These species are simply defined as the species that are facing threats that might lead to their extinction. The threats that have been causing the deteriorations of species populations and their habitats are too many. Still, never mind what the threat is, the end result is usually the same; extinction.
The World Conservation Union, IUCN, is the international body responsible for preparing the “Red List” which contains all globally threatened species of all life forms. Identifying threatened species is one of the major tools in prioritising the conservation efforts in the world. All different species in the world can be classified into one of nine categories depending on certain preset criteria. The most important categories are the ones that make up the Red List. These are the species that need conservation and protection the most. They are the top-priority species. These categories are Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU). In addition to these species, two more categories are usually enlisted in the Red List and these are the Extinct (EX) and Extinct in the Wild (EW) species. The other categories are not included in the Red List. These categories are Near-Threatened (NT), Least Concern (LC), Data Deficient (DD) and Not Evaluated (NE).
According to IUCN Red List of 2006, out of 1,562,663 described species in the world, a total of 40,168 species have been evaluated. Out of these species evaluated, 16,118 were found to be threatened. There is a clear need for more research on most of the species that exist in order to know their status. There are only very taxonomic groups that have been comprehensively evaluated and these are birds, amphibians, mammals and only two groups of plants, namely conifers and cycads.
The same applies for Jordan. According to the IUCN Red List of 2006, Jordan has 47 globally threatened species. Of the 78 mammals in Jordan, 12 are considered as globally threatened. These include the Arabian Oryx Oryx leucoryx, and Nubian Ibex Capra ibex nubiana. The main threat that is facing these two species is hunting. The story of the Arabian Oryx is very well-known where the species has become extinct on the national level due to excessive hunting. The same was going to happen with the Nubian Ibex, but it was brought back from the brink through enforcement and captive breeding programs in Mujib and Dana nature reserves. Other globally threatened mammal species that are recorded in Jordan include all three gazelle species that exist in Jordan, although one of them, Gazella gazelle, is lately thought to be nationally extinct. These species are Dorcas Gazelle Gazella dorcas, Mountain Gazelle Gazella gazella and Goitered Gazelle Gazella subgutturosa.
As for birds, there are 15 globally threatened species in Jordan. These include one of the most well-known birds in Jordan and the region and that is Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulate, which is known in Arabic as Al-Habari. This species is categorised as vulnerable and it is still facing a continuous threat from hunting in Jordan and other neighbouring countries. Another globally threatened species that has been declining rapidly in our region and is recorded in Jordan is Saker Falcon Falco cherrug, which has been caught for falconry especially for hunting Houbara Bustards. Other bird species include Syrian Serinus syriacus (VU) which has its largest breeding colony in the world, in Dana Nature Reserve.