Nature and Biodiversity

The animal kingdom under fire

A tree frog

Of the amphibian species assessed, 38.4% were found to be at risk of extinction in 2022. Image: Unsplash/davidclode

Florian Zandt
Data Journalist, Statista
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Climate and Nature

  • Rising levels of pollution and habitat loss are putting increasing numbers and varieties of animal species in danger.
  • In 2022, 17,000 animal species faced extinction, an increase of roughly 9,000 compared to 15 years ago, according to conservation data.
  • While this is partly because more species are being assessed, this Statista graphic puts the numbers into perspective to reveal a stark picture.

Increased environmental pollution and the ongoing destruction of the world's natural habitats of a wide variety of animal species like rainforests and coral reefs have led to more than 10,000 out of roughly 74,000 known vertebrate species being endangered. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, 17,000 animal species face extinction in 2022, an increase of roughly 9,000 compared to 15 years ago.

While this increase can be attributed to more and more species being assessed over the years - 4,863 mammal species in 2007 versus 5,973 in 2022 - this week's Racing Bar puts the numbers into perspective by showing the share of threatened species in overall assessed animal species and grouping them by class. Fish, insects, molluscs and other crustaceans are excluded since, according to the IUCN, the coverage is not sufficient enough to allow a solid estimate of actual biodiversity development.

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Even without these large swaths of species, the picture is dire, especially for amphibians and mammals. Of the former, 34.8 percent of assessed species are at risk of extinction in 2022, an increase of more than four percent compared to 2013. On the other hand, more than one-fifth of mammal species are thought to be at risk of going extinct, which represents an increase of almost two percent when compared to 2008.

The IUCN Red List was founded in 1964 and poses a crucial resource for policymakers, researchers and journalists when assessing global biodiversity and conservation efforts.

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