25 Most Endangered Animal Species: Save Them So That You Don’t Lose Them Forever
Man’s quest to conquer has been proving fatal to many a living creature around him. Many of the animals and birds that used to roam free in our jungles and amidst us are now facing the threat of extinction. It has turned imperative to consider saving these animals and birds from being totally wiped away from the face of the earth. With the current year being observed the UN International Year of the Forests, they would at least need us now to voice our support and get into action so that they will be saved from extinction. Here is a list of 25 most endangered animal species. It would be better to act now, so that we could do our bit to help them live on.
One of the most endangered species, the Ivory Billed Wood Pecker has left ornithologists and scientists still studying about them. The bird earlier used to inhabit the Southeastern part of theUSas well asCuba. Scientists and environmentalist are in serious doubt that this species may have really been wiped out already.
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) now exists only inRussia. Already wiped off from the face ofChinaandKorea, the rare leopard subspecies has witnessed deaths owing to habitat loss due to logging, road building and encroaching civilization, poaching and global climate change. It’s been said that that only 40 more of the species are left on the planet.
Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is mostly hunted for their horns, which is used in traditional Asian medicine. Counted as the most endangered species among the world’s five rhinoceros species, around 40 members now exist in the JavaislandofIndonesia. Around 6 members have also been reported as existing inVietnam. This swamp loving animal used to thrive in forests of South East Asia andIndonesia
Greater Bamboo Lemur
This species of lemur found inMadagascar, South Eastern coast ofAfrica, is on the IUCN red list. The Bamboo Lemur (Prolemur simus), also known as the broad-nosed gentle lemur, has been currently listed down to just 100. Extinction is imminent due to illegal hunting as well as habitat damage by logging and the burning of forests for agricultural purposes.
Northern Right Whale
Only around 350 of northern right whales (Eubalena glacialis) exist today. They exist mainly between the Atlantic coasts ofCanadaand theUS. This whale was hunted most during the whaling days of 19th century due to its valuable whale oil and easy in handling and processing. It now suffers life threat owing to entanglements in commercial fishing gear and global climate change effecting availability of tiny crustaceans on which right whales feed.
Mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei), as the name suggests, has its natural habitat in the mountains of east-centralAfrica. It is the largest of the four gorilla subspecies and is assumed that over 750 of them now survive in the world. Its natural range consisting of small areas made it vulnerable to human related threats and exploitation. Wars and poverty that has entertained illegal hunting of gorillas along with habitat destruction by illegal timber harvesting have also served as a factor for threat to their life.
The largest turtle in world, the leatherback sea turtle (Demochelys coriacea) is one of the fast disappearing species. A master swimmer all over from the tropics to the sub-polar regions, the species lay their eggs on the sandy sub-tropical beaches. It has reported roughly 80 percent decrease in population from 1982-1996. Prominent reasons for this are egg thefts by humans, illegal hunting and nesting-habitat loss due to beach development, and the erosion. They also consume plastic debris mistakenly for jelly fish, and that leads to death in large numbers.
Siberian (or Amur) Tiger
The threat to the population of the Siberian Tiger has been attributed to relentless hunting and habitat loss by logging. The Amur, or Siberian, tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is the world’s biggest cat and weighs as much as 300 kilograms (660 pounds). Unlike other tigers, they dwell in the birch forests of Russia’s frigid and snowy Far East, and previously occupied the colder regions of ChinaandKorea.
Chinese Giant Salamander
The species are found through out the central, southwestern and southern China. Reported to be the world’s largest amphibian, it is said to be capable of growing to lengths of up to 6 feet. The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianas) thrives in streams in the forested hills and lays up to 500 eggs at a time in underwater burrows. Main reason for extinction is its over-exploitation as a food source.
Hawaiian Monk Seal
Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schaulinislandi) had for long managed to survive human reach at their habitat in the isolated beaches throughout the Hawaiian Island chain. But, of late, their population has alarmingly reduced to over 1000 and is continuing to decline. Scientists are still unsure of the reason, but attribute it to the Ocean changes and competition for food. Entanglements in fishing nets and discarded fishing gear also are seen as reasons.
As many as 180 to 500 of the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi), also called Monkey-eating Eagle, prevail in the forests in thePhilippines. It sports a brown and white-colored plumage, and a hairy crest. Though being the largest and powerful in the birds, it is not able to escape the threat of population decline. Main reasons include deforestation, poaching, pollution and exposure to pesticides.
Cross River Gorilla
Assumptions point that only around 280 numbers of theCrossRivergorilla exist. One of the most endangered animals in 2011, the species are threatened by loss of habitat, poaching and the Ebola virus.
The Araripe Manakin (Antilophia bokermanni) is a bird has been reported endangered along with its knowledge of existence. First discovered in 1996 and systematically described in 1998, the bird species right away made to the IUCN Red List. It is listed that around 250-500 birds (compared to 50 numbers in 1999) that are inhabitants of Brazil exist now. It’s assumed that the threat for its existence was brought about by the habitat loss by theme parks and new asphalt roads build in their habitats.
