Earth’s largest freshwater creatures at risk of extinction

Some have survived for hundreds of millions of years, but many of the world’s freshwater megafauna—including sumo-sized stingrays, colossal catfish, giant turtles, and gargantuan salamanders—may soon find themselves on the brink of extinction, according to a new study published.

For the first time, researchers have quantified the global decline of freshwater megafauna—including fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals—and the results paint a grim picture. In four decades since 1970, the global populations of these freshwater giants have declined by almost 90 percent—twice as much as the loss of vertebrate populations on land or in the oceans.

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Stefan Lovgren