Animals on the brink
The cover feature of issue 1 of World of Animals is about the 50-most endangered animals on Earth today – but what exactly does endangered mean? The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains a ‘Red List’ of the world’s endangered species. There are seven categories that range from Least Concern, through to Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild and finally Extinct. Endangered species face a ‘very high risk of extinction in the near future’. This takes into account the number of animals left, as well as their rate of decline and geographical distribution. Just under 64,000 of the 2 million-plus known species are assessed each year. Currently 5,766 species are classed as endangered and 3,947 as critically endangered.
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