New updates on the conservation status of sharks and rays released today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) show that 39 additional species are now facing a risk of extinction in the wild. This takes the total of all sharks and rays categorized as Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered to 355. Ever more species of sharks and rays are being pushed towards extinction. In 2014, 25% of all shark and ray species were threatened, with 25 species critically endangered. Right now, 36% percent is under threat and the number of critically endangered species has tripled (from 25 to 76). More than 1,200 different species of sharks and rays inhabit our global ocean. These diverse animals do not simply dwell there—they shape the ocean, and have done so for more than 400 million years, since the time of dinosaurs. Sharks and rays are indispensable to ocean health and the well-being of millions of people across the globe through provision of livelihoods, food, and tourism.
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