Endangered is a word used to describe plant and animal species that are not doing very well. Animals usually become endangered because of over hunting or the destruction of their habitat.
An animal that is endangered is close to extinction, meaning there aren't very many of that type of animal left in the world.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. The IUCN maintains the Red List, which lists over 26 000 species that are threatened with extinction. The Red List is the world’s most comprehensive inventory on the global conservation status of animals and plants. Every four years the IUCN evaluates the population status of each species and the threats to their survival. Based on this information the IUCN assigns each species a category.
- Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining
- Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range
- Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild
- Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild
- Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild
- Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future
- Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk (Does not qualify for a more at-risk category; widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.)
- Data deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction
- Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria