30 percent of species on nature org’s ‘Red List’ at risk of extinction

Nearly 30 percent of all species assessed by an international conservation organization are at risk of extinction due to increased habitat loss and climate change, a new report announced.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) updated its annual “Red List of Species” Saturday — and 38,543 of the 138,374 species reviewed on the survival watch list are at risk of extinction.

While the news is alarming, IUCN said the review shows the recovery of several species of commercial tuna threatened due to overfishing.

“Today’s IUCN Red List update is a powerful sign that, despite increasing pressures on our oceans, species can recover if states truly commit to sustainable practices,” Dr. Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General, said in a statement.

“States and others now gathered at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille must seize the opportunity to boost ambition on biodiversity conservation, and work towards binding targets based on sound scientific data. These Red List assessments demonstrate just how closely our lives and livelihoods are intertwined with biodiversity.”

The Red List classified the Komodo Dragon as an endangered species.
The Red List classified the Komodo dragon as an endangered species.

The Red List update delivered bad news for the world’s ray and shark species, of which 37 percent are now threatened with extinction due to overfishing, habitat loss and climate change.

The Komodo Dragon, the largest lizard in the world, has also been promoted from “vulnerable” to “endangered” on the list.

The IUCN breaks species’ threat level into different levels in descending order from most threatened to least threatened:

  • Total Species Assessed – 138,374
  • Total Threatened Species – 38,543
  • Extinct – 902
  • Extinct in the Wild – 80
  • Critically Endangered – 8,404
  • Endangered – 14,647
  • Vulnerable – 15,492
  • Near Threatened – 8,127
  • Lower Risk/conservation dependent – 170 [ an old category that is gradually being phased out]
  • Least Concern – 71,148
  • Data Deficient – 19,404


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