It’s an animal or plant in danger of disappearing from the face of the earth. Today, a species disappears every 13 minutes. And forecasts are worrying. One in 4 mammals, one in 8 birds and one in 3 amphibians could become extinct in the near future.
How do we know these species are in danger?
Since life appeared on our planet, the number of species has constantly evolved. Some die out and others appear. Most species disappear naturally, but human activity is speeding up this phenomenon. To build houses and roads, grow crops or fish for food, animal territories and plants are cut back or destroyed. CO2 pollution is melting the ice cap where polar bears live; insecticides are killing off bees. Poaching and trafficking of elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn and shark fins are threatening the survival of these species.
Every year, the IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, draws up a red list of threatened animal and plant species. Out of 80,000 species studied, 23,250 are “vulnerable”, “endangered”, or “critically endangered”. The red list attracts the attention of politicians and the general public so as to set up protection schemes. And it works! In 2016, for the first time in 100 years, the number of tigers in the wild went up. This is the result of a lot of hard animal protection work!