Like us, species need places to live and they need to be protected from persecution in these homes. Today, half of the Earth’s terrestrial surface has been converted for human use or significantly degraded in its ability to support native species. Since 2001, the categories and criteria of the IUCN Red List of Threated Species – a standard for the evaluation of extinction risk – have guided assessments, now for nearly 100,000 species. More 26,500 species – 27% of those assessed - are threatened with extinction, meaning that without conservation action they face a real risk of disappearing forever. The vast majority of species facing threat of extinction are imperiled due to loss of their habitat or overexploitation – the harvest of species from the wild at rates that cannot be compensated for by reproduction or regrowth. Fortunately, the creation of well-enforced nature reserves is a proven tool that is effective at combating both loss of habitat and overexploitation, and in turn protecting and recovering species.
More than one quarter of all assessed species are threatened with extinction, and habitat loss is the major driver of decline.