The Looming Sixth Extinction

Did You Know?

  • There are over 18,000 threatened species in the world today.
  • Fewer than 3,000 tigers remain in the wild.
  • 96 percent of all studied gorilla and chimpanzee populations are in decline.
  • 30 percent of all shark species are threatened or near threatened with exctinction.

In the latest issue of the journal Nature, researchers from the University of California, the University of Sao Paulo and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, suggest that the Earth is on the precipice of a sixth extinction, caused almost entirely by human activities. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 18,351 animal and plant species are on the "Red List of Threatened Species," and this number is expected to grow, as habitat destruction, overexploitation and other threats continue to devastate species populations.

The disappearance of the world's biodiversity is devastating on many levels. Our global economy, food supply, national security and health are all dependent on healthy natural resources. Scientists estimate that if we do not face the crisis of extinction within the next decade, the consequences will be dire.

Pew's Global Conservation Initiative, a partner of the Alliance for Global Conservation, calls on the United States to develop a comprehensive strategy for protecting the natural areas and wild species of our planet. Working towards passage of the Global Conservation Act, and towards adoption of a government-wide biodiversity strategy, the Initiative strives to make the U.S. a leader in protecting our natural world and saving endangered species before it's too late.

       Endangered Species Photo Gallery