Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 9, 2020


Tierra Curry, (928) 522-3681,

Updated ‘Redlist:’ More Than 1 in 4 Evaluated Species Facing Extinction

Urgent Action Needed to Save Life on Earth

PORTLAND, Ore.— An updated assessment released today by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found that 27% of evaluated species of plants and animals around the globe are threatened with extinction.

The new update to the “Red List of Threatened Species” identifies 32,441 species as threatened with extinction out of 120,372 for which there is enough information to determine their conservation status.

“This assessment shows that 1 in 4 mammals are facing extinction, and although we don’t prefer to think of ourselves as animals, we humans are mammals,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We have to take bold and rapid action to reduce the huge damage we’re doing to the planet if we’re going to save whales, frogs, lemurs and ultimately ourselves.”

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.

“We know what we need to do to end extinction,” said Curry. “At this point it’s a matter of political will to rapidly move away from fossil fuels, stamp out the wildlife trade and overhaul the toxic ways we produce food. We really can do all of these things, but we need world leaders to stand up and do them.”

Amphibians continue to be the most imperiled group of animals, with 41% threatened worldwide. Around 14% of birds and 40% of conifers are also threatened.

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

The Center recently released a groundbreaking plan to fight extinction. 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.

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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