Start America Cockroaches go blank

Cockroaches go blank

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When it comes to biodiversity, many people use double standards, complain researchers: cute or majestic animals bring more donations than insects or cockroaches – and they are no less important to the ecosystem.

Possidious pandas and majestic tigers inspire many people, but earthworms or spiders are considered disgusting: in the protection of species, certain animals are discriminated, as scientists complain. The United Nations Biodiversity Council (IPBES), which is currently meeting in Paris, highlights all threatened species.

How many species are threatened?

According to the preliminary final report of the IPBES meeting to be presented on 6 May, 500,000 to one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. The researchers speak of a „mass extinction“, which has only been five times in the past 500 million years.

What are the reasons for species extinction?

In most cases, people are behind it: The UN report lists agriculture, deforestation, mining, fishing and hunting as reasons. Biodiversity Council President Robert Watson warned at the launch of the conference that species extinction was „at least as“ threatening as climate change.

Why do scientists see a „discrimination“ of species?

Particularly threatened are insects: Their number has already fallen by around 80 percent in Europe over the past three decades. The large insect killing has also affected parts of Germany, as the Federal Environment Ministry warned in the summer of 2017.

But many insects simply have no „lobby“, complains the president of the French research group for biodiversity, Jean-François Silvain. A cockroach, for example, has „only a short life expectancy“ because humans only regard it as a pest and pathogen.

Which species are disadvantaged?

Spiders, maggots, rats and snakes, for example, are extremely useful animals – but little attention is paid to species conservation, says retired psychology professor Hal Herzog of the University of Western Carolina in the United States, who has researched human relationships to animals. Species such as the earthworm acted „more like primitive aliens than animals with which a human being can identify.“

What does this mean for research?

Whether dolphins, tigers or elephants: For studies on popular animal species, scientists can „raise money easier,“ as Frédéric Legendre of the Museum of Natural History in Paris says, which has, inter alia, to cockroaches and termites researched. He was also one of the authors of a study that in 2017 demonstrated a link between social preferences and species research.

What do environmentalists say about that?

„Reptiles, for example, can not be ’sold‘ so well,“ admits Christo Fabricius of the organization WWF, which has a panda as its logo.

But even for pandas, elephants or tigers often do not overly donate, the experts complain: Since these animals often appeared in the media, many people have the impression that they are not really threatened.