Endangered species are animals that are threatened by extinction. This can happen due to two main reasons, one is the loss of habitat and the other one is the loss of genetic variation. Loss of habitat happens naturally, for example, dinosaurs lost their habitat almost 65 million years ago. The hot and dry climate of the cretaceous period changed very fast and the dinosaurs were unable to adapt to the new cool habitat, they became endangered and then extinct. Unfortunately, threats to animals can also be caused by human-driven actions, such as climate change and deforestation. Due to the expanding presence of humans around the world, the very existence of many animals is now threatened.
There are many animals that are classified as being on the “Red List of Threatened Species,” and this list defines the severity and the causes of the species to be threatened. All you have to do is click next to see the animals that are in danger of extinction.
This animal actually changed from being “Endangered,” to “Critically Endangered.” The reason behind this change is that half of its population has already been lost and this decline is mostly due to habitat loss and human-elephant conflict. The Sumatra forest has experienced one of the highest rates of deforestation and this has resulted in the local extinction of the elephant in many areas. In fact, more than two-thirds of the forest has already been destroyed in the last 25 years. These elephants feed on many different types of plants and they deposit seeds wherever they go. This contributes to a healthy forest ecosystem. Additionally, they share their lush forest habitat with many other endangered species such as the Sumatran rhino, orangutan, and tiger.
The saola is found in China and, as forests continue to disappear to make way for plantations, infrastructure, and agriculture, this animal is slowly being squeezed into a much smaller space. The added pressure from the rapid and large-scale infrastructure in the region is fragmenting the saola habitat. Conservationists are actually concerned that it is allowing hunters to have easy access to the once untouched forest where the saola lives. This has greatly reduced their genetic diversity. The saola is often caught in snares that are set in the forest for the sambar, wild boar, and muntiac deer. In fact, the recent increase of lowland people’s hunting has led to a massive increase in hunting that is driven by the need for local traditional medicine made in china.
These are sort of the “gardeners” of the forest and they play an extremely vital role in seed dispersal. They live in tropical forests and actually prefer forest in river valleys and floodplains. This great ape has an extremely low reproductive rate which makes its population highly vulnerable to extinction. The females usually give birth to only one infant every 3 or 5 years. The human pressure on the animal is only increasing and the Orangutans face an increased risk of extinction. Additionally, the Orangutans are a very easy target for hunters as they are large and slow. They are mostly killed for food or for retaliation when they move into agriculture areas and start destroying crops. This occurs mostly when they cannot find food in the forest. The females are the most hunted and when caught with an offspring, the young ones are usually kept as pets.
The Javan Rhinos are actually the most endangered of the 5 rhino species and there are only 58-68 of them living in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia. These rhinos used to live throughout Southern Asia and Northeast India. This is a dusky grey colored species that has a single horn of around 10 inches. The skin usually has a number of loose folds that give it an appearance of armor plating. The Javan Rhino is very similar in terms of appearance to the closely-related greater one-horned rhinoceros but it has a much smaller head and the skin folds are less apparent. The population of this rhino represents the only hope of its survival which is clearly on the brink of extinction.
It’s hard to believe that this beautiful turtle is on the brink of extinction. It’s called “Hawksbill” because of its narrow and pointed beak. It also has a distinctive pattern of overlapping scales on its shell that forms a serrated look on its edges. Its patterned and colored shells make it to be highly-valued and commonly sold as tortoiseshell in most markets. These turtles are found throughout the tropical oceans of the world but are predominantly in the coral reefs. The sea turtles are a living representation of a group of reptiles that have been in existence on earth for a long time – more than 100 million years and they travel in the seas. They are becoming extinct due to the illegal wildlife trade, and despite their current protection under the convention of international trade in endangered species, there is still a disturbingly large amount of illegal trade in hawksbill shells and products.
Eastern Lowland Gorilla
This gorilla is also known as Grauer’s gorilla, and it is the largest of the four main gorilla subspecies. Now, despite its size, this gorilla subsists mainly on fruits and other herbaceous materials like other gorilla subspecies. As a result of the many years of unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo – DRC, it has taken a toll on the mountain as well as the eastern lowland gorilla. They make their home in the lowland tropical rainforests of DRC. In the last 50 years, their range has decreased from the previous 8,100 square miles to about 4,600 square miles today. In the mid-1990s, there were almost 17,000 of these gorillas, but scientists now estimate that this population has declined by more than 50%. So, their reason for extinction is habitat loss and fragmentation. As humans keep moving from the high-density regions in the east and into the gorilla’s territory, they are destroying and fragmenting much of this animal’s forest habitat in order to make room for farming and livestock.
Cross River Gorilla
This beautiful looking subspecies of the western gorilla is on the brink of extinction, which is so sad. The cross-river gorillas live in a populated region that is filled with many humans who have encroached on their territory. The humans clear forests for timber and create fields for agriculture and livestock. Poaching is also on the rise in these forests as well and the loss of just a few gorillas has a detrimental effect on its small population. Efforts to protect the animal are being focused on securing the forest that houses them. Additionally, the hunting and killing of the gorillas have been made illegal in Nigeria and Cameroon.
This is yet another type of Orangutan ape that is clearly on the brink of extinction. The population of this particular type of ape has declined by more than 50% in the last 60 years. This species habitat reduced by around 55% 20 years ago. The Bornean Orangutan differs from the Sumatran Orangutan in that this one has a broader face and a much shorter beard and it’s also slightly darker in color. Now, the illegal wildlife trade of young orangutans is in high demand and each animal fetches several hundred dollars in the city markets or nearby islands. According to studies, 200-500 orangutans from Indonesia usually enter the pet trade each year.
Black rhinos are the smaller species of the two main African rhinos. The most notable feature that distinguishes the two is that the black rhinos have a hooked upper lip, while the white rhino has got a square lip. The black rhinos also tend to be browsers rather than grazers and their pointed lip helps them to feed on leaves that are in bushes and trees. Now, of all the threats of extinction that are facing the black rhinos, poaching is the worst and deadliest. These rhinos have two horns that are the main target for illegal trade. There is a wave of poaching for the rhino’s horn that has rippled through Tanzania and Kenya and has continued on to Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, as far as the Zambezi River. The political instability and wars in these regions have also greatly hampered the rhino’s conservation work in Africa. This situation has exacerbated threats and increased poaching due to poverty. Today, the Black rhino’s population is critically endangered and the rising demand for the rhino’s horn is not making it any better.
Leopards do not only exist in the savannas of Africa, but you can also find them in the Russian Far East area. In this location, there is a rare subspecies that has adapted its life in this temperate forest that makes up the northern part of their range. It is similar to the normal leopards that you know, but the Amur Leopard can run at a speed of almost 37 miles an hour. It is nimble-footed and very strong and can carry and hide unfinished kills so they cannot be taken by the other predators. The leopard lives for 10-15 years and while in captivity they can do up to 20 years. The leopard is an endangered species mostly due to the illegal wildlife trade. It is poached largely because it is beautiful with spotted fur. In a 1999 undercover investigation of wildlife, it was discovered that the female and male Amur leopard skin was being sold for around $500 and $1,000 respectively.