A third of mammals doomed, says endangered list



Iberian lynx

The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is listed as 'Critically Endangered' on the IUCN's Red List. It's estimated only 84-143 animals remain in the wild.

Credit: Antonio Rivas

Pere David's deer

The Chinese Pere David's deer (Elaphurus davidianus) is listed as 'Extinct in the Wild'. According to the IUCN, the last known wild population was thought to have been eaten by troops during the Boxer Revolution in the 1800s.

Credit: Jess Cohen

Tasmanian devil

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) has moved up to 'Endangered' after infectious facial tumours have decimated the population by more than 60 per cent in the last decade.

Credit: Wikimedia

Fishing cat

The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) from Southeast Asia has moved from 'Vulnerable' to 'Endangered' after habitat loss caused the population to decline.

Credit: Mathieu Ourioux

grey-faced sengi

The grey-faced sengi, also called the elephant shrew (Rhynchocyon udzungwensis) has only been recorded in tow forests in the mountains of Tanzania, and is listed as 'Vulnerable'.

Credit: F. Rovero

Black-footed ferret

The black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) is a success story, being moved from 'Extinct in the Wild' to 'Endangered' after population numbers increased from their reintroduction to eight states in the US.

Credit: Dean Biggins/US Fish and Wildlife Service

African elephant

The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) has moved from 'Vunerable' to 'Near Threatened' on the recent IUCN Red List.

Credit: Alicia Wirz

Rameshwaram parachute spider

The Rameshwaram parachute spider (Poecilotheria hanumavilasumica), a type of tarantula, is now listed as 'Critically Endangered' after its habitat in India has been destroyed.

Credit: M. Siliwal

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Up to one-third of mammals may soon no longer roam the Earth, according to the most recent endangered species list, released today.

More than 1,700 scientists from around the globe have contributed to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) 2008 Red List, an assessment of species' extinction risk.

The list is updated every four years, but this edition is the first since 1996 that an evaluation of all the world's 5,487 known mammals has taken place.

The news is good for some species, but dire for others.

The list shows that more than five per cent of threatened species are making a comeback. The African elephant (Loxodonta africana), and the black footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) - reintroduced into seven states of the US in the last decade after becoming 'Extinct in the Wild' - are two such success stories, with numbers increasing or remaining stable.

The number of species has increased 19 per cent since 1992, with many new creatures discovered in Madagascar and the Amazon.

Alarming rate

However, about one-quarter of mammals face extinction. That figure could be closer to one-third, if it included little-studied animals whose conservation status is unknown.

The total list, including reptiles, marine creatures and plants, accounts for 44,838 species, 38 per cent of which are threatened with extinction.

More than seven per cent of species worldwide are in the highest category - 'Critically Endangered'. And scientists estimate that 76 mammal species have been wiped from the Earth since the year 1500.

Amphibians also fare poorly, with 366 species added to the list this year. Almost one-third of them are either extinct or nearly extinct.

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