As the earth’s population continued to climb past the 7 billion mark in late 2011, a tortoise named Lonesome George went about his daily business in the Galapagos National Park.
Lonesome George was unique because he was the very last Pinta Island Tortoise, and when he quietly passed away in late June this year, the planet was left with one less species to accommodate.
To save every endangered species from the same fate as George, it would cost each person on the planet just US$11.43 each year, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by a group of authors led by scientists from Birdlife International, found that it would cost US$4 billion annually to reduce the extinction risk for all endangered animals, and a further US$76 billion each year to protect and manage key habitats.
Lead author of the study Donal McCarthy said the study highlighted an urgent need for a rise in investment in conservation.
“The total costs are very small relative to the likely costs of inaction. The total is just 1-4% of the net value of ecosystem services being lost annually, for which estimates range from $2 to $6.6 trillion,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The total required is less than 20% of annual global consumer spending on soft drinks,” he said.
The study, the first of its kind, was released to coincide with a meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and was designed to support the goal to halt extinctions and preserve nature by the year 2020.
Animal extinction is not confined to stories of the dodo various species continue to pass into extinction each year despite conservation efforts. Recent extinctions include: