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Endangered Species Glossary

You may hear people talking about an animal being endangered, threatened, vulnerable, etc.  But, what is the difference?  Here's a glossary to help you out.  

Extinct:  When an animal is extinct, the last member of the species has died.  The most notable extinct animal is probably the Dodo Bird. 

Extinct in the wild: This means that there are no animals left in this species in the wild, but some do remain in captivity.  Some species are reintroduced in the wild, but others may be difficult to reintroduced because their survival techniques might be lost.  Some species exist like this for a long time, such as the Barbary lion which has been extinct in the wild for almost 90 years.  

Critically endangered: These animals are at high risk of becoming extinct in the near future.  

Endangered:  These animals are at a very high risk of extinction in the near future.  A few examples are Tigers and Blue Whales.   

Vulnerable: This means they are at a high risk of extinction, but not necessarily in the near future. The Cheetah and Lion are two animals that fit into this category.  

Conservation dependent: The animals in this category are not in severe danger, but they do depend on various conservation programs.  An example of a Conservation Dependent animal is a Killer Whale.   

Near Threatened:  Maybe considered endangered in the near future.  An Okapi is an example of a Near Threatened animal.  (I love okapis!)

Least concern:  No need to worry about these guys.  

What can you do to support endangered species?  The WWF is one of the top non-profits that helps animals.  If you have a sweet-tooth, buy Endangered Species chocolate.  Lastly, check with your local zoos to see what they are doing in terms of conservation.