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The world's 100 most threatened species

Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), fewer than 1,000 still alive

The World's 100 most threatened species[1] is a compilation of the most threatened animals, plants, and fungi in the world. It was the result of a collaboration between over 8,000 scientists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC), along with the Zoological Society of London.[2] The report was published by the Zoological Society of London in 2012 as the book, Priceless or Worthless?[3]

While all the species on the list are threatened with extinction, the scientists who chose them had another criterion: all the species have no obvious benefit for humans and therefore humans have no vested interests trying to save them. Iconic and charismatic species, such as tigers and pandas—along with economically important species—have many defenders, while these apparently "worthless" species had none. The title of the report, "Priceless or Worthless?", is based on that shared quality of the species.[4] The report's co-author, Ellen Butcher, stated one of the guiding principles of the list, "If we take immediate action we can give them a fighting chance for survival. But this requires society to support the moral and ethical position that all species have an inherent right to exist."[1][5]

The report was released in Jeju, South Korea, on September 11, 2012, at the quadrennial meeting of IUCN, the World Conservation Congress. At the Congress, it was reported that scientists are finding it more and more common to have to justify funding for protection of species by showing what the human benefits would be. Jonathan Baillie, of the Zoological Society of London and co-author of the report, stated that, "The donor community and conservation movement are increasingly leaning towards a 'what can nature do for us?' approach, where species and wild habitats are valued and prioritised according to these services they provided for people. This has made it increasingly difficult for conservationists to protect the most threatened species on the planet."[4]

Some of the threatened species are down to only a handful of surviving members. Santa Catarina's guinea pig, native to a single island in Brazil, is down to its last 40–60 individuals, reduced by hunting and habitat disturbance. The great Indian bustard is threatened by habitat loss resulting from agriculture and human development, and is down to the last 50–249 individuals.[6] Elaeocarpus bojeri, a flowering plant found only on the island of Mauritius, has fewer than 10 surviving individuals, because of loss of habitat. The Baishan fir (Abies beshanzuensis), native to China, is down to five surviving mature individuals. "Priceless or Worthless?" describes the threats that each species is facing, along with measures that would aid their survival.[3]

