Nowadays, due to changing the environment or so-called climate change, many species are facing the threat of extinction. And recently, scientists have revealed that size really matters when it comes to extinction risks. The smallest and biggest animals of the world are more prone to death, and the vertebrates in the so-called “Goldilocks zone “which are not too small or too big will be in a safe zone, as said by the scientists. Scientists also called for appropriate actions to save the animals of both the ends of the scale. The bigger heavyweight animals might get extinct due to large-scale hunting and the smaller featherweights will lose out to pollution as well as logging.
A team led by Prof Bill Ripple of Oregon State University in Corvallis, US said that the largest vertebrates are mostly threatened of direct killing by humans. And the smallest species will more likely suffer from restricted geographic ranges and also habitat degradation, which is considered as crucial predictors of extinction risk. This new research also supports the evidence of 6th mass extinction that which might occur in future. So, scientists and researchers are now trying to figure out the key drivers of extinction risk.
And the most important clue that they got is the body size and they found out that it’s not only the large-sized species that are at the risk of extinction, but also small sized plants and animals are also prone to extinction. And the protection of these species is not undertaken appropriately. While large sized charismatic animals like elephants, lions, and rhinos get more attention for protection but large fish or reptiles like Whale Shark, Chinese giant salamander and Somali Ostrich were always overlooked. And also, small species like frogs and shrews all get little attention for protection.
For the study, the researchers from US, UK, Australia, and Switzerland compared extinction risk and body mass of more than 25,00 species of vertebrates. From these, according to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation f Nature, 4,000 species were on the verge of extinction.
From the research, it was revealed that the Vertebrates having the largest and smallest bodies were detected to be at more risk of extinction, irrespective of their dwelling place. To combat this issue, different precautionary measures should be taken regarding conservation of the endangered species. Researchers informed that if global consumption of wild meat is checked then it will ultimately lead to the reduction of human hunting, fishing as well as trapping of vertebrates around the world. The study was published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.