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WWF: gorilla, jaguar and lynx continue to drastically decline

Saturday, December 29th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
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The number of animals, plants and other organisms continued to decline in 2007, but for some the threat of extinction had been successfully warded off, the environment organization the WWF said Thursday.

Gorillas, the jaguar and lynx were among the losers while the Siberian tiger and the orchid were among the winners according to a list published by the WWF. Poaching, the Ebola virus and political instability in the central African countries had cut the gorilla population by 60% in the west during the past 25 years, said the organization. The jaguar population was six to seven times less in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil compared with 1990. Only the Amazon region provided a safe haven. The lynx, successfully re-introduced in the 1970s, had seen a sharp decline in 2007 in the north-west Alps, which the Swiss authorities claim was a result of poaching. But there were successes thanks to environmental protection measures, according to WWF. The WWF had found traces of the Siberian tiger north of the Amour River in Russia for the first time in 30 years. Investigations showed some tigers had migrated more than 900 kilometers north even crossing the Chinese border. In Vietnam, a number of new animals and plants had been identified in new protection zones created in a national park in the Hue province, including five new types of orchid. The Bearded Vulture had bred in the wild for the first time in Switzerland in 2007 after being re-introduced in 1979. According to the latest Red list published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, IUCN, 39% of plants and animals were at risk including 16,306 species up from 10,533 in 1996. The WWF said the number of threatened species continued to increase with no change in the trend in sight.

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