About 17 000 Species are Threatened with Extinction

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species celebrate its 50th anniversary with an updated list of threatened species.

17 000 Species Threatened With Extinction During 2008

A detailed analysis of the well-known International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species shows 869 species were extinct or extinct in the Wild during 2008. This figure rises to 1,159 if the 290 Critically Endangered species tagged as Possibly Extinct are included. Overall, a minimum of 16,928 species are threatened with extinction. Considering that only 2.7 percent of the 1.8 million described species have been analyzed, this number is a gross underestimate, but it does provide a useful snapshot of what is happening to all forms of life on Earth.The IUCN analysis, which is published every four years, comes just before the deadline governments set themselves to evaluate how successful they were in achieving the 2010 target to reduce biodiversity loss. The IUCN report, Wildlife in a Changing World, shows the 2010 target will not be met.

The report analyses 44,838 species on the IUCN Red List and presents results by groups of species, geographical regions, and different habitats, such as marine, freshwater and terrestrial.

An increased number of freshwater species have now been assessed, giving a better picture of the dire situation they face. In Europe, for example, 38 percent of all fishes are threatened and 28 percent in Eastern Africa. The high degree of connectivity in freshwater systems, allowing pollution or invasive species to spread rapidly, and the development of water resources with scant regard for the species that live in them, are behind the high level of threat.

Significant Change in 2014

A total of 73 686 species of fauna and flora were assessed, of which 22 103 were listed as Threatened With Extinction in the recent IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The previous year saw an amount of 71 576 species assessed, of which a total amount of 21 286 were listed threatened with extinction.

Red List Indices make it possible to track trends of extinction risk in groups of species. New indices have been calculated and provide some interesting results. Birds, mammals, amphibians and corals all show a continuing deterioration, with a particularly rapid decline for corals. Red List Indices have also been calculated for amphibian, mammal and bird species used for food and medicine.

The results show that bird and mammal species used for food and medicine are much more threatened. The diminishing availability of these resources has an impact on the health and well-being of the people who depend on them directly.

Kruger National Park - South African Safari