Blue coral of Okinawa joins threatened list

THE YOIMURI SHIMBUN

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has expanded its Red List of Threatened Species to include blue coral, which is found in the waters off Okinawa Prefecture, the IUCN said last week.

The IUCN, comprising governments and environmental conservation groups around the world, released the new study at a recent general meeting held in Barcelona.

Last year, a large community of blue coral covering an area of about 1,000 square meters was found in Oura Bay in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. The coral is about four kilometers from the planned relocation site for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station.

Another community of blue coral exists off the coast of Ishigakijima island.

In total, 309 animals and plants existing in Japan are included on the latest Red List.

According to the IUCN, nearly a quarter of mammals are at risk of extinction worldwide. The organization assessed the predicaments of 5,487 mammals confirmed to exist since 1500, and concluded that at least 76 of them are now extinct. Another 1,141 mammals are included on the Red List as endangered species.

The IUCN assesses the level of danger faced by wildlife periodically. The study into the danger levels of mammals is the first since 1996 and the first to encompass marine mammals.

Out of a total of 44,838 animals and plants recognized by the IUCN, the organization included 16,928 on its Red List of endangered species.

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Filed under animals, biodiversity, conservation, endangered, environment, environmentalism, extinction, nature, wildlife, zoology

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