(Mirror Daily, United States) – Much to our surprise, cacti are facing extinction, new study suggests, based on conservationists’ findings. These species seem tough enough to survive even the harshest conditions and yet, recent research has proven us that many cactus species could soon disappear if organizations don’t take the right measures.
A recent study conducted by researchers at the International Union for Conservation of Nature indicates cactus species are subjected to far more threats than most species we know today. As a matter of fact, statistics show that cacti are much more threatened than mammals and birds.
The study indicates that 31% of 1,480 cactus species have to put up with much pressure coming from human activities. The most menacing activities, according to the recent findings are illegal plant trading, agriculture and aquaculture.
According to Barbara Goettsch, lead author of the study, man-made industrial activities have affected 47% of the U.S. cacti. As a consequence, 25 species out of a total of 141 species have been labeled as endangered, whereas 27 are considered critically endangered.
Researchers are highly concerned by the new data. They think immediate measures should be adopted to protect the endangered cacti. The best solution would be to confine them in special environments where they would be protected against illegal plant traders.
Goettsch is urging conservationists to act as soon as possible because cacti have a very important role ecosystem. Cacti ensure the water and food resources for most animal species living in arid regions; therefore, it is important to help preserve them, she concluded.
Scientists believe species like coyotes, woodrats, rabbits, lizards and tortoises could also suffer if cactus species get extinguished. These species use cacti to feed themselves and they contribute to cactus seed dispersal by pollinating plants, which is why it is important to maintain a balanced ecosystem.
Previous investigations have revealed that many wildlife species are often used in national and international trade deals. Their number amounts to 86%, according to recently collected data. European and Asian traders, who appear to be the biggest illegal collectors, usually steal the rarest plants because they are the most sought after.
Image source: www.mycactusplants.com