Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 10, 2020


Tierra Curry, (928) 522-3681,

Updated ‘Redlist:’ 20 Frogs and Fish Declared Extinct

28% of Assessed Species at Risk of Extinction

WASHINGTON— An updated assessment released today by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found that 28% of evaluated species of plants and animals around the globe are now at risk of extinction.

Seventeen freshwater fish from the Phillipines were declared extinct, along with three frogs from Central America. Conservation has helped some tropical frogs, but 22 species from Central and South America were deemed possibly extinct, as was the lost shark from the South China Sea.

The new update to the “Red List of Threatened Species” identifies 35,765 species as belonging to an extinction risk category out of 128,918 for which there is enough information to determine their conservation status.

“We lose a species to extinction every hour, but extinction is not inevitable,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We can end extinction with funding and political will. We need to stop making excuses and take the bold policy actions necessary to save life on Earth.”

A small gray dolphin from the Amazon, the tucuxi, moved from unknown status to endangered, which means that all five species of the planet’s river dophins are now known to be at risk of extinction.

All species of oak trees have now been evaluated for extinction risk, and more than 30% face extinction. Climate change, disease and invasive species are the primary threat to oaks in the United States. All species in the flowering plant family Protea, which includes macadamia nuts, have now been assessed and 45% are at risk.

In positive news, today’s update highlighted that conservation measures have improved the outlook for the European Bison and 25 other species.

Although not included in the IUCN update, multiple species in the United States face extinction, including numerous pollinators, wolverines, red wolves, Southern Resident killer whales and dozens of freshwater mollusks, fishes and crayfishes from southeastern states.

The Trump administration has protected fewer species under the Endangered Species Act than any president in history and rejected protection for hundreds of species identified by scientists as imperiled. The Center is calling on President-elect Biden to declare the extinction crisis a national emergency and commit to reversing it.

Last year the United Nations estimated that 1 million species worldwide face extinction if humans don’t act quickly to save them. Scientists around the globe are calling for countries to preserve 30% of lands and waters by 2030 and half by 2050 to abate the extinction crisis.

In January, the Center published Saving Life on Earth, a groundbreaking plan to fight extinction. Now a dedicated campaign within the Center, the Saving Life on Earth plan calls for $100 billion for species; for half the Earth to be protected for wildlife; and for dramatic cuts in pollution and plastics.

Dolphins in Rio Javari, Brazil. Photo by Tierra Curry, Center for Biological Diversity. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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