National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity

English | Español
What does biodiversity mean?
Biodiversity crisis
Massive extinctions
  Ice age
Mexico mega-diverse
Why conserve?
What can I do?
Document to print

Home - Biodiversity - Concepts - Biodiversity crises

The crisis of biodiversity is the accelerated loss of genetic variability, of species and of ecosystems.

Since the 17th century, at least 717 species of animals and 87 species of plants have gone extinct. If the extinctions caused by humans before the 1600s are included, the number of extinct species rises to 2,000. Today, more than 17,000 plant and animal species risk the same fate (IUCN Red List).

Among the species that went extinct during the last 400 years are the dodo (Raphus cuculatus) from the island of Mauritius, the Steller´s sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) from the Bering Sea (1768), the quagga (Equus quagga quagga) from South Africa, the Tasmanian wolf (Thylacinus cynocephalus) from Australia, and the great auk (Pinguinus impennis) from the Atlantic coast.

In Mexico, various species of fresh water fish have disappeared, such as the Potosi pupfish (Cyprinodon alvarezi) and the Cachorrito Trinidad, also known as the Charco Azul pupfish (Cyprinodon inmemoriam) from Nuevo Leon; some birds restricted to islands such as the Socorro Island’s  dove (Zenaida graysoni), and the Guadalupe storm-petrel (Oceanodroma macrodactyla); and some large mammals such as the Caribbean monk seal (Monachus tropicalis), the grizzly

bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) and the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) from northern and central Mexico (species at risk CONABIO).

Model projects estimates that future extinction rates will be 10 times recent rates

Recent rates of extinction are tens to hundreds of times higher than the natural rate

Extinction generally occurred at a continuous low rate
Marine species



All species
m_img Biodiversity