Monday, June 22, 2009

Oh, How They Go Extinct, Let Us Count the Ways

The website called Worldometers keeps track of various statistics in real time and is reporting the number of species that have gone extinct so far this year at 65,616 as of today.

I would bet that this number relates somewhat to the figure for toxic chemicals released by industries into our air, land, and water this year (tons) which stood at 4,630,443 when I viewed it just a moment ago. It actually kept changing as I watched it.

Watching those counters tick by on those statistics is a real eye-opener. I wondered how many species of marine life were on the endangered species list and might soon be making the counter go up. According to, here is a sampling of a few species on that list:

*Sea-lion, Steller (=northern) (Eumetopias jubatus)
*Seal, Caribbean monk (Monachus tropicalis)
*Seal, guadalupe fur (Arctocephalus townsendi)
*Seal, Hawaiian monk (Monachus schauinslandi)
*Seal, Mediterranean monk (Monachus monachus)
*Whale, blue (Balaenoptera musculus)
*Whale, bowhead (Balaena mysticetus)
*Whale, finback (Balaenoptera physalus)
*Whale, humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae)
*Whale, right (Balaena glacialis (incl. australis))
*Whale, Sei (Balaenoptera borealis)
*Whale, sperm (Physeter macrocephalus (=catodon))
*Salmon, chinook (Sacramento R. winter run)Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
*Salmon, chinook (Snake R. spring/summer run)(Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
*Salmon, chinook (Snake R. fall run)(Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
*Salmon, sockeye (=red, =blueback)(Snake R., ID, stock)(Oncorhynchus nerka)
*Sturgeon, shortnose (Acipenser brevirostrum)

I would like to find a list of all marine life that are threatened. Looks as though I may have to gather this list together myself when I have the time in order to include only marine life.

There seems to be no problem counting the statistics, but when do we start really counting the ways species are going extinct and how many solutions there might be?