Endangered Species Facts

A look at some disturbing facts and figures tells us about the large number of plant and animal species on the brink of extinction. Here's more...
Marian K May 13, 2019
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A species that is at risk of becoming extinct because of one or multiple treats, is an endangered species. Factors responsible for the declining population may include habitat destruction, environmental changes, lack of food/water, and predation.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has a list called the Red List, which contains a species conservation status listing. According to the organization, about 30 percent of all organisms are endangered.
For this year, WWF had a list which included well-known species such as Amur leopard, Amur tiger mountain gorilla, red panda, whale, whale shark, blue whale, African wild dog, Asian elephant, Bengal tiger, black rhino, chimpanzee, Ganges river dolphin, etc.
Apart from those on the IUCN list, there are many more species endangered, that become, or will become extinct, without gaining public notice. While compiling the list of such species, apart from declining numbers, there are many more factors taken into consideration.
These factors include, the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, known threats, etc. The IUCN has different categories to list species including extinct, extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, conservation dependent, near threatened and least concern.
Once a species finds it way into the list, in most countries, there are special laws that will protect it, such as forbidding hunting, restricting land development or creating preserves. Unfortunately, only a few of the many species at risk are enlisted, and obtain legal protection.

Endangered Species Act

Passed in 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has the purpose of protecting those plant and animal species that are at risk of becoming extinct. A species listed by the ESA may fall into either an 'Endangered' or 'Threatened' category, based on their numbers in the wild and how severely their survival is threatened.
Species categorized as endangered are at risk of becoming extinct through significant portions of its habitat. Threatened species are one step better, but have the possibility of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) lists, delists and reclassifies species protected by the ESA.

Protection of Listed Species

The purpose of the mentioned Act is to protect the existing populations of endangered/threatened species. It includes a number protective measures to do so, which include restrictions on hunting, transporting and trading (buying and selling) the species.
In addition, the USFWS usually develops recovery plans for Endangered and Threatened species. These plans include steps to be taken for the species to recover and eventually be removed from the ESA.
According to the recent reports, on January 31, 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced plans to amend up to 182 Endangered Species Act (ESA) recovery plans, which potentially cover over 305 animal and plant species, over the next year.
These facts reveal to us the wide range and number of species that are on the brink of extinction. An unfortunate truth is that, apart from the much publicized tiger, there are many other less glamorous species that are also slowly disappearing from our planet, and only the awareness about their present condition can enable their survival.
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