The photographs presented here represent a selection of species from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (2009) and were contributed from a range of sources including IUCN SSC Specialist Group members. If you wish to use any of these photographs, please contact the photographers directly to request their permission to do so. For a wider selection of threatened species imagery, please see ARKive (www.arkive.org), an online multi-media of the world's species.
The Chatham Petrel (Pterodroma axillaris) was downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered in 2009 because, despite very rapid past declines, the population stabilised in 2000 and has since begun to increase, prompted by successful conservation measures. A census in 2004 estimated the global population at 1,000-1,100 individuals. This bird is restricted to South East Island in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. On this island, there is intense competition for burrows with the abundant Broad-billed Prion (Pachyptila vittata), including lethal attacks on chicks and eggs, and occasionally adults; this is the Chatham Petrel's primary threat at present. On the other islands in the group, exploitation by humans for food and introduced predators were the probable cause of the bird's extirpation there. In 2015 it was further downlisted to Vulnerable. Photo © Colin Miskelly (Rare Birds Yearbook). Photo supplied by BirdLife International.
This Gorgeted Puffleg (Eriocnemis isabellae) entered the IUCN Red List in 2009 as Critically Endangered. The species is known from south-west Colombia, where it occurs in a tiny area of the Serraníadel Pinche. The global population is not known but is presumably very small given that the area of suitable habitat available for this species is thought to be less than 10 km², and it is suspected to be decreasing as elfin forest habitat is converted for agriculture and illegal coca plantations. The primary threat to this bird is the shifting of the agricultural border towards remaining primary forests, causing a loss of vegetation cover, contamination of watersheds and soil degradation. Illegal coca cultivation is a major threat due to the lack of governmental presence, with 8.3 % of potentially suitable habitat reportedly damaged annually by coca cultivation. Photo © Alex Cortes. Photo supplied by BirdLife International.
The Hooded Grebe (Podiceps gallardoi) was uplisted from Near Threatened to Endangered in 2009, and then to Critically Endangered in 2012. This species mainly breeds on a few basaltic lakes in the extreme southwest of Argentina; the only known wintering grounds are two estuaries on the Atlantic coast of Santa Cruz, Argentina. In 1997, the total population was estimated at 3,000-5,000; the global population is now suspected to number around 660-800 mature individuals and is continuing to decline. The two main threats to the Hooded Grebe appear to be climate change and the introduction of salmon and trout to private lakes. In 2006, a number of lakes completely dried and water levels at known breeding sites were 2-3 m lower than in previous years. Also, excessive grazing by sheep causes erosion at lakeshores and limits vegetation growth. Photo © James C. Lowen (www.pbase.com/james_lowen). Photo supplied by BirdLife International.
Lear's Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari) is now steadily increasing in numbers due to intensive conservation action and this resulted in the species being downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered in 2009. The population size is now considered to have been more than 250 for at least five years. The species had been known for at least 150 years from trade birds before a wild population was found in 1978. Two colonies are known, at Toca Velha and Serra Branca in Brazil. Hunting is still a threat to the species; in 1992-1995, around 20 birds were caught and sold to smugglers and in 1996 at least 19 birds were taken. The macaw's main food source, licurí palm, has been vastly reduced by livestock grazing, and a major fire could now easily eradicate most of the food supply for the population. Birds are occasionally persecuted for foraging on maize crops when palm nuts are scarce. Hunting for food and wildlife products are potential threats. Photo © Andy and Gill Swash (www.worldwildlifeimages.com).
The Mauritius Fody (Foudia rubra) was downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered because its extremely small population has been stable since the early 1990s and is now increasing following an island translocation. The species is restricted to southwest Mauritius, and suffered rapid population declines between 1975 and 1993. However, since 1993 the population has been stable, and there is evidence that dispersing juveniles are now setting up new breeding territories, expanding the range of the species. Historically, clearance of upland forest, particularly for plantations in the 1970s, catastrophically affected this species. Introduced predators (e.g. Black Rat (Rattus rattus) and Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)) caused almost total breeding failure in most areas, and nest predation is still the major threat to the species. Photo © Lucy Garrett (Rare Birds Yearbook). Photo supplied by BirdLife International.
