A study was published on Jan 21, 2014, the 50th anniversary of the IUCN Red List, that found a quarter of shark and ray species are threatened with extinction (more information here). Only 23% of these species are considered “safe” with the IUCN listing of “Least Concern.” You may think of sharks as threats to humans, but it is actually the other way around (Check out the 25 things more likely to kill you than a shark attack). Humans are putting sharks and rays at risk of extinction through our fishing practices. You may be familiar with something called “shark finning” where sharks are caught and killed only for their fins to be used in a popular Asian soup. Shark finning is responsible for killing 88 million to 100 million sharks every year (more information here). The unintentional catch of sharks in fishing gear, known as “bycatch,” is estimated to kill 50 million sharks annually (more information here). These large predators are crucial to the health of marine ecosystems and steps need to be taken to conserve these species before the “risk of” extinction becomes a reality.