An endangered species is a species which has been categorized as very likely to become extinct in the near future. Endangered (EN), as categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations in the IUCN's schema after Critically Endangered (CR). In 2012, the IUCN Red List featured 3,079 animal and 2,655 plant species as endangered (EN) worldwide. The figures for 1998 were 1,102 and 1,197 respectively. Many nations have laws that protect conservation-reliant species: for example, forbidding hunting, restricting land development or creating protected areas. Population numbers, trends and species' conservation status can be found at the lists of organisms by population.An alternative method of conserving a species is to conserve the habitat that the species is found in. In this process, there is no target species for conservation, but rather the habitat as a whole is protected and managed, often with a view to returning the habitat to a more natural state. In theory, this method of conservation can be beneficial because it allows for the entire ecosystem and the many species within to benefit from conservation, rather than just the single target species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature suggest there is evidence that habitat based approaches do not have enough focus on individual species to protect them sufficiently. However much research now is turning towards area-based strategies in preference to individual species approaches such as endangered species recovery plans.Whether a species is endangered—meaning at risk of extinction—depends on which definition you use. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species classifies an animal as endangered when its numbers in the wild have dropped so low that it’s at “extremely high risk” of extinction.