Endangered species are at a very high risk of becoming extinct in the wild or extinct. In the most recent iteration of the list the IUCN identifies 5,766 species as endangered. For the IUCN to add a species to the category it must meet any of the following criteria:
- A taxon’s population size is reduced by 70 percent or more over 10 years or three generations, whichever is longer, and the reduction causes are understood, reversible, and have stopped. For example, let’s pretend there is a bird species that traditionally had a population of 2000. Over 10 years, it drops to 600 because a logging company demolished its habitat. If laws are put in place that bar the logging company from continuing to fell trees in the area, then the IUCN will list it as “endangered” because the reason for the decline is understood and ceased.
- A taxon’s population size is reduced by 50 percent or more over 10 years or three generations, whichever is longer, but the reduction cause may not be understood or reversible. For example, let’s say there is a bird species that traditionally had a population size of 2000. Over 10 years, it drops to 1000. However, scientists can’t figure out why they’re dying off. In this case, the IUCN would list it as “critically endangered” because the decimation is evident, but scientists can’t figure out why.
- A taxon’s population size is reduced by 50 percent or more over 10 years or three generations, whichever is longer, and the animal is also battling habitat shrinkage or another threat.
The area where a species can live is reduced to 5,000 square kilometers or less, or the area that the species currently and actually occupies is reduced to 500 square kilometers, and at least two of the following criteria are also true:
- The population is known to exist in only one location.
- Scientists observe or predict that the habitat will continue to shrink or be degraded, and there’s also a decline in subpopulations or the number of reproducing adults.
- Scientists observe extreme fluctuations in the number of locations, subpopulations, or the number of reproducing adults.
Dangerously Low Number of Adults
- A taxon’s population only has 2,500 or fewer adults left, and a 20 percent decline is anticipated within three years or one generation, whichever is longer. If no subpopulation of the taxon contains more than 250 adults, or 95 percent of the species’ adults live in one subpopulation, it will qualify as critically endangered
- Scientists observe extreme fluctuations in the number of mature adults in a given population.
Dangerously Low Overall Population Size
Only 250 or fewer individuals of a taxon remain.
Expected Rapid Decline
Research and studies indicate that there is a 20 percent or greater chance that the species will be extinct in the wild within 20 years or five generations, whichever is longer.
Have large rounded ears to help keep them cool!
The only penguin species in Africa!
Also known as the painted dog!
The largest wingspan of any bird!
Can curl into a hard, protective ball!
Domesticated for hundreds of years!
Known to eat 160 different tree-borne fruits in Thailand!
Found only in one complex of lakes!
Thought to be extinct until 1957!
The camel with two humps!
Bandicoot Many species are endangered or extinct!
There are 8 different species!
The most numerous species of tiger!
The largest animal on Earth
Shares 97% of the same DNA as humans!
A dominant predator in it's environment!
There are more than 100 different species!
Has 32 teeth including fang-like canines!
Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!
Only 2,000 left in the wild!
Less than 5,000 in the wild!
Found throughout ocean waters worldwide!
Scoops fish out of the water using it's paw!
Most closely related to the Mongoose!
Found around the Equator!
The biggest species of tortoise in the world!
Long, black tongue can grow to 18 inches long!
Native to the eastern rainforests of Brazil!
Less than 10% make it into adulthood
There are only 7 recognised species!
Beat their wings up to 80 times per second!
Found throughout south-east Asia!
Also known as the one-horned rhino!
Now thought to be extinct in China!
The largest species of Lemur!
The heaviest species of parrot in the world!
Typically consumes over 200 kg of food a day!
The largest species of parrot in the world!
Threatened by oil spills!
Found in less-dense jungles!
Also known as the Sea Cow!
Less than 2,500 left in the wild!
Range in size from just 1 to 3 foot!
Isolated populations found in the mountains!
There are less than 1,000 left in the wild!
Can live for up to 100 years!
Only found in one area of Brazil!
Natively found on the island of Borneo!
Spends more time on land than in water!
There are less than 3,000 left in the wild!
It's horns are made from keratin!
There are 4 species in the Southern Hemisphere!
Eats over 40 different marine species!
Always return to the same beach to lay eggs!
Highly endangered due to overhunting!
Also known as the Amur tiger!
It's body temperature is between 30 - 34 degrees!
There are less than 20 in the wild!
Native to the Andes mountains of South America!
Now restricted to a few parks!
The smallest species of tiger!
Most closely related to horses and rhinos!
Each eye weighs more than their whole brain!
The largest feline in the world!
Can live until they are more than 150 years old!
There are 30 different species worldwide!
Has been domesticated for thousands of years!
None have been seen in the wild for 50 years!
Can trek more than 1,000 miles every year!
Spends most of the day underground!
The rarest species of penguin!
Stripe patterns are unique to each individual!