Hurray! The U.S. federal government can actually get something done, and yesterday it announced the largest single event in the history of the U.S. Endangered Species Act: 20 new coral species listed as “threatened.”
With a total of 22 coral species now listed, this group is bigger than all combined marine extinctions in the historical record. That’s right–only 19 species in the ocean have been confirmed extinct in human history, and that includes all mammals, fish, invertebrates and plants. Within the coral family alone, it is poised to double.
The really sad news is that this listing, while hopeful, is actually much worse than it sounds. The original petition from the Center for Biological Diversity asked for more than 80 listings, and the listing agency was considering more than 60 of them. The number 80 represents nearly 10% of all known reef-building corals.
Get details of the review process here.