The world's 100 most threatened species

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Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), fewer than 1,000 still alive Propithecus candidus 001.jpg
Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus), fewer than 1,000 still alive

The World's 100 most threatened species [1] is a compilation of the most threatened animals, plants, and fungi in the world. It was the result of a collaboration between over 8,000 scientists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC), along with the Zoological Society of London. [2] The report was published by the Zoological Society of London in 2012 as the book, Priceless or Worthless? [3]


While all the species on the list are threatened with extinction, the scientists who chose them had another criterion: all the species have no obvious benefit for humans and therefore humans have no vested interests trying to save them. Iconic and charismatic species, such as tigers and pandas—along with economically important species—have many defenders, while these apparently "worthless" species had none. The title of the report, "Priceless or Worthless?", is based on that shared quality of the species. [4] The report's co-author, Ellen Butcher, stated one of the guiding principles of the list, "If we take immediate action we can give them a fighting chance for survival. But this requires society to support the moral and ethical position that all species have an inherent right to exist." [1] [5]

The report was released in Jeju, South Korea, on September 11, 2012, at the quadrennial meeting of IUCN, the World Conservation Congress. At the Congress, it was reported that scientists are finding it more and more common to have to justify funding for protection of species by showing what the human benefits would be. Jonathan Baillie, of the Zoological Society of London and co-author of the report, stated that, "The donor community and conservation movement are increasingly leaning towards a 'what can nature do for us?' approach, where species and wild habitats are valued and prioritised according to these services they provided for people. This has made it increasingly difficult for conservationists to protect the most threatened species on the planet." [4]

Some of the threatened species are down to only a handful of surviving members. Santa Catarina's guinea pig, native to a single island in Brazil, is down to its last 40–60 individuals, reduced by hunting and habitat disturbance. The great Indian bustard is threatened by habitat loss resulting from agriculture and human development, and is down to the last 50–249 individuals. [6] Elaeocarpus bojeri , a flowering plant found only on the island of Mauritius, has fewer than 10 surviving individuals, because of loss of habitat. The Baishan fir (Abies beshanzuensis), native to China, is down to five surviving mature individuals. "Priceless or Worthless?" describes the threats that each species is facing, along with measures that would aid their survival. [3]

