Posted: 6 May 2008
Of the total of 41,415 species of plants and animals on the IUCN Red List, 16,306 of them are threatened with extinction, listed as critically endangered, endangered or threatened. Here are some of the less well known species at risk:
- Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophrys) moved from Vulnerable in 2001 to Endangered in 2003. All 21 species of albatross are now identified as globally under threat (compared to just three in 1996 and 16 in 2000). All are undergoing long-term declines, with significant numbers drowning after being caught accidentally on baited hooks set by longline fisheries. BirdLife International's 'Save the Albatross' campaign is trying to reduce the accidental bycatch of seabirds by encouraging longline fisheries to adopt appropriate mitigation measures.
- Bulimulus ochsneri is one of the many threatened terrestrial snails from the Galapagos Islands. Listed as Critically Endangered, Bulimulus ochsneri is endemic to Santa Cruz. The range of suitable habitat for land snails on Santa Cruz Island has declined because of human activities (farming, road and house construction) and destruction or alteration by introduced species.
- St Helena olive (Nesiota elliptica). Endemic to Saint Helena, this symbolic species is now sadly Extinct. The last known tree surviving in the wild died in 1994 and the only known plant still in cultivation died in November 2003. No other live material (plants, seeds or tissues) remain in local or international collections. The extinction of this plant has been attributed to habitat loss through felling for timber and to make way for plantations. Wood's Cycad (Encephalartos woodii)Â© John S. Donaldson
- Woodâ€™s Cycad (Encephalartos woodii) is Extinct in the Wild. Only a single plant of this species was ever found. Its extinction may have been a natural event, although the final end of the wild population may have been hastened by over-exploitation for medicinal purposes by local people. In 1916 the last remaining stem was removed for cultivation in botanical gardens. There is no likelihood of ever reintroducing the species back into the wild as there are only male plants in existence, and the risk of theft would be too great.
- Maui Hesperomannia (Hesperomannia arbuscula), listed as Critically Endangered, is a small shrubby tree known only from the Hawaiian Islands of Maui and Oahu. Maui Hesperomannia (Hesperomannia arbuscula)Â© Vickie L. Caraway
- Riverine Rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis) is assessed as Critically Endangered. Riverine Rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis)Â© Andrew G. Duthie
- Yellow-breasted Capuchin (Cebus xanthosternos) is a Critically Endangered Neotropical monkey found in Brazilâ€™s Atlantic Forest region. It has a very restricted and highly fragmented range. The species is also heavily hunted as bushmeat and for use as pets.
- Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia) is endemic to Brazil. Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia)Â© Juan PratginestÃ³s/WWF-Brasil
- Short-beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis). Short-beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis)Â© Giovanni Bearzi
- Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus). Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus).Â© David W. Weller
- Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) is Critically Endangered. Mekong Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas)Â© Zeb S. Hogan
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