There are some animals that everyone knows are on the endangered species list without even looking. However, glancing down the list we bet that there are many that will surprise you and a few you have never even heard of.
One thing is for sure, we should not be taking these amazing creatures for granted, because most of the time humans are the main reason the animals are in danger.
While a lot of animals have been threatened by climate change, other animals are being pushed out of their homes by rising human populations in the nearby area. And even though there are so many animals out there, every little bit helps when it comes to reversing extinction.
The first step in helping as many animals as we can is becoming aware of what animals are endangered and why. At the end of the day, if we don’t appreciate animals, they will be gone before we know it.
1. Giant Panda
These funny bears provides endless entertainment, unfortunately they are also dwindling in numbers. According to stats released by the World Wildlife Fund in 2014, only 1,864 Giant Pandas exist in the wild. Conservation efforts and breeding programs have helped. In the 70’s there were only 1,000 Giant Pandas estimated to be living in the wild. So the numbers are going up, but very, very slowly.
One of the main threats these animals face is the destruction of their habitats. As the population of China continues to grow, the habitable area of these unique creatures shrinks. The increase in construction has pushed the pandas into smaller and less livable areas, hindering conservation efforts even further.
2. White Rhino
The White Rhino, also known as the Square-Lipped Rhino, is the largest of all of the rhino species. While there are thought to be about 20,000 Southern White Rhinos left, there are only 4 remaining wild Northern White Rhinos (yes, you read that right 4)! If that number shocks you … good! Tell it to everyone you meet today. Start a dialogue. Raising awareness is one way to help fight off this species extinction.
Their rapid decrease has to do to their horns being highly valuable in many East Asian countries, and the bigger the rhino the bigger the horn. Trophy hunting has helped push this magnificent creature to the edge of extinction. Conservationists are doing their best to help but the future doesn’t look bright for the White Rhino.
3. Sea Turtles
Sea turtles are threatened with extinction due to rising sea levels. While the increase in ocean levels may seem like a great thing for these turtles, in reality it is hurting their ability to reproduce. With the increasing temperature and sea levels the turtles nesting sites located on the beaches of Australia, are being compromised. This has lead to a drastic drop in population and possible extinction.
Sea Turtles face more than environmental threats. The greatest threat to their existence comes from commercial harvesting. Snatched up in great numbers, the turtles are valued for their meat, eggs, and even their skins, which are made into leather goods.
4. Amur Leopard
While people usually connect leopards with Africa, this rare Amur Leopard is found in the Russian far east, adapting its life to a forest in a more temperate area. Also, like many beautiful animals, they are hunted for their furs, with pelts going for $500-$1000 a piece.
These beautiful creatures are very unique and it is estimated that only 35 are left in the wild. The rarity is due to hunting and loss of forest due to forest fires. Add to that a scarcity of prey and an inbreeding issues caused by their dwindling numbers and you can see how dire their plight really is.
5. Polar Bears
One thing is for sure these little fur balls need a lot of cold and a lot of ice. Unfortunately due to the climate change, their habitats have been melting away. Couple this with dwindling food sources, also thanks to the ice melting, and you’ve got a full-scale disaster on your hands!
With a lack of places to rest on top of the ice, the bears lives are becoming more and more threatened. There’s only an estimated 22,000-31,000 of these bears living in the wild. As the sea ice further retreats we can expect that number to dwindle even further.
If you care passionately about these animals’ desperate future, then act. Donate your time and resources to conservation efforts. Be an advocate for those who have no voice!
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