British Columbia·Video

World in 'biomass crisis,' new report finds

In the past century, we've seen almost 500 animal extinctions, and even that finding is "highly conservative," says the report.

Modern extinction rates up to 100 times greater than the natural rate, researchers say

A new age of extinction

CBC News Vancouver at 6

6 years ago
Scientists say the number of species dying out increasing 2:39

Humans are causing the world's sixth mass extinction of species, and at a speed unprecedented in the earth's 4.5-billion year history, say researchers.  

Human impact has accelerated extinction rates by up to 100 times their "natural rate," according to a recent report by scientists at the National Autonomous University in Mexico

Conservationists have been warning for years that human degradation and destruction of habitats is precipitating a mass extinction event, but the severity of the situation shocked the report's authors.

477 species extinct since 1900

Using fossil records, scientists calculated a "natural" rate of extinction. For every 10,000 species, two go extinct every 100 years.

In the past century, nearly 500 species have died off since 1900, rather than the nine that would be expected at natural rates. 

Those include 69 mammals, 80 birds, 24 reptiles, 146 amphibians and 158 fish, and those figures are "highly conservative," the report states. 

Researchers are calling it a global "biomass crisis."

Already happening in B.C.

The Oregon Spotted Frog, found only in Canada and once common in the Fraser Valley, is now one of the nation's most endangered species because of the urban development of their wetlands. (Gary Nafis/Facebook)

British Columbia has already begun to see the effects of the mass die off. The province has listed more than 750 species as being threatened, endangered or extinct. 

Another 750 are listed as being of special concern.

For example, the Oregon Spotted Frog, once common in the Fraser Valley, is now one of the most endangered species in Canada because of the urban development of its wetlands. 

Watch the whole segment that aired on Our Vancouver: A new age of extinction.


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