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Endangered SpeciesThe International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN) estimates that 26,500 species are threatened by extinction of an assessment of 96,900 species around the world. The species analysis includes both animals and plants. Species are sorted into one of nine categories: not evaluated, data deficient, least concern, near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild and extinct. Species from the vulnerable to extinct categories are considered threatened by extinction. Some endangered species include the Hawksbill sea turtle, the Eastern gorilla, several rhinoceros species, Capuchin monkeys and the red panda.1 Forty percent of endangered species are amphibians, 25 percent are mammals and 14 percent are birds.2 Trade, poaching and habitat destruction are some of the leading causes of animal population Read More reduction and endangerment.3 The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora formed an international agreement to prohibit the trade of rare plant and animal species so as to eliminate trade as a contributor to endangerment and extinction.4 Show Less
Animal WelfareForty six nations are signatories of the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare, a series of principles designed to protect the welfare of animals.1 The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora formed an international agreement to prohibit the trade of rare plant and animal species so as to eliminate trade as a contributor to endangerment and extinction.2 The United States, Canada, Mexico, the majority of Europe, India, South Africa, Tanzania, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kenya, the Philippines, Japan, portions of South America and Australia have policies — ranging in extent — providing protection for animals, whether they be domestic, wildlife or livestock. A majority of African, Eastern European and Asian nations have little to no protections for animals.3 The World Animal Protection Index gives Read More Austria, the United Kingdom and Switzerland the highest ratings of the 50 selected nations for animal protection for their recognition of animal sentience, support of the Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare, laws against mistreatment of animals, safeguards against abuse of animals being raised in farm systems, as well as captive and domestic animals, wildlife and animals used for research. The index also rates the three nations highly for their support of the efforts of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the acceptance of OIE standards.4 Show Less
BirdsAn estimated 10,000 bird species live around the world, and 1,375 are considered endangered1 — 13 percent of all bird species.2 Some of the world’s most endangered birds species are the giant ibis, the California condor, the forest owlet, the Bengal florican, the Christmas Island frigatebird and the Philippine eagle.3
Animal SheltersSix and a half million domestic animals enter shelters in the United States each year — 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats. Just over half of animals in shelters are adopted annually — around 3.2 million — and 1.5 million are euthanized. Of animals admitted into shelters, approximately 700,000 are eventually returned to their original homes, most of which are dogs.1 Around a third of all dogs taken into homes each year are purchased from a breeder, and just under a quarter of dogs are purchased from shelters. The remainder are purchased from friends, another party or are discovered as strays.2
Reptiles and AmphibiansWorldwide, there are approximately 15,000 amphibian species and 10,000 reptile species.1 Forty percent of amphibian species are considered endangered, or at risk of endangerment.2
FishesThere are approximately 40,000 species of fishes living around the world, yet scientists estimate that there are many unidentified fish species as well. Fifteen thousand species are freshwater species,1 and hundreds of thousands of fish, mammal and insect species — 228,450 — are classified as marine animals.2 Just over 2,000 marine species are protected under the United States Endangered Species Act (ESA).3
ZoosOver 10,000 zoos exist around the world, and the United States Department of Agriculture has 2,400 licensed animal exhibitors around the nation. In 2002, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) completed over 2,000 projects in the pursuit of conserving animal habitats and populations, 50 percent of which were carried out in 80 different nations.1 Zoos and aquariums worldwide collectively spend over $350 million on animal conservation efforts each year, and generate over 700 million visitors in a given year. Many zoos and aquariums, in addition to allowing visitors to see a wide variety of animal species, offer environmental and animal conservation educational programs to their patrons.2 The World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy was published in 2015 by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums Read More (WAZA). The initiative is focused on furthering the efforts of zoos and their counterparts in educating their visitors about conserving animal species and raising awareness about the needs of animals worldwide.3 This strategy additionally established a series of policies to protect animals in zoos, creating international standards for quality of care.4 Show Less
MammalsThere are 5,500 mammal species around the world, and compared to bird, reptile, fish and amphibian species, mammals comprise the smallest of the vertebrae subgroups.1 A quarter of all mammal species are at risk of extinction.2
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