Species list

The world's 100 most threatened species [3]
SpeciesCommon nameTypeImageLocation(s)Estimated populationThreats
Abies beshanzuensis Baishan firPlant (Tree)Baishanzu Mountain, Zhejiang, ChinaFive mature individuals
  • agriculture
  • fire
Actinote zikani Insect (butterfly)Near São Paulo, Atlantic forest, BrazilUnknown
  • habitat loss from human expansion
Aipysurus foliosquama Leaf scaled sea-snakeReptileAshmore Reef and Hibernia Reef, Timor SeaUnknown
  • unknown—probably degradation of coral reef habitat
Amanipodagrion gilliesi Amani flatwingInsect (damselfly)Amani-Sigi Forest, Usamabara Mountains, Tanzania< 500 individuals
  • population pressure and water pollution
Anisolabis seychellensis InsectMorne Blanc, Mahé island, SeychellesUnknown
  • invasive species
  • climate change
Antilophia bokermanni Araripe manakinBird Araripe Manakin (Antilophia bokermanni) on nest.jpg Chapado do Araripe, South Ceará, Brazil779 individuals
  • recreational facilities
  • water diversion
Aphanius transgrediens Aci Göl toothcarpFishsouth-eastern shore of former Lake Aci, Turkeyfew hundred pairs
  • competition and predation by Gambusia
  • road construction
Aproteles bulmerae Bulmer's fruit batMammalLuplupwintern Cave, Western Province, Papua New Guinea150
  • hunting
  • cave disturbance
Ardea insignis White bellied heronBird White-bellied Heron at Pho Chu, Bhutan.JPG Bhutan, North East India and Myanmar70–400 individuals
  • hydropower development
Ardeotis nigriceps Great Indian bustardBird Sonchiriya.jpg Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya, India50–249 mature individuals
  • agricultural development
  • energy transmission lines
Astrochelys yniphora Ploughshare tortoiseReptile Astrochelys yniphora.jpg Baly Bay region, northwestern Madagascar440–770
  • illegal collection for international pet trade
Atelopus balios Rio Pescado stubfoot toadAmphibianAzuay, Cañar and Guyas provinces, south-western EcuadorUnknown
Aythya innotata Madagascar pochardBird Madagascar Pochard, Captive Breeding Program, Madagascar 4.jpg volcanic lakes north of Bealanana, Madagascar80 mature individuals
  • agriculture
  • hunting and fishing
  • introduced fish
Azurina eupalama Galapagos damsel fishFish Galapagos damsel.jpg UnknownUnknown
  • climate change
  • oceanographic changes related to the 1982/1983 El Nino
Bahaba taipingensis Giant yellow croakerFishChinese coast from Yangtze River, China to Hong KongUnknown
  • over-fishing due to value of swim-bladder in traditional medicine
Batagur baska Common batagurReptile (turtle) River terrapin.jpg Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and MalaysiaUnknown
  • illegal export China
Bazzania bhutanica PlantBudini and Lafeti Khola, Bhutan2 sub-populations
Beatragus hunteri HirolaMammal (antelope) Hirola2.jpg South-east Kenya and possibly south-west Somalia< 1,000 individuals
  • habitat loss
  • competition with livestock
  • poaching
Bombus franklini Franklin's bumblebeeInsect (bee)Oregon and CaliforniaUnknown
Brachyteles hypoxanthus Northern muriqui
Woolly spider monkey
Mammal (primate) Brachyteles hypoxanthus2.jpg Atlantic forest, south-eastern Brazil< 1,000
  • large-scale deforestation and logging
Bradypus pygmaeus Pygmy three-toed slothMammalIsla Escudo de Veraguas, Panama< 500
Callitriche pulchra Plant (freshwater)pool on Gavdos, GreeceUnknown
  • habitat exploitation by livestock
  • modification of the pool by locals
Calumma tarzan Tarzan's chameleonReptileAnosibe An'Ala region, eastern Madagascar< 100
  • agriculture
Cavia intermedia Santa Catarina's guinea pigMammal (rodent)Moleques do Sul Island, Santa Catarina, Brazil40–60
  • habitat disturbance
  • possible hunting
