What It Means To Be In Danger Of Extinction
What does it mean to say that an animal is in danger of extinction? It means their wild populations are in danger of disappearing, but the concept is much more complicated than that. Threatened species enter the IUCN list, which is the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The IUCN is the first organization in history dedicated to conservation and was also the one who created the red list, a huge list that classifies species according to the degree of threat to their populations. This degree of threat is classified by several sections:
species of least concern
There are species that still enjoy good health and for them there is the category of least concern, where the human species is also found. It is then that threats can advance and “near threatened” species appear, where alarms are already sounding and plans are initiated to closely monitor populations of that species.
The Iberian wolf is a somewhat controversial designation, as many consider this species in danger of extinction.
Many species do not have a specific degree of threat because we do not yet know their populations. Unfortunately, most species that have been discovered in recent years and whose threat was unknown often fall into the more dangerous categories, such as the newly discovered new species of orangutan.
All animals belonging to this category have suffered many losses in their censuses and seen their former territory and population size reduced. The category with the lowest level of threat is vulnerable species, although the risk of becoming threatened is high.
Then we get into species that are in danger of extinction. They are those that run the risk of disappearing from our planet, such as the Iberian lynx. Although many people think that endangered animal species are the worst off, it is not the most dangerous category, as there is another category before extinction: critically endangered animals like the mink, threatened by the introduction of the American mink in Europe.
Of course, when we talk about an extinct species, we are referring to an animal that has totally disappeared from the planet, such as the Tasmanian tiger and the giant auk.
Some species have not disappeared from the planet, although they are not found in natural areas, and there are also those that still exist in breeding centers or zoos, although they are very specific cases, such as the Mutum do Nordeste and the Hawaiian crow. Animals that have disappeared from the wild but still survive in captivity are therefore considered extinct in the wild.
Unfortunately, most species that are currently changing categories are moving closer and closer to the latter, closer to extinction, rather than moving away from it. Groups of animals, such as primates, are part of the harrowing data: 60% of primates are in danger of extinction and are still losing individuals from their populations, species such as gorillas and orangutans have fewer individuals each day.
Likewise, amphibians are losing many limbs. The case of birds that live on the islands is also not very reassuring, as they are one of the groups that have suffered the most extinctions in the last century. Will we stop this in time, or will it be too late for the animals we love?