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Endangered Animals

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Endangered Animals

Examples of endangered animals.

Photos courtesy Shutterstock.
Definition: Endangered animals are species or populations that are at risk of becoming extinct. There are numerous policies and organizations that help to protect endangered species. Some of these include the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Endangered Species Act.

The IUCN maintains a list of endangered animals. That list is called the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and it assigns a specific category to each endangered animal based on its vunlernability to extinction. These categories include:

  • Least Concern - There is no immediate threat to the survival of the species.
  • Near Threatened - May become vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered in the near future.
  • Conservation Dependent - The species is not threatened, but depends on conservation efforts to sustain its .
  • Vulnerable - The species faces a high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Endangered - The species faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Critically Endangered - The species faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Extinct in the Wild - The species only survies in captivity, there are no longer any individuals in the wild.
  • Extinct - All individuals of the species have died in the wild and in captivity.
In the United States, endangered animals are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The Endangered Species Act is Federal legislation that aims to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend. The ESA was signed into law by President Nixon in December, 1973. The ESA protects plant and animal species and is jointly administered by the US Fish & Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries. Its aim is twofold: to provide protection for species that are in danger of extinction and to conserve the habitats on which those species depend.
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