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Environmental experts from 40 countries have signed an open letter calling for urgent action to be taken to save the world's whales, dolphins and porpoises from the threat of extinction.
More than 350 scientists and conservationists in total have signed the open letter, which warns that half of the 90 living species of cetaceans are at risk of extinction, and 13 of these are "critically endangered" or "endangered".
The letter reads: "The lack of concrete action to address threats adversely affecting cetaceans in our increasingly busy, polluted, over-exploited and human-dominated seas and major river systems, means that many, one after another, will likely be declared extinct within our lifetimes."
"Even the large whales are not safe," it goes on. Listed as "critically endangered" these mammals are in critical decline, with only a few hundred North Atlantic right whale adults remaining in the wild.
"Unless appropriate action comes soon," the letter adds, "we will undoubtedly lose this entire species."
Also "critically endangered" is the vaquita, or Phocoena sinus, from the Gulf of California, that is "poised on the knife-edge of extinction", with an estimated population of just ten remaining.
The experts believe that if nothing is done to reverse the "critically endangered" status of these cetaceans, the large whale and vaquita will follow the Chinese river dolphin into extinction. Declared "possibly extinct" in 2017, the experts added in the letter that "regrettably, there is little hope for this species."
"We believe, in all three cases," the scientists add, "that enough was known about the situation of the species concerned for these dramatic declines to have been avoided, but that the political will to take action has been lacking."
The experts are calling for urgent action to be taken by the world's governments to implement fully resourced monitoring of these endangered species and help reverse the bleak outlook and endangered statuses of these cetaceans.
We really hope something can be done before it's too late!
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