Endemic to the island of Panay in the Philippines, the rare Panay Monitor Lizard (Varanus mabitang) occurs in large trees in primary lowland tropical moist forest. The species is a highly specialized frugivorous monitor lizard (i.e. it feeds on fruit). The loss and degradation of lowland forest habitat through conversion of land for agricultural use and logging operations is a threat to this lizard. The species is also hunted by humans for food and overhunting is a serious threat to the remaining population. It enters the Red List as Endangered. Photo © Tim Laman
The semi-aquatic Sail-fin Water Lizard (Hydrosaurus pustulatus) is endemic to the Philippines. Generally it is restricted to lowland tropical moist forests, but can also occur in open cultivated areas. There are only two species of Hydrosaurus occurring in the Philippines and both species are principally threatened by habitat loss (through conversion of wooded land to alternative uses (including agriculture), and through logging operations). In addition, these lizards (especially the hatchlings) are heavily collected for both the pet trade (national and possibly international) and for local consumption. Because of inter-island trade, there is some possibility of introduced animals mixing with indigenous populations. In some parts of its range it is additionally threatened by water pollution resulting from the use of agrochemicals and increased sedimentation. This species assessed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Photo © Mark Wheeler
Rabb's Fringe-limbed Treefrog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum) entered the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered in 2009. It is known only from central Panama, where it occurs in tropical forest canopy. In 2006, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was reported in the area where this species is known to occur. Since then, only one individual has been heard calling. There is also some ongoing forest clearing within the species' range for the development of luxury holiday homes, although this potential threat has not yet reached critical levels. This treefrog is one of several species collected for captive breeding efforts, however so far attempts at captive breeding have not produced positive results. Photo © Brad Wilson
The Kihansi Spray Toad (Nectophrynoides asperginis) was formally declared Extinct in the Wild in the IUCN Red List in 2009. This amphibian was known only from the Kihansi Falls in Tanzania, where it was formerly abundant. However, after 2003 the population dramatically declined, and in January 2004 only three toads could be found, with just two males heard calling. There have been no records since then, despite surveys. The decline of this species was caused by the construction of a dam upstream of the falls in 2000 for the Lower Kihansi Hydropower Project. This removed 90% of the water flow, which hugely reduced the volume of spray and altered the vegetation. In 2003, the fungal disease chytridiomycosis was confirmed in dead Kihansi Spray Toads, and this disease was probably responsible for the final population crash. Photo © Tim Herman
The Popondetta Blue-eye (Pseudomugil connieae) occurs in three river systems within a 50 km radius of Popondetta, Papua New Guinea. Its total range area is no more than 16,000 km². Human population growth in Popondetta is the main threat to this fish, with increased urbanization and agriculture, which are potential sources of water pollution, resulting in reduced habitat quality within these river systems. This fish is also a much sought after species in the aquarium trade, which poses another potential threat to the population. The species entered the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable in 2009. Photo © Gerald Allen
Kunming Snout Trout (Schizothorax grahami) is known only from Lake Dianchi, and its tributaries and connented springs in Yunnan Province, China. Its range size has been reduced over the last 20 years due to introduced fish species, water pollution, over-fishing, and loss of breeding sites due to siltation and blocked access. As a result, the species is assessed as Critically Endangered. This fish is no longer caught in the lake itself; currently it is known to occur only in two tributaries and two springs of the Songhuaba reservoir drainage. Photo © Tony Whitten
The Golden Line Fish (Sinocyclocheilus grahami) is endemic to Lake Dianchi and its tributaries and springs in Yunnan Province, China. It used to be a very common and important commercial fishery species, but it has undergone a massive population decline from around the mid-1960s and totally disappeared from the lake body in the 1990s. This fish supported a high harvest in the lake before the 1960s. Surveys carried out since 1999 have found it only existing in one lake tributary and some temple spring ponds. Its loss from the lake is likely due to introduced fish species, declining water quality, loss of macrophytes (in part due to the Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella), over-fishing, and also breeding sites lost due to siltation and blocked access. Current threats to the springs are introduced species (especially Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss and Red-eared Slider Turtle Trachemys scripta elegans) and land use adjacent to the springs. This fish is listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List. Photo © J.X. Yang
