US Leads the World in Exterminating Endangered Species

Extinction Rates Are Biased And Much Worse Than You Thought

Today, passenger pigeons’ habitat consists of a few museum display cases around the U.S. Photo: edenpictures

Human activity—mostly habitat destruction and overhunting—has obliterated nearly 900 species over the past 500 years. Around 17,000 plants and animals are listed today on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of endangered species. According to the IUCN, one in eight birds, one in four mammals, one in five invertebrates, one in three amphibians and half of all turtles face extinction.

<em>The Guardian produced this guilt-inducing map (see the interactive version on their website) showing how the world’s countries fare when it comes to extinction counts:

Photo: The Guardian

For U.S. citizens, this looks particularly bad, while those in Vietnam, Kazakistan and Paraguay come off as innocent protectors of local wildlife. However, this map is inherently biased. These are only documented extinctions, after all. While the U.S. is undoubtedly skilled at bulldozing wetlands to build shopping malls and shooting passenger pigeons

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