Sept. 11, 2012 --
More than 8,000 scientists from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) have identified 100 of the most threatened animals, plants and fungi on the planet. Conservationists fear these animals may die out, since none offer humans with obvious benefits. Among those listed is this animal, the red crested tree rat (Santamartamys rufodorsalis). The small rodent was only known from two specimens collected in 1898 from the Santa Marta Mountains in Colombia -- until 2011 when one of the elusive rats shuffled up to two biologists in the field.
Muennink's spiny rat (Tokudaia muenninki) is a rodent in the family Muridae. It is found only in Okinawa Island, Japan. In 2008, the first wild specimen in over 30 years was caught in the northern part of Okinawa island.
Salanoia durrelli, also known as Durrell's vontsira, is a Madagascan mammal found only in the Lac Alaotra area. It is most closely related to the brown-tailed mongoose.
The geometric tortoise (Psammobates geometricus) is a medium-sized terrestrial tortoise that is the rarest of the three tent tortoise species, native to southern Africa. The threatened tortoise is named for the highly geometric pattern on its domed shell.
Archey's frog, Leiopelma archeyi, is a primitive frog native to New Zealand. The frog closely resembles fossilized remains of frogs that lived 150 million years ago.
The Table Mountain ghost frog (Heleophryne rosei ) has highly webbed rear limbs that make it a strong swimmer, but weak jumper. It is found on the slopes of Cape Town's Table Mountain.
The Sumatran rhinoceros (Diceros sumatrensis) is a small rhino that survives in dwindling numbers in the Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests.
The Amsterdam albatross (Diomedea amsterdamensis) is a large albatross which breeds only on Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean.
Yes, even fungi are threatened with extinction. This fungus, Cryptomyces maximus, appears as shining black blisters with orange/yellow highlights. It is seen, very rarely, throughout Europe.
The Santa Catarina's guinea pig, Cavia intermedia, hails from South America. It is found in Brazil on the small island of Moleques do Sul in the state of Santa Catarina.
The Great Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) is found in India and adjoining regions of Pakistan. The large bird features long legs giving it an ostrich-like appearance and it's among the heaviest of flying birds. It's estimated that as few as 250 individuals survive today.
The stunning, but critically endangered, Araripe manakin (Antilophia bokermanni) was first discovered as recently as 1996. The bird, which lives in north eastern Brazil, was named Antilophia bokermanni in honor of the Brazilian zoologist and wildlife filmmaker Werner Bokerman, who died in 1995.
PHOTOS: Animals at Risk