An endangered species is a plant or animal determined by a state or by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be in imminent danger of extinction. The largest drivers of this threat include: habitat loss, the introduction of non-native/invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change. Many threatened and endangered species provide key ecosystem services to humans; their decline harms us as well. Citizens are increasingly alarmed by the rapid decline in native species, and states are starting to step up to protect their own wildlife.
Since 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has managed the Red List of Threatened Species. Many agencies use this list to monitor the changing ecological and human-driven pressures that impact species globally and can affect human livelihoods. IUCN’s Red List is used to update species listed in international agreements like the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, or CITES, a treaty that regulates trade of endangered wildlife. The CITES treaty is recognized and implemented by the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Species designated as endangered are given special federal protection under the Act. State endangered species acts, or SESAs, can provide protection to at-risk species within their borders.
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According to the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, up to 150 species are lost to extinction every day – almost 10% every decade.
1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction. 41% of amphibians, 34% of conifers, 33% of reef-building corals, 26% of mammals, and 14% of birds
Invasive species introduced through wildlife trading can pose an additional threat to native endangered species, with Indo-Pacific Lionfish as a prominent example.