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Nearly 21,000 species at risk of extinction: Conservationists

Published on Jul 2, 2013 8:08 AM

GENEVA (AFP) - A freshwater shrimp, an island-dwelling lizard and a pupfish from Arizona have been declared extinct, while nearly 21,000 species are at risk of dying out, an updated "Red List" released on Tuesday showed.

"The overall picture is alarming," said Ms Jane Smart of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which is behind the Red List of Threatened Species that to date has assessed 70,294 of the world's 1.82 million known species of plants and animals.

Ms Smart, who heads IUCN's biodiversity conservation union, insisted urgent and more efficient action was needed "if we are serious about stopping the extinction crisis that continues to threaten all life on Earth".

According to the update, 20,934 species are currently listed as "threatened with extinction", compared with 20,219 last October.

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