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Number of Threatened Species is Rising

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz

The number of threatened species is increasing. But while animals like critically endangered orangutans or humpback dolphins are getting a lot of attention, the number of threatened mammals has not been rising as fast as in other animal classes.

The number of threatened mammals (defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources as species listed as either critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable on the Red List) increased by only 22 percent between 2007 and 2020. During the same time period, the number of endangered insects rose by 276 percent, the number of endangered molluscs (a class including snails, slugs, mussels, squid and worms) rose by 145 percent, while endangered fish species increased by 196 percent and the number of endangered reptiles even rose by 336 percent.

While the reasons for the endangerment of insects and fish are well known, less is written about threats to reptiles and molluscs. According to the IUCN, many reptile species are concentrated in rainforest regions and are therefore threatened by deforestation. Furthermore, the species are particularly sensitive to environmental changes, including climate change. With molluscs, endangered species are mainly those who live on land and in freshwater. They are threatened by habitat destruction or are being pushed out by invasive species, according to the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

The IUCN updates its Red List several times a year. In the latest version for 2022, 16,900 animal species were listed as threatened - more than double the number of 2007.

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