The Giant Pangasius (Pangasius sanitwongsei) is a Critically Endangered fish found in the Chao Phraya and Mekong river basins in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. It is inhabits the bottom and midwaters of large rivers surrounded by rainforest, and uses deep pools as refuges in the dry season. Though this fish migrates within freshwater, it does not appear to migrate over the Khone Falls, and may therefore be separated into two sub-populations. Overfishing for food, and to a lesser extent the aquarium trade, is the principle threat facing this species. Local fisherman have reported dramatic declines in sightings and catch, and a population decline of more than 99% over the past 30-45 years is inferred. This species is likely to have been affected by the destruction of rapids and reefs as part of the Upper Mekong Navigation Improvement Project, and by the construction of dams. Projects such as these affect the natural flood/drought cycles throughout the river, and therefore the migratory behaviour of fish such as the Giant Pangasius. Photo © Chavalit Vidthayanon
The Red Line Torpedo Barb (Puntius denisonii) was uplisted from Vulnerable to Endangered in 2011, as populations have declined by more than 50% in the recent past due to indiscriminate exploitation for the international pet trade. These declines are expected to continue in the foreseeable future unless local management plans, as well as national and international legislations are created and implemented. The species also has a restricted range with an area of occupancy of less than 300 km² with continuing decline in quality of key habitats. Photo © A. Gopalakrishnan
The African Lungfish (Protopterus annectens) is found in marginal swamps and backwaters of rivers and lakes. Like all African lungfishes, this fish has adapted to be able to survive in conditions where water oxygen levels are low, or when its freshwater habitat has completely dried up. It normally lives on flood plains, and when these dry up it secretes a thin slime around itself, which dries into a cocoon and allows this fish to survive out of water for many months. There are no threats known to be currently affecting this widespread species and it is an example of one of the Least Concern species currently included on the IUCN Red List. Photo © T. Moritz
Betta pinguis is known only from the middle Kapuas River basin in Indonesia. In the last ten years, illegal gold mining in this basin area has increased dramatically, and as a result the Kapuas River is experiencing environmental problems, including an increase in mercury pollution in the river. So far, efforts to prevent water pollution and environmental destruction in the basin have failed, and the damage continues. In addition, freshwater habitats in Kalimantan are threatened by deforestation, conversion of land to agriculture, overfishing, the introduction of exotics and the aquaculture industry. It is inferred that the Betta pinguis population is declining as a result of these threats, and the species entered the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable in 2009. Photo © Heok Hui Tan
The Pungu (Pungu maclareni) is a Critically Endangered fish endemic to Lake Barombi Mbo, in Cameroon. It lives near the lake bottom in the shallow water of the lake shore and feeds on benthic invertebrates. Females brood their eggs in their mouths. Lake Barombi Mbo is at risk from the effects of introduced crustaceans and fishes, water pollution, and siltation due to local deforestation and water extraction for agriculture and domestic use, all of which pose a threat to the Pungu. Fluctuations in the lake level have impacted fish breeding sites. The Pungu is also collected for the aquariam trade. Photo © Ulrich Schliewen
The Giant Jewel (Africocypha centripunctata) is known from the Obudu Plateau, Nigeria and from Mount Kupe and the Bakossi Mountains Cameroon. The species occurs in and around rainforest streams above 700 m altitude. Habitat loss through selective logging and forest destruction for agricultural expansion is the main threat to this species. The species entered the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable in 2009. Photo © Kai Schütte
Calopteryx exul occurs along the north Maghrebian mountains from Morocco to Tunisia. Some populations have become extinct after streams dried up, which may be due to climatic fluctuations as well as to human use of stream water for agriculture. In Algeria, many previously known populations are extinct due to heavy stream pollution. Similarly, many Moroccan and Tunisian populations have declined due to stream pollution and streams drying up. This will certainly continue in the future as the human population increases and climatic conditions in the region become drier. The species is currently assessed as Critically Endangered. Photo © Bernd Kunz
