More than a third of species in the United States are at risk of disappearing, according to a study.
Some 40 per cent of animals and 34 per cent of plants are under threat of going extinct, and 41 per cent of ecosystems are at risk of collapse, according to the conservation group NatureServe.
The assessment of the natural world was based on five decades of research and the work of more than 1,000 scientists in the US and Canada.
The highest percentage of species at risk are California, Texas and the US southeast.
In total, about 1,250 plants are categorized as “critically imperiled” by NatureServe - the last stage before extinction. Almost 50 per cent of cacti species and 200 types of trees are at risk of extinction. More than three-quarters of grasslands face dying out.
A wide array of threats are heightening the possibility of extinctions but including the climate crisis, invasive species, river pollution and habitat degradation.
Among pollinators, bees are particularly threatened, with 37% of assessed species classified as at risk. Bees in the West are more threatened than bees in the East
Sean O’Brien, president of NatureServe, called the report’s findings “terrifying” and urged lawmakers to do more to protect the environment.