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Extinction Rates Multiply

Humans wiping out species at 1,000 times the natural rate

Eight years ago, world governments made a pledge to bring to a halt the catastrophic loss of entire species by this year, 2010. Instead, eight years later, we haven’t just failed to meet the goal; the situation is far worse.

So, we now have on our hands what scientists are calling The Sixth Great Extinction. The fifth great extinction was what wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. And that took thousands of years to unfold. This new one is happening as we speak.

It’s also happening exponentially. That means not just the same amount this year as last year; not just twice as bad each year as the previous year; but 10 times as bad each year. So 2010 is 10 times as bad as 2009, and 2011 will be 100 times as bad as 2009.

Certainly, there are always some kinds of animals going extinct in the dynamic world of nature. That’s what scientists refer to as “the background rate.” But right now, thanks to human development and expansion, entire species are now going extinct at the alarming rate of 1,000 times the background rate.

Here’s a good slideshow on what are currently some of the most endangered animals on the planet.