The Red List

1000s of endangered species are now at risk, more than ever.



Thousands of species are at risk of extinction due to human activity. Unsustainable farming, fishing and climate change has intensified the struggle for survival among vulnerable animals

Thousands of animal species are at critical risk of going extinct due to unsustainable farming and fishing methods and climate change, a conservation group has warned as it released the latest red list of endangered species.

In a rare piece of good news, the International Union for Conservation of Nature[IUCN] praised New Zealand for its success in turning around the fortunes of two species of kiwi, prompting it to upgrade them from endangered to vulnerable.

The struggle for survival among at-risk animals – and now crops – has intensified as a result of rising human populations, economic development and drastic changes in the natural environment caused by global warming, the IUCN said.

Craig Hilton-Taylor, who heads the group’s red list unit, said species were going extinct at a faster rate than at any time in human history.

But he drew encouragement from New Zealand’s example. “It’s all a rather sad picture, but the red list also gives us hope and shows us that conservation can work,” he told reporters at the list’s publication in Tokyo.

The IUCN aims to cover 160,000 species by the end of the decade, he added.

The group, which received funding for this year’s list from the Japanese automaker Toyota, assessed the status of 91,523 species, of which 25,821 are threatened, 866 are extinct and 69 extinct in the wild. It said 11,783 species are vulnerable, 8,455 are endangered and 5,583 critically endangered.

Among the most prominent species now regarded as endangered are the Irrawaddy dolphin and finless porpoise found in parts of southeast Asia.

Brad Davidson | OG