Many species in peril on Endangered Species Day

From climate change to habitat fragmentation, pollution and human conflict, species around the world are facing a slew of threats to their survival. 

The National Geographic Photo Ark project aims to capture photos of every species living in the world's zoos and other protected areas before they disappear. Throughout the summer, more than 45,000 digital screens across the country will feature Photo Ark images as part of the National Geographic Society and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) #SaveTogether campaign aimed at saving species at risk in the wild. 

As the world marks Endangered Species Day on May 19, here's a look at some of the species that have been featured in the Photo Ark project, and some of the startling statistics about endangered species: 

  • More than 23,000 species on the IUCN Red List are threatened with extinction.
  • 41% of the world's amphibians, 34% of conifers, 33% of reef building corals, 25% of mammals and 13% of birds, are threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN Red list database. 
  • 120-230 Florida panthers are estimated to be in the wild. In 2016, 32 Florida panthers died from being hit by cars, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 
  • 500 or fewer Cross River Gorillas live in the wild. 
  • 59% of all the carnivore species weighing 33 pounds or more are listed as threatened. Likewise, 60% of all the herbivore species weighing 220 pounds or more are listed as threatened, according to the National Geographic Photo Ark. 
  • 700 or fewer Sumatran tigers remain in the wild. 
  • 1447 species in the U.S. are on the threatened and endangered species list, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. 
  • 945 plants in the U.S. are on the threatened and endangered plants lists, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

The number of endangered species fluctuates as species are removed and added to the list, which isn't exactly short. 

And while the numbers may seem daunting, there is hope, according to Joel Sartore, National Geographic photographer and founder of the Photo Ark. 

"The good news is that we can save most of these species, but we have to pay attention and leave some habitat intact; we can't convert the entire surface of the Earth to farm or cities and remain unscathed," he said. 

Follow Mary Bowerman on Twitter: @MaryBowerman