ColombiaOne.comColombia news2,103 Species of Animals and Plants May go Extinct in Colombia

2,103 Species of Animals and Plants May go Extinct in Colombia


2,103 of Colombia’s plant and animal species are at risk of becoming extinct, according to the Ministry of the Environment’s latest report. Credit D Piddy. CC BY 2.0/flickr

Colombia’s Ministry of the Environment, updating the list of threatened animals and plants, has determined that there are 2,103 species in the country under this category, including 806 new ones, that are all at risk of becoming extinct.

Among the threatened species is the national tree, the wax palm. The Ministry identified the deforestation of watersheds for agriculture and mining, pollution from dumping, urban development, population density and the decline of wetlands, as the primary threats to all species.

In its recent update of the 2017 list of threatened species, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development determined that there are 465 species in critical danger (extremely high risk), 801 in danger (very high risk) and 837 vulnerable (high risk).

Which species in Colombia appear on the endangered list?

Appearing on the list of endangered wildlife are the cotton-top tamarin, the sawfish, the river turtle, the Amazonian and Caribbean manatee, the catfish and the royal turpia, among others. Of the wild plants, the guasca, the cherry tree, the carreto, the wax palm, the May flower, the mountain papaya, the black oak and the frailejon cabrera, along with others, feature on the list.

2,103 species at risk of going extinct in Colombia
Wax palms in the Valle de Cocora. Credit: mckaysavage. CC BY 2.0/flickr

The wax palm was declared the national tree of Colombia in 1985, and it is one of the most iconic plants in the Andean country, not just because of its shape, but because it lives for up to 200 years and can reach more than 60 meters in height.

The tree gets its name from the coating of wax present on its trunk. Though it most famously grows in the department of Quindio, a coffee-growing area, it can also be found growing in several other departments, including Cundinamarca, of which Bogota is the capital.

“We present to the country an official list of new threatened wild species. This indicates that Colombia has greater studies of its biodiversity, allowing us to adopt the necessary measures to ensure the protection of wild flora and fauna species,” stated the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Susana Muhamad, quoted in a statement from the her office.

2,103 species of animal and plant at risk of going extinct in Colombia
Harlequin frog. Credit: In Memoriam: Ecuador Megadiverso. CC BY 2.0/flickr

The report conveys that out of a total of 794 amphibians analysed, 93.8 percent are at risk of extinction, including the Villavicencio jumping frog, harlequin frog and salamanders. This is Colombia’s first updating of the list of threatened species in seven years, and of the country’s 75,157 different species currently registered, 2,103 are listed as at risk.

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