OVER 19,000 species of animal and plant are in danger of extinction, up from just over 11,000 in 2000, according to the latest “Red List of Threatened Species” from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Of those evaluated, nearly one-third are considered “threatened” (critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable). Between 2000 and 2011 the number of species assessed by the IUCN grew by over 60%.
This goes part way towards explaining why some groups now appear strikingly more endangered than before. Amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders), for example, were not “completely evaluated” (with more than 90% of species assessed) until 2004. But other factors have also had an impact: habitat loss, pollution, disease and invasive species. The news is best for mammals, whose complete dataset has made evaluation easier. The percentage of endangered species has actually fallen since 2000. And one antelope in particular, the Arabian Oryx, which was hunted to near extinction, now has a wild population of over 1,000.
Read more here: Endangered species: Beastly tales | The Economist.