Random Facts: Endangered Species

The third Friday in May each year is Endangered Species Day, raising awareness of animals in threat of extinction if action is not taken to protect them.

The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) lists Threatened Species on a scale from “Least Concern” to “Extinct”. The other categories are Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered and Extinct in the Wild.

Animals of which only captive examples survive range from Barbary lions to Wyoming toads.

There used to be three different species of hippopotamus in Madagascar but they have sadly all been declared extinct over the last 15 years.

A coelacanth, thought to have been extinct for 70 million years was caught by fishermen in 1938.

Since 1990, an estimated $227million (£174 million) has been spent trying to save the Mojave Desert tortoise in the US.

A species is listed as “endangered” if it has lost 70 per cent of its population in the last 10 years. It is critically endangered if 90 per cent has been lost or 80 per cent with the causes still ongoing.

The IUCN lists 205 critically endangered mammals of which 30 may already be extinct.

The last Pinta island tortoise, Lonesome George, died in the Galápagos in 2012 aged 102.

Saola – Critically Endangered

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