We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Threatened Species?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Threatened species are organisms that are at risk of extinction in the relatively near future unless an intervention or radical change occurs. If conservation actions are not taken, these species may vanish in the wild. While captive breeding programs may be used to preserve the species, such programs carry risks, including loss of genetic diversity as a result of limited numbers of organisms enrolled in the program to start with, compounded by difficulties in organizing and maintaining a breeding program. Some species, for example, are extremely challenging to breed in captivity.

The International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) uses “threatened” as a broad category to describe species that are vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered. Threatened species are cataloged on a list known as the Red List and such species are sometimes known as “red listed species” to reflect this. The IUCN Red List is available online and is also published in hard copy form. It is continuously revised and updated to reflect new additions and changes in status in order to keep the conservation community apprised of new developments.

In the United States, “threatened” is one of two categories for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The other category is “endangered.” This difference in terminology can be confusing to people who are used to the IUCN definitions, or in conversations where people do not clarify and provide information about the classification system they are using. Other nations with laws to protect threatened species tend to use the IUCN standards and these standards are also used in international law.

There are numerous reasons why species can become threatened, including loss of habitat, overhunting, disease, and climate change. Scientists who research threatened species explore the myriad reasons why organisms can become vulnerable to extinction. The interconnected nature of the relationships between animals and the environment can become especially important, as the loss of one species can create a domino effect that spreads to other species. Identifying key species in an environment before they go extinct is an important aspect of conservation.

Steps that can be taken to conserve species include establishing captive breeding programs to create a gene pool that can be reintroduced into the wild, along with passing laws to protect wilderness areas, cleaning up environmental hazards, and taking steps to curtail human activities that threaten the environment. This includes making policy changes on an international level, as well as encouraging individual communities to preserve the threatened species in their regions.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.