People, Environment

3 Species Edge Closer to Extinction

3 Species Edge Closer to Extinction3 Species Edge Closer to Extinction

The Bornean orangutan is on the verge of extinction, while the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark, and a hammerhead shark species, the winghead shark, are now classified as endangered. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s updated “Red List” on Friday, growing human pressure was driving the three species ever closer to destruction, AFP reported. Around 100,000 of Bornean orangutans are estimated to be living on the island of Borneo, which is divided between Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, down from 288,500 in 1973 and with their numbers expected to shrink to 47,000 by 2025. The species could be extinct in 50 years, according to a statement by IUCN. “As orangutans are hunted and pushed out of their habitats, losses to this slow-breeding species are enormous and will be extremely difficult to reverse,” IUCN assessor of the species, Erik Meijaard, said in the statement. Whale sharks and winghead sharks have also fallen foul of increased pressure from human activity, especially the fishing industry, with populations of whale sharks halving in the last 75 years. The IUCN is expected to publish a full update of its Red List of Threatened Species in September.