Ratificado por la ciencia: la caza amenaza a 300 especies de mamíferos

ratificado-por-la-ciencia-la-caza-amenaza-a-300-especies-de-mamiferos

La extinción de especies se ha acelerado durante las últimas décadas en buena parte de nuestro planeta. Existen diversas causas asociadas a este proceso destructivo que se conoce ya como la Sexta Extinción (en relación con las cinco grandes extinciones de especies conocidas en la historia de la Tierra) pero la acción humana es, sin duda, el motor principal.
Entre las diversas actividades humanas que perjudican el medio ambiente, la caza de animales silvestres sigue ocupando un lugar destacado. Según confirma un estudio liderado por el profesor William Ripple, de la Universidad Estatal de Oregón (EE.UU.) más de 300 especies de mamíferos están actualmente en peligro de extinción a causa de la caza no regulada o ilegal que se sigue practicando en muchas zonas del planeta.
La progresiva desaparición de estos animales afecta gravemente a los ecosistemas y supone “una amenaza para la seguridad alimentaria de millones de personas en Asia, África y América del Sur”, según destacan los autores de este estudio que publica esta semana la revista científica Royal Society Open Science.
El equipo internacional que lidera William Ripple analizó los datos de la Lista Roja de especies, que gestiona la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (UICN), con el objetivo de determinar las causas que provocan que 1.169 de las especies de mamíferos terrestres del mundo estén clasificadas como amenazadas de extinción. De hecho, estas 1.169 especies representan el 26% de las especies vivas de mamíferos. Entre estos mamíferos en peligro se incluyen 126 especies de primates, incluyendo a gorilas, chimpancés, bonobos y lémures.
La principal conclusión fue que la caza no regulada o ilegal que se sigue practicando en diversas regiones es la causa principal de la progresiva extinción de, por lo menos, 301 de las especies estudiadas. Selvas, bosques y praderas de amplias zonas del planeta, ahora también en los países en desarrollo, se han convertido o están en proceso de convertirse en “paisajes vacíos” de grandes animales, explican los autores del estudio.
La caza excesiva y descontrolada provoca no solo daños ecológicos importantes y desaparición de especies sino que también acelera la pérdida de recursos naturales de gran importancia para las comunidades humanas. Practicar la caza de forma insostenible provocará, a medio o largo plazo, la desaparación de animales que han servido de alimento a los humanos durante miles de años.

Acciones para frenar la destrucción
Los investigadores sugieren cinco grandes pasos para abordar eficazmente la amenaza de la caza en las especies naturales:
Aprobar leyes que impongan penas mayores contra la caza furtiva y el tráfico ilegal de especies, y que permitan ampliar los hábitats protegidos para los mamíferos en peligro de extinción.
Proporcionar derechos de propiedad a las comunidades que se benefician de la presencia de la fauna silvestre.
Aportar alternativas de alimentación en las comunidades humanas que se están viendo forzadas a cazar animales salvajes en peligro de extinción.
Campañas de educación para que los consumidores de productos de la caza sean conscientes de los peligros que afectan a las especies amenazadas.
Programas de planificación familiar para ayudar a aliviar la presión sobre la fauna en las regiones donde las mujeres podrían demorar o evitar el embarazo.
De forma global, los autores del nuevo estudio consideran que para frenar esta crisis de caza excesiva “será necesario prestar más apoyo logístico y financiero de los países más ricos y desarrollados.
El profesor Ripple destaca que el objetivo de su estudio es “crear conciencia de esta crisis mundial; muchos de animales se encuentran en el borde de la extinción”. “El tráfico ilegal de vida silvestre y sus productos está en manos de redes internacionales peligrosas y se puede puede comparar con el tráfico de armas, de drogas y de seres humanos, en términos de ganancias”.

Fuente: La Vanguardia (España)
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