Is animal extinction really happening?

Yes! In fact, experts believe that we are in the midst of the 6th mass animal extinction known to man, called the Holocene extinction. A mass extinction is when a high percentage of distinct species dies out in a short period of time.  

The International Union for Conservation of Nature( IUCN) has declared 160 species, just in the last decade, as extinct. It is estimated that the extinction rate is 1,000-10,000 times higher than the rates of natural extinctions. This means that at the current rate, the animal and plant extinctions that are occurring today are high enough to impact on the ecological balance between humans and other species.  

We know that there are approximately 1.5 million species of animals but, we only have knowledge on a little more than 105,000 of those species. More than 25,000 species on that list are also on the IUCN Red List. 

According to the IUCN Red List, the number of animal species threatened with extinction is disturbing. 


To put things in perspective, look at these numbers of animal species being threatened with extinction today: 

-3,500+ species of fish  

-2,600+ species of amphibians  

-1,800+ species of reptiles 

-1,400 species of birds  

-1,350 species of mammals  

-745 species of crustaceans 

-253 species of coral 

-251 species of arachnid 

There are so many species that we have minimal knowledge of, this means these number are likely higher.  Just like humans, a healthy body means a long life.  Through health studies, we are helping zoo and wildlife veterinarians solve the conservation puzzle through research.

The Wild Animal Health Fund works hard to close the gap and fill the missing piece of the puzzle in conservation – animal health. We believe we can make a difference and so can you! 

Want to learn more about how animals become endangered? Check out this page!