A new method for evaluating which species are at risk of becoming endangered has put a target on the heads of one group you may be somewhat familiar with: mammals. Rapid-fire estimates have created volatility in the mammal futures market. What groups should you start withdrawing your natural selection dollars from?


The Barcelona-based international conservation agency publishes its Sampled Red List Index to give a quick representation of trends in the natural selection market (graphic from New Scientist). Only 2.5 percent of all known plants and animals have been documented, and while that number might be a bit misleading, the process for seeing exactly which species were in danger was a cumbersome one. IUCN uses random samplings of 1500 species to assess larger risk. While cruder, such estimates can give a quick idea of the threat level before it's too late. As you can see, the danger is most pressing in the mammalian sector. Although humpback whales are swimming back from extinction, many precious mammalian species are at risk. Marine mammals are the usual target, specifically those in northern oceans, according to an article that appeared in Science. Viewing animals like shares reveals vanishing species [New Scientist]