Study Shows North American Reptiles Faring Better than Expected
2007 IUCN Red List Results Announced (09.12.07)
A newly completed assessment of the conservation status of North American reptiles shows that most of the group is faring better than expected, with relatively few species at severe risk of extinction.
The comprehensive international assessment was carried out by zoologists from NatureServe, working in partnership with reptile experts from universities, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), and Conservation International. The study covers 721 species of lizards and snakes found in Mexico, the United States, and Canada. (Other reptiles, including the turtles, alligators, and crocodiles, had been previously assessed.) About one in eight lizards and snakes (84 species) were found to be threatened with extinction, with another 23 species labeled Near Threatened. For 121 lizards and snakes, the data are insufficient to allow a confident estimate of their extinction risk, while 493 species (about two-thirds of the total) are at present relatively secure.
When viewed in comparison with the perils facing other animals, this is reasonably good news for North America’s snakes and lizards. A comparable recent global assessment of amphibians, for example, found nearly one-third of the planet’s amphibians to be at risk of extinction.
The results of the two-year assessment were announced today as a key component of the 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Widely recognized as the most definitive tally of the planet’s threatened wildlife, the Red List is a joint effort led by IUCN and its Species Survival Commission, working with official Red List partners BirdLife International, Conservation International, NatureServe, and the Zoological Society of London.
Publication of the conservation status assessments for North American reptiles is a major step towards completion of the first-ever Global Reptile Assessment, an ongoing effort by the Red List Consortium to assess the status of all reptiles worldwide. The North American effort was funded primarily by the Regina Bauer Frankenberg Foundation for Animal Welfare, a New York-based foundation dedicated to the care and conservation of the world’s animals.
Download 09.12.07 press release (PDF file, 52K).
Download Reptile Assessment fact sheet (PDF file, 357 K).
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Download 09.12.07 press release (PDF file, 52K)