Endangered species

From Academic Kids

Missing image
The American bison numbered as few as 750 in 1890 due to extreme overhunting.

An endangered species is a species whose population is so small that it is in danger of becoming extinct. Many countries have laws offering special protection to these species (forbidding hunting, banning their habitats from development, etc.) to prevent extinction. Only a few of the many truly endangered species actually make it to the lists and obtain legal protection. Many more species become extinct, or potentially will become extinct, without gaining public notice.

Many of these laws are controversial. Typical areas of controversy include: criteria for placing a species on the endangered species list, and criteria for removing a species from the list once its population has recovered; whether restrictions on land development constitute a "taking" of land by the government, and the related question of whether private landowners should be compensated for the loss of use of their land; and obtaining reasonable exceptions to protection laws.

A listing as an endangered species can backfire, as it makes a species more valuable and more desirable for collectors and poachers[1] (

The conservation status of a species is an indicator of the likelihood of that endangered species continuing to survive. Many factors are taken into account when assessing the conservation status of a species: not simply the number remaining, but the overall increase or decrease in the population over time, breeding success rates, known threats, and so on.

The best-known worldwide conservation status listing is the IUCN Red List, but many more specialized lists exist.

The following conservation status categories are used in articles in this encyclopedia. They are loosely based on the IUCN categories.

The following lists are examples of endangered species. Note that because of varying standards for regarding a species as endangered, and the very large number of endangered species, these lists should not be regarded as comprehensive.


Endangered mammals

  • Gelada (Theropithecus gelada)
  • Key Deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium)
  • Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii)
  • Tiger (Panthera tigris)

Endangered birds

Endangered reptiles

Endangered amphibians

Endangered crustaceans

Endangered fish

Endangered arthropods

Endangered plants

About 6% of the 300,000 identified species are endangered due to overcollection or destruction of habitat, among other causes. Pollinator decline is also a factor for some species.

See also

External links


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