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Sierra Daily

Nov 11, 2011

Sorry, This One is Pretty Bleak

The latest Red List of endangered species from the International Union for Conservation of Nature is not pretty. A quarter of all mammals known (5,499) are at risk of extinction, and the western black rhino has officially been declared extinct. Depressing numbers abound: Of the 62,000 species the IUCN evaluated, nearly 20,000 of them are threatened. The number of threatened reptiles has jumped from 594 to 772 -- and only a third of the existing reptile species have been studied. (The IUCN is trying to fill in those gaps, turning the Red List into a definitive and perhaps more hopeful  "Barometer of Life" that measures the state of the world's biodiversity.) Nature poked around and did find a silver lining: “IUCN says that its numbers show that conservation programs can work, highlighting the success of some conservation efforts for Przewalski’s Horse, moved from critically endangered to endangered, and a subspecies of white rhinos, for example, that is now thriving in the wild.” 

For a photo gallery of what we’re missing, go here. For a video, go here.

-- Reed McManus

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