, led by Fraser’s Samantha Sherman and James Cook’s Colin Simpfendorfer, conducted a study that included all 134 reef species based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. associated sharks and rays. And he related them both to the rest of the marine populations living in the same areas and to their like ones living elsewhere. And in both contexts, these animals turned out to be the most vulnerable.

The risk factors are related to intensive fishing, which depletes the seas by reducing food opportunities, but also to habitat modification and reduction due to pollution and climate change. The conclusion that without immediate action to improve their conservation, the decline of these species could be inevitable, with serious repercussions on the balance of the coral reef itself, which lives in close relationship with the species that populate it. And with consequences also for the human population of the areas that derive their livelihood from the barrier, both for fishing and for tourism activities.

Specifically, the researchers concluded that 59% of the reef’s resident group of sharks and rays are threatened with extinction. The risk was greatest for the most common large species, such as sand tiger sharks and manta rays, both of which are found in the waters of more than 60 countries. In addition, the threat is particularly high in countries where fishing pressure is strong and regulatory policies are weak, such as Brazil, Tanzania and Indonesia.

Jan 17, 2023 (change Jan 18, 2023 | 10:37 am)