“This work is a very significant achievement — it adds to our knowledge of where threatened species are, and where we must work to protect them,” said Duke University ecologist Stuart Pimm, who was not involved in the study.

Even the king cobra is “vulnerable.” More than 1 in 5 species of reptiles worldwide are threatened with extinction, according to a comprehensive new assessment of thousands of species published Wednesday in the journal Nature, reports AP.

Of 10,196 reptile species analyzed, 21% percent were classified as endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable to extinction — including the iconic hooded snakes of South and Southeast Asia.

“This work is a very significant achievement — it adds to our knowledge of where threatened species are, and where we must work to protect them,” said Duke University ecologist Stuart Pimm, who was not involved in the study.

Similar prior assessments had been conducted for mammals, birds and amphibians, informing government decisions about how to draw boundaries of national parks and allocate environmental funds.

Work on the reptile study – which involved nearly 1,000 scientists and 52 co-authors – started in 2005. The project was slowed by challenges in fundraising, said co-author Bruce Young, a zoologist at the nonprofit science organization NatureServe.

Read more

© Copyright LaPresse