According to a new United Nations report, nearly half of the world’s migratory species are in decline. Migratory animals face threats like habitat loss, illegal hunting and fishing, pollution, and climate change. The report indicated that 44% of migratory species around the world are experiencing population declines. The U.N. monitors nearly 1,200 species and more than a fifth of them are threatened with extinction.
Species including songbirds, sea turtles, whales, sharks, and more are at risk. The lead author of the report, Kelly Malsch, explained that these animals move to various environments to feed and breed, and also need stopover sites along the way.
Habitat loss or other threats anywhere along their migratory journey can lead to dwindling populations. Without migration, some species would not survive and continue to exist.
The report is based on existing data and information from the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, which oversees whether a species is endangered.
In an upcoming U.N. wildlife conference, proposals for conservation measures and the potential formal listing of several new species of concern will be discussed. Susan Lieberman, vice president for international policy at the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Society, emphasized the need for joint efforts to save these species. At the meeting, governments from South America will likely propose adding two species of declining Amazon catfish to the U.N. treaty’s list of migratory species of concern.
The Amazon River basin holds the world’s largest freshwater system, and protecting the habitat is essential to preserving the species. In 2022, governments pledged to conserve 30% of the planet’s land and water resources for conservation at the U.N. Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada.