According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the number of species that are endangered has doubled in two decades, and the numbers continue to grow.
Species that are classified as “endangered” sit in the center of a spectrum of vulnerable species, ranging from “near threatened” to extinct.
The vulnerability of a species depends on its ability to reproduce in relation to threats in its environment, among other considered factors.
The IUCN includes over 20,000 species of plants and animals on its ‘Red List’ of endangered species, but says that there are many more still to be discovered.
The protection of endangered species is important not only to preserve and promote biodiversity, but also in order to sustain ecosystems. Furthermore, TIME reports, collapsed ecosystems can exacerbate climate change and induce pollution.
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