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Terrible Odds? One of Every Four Mammals Faces Extinction


According a report to be published on Friday in the journal Science, researchers have discovered startling odds on the chances of survival for the world's mammals: 1-in-4. Yikes. Um, aren't humans mammals too. . . ?

The researchers say of the findings, ''We estimate that one in four species is threatened with extinction and that the population of one in two is declining." Did you catch that one? Fifty percent are declining, and the scientists aren't letting us off the hook: ''Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live. We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives.''

The yellow flower is Helianthemum Alpestre. The flower only appears for one day and the pollen must be spread by insects, warmin

A garden at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. The zoo provides a home for 35 endangered species.

Only approximately 200 Corroboree frogs exist in the wild.

Green turtles, listed as an endangered species, nest in several Taiwanese offshore islands during summer and this year only six

Baby orang-utan in Indonesia at the Taman Safari, which plays an important role in breeding rare and endangered animals.

To see which mammals are threatened most, read more.

The study was done by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, made up of over 1,000 organizations. This particular study involved 1,700 scientists and spanned five years. With the report, was a "red list," containing 44,838 species in total, 16,928 of which are threatened with extinction. Larger mammals are more threatened than smaller ones as they have a lower population density and require more habitat — the exact ecosystems the researchers point — with problems ranging from deforestation to climate change.

There's a tiny silver lining: five percent of currently threatened mammals are showing signs of recovery. Given controversial plans to move species to save them, and scientists predicting that humans themselves need to prepare for extinction, is this study just another environmental scare that can be explained by the cycle of life? Or are we looking at being faced with the choice: bunny, pony, kitten, puppy — which one are you willing to write off?

The yellow flower is Helianthemum Alpestre. The flower only appears for one day and the pollen must be spread by insects, warmin

A garden at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. The zoo provides a home for 35 endangered species.

Only approximately 200 Corroboree frogs exist in the wild.

Green turtles, listed as an endangered species, nest in several Taiwanese offshore islands during summer and this year only six

Baby orang-utan in Indonesia at the Taman Safari, which plays an important role in breeding rare and endangered animals.

China's Giant Panda.

Baby Siberian Tiger, one of the world's most endangered species.

Polar bears. A new addition.

Could humans make the list sooner than we think?

A Blue Whale spotted in California.

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