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Many species thought safe from extinction said at climate-change risk

  |   June 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM
GLAND, Switzerland, June 25 (UPI) -- An international conservation group says climate change threatens many species thought to be safe, which may leave them out of important conservation actions.

Up to 83 percent of birds, 66 percent of amphibians and 70 percent of corals identified as "highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are not currently considered threatened with extinction," the International Union for the Conservation of Nature reported in a study Monday.

Because those species are not on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, they are unlikely to be receiving focused conservation attention, the study said.

"We hadn't expected that so many species and areas that were not previously considered to be of concern would emerge as highly vulnerable to climate change," study lead author Wendy Foden said.

"Clearly, if we simply carry on with conservation as usual, without taking climate change into account, we'll fail to help many of the species and areas that need it most, " she said.

In the first global-scale maps of vulnerability to climate change resulting from the study, the Amazon was identified as hosting the highest concentrations of the birds and amphibians that are most vulnerable, and the Coral Triangle of the central Indo-West Pacific contains the majority of vulnerable corals.

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