Rhinagrion hainanense is a Chinese species from forested streams which was previously assessed as Vulnerable. In 2011 it was reassessed as Least Concern, as new information suggested it had a much wider range than previously thought. Available habitat for this species is however declining, and its population size is expected to follow suit. Photo © Graham Reels
The Purple Skimmer (Libellula jesseana) is a Vulnerable North American species, known from only ten counties in Florida, USA. The species is found in clear sandy lakes and ponds with little aquatic vegetation but with a shoreline belt of tall maidencane (Panicum hemitomon) and/or sedges and St. John's Wort (Hypericum). These habitats are scarce under pristine conditions, and many of these lakes are in areas not protected from development. Eutrophication and other types of water pollution from human settlements around and near these lakes continue to threaten available habitat for this species. Ground-water depletion caused by drawing water for irrigation threatens to dry up some of the shallower ponds. Photo © Dennis Paulson
The Smoky-winged Threadtail (Elattoneura leucostigma) is endemic to Sri Lanka and is known only from the site from where the original specimens were collected in 1933. It was collected from small streams in dense montane forest and this habitat is under great pressure in Sri Lanka. Destruction of primary montane forests, planting of foreign tree species for forest plantations, destruction of forest corridors along streams, pollution, water extraction and other pressures on streams and upper courses of rivers in mountainous central part of Sri Lanka are major threats for endemic dragonfly fauna of the region. This species is assessed as Critically Endangered and further surveys are urgently required to confirm that the species still exists. Photo © Matjaz Bedjanic
The Powder Blue Damselfly (Arabicnemis caerulea) has been reported from Yemen, northeast Oman and the northern United Arab Emirates. A future degradation of its habitat may be expected in this area due to the rapidly increasing human and the use of pesticide in agricultural and oases landscapes, which constitute a large part of the habitat of the species. Ongoing drying up of this area may also be expected, due to the changing climatic conditions in the region. In 2009 this species was poorly known but a population reduction of at least 30% over the next decade was expected and it was assessed as Vulnerable. In 2013 this species was reassessed as Least Concern as more recent records indicate that the population is currently stable. Photo © Bob Reimer
The Grizzled Pintail (Acisoma panorpoides) is widespread in Africa (except in dense rain forest), southern Europe, the Middle East, southern Asia, and the Indian Ocean Islands. It occurs in swampy and well-vegetated open habitats. Drainage and destruction of swampy habitats is a potential threat in some parts of its range, but generally the population is so large and widespread at present that it is assessed as Least Concern. Photo © Kevin Smith
The terrestrial snail species Pachnodus fregatensis is endemic to Fregate Island in the Seychelles. It is found under logs in lowland woodland and has a total range area of only 2 km². Predation by introduced rats was its main threat in the 1990s. Brodifacoum poison was used to eradicate rats from the island and although this successfully removed the rats, this poison also caused an 87% population decline in P. fregatensis between 1999 and 2001, which has resulted in the species being assessed as Endangered. Currently neither the rats nor the poison are present and there are no active threats known threaten the future of the species; this snail is expected to be downisted in future as its status continues to improve. Photo © Louise Murray
Pachnodus velutinus was a terrestrial snail from Mahé Island in the Seychelles. The species is now Extinct. This snail once inhabited high forests, requiring constant humidity levels of at least 90%. By the early 1990s, it was restricted to the dampest area of moss forests on the island. Being highly vulnerable to desiccation, habitat degradation and climatic changes were the main threats that caused the snail’s range and population size to shrink. Hybridization with Pachnodus niger led to the final extinction of P. velutinus in 1994. Photo © Justin Gerlach
Stylodonta unidentata is a terrestrial snail found only in the Seychelles. The species occurs in lowland forest habitats where it can be found in leaf litter; this is one of the most important detritivores in the forest ecosystem (i.e., it feeds on organic matter, contributing to decomposition and nutrient recycling). On Mahé and Praslin islands, the species is under threat from habitat degradation caused by invasive exotic plants, especially Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), and by predation by the Common Tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus), which is an introduced species in the Seychelles. The snail is assessed as Vulnerable. Photo © Justin Gerlach
