(NaturalNews) A new study published in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences probes the issue of why animal populations around the world are quickly diminishing, and suggests that a variety of factors is to blame for the particularly high death rates among amphibians. Though not specifically mentioned as a factor, widespread pesticide and herbicide use, as well as the proliferation of genetically-modified (GM) species are two likely factors in what some scientists are now calling a "mass extinction event."
According to the study, amphibians are the worst off animal species, as they are dying off at a rate of 200 times more than the average extinction rate. Still, other animal species including mammals, birds, and fish are experiencing their fair share of mass deaths, as was illustrated earlier in the year when countless reports of mysterious animal deaths hit the headlines (http://www.naturalnews.com/030985_mysterious...).
"With permeable skin and exposure to both aquatic and terrestrial problems, amphibians face a double whammy," said Andrew Blaustein, professor of zoology at Oregon State University and international leader in the study of amphibian declines. "Because of this, mammals, fish and birds have not experienced population impacts as severely as amphibians -- at least, not yet."
But the study authors are convinced that a multitude of factors, rather than simply a single one, is responsible for this ongoing extinction event. And they insist that taking a single-minded approach to explaining the situation is most likely a grave mistake.
"Given that many stressors are acting simultaneously on amphibians, we suggest that single-factor explanations for amphibian population declines are likely the exception rather than the rule," the researchers wrote in their report. "Studies focused on single causes may miss complex interrelationships involving multiple factors and indirect effects."
As far as pesticides and GMOs are concerned, it is already known that pesticides are linked to killing off animals. Data released last year by the US Fish and Wildlife Service indicates that literally millions of birds, bees, fish, and other animal species die every year from pesticide exposure (http://www.naturalnews.com/027971_pesticides...). And the agency's figures do not take into account the illnesses and deaths caused by animals inadvertently consuming GMOs.