Species list

The world's 100 most threatened species[3]
Species Common name Type Image Location(s) Estimated population Threats
Abies beshanzuensis Baishan fir Plant (Tree) Baishanzu Mountain, Zhejiang, China Five mature individuals
  • agriculture
  • fire
Actinote zikani Insect (butterfly) Near São Paulo, Atlantic forest, Brazil Unknown
  • habitat loss from human expansion
Aipysurus foliosquama Leaf scaled sea-snake Reptile Ashmore Reef and Hibernia Reef, Timor Sea Unknown
  • unknown—probably degradation of coral reef habitat
Amanipodagrion gilliesi Amani flatwing Insect (damselfly) Amani-Sigi Forest, Usamabara Mountains, Tanzania < 500 individuals
  • population pressure and water pollution
Anisolabis seychellensis Insect Morne Blanc, Mahé island, Seychelles Unknown
  • invasive species
  • climate change
Antilophia bokermanni Araripe manakin Bird Chapado do Araripe, South Ceará, Brazil 779 individuals
  • recreational facilities
  • water diversion
Aphanius transgrediens Aci Göl toothcarp Fish south-eastern shore of former Lake Aci, Turkey few hundred pairs
  • competition and predation by Gambusia
  • road construction
Aproteles bulmerae Bulmer's fruit bat Mammal Luplupwintern Cave, Western Province, Papua New Guinea 150
  • hunting
  • cave disturbance
Ardea insignis White bellied heron Bird Bhutan, North East India and Myanmar 70–400 individuals
  • hydropower development
Ardeotis nigriceps Great Indian bustard Bird Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya, India 50–249 mature individuals
  • agricultural development
  • energy transmission lines
Astrochelys yniphora Ploughshare tortoise Reptile Baly Bay region, northwestern Madagascar 440–770
  • illegal collection for international pet trade
Atelopus balios Rio Pescado stubfoot toad Amphibian Azuay, Cañar and Guyas provinces, south-western Ecuador Unknown
Aythya innotata Madagascar pochard Bird volcanic lakes north of Bealanana, Madagascar 80 mature individuals
  • agriculture
  • hunting and fishing
  • introduced fish
Azurina eupalama Galapagos damsel fish Fish Unknown Unknown
  • climate change
  • oceanographic changes related to the 1982/1983 El Nino
Bahaba taipingensis Giant yellow croaker Fish Chinese coast from Yangtze River, China to Hong Kong Unknown
  • over-fishing due to value of swim-bladder in traditional medicine
Batagur baska Common batagur Reptile (turtle) Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Malaysia Unknown
  • illegal export China
Bazzania bhutanica Plant Budini and Lafeti Khola, Bhutan 2 sub-populations
Beatragus hunteri Hirola Mammal (antelope) South-east Kenya and possibly south-west Somalia < 1,000 individuals
  • habitat loss
  • competition with livestock
  • poaching
Bombus franklini Franklin's bumblebee Insect (bee) Oregon and California Unknown
Brachyteles hypoxanthus Northern muriqui
Woolly spider monkey
Mammal (primate) Atlantic forest, south-eastern Brazil < 1,000
  • large-scale deforestation and logging
Bradypus pygmaeus Pygmy three-toed sloth Mammal Isla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama < 500
Callitriche pulchra Plant (freshwater) pool on Gavdos, Greece Unknown
  • habitat exploitation by livestock
  • modification of the pool by locals
Calumma tarzan Tarzan's chameleon Reptile Anosibe An'Ala region, eastern Madagascar < 100
  • agriculture
Cavia intermedia Santa Catarina's guinea pig Mammal (rodent) Moleques do Sul Island, Santa Catarina, Brazil 40–60
  • habitat disturbance
  • possible hunting
  • result of having such a small population
Cercopithecus roloway Roloway guenon Mammal (primate) Côte d'Ivoire Unknown
  • hunting
  • habitat loss
Coleura seychellensis Seychelles sheath-tailed bat Mammal (bat) Two small caves on Silhouette and Mahé, Seychelles < 100
  • habitat degradation
  • predation by invasive species
Cryptomyces maximus Willow blister Fungi Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom Unknown
  • limited habitat
Cryptotis nelsoni Nelson's small-eared shrew Mammal (shrew) Volcán San Martín Tuxtla, Veracruz, Mexico Unknown
  • logging
  • cattle grazing
  • fire
  • agriculture
Cyclura collei Jamaican iguana
Jamaican rock iguana
Reptile Hellshire Hills, Jamaica Unknown
Daubentonia Madagascariensis Aye-aye Mammal (primate) Deciduous forest, East Madagascar Unknown
  • poaching
  • limited habitat
Dendrophylax fawcettii Cayman Islands ghost orchid Plant (orchid) Ironwood Forest, George Town, Grand Cayman Unknown
  • infrastructure development
Dicerorhinus sumatrensis Sumatran rhino Mammal (rhino) Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia < 100
  • hunting (horn is used in traditional medicine)
Diomedea amsterdamensis Amsterdam albatross Bird Breeds on Plateuau des Tourbières, Amsterdam Island, Indian Ocean. 100 mature individuals
  • disease
  • incidental by-catch in long-line fishing
Dioscorea strydomiana Wild yam Plant Oshoek area, Mpumalanga, South Africa 200
  • collection for medicinal use
Diospyros katendei Plant (tree) Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve, Uganda 20 individuals in a single population
  • agricultural activity
  • illegal tree felling
  • alluvial gold digging
  • small population
Dipterocarpus lamellatus Plant (tree) Siangau Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia 12 individuals
  • logging of lowland forest
  • creation of industrial plantations
Discoglossus nigriventer Hula painted frog Amphibian Hula Valley, Israel Unknown
Dombeya mauritiana Plant Mauritius Unknown
  • encroachment by invasive plant species
  • habitat loss due to cannabis cultivation
Elaeocarpus bojeri Bois Dentelle Plant (tree) Grand Bassin, Mauritius < 10 individuals
  • habitat degradation
Eleutherodactylus glandulifer La Hotte glanded frog Amphibian Massif de la Hotte, Haiti Unknown
  • charcoal production
  • slash-and-burn agriculture
Eleutherodactylus thorectes Macaya breast-spot frog Amphibian Formon and Macaya peaks, Masif de la Hotte, Haiti Unknown
  • charcoal production
  • slash-and-burn agriculture
Eriosyce chilensis Chilenito (cactus) Plant Pta Molles and Pichidungui, Chile < 500 individuals
  • collection of flowering plants
Erythrina schliebenii Coral tree Plant Namatimbili-Ngarama Forest, Tanzania < 50 individuals
  • limited habitat and small population size increase vulnerability
Euphorbia tanaensis Plant (tree) Witu Forest Reserve, Kenya 4 mature individuals
  • illegal logging
  • agricultural expansion
  • infrastructure development
Eurynorhyncus pygmeus Spoon-billed sandpiper Bird Breeds in Russia, migrates along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to wintering grounds in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar 100 breeding pairs
  • trapping
  • land reclamation
Ficus katendei Plant Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve, Ishasha River, Uganda < 50 mature individuals
  • agriculture
  • illegal tree felling
  • alluvial gold digging
Geronticus eremita Northern bald ibis Bird Breeds in Morocco, Turkey and Syria. Syrian population winters in

central Ethiopia.

