As species face the world’s sixth mass extinction, BBC’s The Inquiry asks the question—can we stop a mass extinction?
The world is on the verge of the sixth mass extinction and conservationists around the world are doing their part to save species. BBC’s The Inquiry asks four experts including Island Conservation CEO, Karen
Islands make up only 5% of the Earth’s land mass, but they are home to 19% of avian biodiversity and 41% of all highly threatened terrestrial vertebrates. The number one threat that these species face—invasive species. Luckily, conservation can help save these species.
Palmyra Atoll, located about 1,000 miles southwest of Hawai‘i is a perfect example of the damage invasive species can cause and the impact invasive species removal can have on recovery. Invasive rats once covered the island, feeding on seeds, seedlings, seabird eggs, and hatchlings. In 2011 the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Island Conservation removed invasive rats from the atoll to protect native species from extinction. Five years later, Island Conservation Scientists, Coral Wolf, detected a 5000% increase in native vegetation recruitment.
Poiani goes on to share stories of recovery on Cabritos Island after the removal of invasive species and the importance of biosecurity on the Galápagos Islands. The question remains, can we stop the sixth mass extinction? We can try. Since humans and our actions are the leading causes of this mass extinction, we certainly are obligated to try and save species. There is hope for many species and saving islands is one way we can help prevent extinctions.
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