Do you know why protecting the world’s endangered animals is so important? An endangered animal is one that has diminished so much that the entire species has gotten close to extinction.
Whether this has occurred due to losing their genetic variations or their habitat it is up to us to know what animals they are and protects them. In this post, we will be discussing the top 7 most endangered animals.
This endangered animal list will not only enlighten you as to what animals need protecting but also equip you with the knowledge and responsibility to educate someone else. Let’s get to it!
Top 7 Of the World’s Endangered Animal List
#7 - Amur Leopard
There are only around 100 Amur leopards left in the wild, making it one of the rarest big cats in the world. Since 1996, these leopard subspecies have been critically endangered, even though their wild population appears to be stable and increasing.
At present, Amur leopards are only found in a relatively small region of far eastern Russia and north-eastern China. There are many threats to the survival of Amur leopards, including habitat loss and fragmentation, prey scarcity, and road infrastructure.
The one silver lining is that the large majority of their home range is situated in protected areas in China and Russia. Additionally, they are moving into habitats outside the protected areas to hopefully rebuild.
#6 - African Forest Elephant
Forest elephants are one of the two species of African elephants that live in West and Central Africa's dense, humid forests. Due to their shy nature, wild African forest elephant numbers remain uncertain, but we do know they are critically endangered and have declined by 86% in the last 31 years.
The main reason for the decline is poaching, which is widespread, frequent, and intensive, especially in Central Africa. In addition to this, habitat loss and land-use changes for agriculture as well as other purposes have fragmented habitats and increased human-elephant conflict, resulting in losses on both sides.
In today's world, African forest elephants occupy approximately 25% of their historic range, mainly in Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
#5 - Blue Whale
The blue whale is the largest animal ever to live on our planet. Their baleen plates (which hang from the roof of the mouth and act as a sieve) strain huge volumes of ocean water to get krill (a very small shrimp-like animal). Some of the biggest blue whales can consume as much as six tons of krill per day. The Arctic Ocean is the only ocean where blue whales cannot be found.
Today's blue whale population is a fraction of what it once was due to modern whaling for commercial purposes. This drastically reduced their numbers in the 1900s, but populations are growing around the world. At present, vessel strikes and entanglements in fishing gear are the primary threats blue whales face.
Worldwide, commercial whaling has significantly depleted blue whale populations with less than 25,000 blue whales remaining on the planet, rendering them an endangered animal based on the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
#4 - Javan Rhinos
Due to hunting and habitat loss, Javan rhino populations have plummeted throughout south-east Asia. A Javan Rhino is one of the rarest rhino species, with just 75 individuals remaining in the wild. They are found only on the Indonesian island of Java.
Ujung Kulon National Park is the last remaining refuge for Javan rhinos. However, rhinos in the area are also suffering because of the invading Arenga palm, which leaves them with less food and habitat to roam. Poaching, natural catastrophes, inbreeding, and disease remain the main factors contributing to the extinction of Javan rhinos.
#3 - Mountain Gorillas
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda, as well as in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, there are two isolated populations of mountain gorillas that live in high-altitude forests in volcanic, mountainous regions.
There has been a history of political instability in the Virunga Landscape, as well as high levels of poverty which pose a significant threat to the mountain gorilla population. At present, over 500,000 people live close to mountain gorilla habitat, and while human habitation increases in these areas the population of the mountain gorilla rapidly decreases.
The International Gorilla Conservation Program of the WWF and local and international partners is working to conserve mountain gorillas despite these challenges. But all hands on deck are needed as with fewer than 1,000 wild mountain gorillas, the species remains dangerously close to extinction.
#2 - Giant Panda
Known for its distinctive black and white coat, the panda is considered a national treasure by the Chinese and valued across the globe. Pandas primarily inhabit temperate forests of southwest China's mountains (mainly in China’s Yangtze Basin region), where they subsist almost entirely on bamboo. Depending on the part of the bamboo they eat, they must consume 26 to 84 pounds of it each day.
Unfortunately, the development of infrastructure (such as dams, roads, and railways) is fragmenting and isolating panda populations, preventing them from finding new bamboo forests and mates.
Pandas lack access to bamboo due to forest loss as well. Even though the Chinese government has established more than 50 panda reserves, only around 67% of wild pandas live in reserves, and only 54% of their habitat remains protected leaving the familiar black and white species decreasing heavily.
#1 - Northern Spotted Owl
Northern spotted owls (Strix occidentalis caurina) are one of three subspecies of spotted owls. This dark brown medium-sized owl is a native of the Pacific Northwest region of western North America.
Its main competitor is the barred owl, an indicator species, which also faces threats from habitat destruction caused by humans. Spotted owls are listed as "Near Threatened" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to a decreasing population trend.
British Columbia, Canada to date has fewer than 6 Northern Spotted Owls left; Oregon has 1,200 pairs, Northern California has 560 pairs, and Washington has 500 pairs. The Northern Spotted Owl population has declined by 40-90 percent in Washington alone due to the logging of old-growth forests.
Final Thoughts - How Can You Help The Species On This Endangered Animal List?
The species listed on the endangered animal list above depend on us to survive. We can help them by making small changes that will reduce our impact on the environment and their natural habitats. Including, but certainly not limited to:
- Helping to preserve forests and wetlands
- Supporting organizations that encourage endangered species conservation
- Avoid buying plastic or disposing of it properly if you must use it
- And never harass wild animals
- Purchase from organizations, like 4WildLife, that support endangered animals
This is by no means an exhaustive list, however, by even using it as a start you’d be making a massive difference.