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Mexico ranks second globally for critically endangered species

Mexico City, Mexico — Mexico has ranked second globally on the list of countries with critically endangered species.

According to figures from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Mexico ranks second after the United States who they report, tops the list with 214 critically endangered species, followed by Mexico with 191 species.

In both categories of critical danger of extinction and in danger of extinction, the United States tops the list of all countries with 495, however, Mexico isn’t far behind with 462.

Academics from the Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas of UNAM reports Mexico has done little in the way of investment in recovering its natural capital.

“In 2017, the cost of depletion and degradation of the environment represented 4.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, while for its protection, 0.6 percent of GDP was allocated,” said Citlalin Martínez of the Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas.

Citlalin Martínez and her colleagues Rosario Pérez, Alonso Aguilar and Veronique Shopie Ávila prepared the report The role of natural capital in the Mexican economy. They report on studies by national and international organizations that show 12 states in Mexico are still able to generate goods and services without putting their natural capital at risk, but nine have a high probability of reaching unsustainable levels and 11 have already exhausted their capital.

Martínez points out that between 90 and 95 percent of Mexican territory is also already deforested, placing the country in third place worldwide.

“The main cause of deforestation is the change of land use for agriculture. The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) estimates that only eight percent of logging is illegal. Therefore, the rest is done with the permission of authorities,” she explained.

She also said that the increase in population has inflated the generation of waste, the emission of pollutants and discharge of wastewater.

Researcher Alonso Aguilar explained that the manufacturing sector has increased the contamination of groundwater, with agriculture and hydrocarbons being the ones who create the biggest impact.

Rosario Pérez, also a researcher of the report, added that the important thing is “to determine the costs of environmental degradation as well as identify the sectors that we must pay more attention to in order to try and recover and conserve natural capital.”

Other countries on the global list of critically endangered species include Madagascar in third place with 133 species, Indonesia who ranks fourth with 123 and Portugal sits in fifth position with 91 critically endangered species.