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Happy 50th Anniversary, IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

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Today marks the first 2014 data release of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Red List now includes 73,686 assessed species, of which 22,103 are threatened with extinction. Highlights of this release include lemurs, Japanese eels, slipper orchids, and the FIFA World Cup mascot, the Brazilian three-banded armadillo.
One of the most threatened groups of vertebrates on earth, more than 90 per cent of lemurs are now threatened with extinction. Some of the facts:
* 99 known species, which live on the island of Madagascar
* 22 species are critically endangered, including the Indri, the largest living lemur
* 48 species are endangered, including Madame Berthe's mouse lemur, the world smallest primate
* 20 species are vulnerable
* political instability and rising levels of poverty in the past 20 years have accelerated illegal logging in Madagascar, so lemurs are threatened by the destruction of their tropical forest habitat
The Japanese eel is a traditional delicacy in Japan and the country’s most expensive food fish, and it has been listed as endangered due to
* loss of habitat
* overfishing
* barriers to migration
* pollution
* changes to oceanic currents
Habitat destruction and over-collection of wild species has caused IUCN to flag up the threat to slipper orchids. 79 per cent of these popular ornamentals are threatened with extinction.
The mascot of this year’s FIFA World Cup, the Brazilian three-banded armadillo, remains Vulnerable. Its population has declined by more than a third in the past 10-15 years due to loss of half its shrubland habitat.
Species are assessed using the Species Information Service Toolkit, an application built in partnership with Solertium and IUCN.
Read more about this data release on the IUCN Red List website.
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