The Critically Endangered snail Samoana attenuata is endemic to the Society Islands. It is now extinct on Bora Bora, but a small population was found on Moorea in 1996, a few small populations on Tahiti during the surveys of 2003-2005, and a few individuals were found on Raiatea in 2006. The introduced carnivorous snail Euglandina rosea remains the principal threat to this species. Since this snail does not appear to survive in captive breeding colonies, it is very important to protect the remaining wild populations to ensure the future survival of the species. Photo © Trevor Coote
Partula taeniata is endemic to Tahiti. Formerly this snail had a widespread distribution across the island but after the introduction of the carnivorous snail Euglandina rosea in 1977, the species disappeared from lower altitudes on the main island of Tahiti Nui. Small, isolated populations still persist in cloud forest habitat in a few places above 1,000 m, and in one area of the Taiarapu Peninsula. It seems that Euglandina rosea is a less effective predator at higher altitudes, however there is also increasing habitat damage in these areas due to communications installation and roadside clearances to facilitate better views for tourists in one of the best areas. There is an urgent need to initiate captive breeding populations for this Critically Endangered species, however for the moment the wild populations are not considered robust enough to remove the numbers required for this. Photo © Trevor Coote
Partula clara is a Critically Endangered terrestrial snail from Tahiti in the Society Islands. In 1977, the carnivorous snail Euglandina rosea was introduced to Tahiti and since then the native partulid snails on the island have been disappearing. Partula clara became rarer, but very small isolated populations were identified during the intensive surveys on the main island of Tahiti Nui 2003–2005 and on the Tahiti Iti peninsula in 2007. Photo © Trevor Coote
The Queen of the Andes (Puya raimondii) is rivaled only by members of the Ceroxylon palm genus as the most spectacular high-Andean plant. It is an Endangered species occurring in often very isolated and usually small populations from Peru to Bolivia. The plant’s generally sporadic and scattered distribution, and its extreme genetic homogeneity suggest the vestigial remains of a species in decline. The plant seeds once in about 80 years or more before dying. Inclement montane conditions at the time of dispersal can result in few germinations, and in these event a century-old plant may not reproduce at all. Climate change may already be impairing this plant’s ability to flower. Other threats include young plants being eaten or trampled by livestock, fires, and removal of pith from trunks. Photo © Antonio Lambe (Acción Ambiental)
Toussaintia orientalis is a small tree found in dry evergreen lowland forest and bushland in Tanzania and Kenya, although the only known site in Kenya (Mangea) may now be destroyed. At Mangea most if not all of the forest has gone because of agricultural expansion. In Tanzania, there is intensive agriculture in Ifakara and the species may also have now disappeared from that locality. The Pugu Forest Reserve has also been badly impacted by human activities, however the species is better protected in the other forest reserves where it occurs. The species is assessed as Endangered. Photo © Quentin Luke
Endemic to Tanzania, Uvariopsis bisexualis is a relatively uncommon tree species found in forests on steep slopes and patches of elfin forest on ridge tops, in the Udzungwa and Usambara mountains. Although it is fairly secure in the Udzungwa Mountains, its habitat is under threat in the Usambara Mountains due to expansion of agriculture and other human activities, including the increasing use of fire in the area. This tree species is assessed as Endangered. Photo © Quentin Luke
Aloe kilifiensis is an Endangered species that occurs along the southern Kenyan coast. It was also discovered more recently on the northern Tanzanian coast. This succulent plants grows in Acacia bushland on shale soils, on coral rocks and on white gritty soils. It is locally common in places, however there is considerable habitat disturbance in its range due to agricultural expansion and other human activities in this coastal zone. The species is also sought after by succulent collectors because of the striking flower colour. Photo © Quentin Luke
Toussaintia patriciae is an Endangered shrub species native to Tanzania. It is known from less than 30 trees in the Udzwunga Mountains National Park and West Kilombero Nature Reserve, and occurs in very low numbers where found, though it is cryptic when not flowering and may be more common that is currently known. It is considered relatively secure at present, as the population is present in protected areas and occurs above the altitute to which firewood collectors are allowed to operate. However, this species could become more threatened very quickly if the impacts of human activities, especially wood collection, were to increase. Photo © Quentin Luke