Humanity’s longest-lasting impact will be the loss of species we drive to extinction.
Fortunately, most extinctions can be prevented with smart, effective conservation actions. For us, this means focusing on freshwaters – only 0.8% of Earth’s surface, but housing 10% of biodiversity and 27% of all extinct species.
The endangered Zempoala axolotl salamander lives in just a few high mountain streams and lakes in the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park, outside Mexico City. Invasive carp and trout have been introduced to axolotl breeding lakes and they prey on axolotl eggs, juveniles, and adults, outcompete them for food, and decrease water quality and native plant cover. The Zempoala axolotl has been classified as Endangered, the second highest category of extinction risk.
Hooded Grebes are critically endangered, nesting in small lakes on the Strobel Plateau, Santa Cruz Province where they perform an intricately beautiful courtship tango. Invasive trout are now in all grebe breeding lakes, eating the food grebes need for their chicks and destroying the water plants grebes need for nesting. Trout eradication in just a few lakes will double the chances for the Hooded Grebe’s survival!
The endangered Northern Mountain Yellow-legged Frog used to be the most common frog in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but invasive trout wiped them out in countless lakes. Then came infectious Chytrid fungus which nearly destroyed the few remaining populations. Ongoing efforts to eradicate trout from small mountain lakes in the Sierra Mountains are recovering the frog population but more work remains to be done.
The critically endangered Naked Characin and the El Rincon Stream Frog and two beautiful Potamolithus snails live only in the Valcheta Stream, Rio Negro Province. They evolved without predatory fish. Invasive trout eat the 4 native species which are now on the edge of extinction. Invasive fish eradication from 15km of Valcheta stream will save all 4 species.