about 3000 individuals
  • habitat degradation and destruction
  • hunting
Gigasiphon macrosiphon Plant (flower) Kaya Muhaka, Gongoni and Mrima Forest Reserves, Kenya, Amani Nature Reserve, West Kilombero Scarp Forest Reserve, and Kihansi Gorge, Tanzania 33
  • timber extraction
  • agriculture encroachment and development
  • predation by wild pigs
Gocea ohridana Mollusc Lake Ohrid, Macedonia Unknown
  • increasing pollution levels
  • off-take of water
  • sedimentation events
Heleophryne rosei Table mountain ghost frog Amphibian Table Mountain, Western Cape Province, South Africa Unknown
  • invasive plants
  • water abstraction
Hemicycla paeteliana Mollusc (land snail) Jandia peninsula, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands Unknown
  • overgrazing
  • trampling by goats and tourists
Heteromirafa sidamoensis Liben lark Bird Liben Plains, southern Ethiopia 90–256
  • agricultural expansion
  • overgrazing
  • fire suppression
Hibiscadelphus woodii Plant (tree) Kalalau Valley, Hawaii Unknown
  • habitat degradation due to feral ungulates
  • competition with invasive plant species
Hucho perryi Sakhalin taimen Fish Russian and Japanese rivers, Pacific Ocean between Russia and Japan Unknown
  • overfishing
  • damming
  • agriculture
  • other land use
Johora singaporensis Singapore freshwater crab Crustacean Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and streamlet near Bukit Batok, Singapore Unknown
  • habitat degradation due to reduction in water quality and quantity
Lathyrus belinensis Belin vetchling Plant Outskirts of Belin village, Antalya, Turkey < 1,000
  • urbanisation
  • over-grazing
  • conifer planting
  • road widening
Leiopelma archeyi Archey's frog Amphibian Coromandel peninsula and Whareorino Forest, New Zealand Unknown
Lithobates sevosus Dusky gopher frog Amphibian Harrison County, Mississippi, USA 60–100
  • fungal disease
  • climate change
  • land-use changes
Lophura edwardsi Edwards's pheasant Bird Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, Viet Nam Unknown
  • habitat loss
  • hunting
Magnolia wolfii Plant (tree) Risaralda, Colombia 3
  • isolation of species
  • low regeneration rates
Margaritifera marocana Mollusc Oued Denna, Oued Abid and Oued Beth, Morocco < 250
  • pollution
  • development
Moominia willii Mollusc (snail) Silhouette Island, Seychelles < 500
  • invasive species
  • climate change
Natalus primus Cuban greater funnel eared bat Mammal (bat) Cueva La Barca, Isle of Pines, Cuba < 100
  • habitat loss
  • human disturbance
Nepenthes attenboroughii Attenborough's pitcher plant Plant Mount Victoria, Palawan, Philippines Unknown
  • poaching
Nomascus hainanus Hainan black crested gibbon Mammal (primate) Hainan Island, China 20
  • hunting
Neurergus kaiseri Luristan newt Amphibian Zagros Mountains, Lorestan, Iran < 1,000
  • illegal collection for pet trade
Oreocnemis phoenix Mulanje red damsel Insect (damselfly) Mulanje Plateau, Malawi Unknown
  • habitat destruction and degradation due to drainage
  • agricultural expansion
  • exploitation of forest
Pangasius sanitwongsei Pangasid catfish Fish Chao Phraya and Mekong basins in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam Unknown
  • overfishing
  • collection for aquarium trade
Parides burchellanus Insect (butterfly) Cerrado, Brazil < 100
  • human expansion
  • limited range
Phocoena sinus Vaquita Mammal (porpoise) Northern Gulf of California, Mexico 12[7]
  • capture in fishermen's gillnets
Picea neoveitchii Type of spruce tree Plant (tree) Qinling Range, China Unknown
  • destruction of forest
Pinus squamata Qiaojia pine Plant (tree) Qiaojia, Yunnan, China < 25
  • limited distribution
  • small population size
Poecilotheria metallica Gooty tarantula
Metallic tarantula
Peacock tarantula
Spider Nandyal and Giddalur, Andhra Pradesh, India Unknown
  • deforestation
  • firewood collection
  • civil unrest
Pomarea whitneyi Fatuhiva monarch Bird Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia 50
Pristis pristis Common sawfish Fish Coastal tropical and subtropical waters of Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Currently largely restricted to northern Australia Unknown
  • exploitation has removed the species from 95 per cent of its historical range
Hapalemur simus Greater bamboo lemur Mammal (primate) Southeastern and southcentral rainforests of Madagascar 500
  • agriculture
  • mining
  • illegal logging
Propithecus candidus Silky sifaka Mammal (primate) Maroantsetra to Andapa basin, and Marojeju Massif, Madagascar 100–1,000
  • hunting
  • habitat disturbance
Psammobates geometricus Geometric tortoise Reptile Western Cape Province, South Africa Unknown
Pseudoryx nghetinhensis Saola Mammal Annamite mountains, on the Viet Nam - PDR Laos border Unknown
