How Many Endangered Animals Are There?


Quick Answer

There are approximately 3,000 endangered animals worldwide. Estimations of the number of endangered animals vary depending on the source of the data used and the degree of endangerment under consideration.

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Full Answer

Both the Endangered Species Act of the United States and the International Union for Conservation of Nature make provisions for listings of endangered species. As of 2014, the Endangered Species Act recognizes only about 1,500 endangered species, both plants and animals, worldwide. The Endangered Species Act estimates that 13 percent of all vertebrate species worldwide are at risk for endangerment or extinction. The Endangered Species Act uses several factors to determine endangerment of a species. They include the state of the habitat of a particular species, the toll that over-harvesting takes on the species, and the severity of impact of disease, predation or human influence.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature maintains a Red List that examines the state of many species globally. The Red List is far more comprehensive than the listing of the Endangered Species Act. Animals fall into one of seven categories under the Red List: Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild and Extinct. The Red List yields a much higher estimate of species of concern than does the Endangered Species Act. However, despite its comprehensiveness, the Red List is merely a means of keeping track of the population status of wild animal species, whereas the Endangered Species Act actually makes legal provisions for the conservation of the species on its list. Also, the Endangered Species Act includes plants, animals and fungi, while the Red List accounts for only animals.

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