A quarter of the world’s mammals are facing extinction, according to the Red List of Threatened Species, the first assessment of their status in a decade. The biggest danger comes from habitat loss, mostly deforestation.
Many of the species under threat are very cute and cuddly, said the list’s authors, and it would be a tragedy if lovable creatures such as orang-utans with their comical old-man faces and big-eyed seals were to vanish from the face of the earth forever.
“It’s going to be bloody difficult for cuddly toy manufacturers to make cockroaches attractive to the toddlers of the future,” warned Julia Marton-Lefevre, director of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The good news, however, is that elephants - which small children everywhere agree have ‘funny noses’ - are marginally less close to utter extirpation than they used to be.