'Extinction Crisis' Threatens 40% of Species

Watchdog group sees serious danger to one in four mammals
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2007 1:46 PM CDT
The Rain Forest's newest resident, a nine-foot long, 221 pound female gharial relaxes on the sand Nov. 13, 2003 at the Cleveland MetroParks Zoo in Cleveland. The 2007 Red List of Threatened Species released...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – More than 16,000 species are in serious danger of extinction, including one in four mammals and one in three amphibians being monitored by a global conservation group. With 40% of 40,000 surveyed species facing the highest levels of threat, “We’re at code red,” a top conservationist says of the World Conservation Union's annual list, the Guardian reports.

The list includes 180 new species. Just one animal—the Mauritius echo parakeet—saw its status improve, and only from “critically endangered” to merely “endangered.” Climate change and El Nino are major threats, though the full story is more complicated: The western lowland gorilla, for example, has suffered from Ebola, the bushmeat trade, and spreading oil palm plantations.