Where to Look for the World’s Most Reclusive Animals
If you love a challenge, you can always go hunting for some of the world’s rarest animals. Most of the species on this list are considered critically endangered, having suffered a brutal decline over the past hundred years or so. All kinds of threats have been bullying these truly remarkable species into near extinction. It just goes to show you that the animal kingdom is full of winners and losers. Find out who’s hanging on by a thread by learning about the most reclusive animals on the planet.
You can spot them by the red tuft of feathers on their head, but other than that, these guys are hard to find in the wild. There are only about 500 of these adorable birds left in the world. They live in the northeastern part of Brazil in the state of Ceará. The slow demise of the Araripe manakin is largely connected to the construction of a new resort in the region. Acres of forests were torn down to build swimming pools, roads, and to make way for a banana plantation. They’re currently considered critically endangered, so don’t expect to see one in person anytime soon.
When the white lion was first discovered back in the late 1930s, people assumed that the creature was some kind of messenger from God. However, the white lion got its unique appearance from a rare genetic mutation that’s related to the albinism trait. The majority of white lions live in zoos all over the world. For many years, scientists believed that these creatures were at an inherent disadvantage in the wild, calling attention to themselves with their radiant white-blonde fur. But a few of them have successfully built a life for themselves in the plains of South Africa.
The elephant shrew is a gorgeous specimen that only a select few have had the pleasure of observing in the wild. Some of them have a stunning combination of bright blue and orange fur and a pointy shriveled snout. If you know what to look for, you can find them scurrying along the ground throughout much of Africa, but they’re less common than you might think. Since they cover such a large amount of territory and only make select appearances in the wild, assigning a number to their overall population can be tricky. They’re extremely difficult to catch, as some race along at nearly 18 miles per hour.
Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat
About a hundred years ago, the northern hairy-nosed wombat roamed the continent of Australia like it owned the place. Today, these furry little gems can only be found in the Epping Forest National Park in Queensland, Australia. In the last ten years, scientists have been doing everything they can to boost the population. Their numbers have nearly doubled in the last 15 years, going from just over a hundred to nearly 250. They get their name from their overly hairy snouts. Known for their extremely poor eyesight, they use their noses to sniff out food in the dark. The list of threats that the northern hairy-nosed wombat has to contend with goes on and on. Everything from drought, wildfires, wild dogs, and poaching to deforestation and natural disasters could mean game over for this cuddly species. Here’s hoping that luck is on their side.
Long thought to be extinct, the Jamaican iguana has proven itself to be quite the survivalist. For about half of the 20th Century, scientists were fairly confident that the Jamaican iguana ran itself into the ground and became extinct. However, people were shocked to discover the creature roaming the valleys of Great Goat Island and Little Goat Island off the shore of Jamaica in 1990. Today, they live a cozy life in the Hellshire Hills. Most of the Jamaican iguana’s troubles stem from the Asian mongoose, which was introduced on the island back in the early 1900s. The Asian mongoose was used as a way of curbing the island’s snake population, but they started eating newborn iguanas left and right. While most of the mongooses in the region have died off, the local charcoal industry continues to burn up a great deal of the iguana’s natural habitat. These poor creatures just can’t catch a break.
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