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300+ Species Just Joined the List of Threatened Plants And Animals

Overfishing, overhunting and habitat loss drove many of the new additions

Pacific bluefin tuna populations have declined by up to 33 percent over the last 20 years. (Photo: Dave Fleetham/Design Pics/Corbis)
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) just published their updated Red List—what many conservationists and nations consider to be the world's preeminent registry of species' conservation standing.

The Red List now contains 22,413 entries on species that are classified as threatened with extinction, Scientific American writes. That includes 310 species that were just added to the list. Most of those species loses, the IUCN reports, are being driven by overfishing, overhunting or habitat loss. 

According to the IUCN, the 310 species now listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered include:

  • Chinese pufferfish
  • American eel
  • Chinese cobra
  • Pacific bluefin tuna
  • 66 species of chameleon
  • Black crass-dart butterfly

Several others were declared extinct, including a Malaysian snail known only to live on a single hill that has since been obliterated by limestone miners and the St. Helens giant earwig, previously the world's largest earwig. 

While some species—notably, two amphibians in Colombia—actually improved their Red List standing, the vast majority seem to be caught up in a downward spiral toward extinction. The Red List likely vastly underestimates the number of threatened species out there, simply because there aren't enough researchers studying the estimated 8.7 million species out there. Obscure or rare plants and animals rarely get a look—especially if they're not mammals, birds or reptiles. 

So as bad as the new IUCN update sounds, the truth is that the situation is actually far worse. 

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