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Reindeer and penguins among the threatened species highlighted by WWF

Published December 29,2022
Reindeer and emperor penguins are among the species highlighted by environmental organization WWF this year to illustrate the threats faced by thousands of animals worldwide.

Thousands of species are struggling with a population decline and an increasing number of threats, the organization said in its annual summary released on Thursday.

"The International Red List now lists more than 42,100 animal and plant species as threatened," the organization said, referring to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.

In 2000, the world's largest population of wild reindeer in the Taimyr region in the Russian Arctic consisted of 1 million animals. Today, only a quarter of them remain, according to the WWF, citing climate change and poaching as the main reasons for the decline.

The organization also highlighted the plight of emperor penguins, saying that nothing had been done this year to better protect the species.

"At current greenhouse gas emission levels, between 80 and 100% of all known emperor penguin colonies are at risk of extinction by 2100," the WWF said.

Meanwhile this summer's mass fish deaths in the Oder River, which runs between Germany and Poland, was also a setback for the reintroduction of the Baltic sturgeon, as thousands of young fish died, the WWF said.

In August, thousands of fish were found dead in the Oder. Experts believe that the cause of the mass fish deaths was salt discharges combined with low water and high temperatures, which led to the mass reproduction of a toxic algae species (Prymnesium parvum).

The WWF also highlighted positive examples of species conservation, including the tiger population in Nepal, which was recovering well, as well as humpback whales in Australia. The animals had been removed from the list of endangered species due to a significant population increase. Nevertheless, more measures were needed to protect the whales from threats such fishing, ship traffic and pollution, the organization said.