endangered species

noun
a species at risk of extinction because of human activity, changes in climate, changes in predator-prey ratios, etc., especially when officially designated as such by a governmental agency such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Origin:
1965–70

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
endangered species   (ěn-dān'jərd)  Pronunciation Key 
A plant or animal species existing in such small numbers that it is in danger of becoming extinct, especially such a species placed in jeopardy as a result of human activity. One of the principal factors in the endangerment or extinction of a species is the destruction or pollution of its native habitat. Other factors include overhunting, intentional extermination, and the accidental or intentional introduction of alien species that outcompete the native species for environmental resources.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

endangered species

A group threatened with extinction or destruction. For example, Workers willing to put in overtime without extra pay are an endangered species, or With the new budget cuts, public television has become an endangered species. This expression, originally referring to species of plants or animals in danger of dying out, began in the 1980s to be extended to anything or anyone becoming rare.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The internal and/or academic hire is becoming the endangered species.
We all knew that earmarks were an endangered species.
New programming is an endangered species, hiring freezes are the name of the
  game, and everything seems up for grabs.
Meanwhile, adjuncts need to view tenure-track faculty members as an endangered
  species in need of protection.
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