How do you know when an animal is becoming endangered or extinct? What is the determining factor?

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Episode Number: 104

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Location Taken: US

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Welcome to CoreFacts. I'm Hannah from Page Middle School in Arizona.

Today's question is...

How do you know when an animal is becoming endangered or extinct? What is the determining factor?

My name is Rachel Muir. I am the Imperiled Species Coordinator from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Actually there are two answers to your question. The first one is we base it on science.  We are a science agency. Secondly, there are requirements under the Endangered Species Act and they use what is called a five factor analysis.  

They are presence of threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; number two—overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; number three—disease or predation; number four—inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms to protect the species; and finally—other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. Those are the five factors that are used to list a species under the Endangered Species Act.

Thank you Rachel. And now you know. Join us again every weekday for a new CoreFact. For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, the USGS in-depth science podcast, go to usgs.gov/podcasts. If you'd like to have a question featured on this show, send an email to corefacts@usgs.gov or a phone call at 703-648-5600. Remember, long distance fees do apply.

CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.