New report reveals 21,286 animal species on brink of extinction


Okapi offspring 'Bashira' (R) and his mother 'Batouri' stroll through their enclosure in the zoo in Berlin, Germany, 12 April 2013. Bashira was born on 26 February 2013. Photo: Jan-Philipp Strobel

In an update of its Red List of threatened animal species, the IUCN has warned that the giraffe-like Okapi and one of Africa's rarest birds, the White-winged Flufftail are two of 21,286 species threatened with extinction.

IUCN's Red List of endangered species is updated twice a year.

Noelle Kumpel, head of the organisation's Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, told AFP: "The Okapi is revered in Congo as a national symbol - it even features on the Congolese franc banknotes.

"Sadly, DRC has been caught up in civil conflict and ravaged by poverty for nearly two decades, leading to widespread degradation of Okapi habitat and hunting for its meat and skin."

But there was good news for some threatened species as the IUCN said two kinds of albatross, the Leatherback Turtle and the Island Fox were showing signs of recovery.

71,576 species were assessed in the report.

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In pictures: the world's endangered predators

In pictures: the world's endangered predators

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