Last month the International Union for Conservation of Nature — better known as IUCN — released an update on the conservation status of the world’s lemurs. The update was not cause for celebration: 91 percent of the world’s lemurs — all of which are native to Madagascar — are listed as “Critically Endangered”, “Endangered”, or “Vulnerable”, making them the most threatened major group of animals.
Other primates are also faring poorly. According to the IUCN’s Red List, nearly half the planet’s primates are threatened with extinction (listed as “Critically Endangered”, “Endangered”, or “Vulnerable”).
The IUCN Red List is based on expert assessment of the conservation status of plants and animals. The Red List is generally weighted toward better well-known species whose statuses are easier to determine. For example, while the Red List has only assessed 3 percent of the world’s described species, it has assessed 100 percent of the world’s know species of birds and mammals, and 93 percent of the world’s amphibians.
Below is a chart showing the conservation status of all mammals and several major mammal groups, including bats, carnivores, insectivores, marsupials, primates, rabbits and hares, rodents, and ungulates. The charts based on data downloaded from the IUCN Red List web site on August 5, 2012.