IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2009
Japanese Sea Lion
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has added several new entries to the Red List of Threatened Species In its latest four-year assessment of endangered species.
The report warns, the world is unlikely to meet a goal of reversing The trend toward species depletion by 2010. The report, “Wildlife In A Changing World,” estimates that 22 percent of known mammals are either facing the threat of extinction or are already extinct. It also found great stress for amphibians, with more than 30 percent classified as threatened or extinct, and more than 1 in 8 of all bird species at risk of extinction
The 2008 review covers 44,837 species, up from 38,047 in 2004 and 16,507 in 2000. Thus far, IUCN has recorded 869 separate cases of plant and animal extinctions, including 804 wiped out and 65 others considered extinct in the wild.
Scientists say the numbers of total recorded extinctions could rise to 1,159 if they add 290 or so critically endangered species now labeled “possibly extinct.” There are insufficient data on another 5,561 species.
Recent additions to the list of extinctions are large marine mammals The newest report also includes assessments of 845 species of corals. Already more than a quarter are considered threatened, with climate change added to the list of threats they face.
Though the overall picture is bleak, scientist also point to signs that conservation efforts are bringing back from the brink some animals previously facing annihilation.
In North America, the Fish and Wildlife Service is credited with probably saving the black-footed ferret from being classified as extinct in the wild to endangered after a 10-year effort to reintroduce the species to eight Western states and Mexico. A conservation effort to save a species of wild horse in Mongolia also saw that animal being bumped from extinction in the wild to “critically endangered.”