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Learn About the Levels of Extinction

There are literally millions of animals in this world! There are so many amazing and spectacular creatures on this earth. So my question is, what’s your favorite animal? Why do you love (fill in your favorite animal here) so much? Mine is a red panda! I love red pandas for so many reasons! But I’ll just name a few. Red pandas have such adorable faces and cute, fluffy tails; they are one of the few animals that can climb down trees headfirst (whoa!); and when they are threatened or when they are playing around, they stand up on their hind legs and walk around like a human!

Red pandas are endangered, meaning there are only a few thousand left in the world and will soon disappear. And sadly, there are lots of animals and plants that are starting to disappear or become extinct.

Levels of Extinction

Scientists have made a list that shows where an animal is at in terms of extinction. If you search for an animal on the internet or go to the zoo, it will give its level of extinction along with its scientific name and family.

These are the levels of extinction:

  • Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria.

  • Data deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction

  • Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk; does not qualify for a higher risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category

  • Conservation Dependent (CD) – Low risk; is conserved to prevent being near threatened, certain events may lead it to be a higher risk level

  • Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future

  • Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild

  • Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild

  • Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity (such as a zoo), or as a naturalized population outside its historic range

  • Extinct (EX) – No known living individual

How Does Extinction Happen?

Extinction is when there are no more living individuals of a certain animal, Plants and animals go extinct for many reasons, but the main one is due to human intervention. A lot is from the destruction of their homes, called habitats, through cutting down trees, putting up dams, buildings, cities or factories, and pollution. Another big reason is hunting, whether it be for food or for selling the animal.

An example of extinction here in North America is the passenger pigeon. Over 100 years ago, the passenger pigeon was extremely common. People would see flocks of them flying around by the thousands. But today, there isn’t a single one left.

Passenger pigeons became extinct, disappearing entirely because of two main reasons. First, the forests where they lived were cut down, their homes were destroyed to make room for farms and cities. Second, the pigeons were shot for sport because they were good to eat. Back then there were no hunting laws to protect endangered species.

Thankfully, today there are regulations and laws put in place to protect endangered animals to help slow and stop the rate towards extinction.

What Can We Do to Help?

All species on the earth revolve around each other for survival. We as humans also need the wildlife to survive. If we put forth even a small amount of effort, it will make a big difference!

Here are some easy and big ways you can help protect wildlife:

  1. Donate to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) or other authorized organization that supports wildlife. The WWF is an international organization that was founded back in 1961 to preserve wildlife and reduces negative human impact on the environment.

  2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! I know you are all used to hearing this phrase in school. These three words when put into action truly make a difference! Reducing plastic waste, reusing cans or boxes, and recycling paper and other items can help save our ocean life and planet!

  3. Educate yourself and your children about different endangered species. This will make you aware and naturally give an appreciation to the animals that occupy the planet with us!

I have written a children’s adventure book whose characters are endangered or threatened species, called Captain Pabbu and The Buried Treasure. The main character, Captain Pabbu, is a red panda who takes you and your kids on an exciting adventure to retrieve the treasure from pirates! Ten percent of the proceeds go to the Red Panda Network, a foundation based in Nepal that strives to preserve red pandas and their habitat. Check out the book here.

What are some ways you are protecting wildlife? Let me know in the comments below!

Here’s to preserving wildlife!


Red Panda Books sells personalized children’s adventure books that encourage parents to read with their children and experience adventures together! A portion of the books’ proceeds will be donated to support the Red Panda Network and other organizations that protect endangered species and their habitats.


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