It is estimated that 27,000 plant and animal species go extinct every year – that is a rate of three per hour. Since 1996, scientists have calculated that 124 amphibian, 1,108 bird, 734 fish, 1,096 and 253 reptile species have been rendered extinct. The reasons for this can be primarily attributed to human factors, such as population growth, chemical use and over-hunting and trading.
Estimates vary depending on where you find your information, but one thing is sure, that species are becoming extinct at increasingly alarming rates as years go by. Extinction numbers are often extrapolated from data regarding known rate of habitat loss. More than 800 species have become extinct over the past 500 years, that half-millennia average comes out to about 1.6 species each year. This average will probably increase in years to come.
From fossil records, the background extinction rate is estimated at 10 species per year, with the exception of mass extinctions. Since the 1800’s we have seen a dramatic increase in that figure. One estimate is that we currently lose 27,000 species per year. Most estimates put the extinction rate at least 1,000 times the background extinction rate.
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