Special Report

Animals Humans Are Driving to Extinction

Humans are putting nature in danger at an unprecedented pace. As many as 1 million plants and animals face extinction within just a few decades, and humans are to blame, according to a recently released United Nations report. All over the world, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by at least 20%, most of it just over the last century.

More than 27,000 species are threatened with extinction right now, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature — one of the world’s most prominent advocates for preserving nature. This is more than 27% of all species the organization has assessed.

24/7 Tempo reviewed the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. We listed the 23 animals whose status changed in 2019 to critically endangered — in some cases possibly extinct. Just in 2018, these animals were classified anywhere from endangered to least concern.

Global warming, which most climate scientists contribute to human activities, is a major threat to the existence of many plant species. A third of reef corals, for example, are under threat. This is just one of at least 26 disaster scenarios caused by climate change.

In addition to climate change, marine and wildlife face dangers that are even more directly associated with people — including fishing, hunting, water pollution, and deforestation. All of these lead to loss of their natural habitat, which makes their long-term survival less likely.

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To identify species humans are driving to extinction, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the 2019 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. As of 2019, more than 27,000 species were threatened with extinction. A total of 37 species were classified as critically endangered in 2019, some even possibly extinct. Their status ranged from least concern to vulnerable and endangered in 2018. Some of the 37 species were from the same genus and were combined on our list under the same name of critically endangered animal. While listed below are animals going extinct due to human actions, here are animals that could go extinct due to climate change.

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