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Top 10 endangered animals
Amur Leopard Fewer than 60 left in the wild (estimated) Found around the Russia-China border The Amur Leopard is endangered mostly due to human interactions, specifically, humans poach the Amur leopard for their skin, or fur, often leaving behind the bodies. Other threats to the Amur leopard include forest fires ruining their habitats, inbreeding destroying the resilience of their DNA, and human development taking over their habitats.
2. Cross River Gorilla 200-300 left in the wild (estimated) Found around the Nigera-Camaroon border The cross river gorilla is a large animal with few predators that can take them on. They don’t have the poaching allure of fur or tusks, yet they are critically endangered due to human actions in the way of deforestation and development. Because they have become such a small group, they also lack the genetic diversity to thrive and evolve against other threats.
3. Hawksbill and Leatherback Sea Turtles 20-30,ooo (Hawksbill estimated females) 2,300 (Leatherback estimated females) Found in warm tropical waters of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans The Hawksbill and Leatherback sea turtles have experienced a massive decline in their populations over the past few years, both seeing their numbers decimated by 80-90%. In some areas, nesting female Leatherback counts have gone from 3,000+ less than 50 years ago to just 2 today. They are primarily hunted for touristy souvenir shells and their eggs are poached. In fact, in some areas, 95-100% of Leatherback turtle eggs are poached and eaten.
4. Sumatran Orangutan 7,500 left in the wild (estimated) Found around Kuala Lumpur The Sumatran Orangutan (and it’s similar Borean Orangutan) are endangered due to deforestation. Often orangutans must move into nearby fields to find food, which farmers consider a nuisance. Adults are hunted for their meat while females are often separated from babies which are then put into a large, and illegal, web of delivering baby orangutan pets.
5. Soala Less than 750 (estimated) Found around the Vietnam-Laos border The Soala might be making an incredibly brief appearance in our history books. Discovered in 1992 and now critically endangered in 2018. They are critically endangered due to habitat loss and hunting. Conservation efforts to keep Soala enclosed have all proven fatal to the animal within days or months, showing the inability to help these animals subsist in artificial, zoo-like settings.
6. Vaquita Less than 50 (estimated) The Gulf of California While Vaquita are not specifically fished for, they are often trapped in nets set out for other marine life like sharks. Vaquita may also be threatened by climate change, as the waters in the Gulf of California begin to change and their habitat is already very small. They could be extinct by as soon as the end of this year.
7. Sumatran Tiger Less than 600 (estimated) Island of Sumatra Tiger parts and products are heavily used in eastern Asian medicines. Becuase of this Sumatran tigers have been hunted to near extinction and heavy fines (even jail time) has been invoked for anyone caught hunting or harboring tiger products in Indonesia.
8. Rhinos (as a species) Around 2,500 (estimated) Tropical and sub-tropical grasslands Rhinos are prized for their horns. Hunters use their horns as trophies, while eastern medicine doctors use ground up rhino horn to treat many illnesses. While harvesting Rhino horn doesn’t necessitate the killing of a Rhino, people often go for the easiest route of slaughter and harvest. Rhino habitats are also being encroached upon by human development.
9. Pangolin Less than 1000 (estimated) Found in African habitats Pangolins are heavily hunted for both their meat, which is considered a delicacy and their scales, which are used in African and Asian medicines. The number of Pangolins hunted are thought to be severely underestimated, and the population has been devastated in the past few years.
10. African Wild Dog Less than 5,000 (estimated) Found mostly in Tanzania and Mozambique The African Wild Dog is threatened mostly by hunting, diseases like rabies, and habitat loss.
With the recent death of the worlds last male Northern White Rhino it is clear that there are many animals that were able to survive for millions of years, but could not survive the impact and hunting of mankind. The Northern White Rhino is not alone, either on the list of endangered animals, or it's soon to be home on the list of extinct animals if costly IVF measures to produce offspring do not work. Humans are not kind to the existence of other species, as evidenced by the extinction of the West African black rhino, Pyrenean Ibex, passenger pigeons, sea mink, Tazmanian tiger, the Great Auk...the list of extinct animals goes on and on. And these animals carry one common thread - they were hunted to extinction by humans prizing fur, horns, meat, blood, etc. Animals become endangered and extinct because as humans, we don't learn enough about their beauty, impact on local environments, and importance until after it is too late.
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