According to the IUCN, over 40,000 species are currently under threat of extinction.
Natural spaces are shrinking, and wildlife populations are declining as our modern society becomes more resource-intensive. While there have been amazing and inspiring wildlife successes and stories in the past, many animals are still endangered, primarily due to unsustainable human-led activities. International Union for Conservation of Nature, over 40,000 species are thought to be on the verge of extinction (IUCN). And here are ten of the world’s most endangered wild animals:
Javan rhinos were once found throughout South-East Asia, but their numbers have plummeted due to hunting and habitat loss. They are one of the rarest rhino species, with only about 75 individuals remaining on the Indonesian island of Java. The Ujung Kulon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the last remaining refuge for Javan rhinos. However, the area is also under threat from the invasive Arenga palm, which provides the rhinos with less food and less space to roam. Furthermore, the small Javan rhino population is extremely vulnerable to extinction due to natural disasters, disease, poaching, and potential inbreeding.
The Amur leopard is the world’s rarest big cat, with only about 100 individuals left in the wild. Although their wild population appears to be stable and growing, these leopard subspecies have been listed as critically endangered since 1996. And for a good reason: Amur leopards are currently only found in a small region of Russia’s far east and north-eastern China. The remaining Amur leopards face numerous threats to their survival, including habitat loss and fragmentation, prey scarcity, and transportation infrastructure such as roads. However, there is still a chance for this rare big cat. Around 75% of their home range is in protected areas in Russia and China, and they are also moving into suitable habitats outside of these protected areas.
Read Also: What dinosaur has 500 teeth Complete Details
SUNDA ISLAND TIGER
Sunda Island tigers, also known as Sumatran tigers, are the world’s smallest tiger subspecies, weighing up to 140kg. For comparison, male Amur tigers can weigh up to twice as much as Sunda Island tigers. They are also extremely rare, with only 600 in the wild and only found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Southeast Asia’s human population has nearly doubled since the 1980s, from 357 million in 1980 to around 668 million in 2020. This has had an effect on tiger populations, which have been declining in tandem with their habitats. Sunda Island tigers are likely to encounter people as human settlements expand in the region, potentially leading to an increase in human-tiger conflict. Tiger poaching and the illegal trade of tiger parts and products are also major threats to the tigers’ survival.
Mountain gorillas are a subspecies of eastern gorillas that live in two isolated populations in the high-altitude forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, as well as in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The Virunga Landscape has a past of political unrest and high levels of poverty. This poses a significant threat to mountain gorilla populations because people have relocated closer to these great apes for food, shelter, and space—at the moment, over 500,000 people live near the mountain gorilla habitat. Despite this, mountain gorillas are showing signs of recovery thanks to conservation efforts and interventions from local and international partners and the WWF’s International Gorilla Conservation Programme. Mountain gorillas are currently listed as an endangered species, with only slightly more than 1,000 individuals remaining in the wild. However, multiple threats remain that could stymie this species’ recovery.
For More Interesting Articles: The Rainbow Color
The Tapanuli orangutan is a newly described orangutan that was recognized as a separate species in 2017. Only one wild population of Tapanuli orangutans exists, and it is confined to the tropical forests of the Batang Toru ecosystem on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. With lower than 800 individuals in the wild today, these tree-dwelling primates are the world’s most endangered great ape species. One of the primary threats to its survival is habitat loss as tropical forests are replaced by agriculture, mining, and hydroelectric and geothermal development. Over 40% of the forests in the province of North Sumatra, where the Tapetail orangutan lives, were lost between 1985 and 2007.
FINLESS PORPOISE FROM YANGTZE
The Yangtze Finless Porpoise is the only living freshwater porpoise on the planet. This aquatic mammal lives in China’s Yangtze River and is a critically endangered species. While the Yangtze River is critical to the ecosystem’s health, years of environmental degradation, overfishing, and water pollution in the region have negatively impacted many animal species that call it home. Previously, Yangtze river dolphins coexisted with finless porpoises, but no freshwater dolphin sightings have been reported in the last two decades. Unfortunately, this may serve as yet another stark reminder of what is likely to come for many endangered species, including the Yangtze finless porpoise. China designated finless porpoises as a “first-level protected species” in 2021, the country’s highest level of protection protecting this species. In 2018, their wild population was still around 1,000 individuals and was stabilizing.
Between 1960 and 1995, large-scale poaching decimated black rhino populations. Only about 2% of people survived the previous onslaught. Since the 1990s, rhino populations have more than doubled across Africa as conservation efforts have taken hold. However, the IUCN lists black rhinos as critically endangered, with approximately 5,630 individuals remaining in the wild. The western black rhino was extinct in 2011. Today, only four countries are home to 95% of black rhinos: Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Poaching for rhino horn remains the greatest threat to the remaining population—nearly 10,000 African rhinos have been killed in the last decade to supply the illegal rhino horn trade.
ELEPHANTS OF THE AFRICAN FOREST
The elusive forest elephant, one of two members of the African elephant species, can be found deep in the dense, humid forests of West and Central Africa. Due to their shy nature, the actual number of wild African forest elephants is unknown. Still, we do know that they are a critically endangered species that has declined by an estimated 86% over the last 31 years. The primary cause of the decline is poaching, which is common, widespread, and intensive, particularly in Central Africa. In addition to elephant poaching, habitat loss and land-use change for agriculture. And other land uses have resulted in fragmented habitats. And increased human-elephant conflict, both of which have resulted in losses on both sides. African forest elephants now occupy roughly 25% of their historical range. Which is spread across 20 African countries, the majority of which are in Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
The Sumatran orangutan is found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. They are currently listed as critically endangered by the IUCN, with fewer than 14,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Sumatran orangutans are threatened in the same way that Bornean and Tapanuli orangutans are. There is something for everyone, from logging to agricultural plantations to expanding infrastructure development to the illegal pet trade. Orangutans require vast swaths of connecting forest to survive. They lost 60% of their forest habitat between 1985 and 2007. The majority of these orangutans are now found in the Leuser Ecosystem. They includes tropical lowland rainforests and steamy peatland swamps.
The Hawksbill turtle is one of seven marine turtle species found in the Atlantic, Indian. And Pacific Oceans’ nearshore tropical and subtropical waters. Their population is estimated to be between 20,000 and 23,000 nesting turtles. But it isn’t easy to estimate their true population size because marine turtles are true ocean wanderers. Hawksbill turtle populations have declined by at least 80% in the last 30 years. Due to accidental capture in fishing gear, nesting habitat degradation, coral reef damage. And the illegal trade of hawksbill shells and products. Other human-caused threats, such as plastic pollution, climate change, and rising sea levels, may contribute to the animal species’ future extinction. Hawksbill turtles are currently considered critically endangered.