by Jennifer Garcia
The natural phenomenon of extinction occurs at a rate estimated at about 1 in 5 species per year, but scientists claim Earth is now losing somewhere ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 times this rate. This number reveals the possibility of a future with as many as 30-50% of all species facing extinction by mid-century. The planet appears to be in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals. This crisis is almost entirely caused by humans through habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, and global warming.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) has identified 16,928 species worldwide as being endangered. However, the numbers do not include those species that have disappeared prior to any chance to evaluate/describe them.