Scientists still discover new species every year. Unfortunately, many new species are often immediately classified as threatened or endangered.
These discoveries help us understand the fragility of the the planet's biodiversity. 2010 is
the International Year of Biodiversity.
Last November, the IUCN Red List was updated and it was estimated that 36% of world's flora and fauna are threatened with extinction.
Some scientists call this the "Sixth Great Extinction." Every 20 minutes we lose an animal species and at that rate by the end of the century 50% of all living species will be gone.
The fifth extinction took place 65 million years ago when it is likely that asteroids smashed into the Earth, killing off the dinosaurs and many other species and opening the door for the rise of mammals.
There were 47,000 species surveyed by ICUN and about 17,000 are at serious risk.
21% of the world's mammal species
12% of birds
28% of reptiles
30% of amphibians
35% of invertebrates
37% of freshwater fish
70% of plants