The Red List of Threatened Species, published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is one VIP roster you don't want to be on. This year, however, more than a thousand bird species have unfortunately made the cut, given a boost by climate change.
The 2008 Red List, published today, has up-listed eight species as "critically endangered," the highest threat category. Meanwhile, 1,226 species have been flagged as "threatened." Long-term drought and sudden, extreme weather are putting extra strain on habitat that many threatened species need, an IUCN press release states, adding that these severe weather patterns, coupled with habitat destruction, have lead to an increased rate of extinction on continents and away from islands (which is where most historical extinction has occurred). And climate change will likely only figure more prominently into future Red Lists, according to the press release.
To curb the alarming trend, BirdLife has launched the Preventing Extinctions Programme, which will target the 190 critically endangered bird on the list by finding people and organizations best-suited to conserving each bird.