There are 42,100 species facing extinction

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species reports more than 42,100 species facing extinction, which represents 28% of all the assessed species (of the estimated 8.6 million species – animals and plants – that exists on planet Earth, just about 2 million are known, meaning that there’s still about 80% species to discover).

What is known is that over the last 100 years more than half of animal species have disappeared from the face of the planet. Today, among the species assessed by the IUCN, over 9,000 are considered “Critically Endangered”, meaning that they are species on the brink of extinction in the wild. Have you ever imagined a planet without animals or plants?

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the variety of plants, animals and other living beings that inhabit a certain habitat, and that are of great importance to the functioning of the ecosystem.

According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the loss of biodiversity depends on these rising pressures on nature:

  1. Loss and degradation of habitats
  2. Climate change
  3. Overuse of nutrients
  4. Overexploitation of species and habitats
  5. Invasive species

Consequences of biodiversity loss

The impact it has on species extinction is obvious. But the planet is a very complex system, where all the parts are deeply interlinked.

  • The way we eat changes

    If there are no bees, the pollination of plants that are part of our diet is at risk; without soil renewal the land loses its ability to stay naturally fertile; in an unbalanced system, what nature provides has to be done by humans, artificially.

  • The economy suffers

    With biodiversity loss and the consequent changes in the livelihood of entire communities, the whole economic system is affected, leading to the disappearance of jobs and to the impoverishment of the population.

  • The risk of contact with infectious diseases grows

    The destruction of habitats, the erasure of species, and the emergence of invasive species make ecosystems more vulnerable to infectious diseases and mutations within them.

  • Nature gains destructive power

    By losing certain coastal ecosystems, others become more exposed to natural elements. For instance, mangroves and coral reefs provide protection again tsunamis and storm surges. Fire-resistant trees and vegetation stop wildfires from spreading.

The picture of biodiversity across Portugal, Poland and Colombia

In Portugal alone, of the 3,000 species assessed by IUCN Red List, about 300 are considered endangered and critically endangered. More than 200 are considered to be in a vulnerable state.

Some of the currently Critically Endangered species in Portugal are the European Eel (Anguilla anguilla), the Blue Skate (Dipturus batis), the Scalloped Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), the Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius), the Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) or the Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus).

In Poland, 49 species of the 1,700 assessed are endangered or critically endangered, including animals like the European Mink (Mustela lutreola), the Common Hamster (Cricetus cricetus), or the beautiful Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola).

In Colombia, more than 600 species are endangered, and almost 400 are in a critical situation, out of a total of 13,000 species assessed by IUCN. The Orinoco Crocodile (Crocodylus intermedius), the Brown Spider Monkey (Ateles hybridus) and the Red-bearded Titi (Callicebus caquetensis), or even the Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis) are some of the most affected animals, alongside more than a hundred trees and plants.

Preserving biodiversity is in our hands

Get some inspiration and ideas on how to promote the preservation of biodiversity in your community:

  • Support and get involved with nature protection associations

    Have you heard about the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)? It operates in many countries in the world, so be sure to check yours – WWF Polska, WWF Colombia, WWF Portugal.

  • Try not to disturb wildlife in their habitats, don’t leave rubbish and don’t make noise pollution

    Especially if you are hiking, taking a walk or just visiting. Light pollution disturbs nocturnal species like mice, owls, moths, or some migrating bird species. Use bulbs that do not blind animals, point your outside lamps down and turn them off as soon as you move inside.

  • Reduce the ecological footprint

    There are a lot of small steps that we can take in our daily lives that help us to reduce the ecological footprint and, therefore, to delay global warming. Join the challenge with these 12 tips to reduce the ecological footprint along the year.

  • Buy and consume sustainable fish and seafood

    Pay special attention to threatened species, their sizes, origins and fishing methods.

  • Avoid wasting water

    Whenever possible, use rainwater to water the garden or the so-called greywater (dishwater, bath or shower) to fill the toilet tank.

  • Create pollinator sanctuaries

    Follow the example of the council of Brent, a borough in London, and plant wildflowers in your garden to attract bees and other pollinators.

  • Eliminate the use of chemical pesticides

    In your garden, balcony, or backyard choose products that do not harm the environment or pollute the soils.

  • Have a more balanced diet

    Choose the Mediterranean diet principles, making fruits, vegetables and grains the stars of your plate, and reducing the consumption of meat, fish and processed food.

Jerónimo Martins for the preservation of biodiversity

Get to know some of the initiatives supported by the Jerónimo Martins Group for the preservation of biodiversity in the three countries where it is present.

The “Amar o Mar” program, from Pingo Doce, has a mission to clean Portugal beaches and, in partnership with Sailors for the Sea, to clean the bottom of the oceans.


In a partnership with Quercus, Jerónimo Martins has been supporting the environmental citizenship project SOS Polinizadores (SOS Pollinators) since 2014, through which promotes awareness-raising actions on pollinator species preservation and biodiversity, with local councils, farmers, beekeepers, technicians, and school communities.

At the Lisbon Zoo, the Jerónimo Martins Group is, since May 2022, the proud patron of “Pingo”, one of the Cape Penguins that lives in the park, covering all its expenses. From 2015 to 2022, this support was given to the Ring-tailed Lemur.

The reforestation of Serra do Açor (Açor mountain range), ravaged by the 2017 forest fires in Central Portugal, is being supported by the Jerónimo Martins Group, which has invested five million euro into its reforestation. Over the next 40 years, this project aims at not only to reforest but also to preserve the Serra do Açor, by planting tree species that are more fire-resistant.

Macaw flying.

In Colombia, the Group and ProAves have created the Macaw Protection Project in 2019, which contributes to the protection of five species of macaw in the forest reserve of Montes de Oca.

Ara also collaborates with Biomma, for the plantation of autochthonous trees in Pereira district, contributing to the recovery of native forest and the consequent increase in CO2 capture and oxygen release.

In Poland, in 2021, Biedronka in partnership with Czysta Polska (Clean Poland) has developed projects to clean the Trata mountains (since 2019), to collect waste in the Baltic Sea beaches and to fund the conservation of the oldest trees in the country.

Biedronka also supports Salamandra – Polish Society for Nature Preservation, funding projects that aim to protect endangered species, like the hedgehog, the wolf, the lynx, the European bison, the dolphin, and the Eurasian pygmy owl.

Now that you already know what to do to protect biodiversity, let’s do it?