  • result of having such a small population
Cercopithecus roloway Roloway guenonMammal (primate) Cercopithecus roloway.jpg Côte d'IvoireUnknown
  • hunting
  • habitat loss
Coleura seychellensis Seychelles sheath-tailed batMammal (bat)Two small caves on Silhouette and Mahé, Seychelles< 100
  • habitat degradation
  • predation by invasive species
Cryptomyces maximus Willow blisterFungiPembrokeshire, United KingdomUnknown
  • limited habitat
Cryptotis nelsoni Nelson's small-eared shrewMammal (shrew)Volcán San Martín Tuxtla, Veracruz, MexicoUnknown
  • logging
  • cattle grazing
  • fire
  • agriculture
Cyclura collei Jamaican iguana
Jamaican rock iguana
Reptile Cyclura collei head-PZSL1848.png Hellshire Hills, JamaicaUnknown
Daubentonia Madagascariensis Aye-ayeMammal (primate) Aye aye Frankfurt.jpg Deciduous forest, East MadagascarUnknown
  • poaching
  • limited habitat
Dendrophylax fawcettii Cayman Islands ghost orchidPlant (orchid)Ironwood Forest, George Town, Grand CaymanUnknown
  • infrastructure development
Dicerorhinus sumatrensis Sumatran rhinoMammal (rhino) Sumatran Rhino 2.jpg Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, Kalimantan and Sumatra, Indonesia< 100
  • hunting (horn is used in traditional medicine)
Diomedea amsterdamensis Amsterdam albatrossBird Albatros d'amsterdam poussin.jpg Breeds on Plateuau des Tourbières, Amsterdam Island, Indian Ocean.100 mature individuals
  • disease
  • incidental by-catch in long-line fishing
Dioscorea strydomiana Wild yamPlantOshoek area, Mpumalanga, South Africa200
  • collection for medicinal use
Diospyros katendei Plant (tree)Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve, Uganda20 individuals in a single population
  • agricultural activity
  • illegal tree felling
  • alluvial gold digging
  • small population
Dipterocarpus lamellatus Plant (tree)Siangau Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia12 individuals
  • logging of lowland forest
  • creation of industrial plantations
Discoglossus nigriventer Hula painted frogAmphibian Israel painted frog.JPG Hula Valley, IsraelUnknown
Dombeya mauritiana PlantMauritiusUnknown
  • encroachment by invasive plant species
  • habitat loss due to cannabis cultivation
Elaeocarpus bojeri Bois DentellePlant (tree)Grand Bassin, Mauritius< 10 individuals
  • habitat degradation
Eleutherodactylus glandulifer La Hotte glanded frogAmphibianMassif de la Hotte, HaitiUnknown
  • charcoal production
  • slash-and-burn agriculture
Eleutherodactylus thorecetes Macaya breast-spot frogAmphibianFormon and Macaya peaks, Masif de la Hotte, HaitiUnknown
  • charcoal production
  • slash-and-burn agriculture
Eriosyce chilensis Chilenito (cactus)PlantPta Molles and Pichidungui, Chile< 500 individuals
  • collection of flowering plants
Erythrina schliebenii Coral treePlantNamatimbili-Ngarama Forest, Tanzania< 50 individuals
  • limited habitat and small population size increase vulnerability
Euphorbia tanaensis Plant (tree)Witu Forest Reserve, Kenya4 mature individuals
  • illegal logging
  • agricultural expansion
  • infrastructure development
Eurynorhyncus pygmeus Spoon-billed sandpiperBird Eurynorhynchus pygmeus - Pak Thale.jpg Breeds in Russia, migrates along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to wintering grounds in India, Bangladesh and Myanmar100 breeding pairs
  • trapping
  • land reclamation
Ficus katendei PlantKasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve, Ishasha River, Uganda< 50 mature individuals
  • agriculture
  • illegal tree felling
  • alluvial gold digging
Geronticus eremita Northern bald ibisBird Waldrapp Geronticus eremita.jpg Breeds in Morocco, Turkey and Syria. Syrian population winters in

