The Fastest Die-Off In Human History?

Extinction of animals and plants is a global phenomenon

This page was published 14 years ago. Find the latest on Earthjustice’s work.

It’s hard to imagine that the earth is now experiencing a mass extinction like no other in human history.

Online news organization Mother Nature Network recently published an eye-opening graphic that maps out the top 20 countries with the most endangered species. Ecuador tops both the endangered animal and plant species lists, harboring 2,211 endangered animal species alone, while the U.S. comes in second with more than 1,000 endangered mammals, birds and reptiles.

The graphic also shows that 71 bird species in Hawaii have kicked the bucket since humans first set foot on the islands, and that the global tiger population has plummeted nearly 97 percent over the last century to a scant 3,200. Plants haven’t fared much better, with more than 114 species gone in the last 500 years.

It’s not a pretty picture, but as MNN points out, the fact that these countries have the greatest potential for disaster also means that they have the greatest potential for improvement. Check out Earthjustice’s Wildlife and Places campaign to see how we’re using laws like the Endangered Species Act to ensure that animal and plant species don’t stay in the red for long.

Jessica is a former award-winning journalist. She enjoys wild places and dispensing justice, so she considers her job here to be a pretty amazing fit.