Durban: Several animal species including gorillas in Rwanda and tigers in Bangladesh could risk extinction if the impact of climate change and extreme weather on their habitats is not addressed, a UN report showed yesterday.
Launched on the sidelines of global climate negotiations in Durban, the report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) shows how higher temperatures, the rise in sea levels, deforestation and excessive land use have damaged the habitats of certain species, especially in Africa.
"Many ecosystems have already been stressed by increasing population, historical and recent deforestation, unsustainable management practices and even invasive species," Eduardo Rojas-Briales, assistant director-general at the FAO's forestry department, said at the launch of the report.
The most affected areas include mountains, isolated islands and coastal areas, which limit the possibilities for animals to migrate elsewhere and create new habitats.
"The remaining populations become enclosed in very small ecosystems, they have inbreeding problems... and at the end these species may disappear," he added.
Wildlife migration may also lead to conflicts with humans as happened with the tigers in Bangladesh, Rojas-Briales said.
"Lifestock and even humans were attacked and of course there was retaliation by the local population, and the success that was achieved by protecting this species is now being reversed by habitat degradation," he said.
Other examples of affected animals included elephants in Mali, lions in the Serengeti and crocodiles in Malawi.