Endangered species, any species that is at risk of extinction because of a sudden rapid decrease in its population or a loss of its critical habitat. Previously, any species of plant or animal that was threatened with extinction could be called an endangered species. The need for separate definitions of “endangered” and “threatened” species resulted in the development of various categorization systems, each containing definitions and criteria by which a species can be classified according to its risk of extinction. As a rule, a range of criteria must be analyzed before a species can be placed in one category or another.
Often such categorization systems are linked directly to national legislation, such as the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA) or the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA). In addition, regional agreements, such as the European Union’s Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC), and international conservation agreements, such as the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), are connected to species-assessment systems. One of the most-recognized independent international systems of species assessment is the Red List of Threatened Species, created by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The example of some of Endangered species are mentioned below:
- giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
- tiger (Panthera tigris)
- whooping crane (Grus americana)
- blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
- Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
- sea otter (Enhydra lutris)
- snow leopard (Panthera uncia)
- gorilla (Gorilla beringei andGorilla gorilla)
- Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii)
- orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)