View Full Version : Scientists: Earth In Grip Of Mass Extinction

03-07-2006, 06:07 PM
Scientists: Earth in grip of mass extinction
By environment reporter Sarah Clarke

Scientists say Earth is experiencing the largest mass extinction in 65 million years.
Environmental scientist Professor Norman Myers says the loss of species is more severe than the five mass extinctions of the geological past.

"In the lifetime of many [television news] viewers we could lose half of all those 10 million species around the world," he said.

There are 33 extinction hotspots around the world.

The Australia Museum's Frank Howarth says two are in Australia and up to 80 per cent of the crucial habitat has been wiped out.

"One [is] north Queensland rainforest, the other is in south-western Australia but in Australian terms we have a lot of areas where we have real competition between endemic animals that are found nowhere else," Mr Howarth said.

Green groups say current measures to protect sensitive habitats are not effective.

"The Australian Government is investing a lot of money in biodiversity but it's not being invested in the most responsible way," Nicola Beynon, from the Humane Society International, said.

Professor Myers says if governments do not do more, the planet will continue to lose 50 species per day compared to the natural extinction rate of one species every five years.

"The whole thing is taking place in what you might call a flickering of an evolutionary eye," he said.

"It's hard to keep up with unless we damp down on some of the causes of the evolution."

03-07-2006, 06:26 PM