Mediterranean Monk Seal
The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is currently figured to have a population less than 600. Its habitat primarily is Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Atlantic Ocean. It’s considered a pest by fishermen due to the damage it causes to their fishing nets. Pollution and heavy ship traffic also amounted to the decline in population.
Beluga Sturgeon a.k.a European sturgeon (Huso huso),an anadromous fish have better population statistics than the Monk seal. But it is still on the IUCN red list, because Beluga caviar is one of the most expensive delicacies in the world. Unruly fishing has became a big threat. Authorities have been very prompt in reacting and the species was soon protected with the Bern Convention, whereas many countries excluded importing Beluga caviar.
It is estimated that around 3,200 tigers (Panthera tigris) are left in the wild. These carnivores are native to Southern and Eastern Asia, though now they only inhabit less than seven per cent of their original habitats. Continuing deforestation and extensive poaching have led to their extinction. The key areas where they thrive now are the mangrove forests of Bangladesh and India’s Sundarbans. But they are still endangered because of illegal hunting for their body parts, which are said to possess medicinal and luxury value. Sea level rise and climate change have affected their mangrove habitats as well.
The Arctic polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is also on the endangered list. Its inhabitat include mainly the Arctic Circle covering the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and land masses. They have lately become the iconic symbol of early victims of climate-induced habitat loss. They are listed as vulnerable species who experience dramatic decrease in population due to threats including climate change, pollution in the form of toxic contaminants, conflicts with shipping, stress from recreational polar-bear watching, and oil and gas exploration and development
The Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) is now also known as the Iranian Cheetah. Earlier they were indigenous to India, but were hunted down to extinction. Now 70-100 members of the species exist in Iran with occasional sightings in Baluchisthan, Pakistan as well. Illegal hunting, habitat degradation and fragmentation, desertification, and direct killing of wildlife that the Cheetah preys upon are listed as the reasons for its extinction.
The red wolf (Canis rufus) is a North American and had strayed throughout the Southeastern United States. Their major habitats included forests, swamps, and coastal prairies. They were extinct in wild by 1980, but were reintroduced with success in 1987. They are now reported to be effectively breeding in the wild. Interbreeding with Coyote due to less population of red wolves is considered as a major threat. Other threats like habitat fragmentation, disease, and anthropogenic mortality, are of apprehension in the restoration of red wolves.
San Francisco Garter Snake
The San Francisco Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) is a slender multi-colored snake that has been declared endangered since the year 1967. It is a native to California and resides only in San Mateo County, California, and the extreme northern part of coastal Santa Cruz County, California. It has been found that only 1000-2000 of adult snakes exist at present. They usually stay near water bodies, ponds, streams, marshes and ditches. Continued urbanization, illegal collecting, freeway construction and pollution are all factors that are being a threat.
The Magellanic Penguin, (Spheniscus magellanicus), was once threatened by oil spills. This Penguin Specie is South American, and has been found in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. But with their prey fish population displaced by warming ocean currents, they have been forced to swim farther to find food. This has resulted in some migrating to Brazil. Hundreds of Magellanic penguins washed up on beaches around Rio de Janeiro, many dead. Scientists think changes in ocean currents or temperatures are reasons for mass deaths. Decline of fish population and threats of oil spill also are a reason to their vulnerability.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus)- a large migratory fish found in the western and eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Bluefin tuna is highly exploited as it is the source of highest grade sushi. Bluefin tuna fisheries are collapsing at an alarming rate, and are on the verge of extinction due to rampant fishing practices in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. Immediate ban on fish hunting and serving may help in its population revival.
The Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis; previously Ara caninde) is a parrot common to a small area of north-central Bolivia known as Los Llanos de Moxos. Not a forest dwelling macaw, these fly around in flat grassland in tropical or subtropical regions of the Beni Department of Bolivia, nesting in “Islas” (islands) of palm trees that blotch the level plains. Illegal capture for pet trade and land clearance on cattle ranches have reduced its population in the wild to around 150, making it one of the critically endangered species.
Przewalski’s Horse ( Equus ferus przewalskii)or Dzungarian Horse, is a exceptional, endangered subspecies of wild horse (Equus ferus), inhabiting the plains of central Asia, particularly China and Mongolia. It was once extinct in the wild but was successfully reintroduced to its nature. Above 1,500 of the horses now exist in wild. There are no reason so far confirmed by scientists and environmentalists for its extinction in wild. Excessive poaching as well as the loss of grazing and watering sites and attack by wolves may have resulted in their deaths.
The Giant panda has turned international icon of wildlife conservation with it symbolizing WWF founded in 1961. The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) has an estimated population of around 1,600 in the central-western and south western China. It is threatened by fragmentation of forest habitats and a low birth rate. Illegal poaching for panda skin and fur has also made the population decline faster.