This Website use Cookies OK

Read more World News

Study: Humans' craving for meat pushing animal species closer to extinction


Salmon could be on the endangered list in the near future if mankind continues to hunt for meat and fish. (JNBPhotography / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Mankind’s desire for meat is pushing some species to the brink of extinction.

That’s the dire findings of a new study, published in the scientific journal Conservation Letters.

At least 200 species of large animals are decreasing in number and more than 150 are under threat of extinction, according to alarming new data that suggests humans’ meat consumption habits are primarily to blame.

Findings published in Conservation Letters involved the classification of nearly 300 species.

Studying the hundreds of species the study refers to as “megafauna,” a whopping 70% are in decline, and 59% of the species are threatened with disappearing from the globe, said study author and Oregon State University ecology professor William Ripple.

In their definition of megafauna, researchers decided on animals weighing in excess of 220 pounds: mammals, ray-finned fish and cartilaginous fish; and 88 pounds for amphibians, birds and reptiles, since these species are generally smaller.

“Direct harvest for human consumption of meat or body parts is the biggest danger to nearly all of the large species with threat data available,” said Ripple. “Thus, minimizing the direct killing of these vertebrate animals is an important conservation tactic that might save many of these iconic species, as well as all of the contributions they make to their ecosystems.”

Over the past 500 years, as man’s ability to kill animals at a safe distance has become easier, 2% of all megafauna species are extinct.

Nine megafauna species have either gone extinct overall, or wiped out in wild habitat over the past 250 years, including two species of giant tortoise and two species of deer.