Psiadia cataractae Plant Mauritius Unknown
  • development project
  • competition from invasive plant species
Psorodonotus ebneri Beydaglari bush-cricket Insect Beydaglari range, Antalaya, Turkey Unknown
  • climate change
  • habitat loss
Rafetus swinhoei Red River giant softshell turtle Reptile Hoan Kiem Lake and Dong Mo Lake, Viet Nam, and Suzhou Zoo, China 3
  • hunting for consumption
  • wetland destruction
  • pollution
Rhinoceros sondaicus Javan rhino Mammal (rhino) Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, Indonesia < 100
  • hunting for traditional medicine
  • small population size
Rhinopithecus avunculus Tonkin snub-nosed monkey Mammal (primate) Northeastern Vietnam < 200
  • habitat loss
  • hunting
Rhizanthella gardneri West Australian underground orchid Plant (orchid) Western Australia, Australia < 100
  • land clearance for agriculture
  • climate change
  • salinisation
Rhynchocyon spp. Boni giant sengi Mammal (shrew) Boni-Dodori Forest, Lamu area, Kenya Unknown
  • development causing habitat loss
Risiocnemis seidenschwarzi Cebu frill-wing Insect (damselfly) Rivulet beside the Kawasan River, Cebu, Philippines Unknown
  • habitat degradation and destruction
Rosa arabica Plant St Katherine Mountains, Egypt Unknown, 10 sub-populations
  • domestic animal grazing
  • climate change and drought
  • medicinal plant collecting
  • limited range
Salanoia durrelli Durrell's vontsira Mammal (mongoose) Marshes of Lake Alaotra, Madagascar Unknown
  • loss of habitat
Santamartamys rufodorsalis Red crested tree rat Mammal (rodent) Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia Unknown
  • urban development
  • coffee cultivation
Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis Red-finned blue-eye Fish Edgbaston Station, central western Queensland, Australia 2,000–4,000
  • predation by introduced species
Squatina squatina Angel shark Fish Canary Islands Unknown
  • benthic trawling
Sterna bernsteini Chinese crested tern Bird Breeding in Zhejiang and Fujian, China. Outside breeding season in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand. < 50
Syngnathus watermeyeri Estuarine pipefish Fish Kariega Estuary to East Kleinemonde Estuary, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa Unknown
  • dam construction is altering river flows
  • flood events into estuaries
Tahina spectabilis Suicide palm
Plant Analalava district, north-western Madagascar 90
  • fires
  • logging
  • agricultural developments
Telmatobufo bullocki Bullock's false toad Amphibian (frog) Nahuelbuta, Arauco Province, Chile Unknown
  • construction of hydro-electricity
Tokudaia muenninki Okinawa spiny rat Mammal (rodent) Okinawa Island, Japan Unknown
  • habitat loss
  • predation by feral cats
Trigonostigma somphongsi Somphongs's rasbora Fish Mae Khlong basin, Thailand Unknown
  • farmland conversion and urbanization
Valencia letourneuxi Fish Southern Albania and Western Greece Unknown
Voanioala gerardii Forest coconut Plant Masoala peninsula, Madagascar < 10
  • deforestation
  • harvesting for consumption of palm heart
Zaglossus attenboroughi Attenborough's echidna Mammal Cyclops Mountains, Papua Province, Indonesia Unknown
  • habitat modification and degradation
  • logging
  • agricultural encroachment shifting cultivation and hunting by local people

See also


  1. ^ a b "Report lists world's 100 most threatened species, urges action". The Globe and Mail. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  2. ^ "The 100 most threatened species". ZSL Living Conservation. The Zoological Society of London. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Baillie, Jonathan E M; Ellen R Butcher (2012). Priceless or Worthless? (PDF). Zoological Society of London. ISBN 978-0-900881-67-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-21.
  4. ^ a b Harvey, Fiona (10 September 2012). "The expendables? World's 100 most endangered species listed". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  5. ^ Kew Magazine stated that, "A strong and consistent moral and ethical stance needs to be taken, they (the authors of The List) argue, that all species have a right to exist." Harrison, Christina. "Every species counts". Kew Magazine Blog. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  6. ^ "The Best Argument for Saving Threatened Species That Do Not Benefit Humans". Smithsonian Institution. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  7. ^ Hoffner, Erik. "Only 12 vaquita porpoises remain, watchdog group reports". Mongabay. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
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The world's 100 most threatened species
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