central Ethiopia.

about 3000 individuals
  • habitat degradation and destruction
  • hunting
Gigasiphon macrosiphon Plant (flower)Kaya Muhaka, Gongoni and Mrima Forest Reserves, Kenya, Amani Nature Reserve, West Kilombero Scarp Forest Reserve, and Kihansi Gorge, Tanzania33
  • timber extraction
  • agriculture encroachment and development
  • predation by wild pigs
Gocea ohridana MolluscLake Ohrid, MacedoniaUnknown
  • increasing pollution levels
  • off-take of water
  • sedimentation events
Heleophryne rosei Table mountain ghost frogAmphibianTable Mountain, Western Cape Province, South AfricaUnknown
  • invasive plants
  • water abstraction
Hemicycla paeteliana Mollusc (land snail)Jandia peninsula, Fuerteventura, Canary IslandsUnknown
  • overgrazing
  • trampling by goats and tourists
Heteromirafa sidamoensis Liben larkBirdLiben Plains, southern Ethiopia90–256
  • agricultural expansion
  • overgrazing
  • fire suppression
Hibiscadelphus woodii Plant (tree)Kalalau Valley, HawaiiUnknown
  • habitat degradation due to feral ungulates
  • competition with invasive plant species
Hucho perryi Sakhalin taimenFish Hucho perryi by OpenCage.jpg Russian and Japanese rivers, Pacific Ocean between Russia and JapanUnknown
  • overfishing
  • damming
  • agriculture
  • other land use
Johora singaporensis Singapore freshwater crabCrustaceanBukit Timah Nature Reserve and streamlet near Bukit Batok, SingaporeUnknown
  • habitat degradation due to reduction in water quality and quantity
Lathyrus belinensis Belin vetchlingPlantOutskirts of Belin village, Antalya, Turkey< 1,000
  • urbanisation
  • over-grazing
  • conifer planting
  • road widening
Leiopelma archeyi Archey's frogAmphibian Leiopelma archeyi.jpg Coromandel peninsula and Whareorino Forest, New ZealandUnknown
Lithobates sevosus Dusky gopher frogAmphibianHarrison County, Mississippi, USA60–100
  • fungal disease
  • climate change
  • land-use changes
Lophura edwardsi Edwards's pheasantBird Male edwards' pheasant.JPG Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, Viet NamUnknown
  • habitat loss
  • hunting
Magnolia wolfii Plant (tree)Risaralda, Colombia3
  • isolation of species
  • low regeneration rates
Margaritifera marocana MolluscOued Denna, Oued Abid and Oued Beth, Morocco< 250
  • pollution
  • development
Moominia willii Mollusc (snail)Silhouette Island, Seychelles< 500
  • invasive species
  • climate change
Natalus primus Cuban greater funnel eared batMammal (bat)Cueva La Barca, Isle of Pines, Cuba< 100
  • habitat loss
  • human disturbance
Nepenthes attenboroughii Attenborough's pitcher plantPlant Attlwr.jpg Mount Victoria, Palawan, PhilippinesUnknown
  • poaching
Nomascus hainanus Hainan black crested gibbonMammal (primate) Nomascus nasutus hainanus.jpg Hainan Island, China20
  • hunting
Neurergus kaiseri Luristan newtAmphibian Neurergus Kaiseri.jpg Zagros Mountains, Lorestan, Iran< 1,000
  • illegal collection for pet trade
Oreocnemis phoenix Mulanje red damselInsect (damselfly)Mulanje Plateau, MalawiUnknown
  • habitat destruction and degradation due to drainage
  • agricultural expansion
  • exploitation of forest
Pangasius sanitwongsei Pangasid catfishFish Pangasius sanitwongsei 2.jpg Chao Phraya and Mekong basins in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet NamUnknown
  • overfishing
  • collection for aquarium trade
Parides burchellanus Insect (butterfly)Cerrado, Brazil< 100
  • human expansion
  • limited range
Phocoena sinus VaquitaMammal (porpoise) Vaquita4 Olson NOAA.jpg Northern Gulf of California, Mexico12 [7]
  • capture in fishermen's gillnets
Picea neoveitchii Type of spruce treePlant (tree)Qinling Range, ChinaUnknown
  • destruction of forest
Pinus squamata Qiaojia pinePlant (tree)Qiaojia, Yunnan, China< 25
  • limited distribution
  • small population size
Poecilotheria metallica Gooty tarantula
Metallic tarantula
Peacock tarantula
Spider Poecilotheria metallica.JPG Nandyal and Giddalur, Andhra Pradesh, IndiaUnknown
  • deforestation
  • firewood collection
  • civil unrest
Pomarea whitneyi Fatuhiva monarchBirdFatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia50
Pristis pristis Common sawfishFish Hal - Pristiophorus sp. - 1.jpg Coastal tropical and subtropical waters of Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Currently largely restricted to northern AustraliaUnknown
