Endangered species

Puerto Rico

  Protection and preserving of biodiversity of Earth has become one of the most important global problems of mankind. In the course of millions years nature worked out very complicated biological system, where every living organism, even very little one, plays it's own role. Disappearance of one section in chain damages the stability of the whole system. Once disappeared, species can't be restored as evolution is irreversible. That's why man should pay special attention to species in danger of extinction. Protection of such species means that their number will increase and function in ecosystem will be restored. All that is very important for preserving of biodiversity on the whole.
  Destiny of rare species worried people long ago, but the problem became really serious in the middle of 20th century. Council on Nature and Natural Recourses was founded I 1948. It united state, scientific and public organizations on nature protection of many countries. In 1949 it decided to organize a Species Survival Commission. The main purpose of this Commission was researching of rare animals and plants and preparation of recommendations on their protection. The great work was done in this direction. Scientists defined the species in danger of extinction and put them in a list. A special heading was needed for this list, something to underline it's importance. And it was found. The Chairperson of Commission, Sir Peter Scott suggested to call it 'Red Data Book' as word 'red' means danger. The first edition of book was released in 1963 including information about 211 species of mammals and 312 of birds. Species in book are divided into 5 types:

  • disappearing
  • rare
  • declining in number
  • unstudied
  • rehabilitated

The second edition appeared in 1966-1971. It had 236 species of mammals, 287 of birds, 119 of reptiles and 34 of amphibians. In 1972 'Black List' of disappeared species was published. The number of this accounts about 175 species beginning from 1600. The releasing of third edition of 'Red Book' began in 1972, and forth appeared in 1978-1980. the work on content of 'Red Book' is going on and seems never to stop as more and more species become in danger of extinction nowadays due to man activity. 'Red Data Book' is not a jurisdiction document, but every country, where the endangered species are found has the moral responsibility for protection before the whole world. Also separate 'Red Lists of Threatened' animals were published in 1988, 1990, 1994, 1996, and 1998. They are not the variants of Red Book, but very close in essence. Species here are subdivided into two large categories:

1. In danger of extinction :  

  • in critical condition
  • threatened
  • vulnerable

2.Low risk:   

  • depended on protection measures
  • are likely to be replaced to a group of threatened
  • of minimal risk

There are two more categories in lists which don't relate directly to protection:   

  • Species already disappeared  
  • Species reserved only in captivity

The prominent scientist A.G. Bannikov wrote: ' We don't know about all the species in the world…it would be a great mistake to let a species die only because we don't know about it's usefulness at the moment.' And we think, he was right.

For information about Red Data Book we consulted a book Blagosklonov K.N. Rasskaz o Krasnoy Knige. – M. Phizkultura i sport, 1984