Blog: Carlita the Croc

Is it endangered?

critically endangered species

 Critically endangered species at Brookfield Zoo

“Is it endangered?” This is a common question I hear from guests visiting Brookfield Zoo. When the question is asked in reference to me, the answer is no – I am critically endangered.

What’s the difference? The term “endangered” versus “critically endangered” tells you how close my people are to going extinct. Being critically endangered means we’re purty durn close to going extinct in the wild. One stroke of bad luck – disease, major pollution event, introduction of an invasive species – and that could be it for the Orinoco Crocodile in the wild.

vulnerable species at Brookfield Zoo
 Vulnerable species at Brookfield Zoo

Your next question might be “How do they know?” Classifying a species’ risk of extinction is a group effort. Lots of scientists and officials come together to assess the extinction risk. They ask questions like: Is the population growing or shrinking? Is the gene pool healthy and diverse? Is there enough space and food for the species to survive? Are there diseases threatening the species? All these pieces of information and more indicate how likely it is a species will go extinct.

guam kingfisher at Brookfield Zoo

The Guam kingfisher is extinct in the wild, but some live at Brookfield Zoo

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, maintains the Red List of Threatened Species [hyperlink: ]. This is a catalogue of the conservation status of thousands of animals, plants, and fungi. The Red List has several categories that list the risk of extinction for different species. This is where that “endangered” category comes from. But there are other categories as well: Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild, and Extinct.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has established the Endangered Species Act which works to recover and conserve species in peril. Although there are differences between the Endangered Species Act and the IUCN Red List, the goal is the same: protection of endangered species.

endangered species at Brookfield Zoo

 Endangered species at Brookfield Zoo

May 19th is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service observes Endangered Species Day. Do you have a favorite species of plant, animal, or fungi besides the Orinoco Crocodile? Why not take the time to look them up on the IUCN Red List and check their status? You can also go to the US Fish and Wildlife Service website to see how you can help Endangered Species! Share this blog on Twitter and Facebook Friday, May 18th, 2018 for Endangered Species Day. Don’t forget to tag me @CandidCroc on Twitter!

Posted: 5/8/2018 4:19:41 PM by Steve Pine

Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.


Subscribe to The Candid Croc Blog!RSS