  • exploitation has removed the species from 95 per cent of its historical range
Prolemur simus Greater bamboo lemurMammal (primate) Prolemur simus Cedric Girard-Buttoz.jpg Southeastern and southcentral rainforests of Madagascar500
  • agriculture
  • mining
  • illegal logging
Propithecus candidus Silky sifakaMammal (primate) Propithecus candidus 001.jpg Maroantsetra to Andapa basin, and Marojeju Massif, Madagascar100–1,000
  • hunting
  • habitat disturbance
Psammobates geometricus Geometric tortoiseReptile GeometricTortoise.gif Western Cape Province, South AfricaUnknown
Pseudoryx nghetinhensis SaolaMammal Pseudoryx nghetinhensis.PNG Annamite mountains, on the Viet Nam - PDR Laos borderUnknown
Psiadia cataractae PlantMauritiusUnknown
  • development project
  • competition from invasive plant species
Psorodonotus ebneri Beydaglari bush-cricketInsectBeydaglari range, Antalaya, TurkeyUnknown
  • climate change
  • habitat loss
Rafetus swinhoei Red River giant softshell turtleReptile Rua Dong Mo.jpg Hoan Kiem Lake and Dong Mo Lake, Viet Nam, and Suzhou Zoo, China3
  • hunting for consumption
  • wetland destruction
  • pollution
Rhinoceros sondaicus Javan rhinoMammal (rhino) Rhinoceros sondaicus in London Zoo.jpg Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, Indonesia< 100
  • hunting for traditional medicine
  • small population size
Rhinopithecus avunculus Tonkin snub-nosed monkeyMammal (primate)Northeastern Vietnam< 200
  • habitat loss
  • hunting
Rhizanthella gardneri West Australian underground orchidPlant (orchid) Rhizanthella gardneri -- Fred Hort.jpg Western Australia, Australia< 100
  • land clearance for agriculture
  • climate change
  • salinisation
Rhynchocyon spp.Boni giant sengiMammal (shrew) Rhynchocyon petersi one.JPG Boni-Dodori Forest, Lamu area, KenyaUnknown
  • development causing habitat loss
Risiocnemis seidenschwarzi Cebu frill-wingInsect (damselfly)Rivulet beside the Kawasan River, Cebu, PhilippinesUnknown
  • habitat degradation and destruction
Rosa arabica PlantSt Katherine Mountains, EgyptUnknown, 10 sub-populations
  • domestic animal grazing
  • climate change and drought
  • medicinal plant collecting
  • limited range
Salanoia durrelli Durrell's vontsiraMammal (mongoose) Alaotra carnivore credit Fidimalala Bruno Ralainasolo.jpg Marshes of Lake Alaotra, MadagascarUnknown
  • loss of habitat
Santamartamys rufodorsalis Red crested tree ratMammal (rodent)Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, ColombiaUnknown
  • urban development
  • coffee cultivation
Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis Red-finned blue-eyeFishEdgbaston Station, central western Queensland, Australia2,000–4,000
  • predation by introduced species
Squatina squatina Angel sharkFish Squatina squatina tenerife.jpg Canary IslandsUnknown
  • benthic trawling
Sterna bernsteini Chinese crested ternBirdBreeding in Zhejiang and Fujian, China. Outside breeding season in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand.< 50
Syngnathus watermeyeri Estuarine pipefishFishKariega Estuary to East Kleinemonde Estuary, Eastern Cape Province, South AfricaUnknown
  • dam construction is altering river flows
  • flood events into estuaries
Tahina spectabilis Suicide palm
Plant Tahina spectabilis full.jpg Analalava district, north-western Madagascar90
  • fires
  • logging
  • agricultural developments
Telmatobufo bullocki Bullock's false toadAmphibian (frog) Telmatobufo bullocki -- Edgardo Patricio Flores Flores 001.jpg Nahuelbuta, Arauco Province, ChileUnknown
  • construction of hydro-electricity
Tokudaia muenninki Okinawa spiny ratMammal (rodent)Okinawa Island, JapanUnknown
  • habitat loss
  • predation by feral cats
Trigonostigma somphongsi Somphongs's rasboraFish Trigonostigma somphongsi.jpg Mae Khlong basin, ThailandUnknown
  • farmland conversion and urbanization
Valencia letourneuxi FishSouthern Albania and Western GreeceUnknown
Voanioala gerardii Forest coconutPlantMasoala peninsula, Madagascar< 10
  • deforestation
  • harvesting for consumption of palm heart
Zaglossus attenboroughi Attenborough's echidnaMammalCyclops Mountains, Papua Province, IndonesiaUnknown
  • habitat modification and degradation
  • logging
  • agricultural encroachment shifting cultivation and hunting by local people

