Sunday, November 27, 2011

Species "Red List"

annual IUCN includes updated threat threatened trees whose bark is harvested for cancer treatment

. In

Images - 2011 Red List update

A species of Himalayan yew

used to produce Taxol, a chemotherapy drug to treat cancer, is pushed to the brink of extinction by over-exploitation for medicinal purposes and the collection of fuel, scientists warned Thursday.

medicinal tree

Taxus contorta

are Afghanistan, India and Nepal, has seen its status change "vulnerable" to " danger "in the year of the IUCN" Red List "of endangered species.

Taxol was discovered by a U.S. program National Cancer Institute in the mid-1960, isolated from the bark of the Pacific yew

Taxus brevifolia

. All 11 species of yew have since been found to contain Taxol. "Harvesting the bark kills the tree, but it is possible to draw Taxol cuts, so the crop if left unchecked, may be less harmful to plants," said Craig Hilton-Taylor, head Red List Unit.

Chinese water
fir, for example, was once widespread throughout China and Vietnam, is in danger of extinction. The main cause of decline is habitat loss to the expansion of intensive agriculture. Most recently discovered populations in Laos was killed by floods for new hydroelectric power plant.

granite islands in the Seychelles, 77% of endemic flowering plants are considered endangered, including the Coco de Mer, which is the illegal exploitation of its alleged aphrodisiac properties.

25% of all mammals are considered at serious risk, according to the list. The black rhino in West Africa was officially declared extinct. The white rhino of central Africa is in danger of extinction and has been classified as possibly extinct in the wild. In Vietnam, poaching has led the Javan rhino to extinction, leaving the population of critically endangered species' unique numbering less than 50 on the Indonesian island that gave its name.

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