Large animals in 'double jeopardy' of extinction
New York, June 10: Large animals hunted for their parts — such as elephant ivory and shark fins — are in double jeopardy of extinction due to their large body size and high value, says a study. The study reveals underappreciated risk to marine species similar to that of iconic terrestrial species. “We typically assume that if a species is reduced to low numbers, individuals will be hard to find, hunters will stop hunting, and populations will be given a chance to recover,” said one of the researchers Loren McClechan of Colby College in Waterville, Maine, US.
“But the extreme values of these species mean that without significant conservation intervention, they will be hunted to extinction,” McClechan noted. In the new study, the researchers identified a taxonomically diverse group of more than 100 large marine and terrestrial species that are targeted for intertiol luxury markets. They estimated the value of these species across three points of sale and explored the relationships among extinction risk, value, and body size. The alysis showed a threshold above which economic value is the key driver of extinction risk. Although lower-value species are influenced primarily by their biology, the most valuable species are at high risk of extinction no matter their size. Once mean product values are greater than $12,557 per kilogram, body size no longer drives risk, the report showed. (IANS)