See also

Related Research Articles

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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, founded in 1964, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. With its strong scientific base, the IUCN Red List is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity. A series of Regional Red Lists are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit.

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Common seadragon Species of fish

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Sir Davids long-beaked echidna Species of monotreme

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Hoses palm civet Species of carnivore

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K. Ullas Karanth

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Painted terrapin Species of turtle

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Dipterocarpus lamellatus is a tropical rainforest tree endemic to Borneo. It is known from the Beaufort Hills, the Siangau Forest Reserve and Labuan in SW Sabah and Ladan Hills in the Tutong district of Brunei. It is one of the rarest and most endangered of all dipterocarps, with a population size of only twelve individuals, threatened mostly by habitat loss.

Grey-faced sengi Species of elephant shrew

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Perriers sifaka Species of lemur

Perrier's sifaka is a lemur endemic to Madagascar. It was formerly considered to be a subspecies of diademed sifaka It has a very small range in northeastern Madagascar where its habitat is dry deciduous or semihumid forest. Part of its range is in protected areas. It is an almost entirely black sifaka and measures about 90 cm (35 in), half of which is a bushy tail. Females are slightly larger than males.

<i>Nepenthes attenboroughii</i> Species of pitcher plant from the Philippines

Nepenthes attenboroughii, or Attenborough's pitcher plant, is a montane species of carnivorous pitcher plant of the genus Nepenthes. It is named after the celebrated broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who is a keen enthusiast of the genus. The species is characterised by its large and distinctive bell-shaped lower and upper pitchers and narrow, upright lid. The type specimen of N. attenboroughii was collected on the summit of Mount Victoria, an ultramafic mountain in central Palawan, the Philippines.

Johora singaporensis, the Singapore stream crab or Singapore freshwater crab, is a critically endangered species of freshwater crab endemic to Singapore. It grows to a size of 30 millimetres (1.2 in) wide.

Cuban greater funnel-eared bat Species of bat

The Cuban greater funnel-eared bat is a species of funnel-eared bat. It is endemic to a cave in westernmost Cuba. Natalus primus is a member of the order Chiroptera and the family Natalidae.

<i>Aipysurus foliosquama</i> Species of snake

Aipysurus foliosquama, also known as the leaf-scaled sea snake, is a critically endangered species of venomous sea snake in the family Elapidae. It was formerly endemic to the Ashmore and Cartier Islands of Australia, having thought to have become extinct there. In 2015, the snake was discovered in seagrass beds of Shark Bay off Western Australia.


  1. 1 2 "Report lists world's 100 most threatened species, urges action". The Globe and Mail. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "The 100 most threatened species". ZSL Living Conservation. The Zoological Society of London. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2012.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. 1 2 3 Baillie, Jonathan E M; Ellen R Butcher (2012). Priceless or Worthless? (PDF). ZoolFlyway to wintering grounds in Indiaogical Society of London. ISBN   978-0-900881-67-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-21.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. 1 2 Harvey, Fiona (10 September 2012). "The expendables? World's 100 most endangered species listed". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2012.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. Kew Magazine stated that, "A strong and consistent moral and ethical stance needs to be taken, they (the authors of The List) argue, that all species have a right to exist." Harrison, Christina. "Every species counts". Kew Magazine Blog. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 19 September 2012.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. "The Best Argument for Saving Threatened Species That Do Not Benefit Humans". Smithsonian Institution. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. Hoffner, Erik. "Only 12 vaquita porpoises remain, watchdog group reports". Mongabay. Retrieved 14 September 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)