There are currently over 18,000 species around the world that are categorized as threatened or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
This is especially problematic, because the IUCN Red List has only evaluated about 44,800 species. This means that out of all the ones that are being monitored, 40 percent are in danger of being eliminated forever through extinction.
A new study published in Current Biology examined a set of 841 endangered species and determined the amount of resources and proper steps that need to be taken in order to build their numbers back up.
Though these species occupy nearly every environment on Earth, they all share a common danger: humans.
Humans threaten animals in a number of ways. While overhunting certainly affects wildlife populations, habitat destruction does the most damage. Not only does cutting into a species' natural habitat wipe out their homes, but displaced animals no longer have their traditional breeding ground, and they lose their food supply as well.
If humans can get these animals into this mess, they should try to get them out.
There are services available for species that are critically endangered, and with enough funding and resources, it might be possible to bring their numbers back up to sustainable levels. Sadly, this is not cheap. The researchers estimate that $1.3 billion in funding is needed in order to provide for all 841 species on the list, though a few particular species have only a tiny chance of staying alive.
"Although the cost seems high, safeguarding these species is essential if we want to reduce the extinction rate by 2020," co-author Hugh Possingham of The University of Queensland said in a press release. "When compared to global government spending on other sectors — e.g., US defense spending, which is more than 500 times greater — an investment in protecting high biodiversity value sites is minor."
These are the 15 critically endangered species that need all the help they can get in order to survive:
Chiapan climbing rat (Tylomys bullaris) Found in: Mexico