Although scientists estimate that there could be upwards of 30 million animal species on the planet, a number of those species are teetering on the verge of extinction due to man’s thirst for consumption or entertainment. Hunted for meat, for fur, and for other materials governments around the world are cracking down on poaching and illegal hunting practices.
Let's take a look at the 10 Most Endangered Animals in the World:
1. Hawksbill Turtle
With a range that covers all the world's tropical and sub-tropical seas, the hawksbill turtle population has decreased by 80% over the last three generations. The major threat facing the hawksbill turtle is the tortoiseshell trade. In the last 100 years, millions have been killed for their shells. Habitat destruction by human beach front development, excessive collection of their eggs, and poaching for meat are other major threats to their survival.
2. South China Tiger
It is also known as the Amoy found in the forests of South China. Its size is smaller than other sorts of the tiger. It is the most critically threatened cat. Only approximately 30-50 of them remaining. China hunts it at a very high rate. Which has become the greatest threat to wiping them out of the face of earth. To help save this tiger today the WWF is planning to introduce captive-bred tigers into the forests.
The saola, also known as the Asian unicorn, was first discovered by scientists in May 1992. They have only been found in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos. The nickname unicorn relates to their two sharp horns, which can reach up to 20 inches (51 centimeters). Saola means “spindle horns” in Vietnamese. They are cousins of cattle, goats and antelope.
4. Sumatran Orangutan
It is one of the two species of orangutan, which is found in Indonesia on the island of Sumatra. Only eight orangutans that are presently kept in quarantine cages at the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme at the Quarantine Centre are remaining because they require long time care due to disability and health related issues and they can therefore not be released into the wild just yet. The greatest threat for the Orangutan is the extensive destruction of the Sumatran rainforest by human activities such as logging, mining, construction of roads and it is also cleared to provide land for farming, which has made them easy targets for poaching because their population is left isolated and fragmented. In the process of capture and transport, approximately 6-8 of them die every day.
5. Amur Leopard
Unlike its southern cousins, the Amur leopard has adapted to live in the cold, temperate forests of southeast Russia and northeast China. Its winter fur is the longest of any leopards, with each hair growing to 3 inches (7 centimeters) long. It’s estimated there are only about 60 of these unique cats left. With such a low population, a distinct threat to their survival is inbreeding. Researchers have found hazardously low genetic diversity in the existing leopards. Also, cub survival rates have been decreasing for decades, which is likely due to genetic abnormalities.
Vaquita is the rarest marine mammal in the world. Its body is gray with a white stomach, and around the eyes, it has dark patches. Of the seven species of the Vaquita, it is the smallest and the only one that in the Eastern Pacific Ocean where waters are warm. They live in a tiny area in the Gulf of California in the north. According to the WWF, only 30 vaquitas are remaining. The greatest threat is accidental deaths when they get got in gillnets that are meant to catch other marine species. If a ban on the gillnet is not enforced, then they will become extinct very fast and probably by 2018.
7. Mountain Gorilla
Dian Fossey’s research work with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda brought them international attention. Despite increased conservation efforts, only two populations of gorillas remain today in four national parks in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mountain gorillas live in high mountain regions, at elevations of 8,000 to 13,000 feet (2,400 to 4000 meters). Their long fur allows them to tolerate sometimes freezing temperatures. Adults can weigh up to 440 pounds (200 kilograms), and stand over five feet tall when they’re up on two legs.
Pangolin is the only mammal whose entire body is covered with scales. They have large, curved claws for digging termite and ant nests. They are used to draw barks from trees and pulling logs so as to find their insect prey. Also, they are known as scaly anteaters, and they are increasingly becoming victims of illegal poaching in Asia and Africa where they are found. Their meat is a delicacy while their scales are highly valued. Only eight species of the pangolin exist today with four species living in Asia and another four species in Africa. International and national laws protect these pangolins. These species are on the list of Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
9. Javan Rhinoceros
This is the most endangered rhinoceros in the world, with only 63 animals surviving in a national park in Indonesia. They are also potentially the rarest large mammals on earth. Very little is known about the Javan rhino’s way of life. They live in extremely dense jungle, making them difficult to study. Adults live alone and only come together occasionally to mate. Their days are typically spent wallowing in mud holes, which they might deepen with their feet and horns for extra comfort.
10. Giant Panda
It is also known as panda bear. Gaint panda originates from central China. It is a treasure here in China and is adored all over the world. This panda has white and black colors on its body. Researches shows that adult pandas can live up to 30 years. However, this is not always the case. Because both the Cubs and adult pandas die because of many predators such as the yellow-throated martens and the snow leopard that kill and consume this animal. In particular, pandas are in danger of extinction due to loss and disintegration of habitat, and by people hunting other animals and harvesting plants from the forests. The most depraving thing is that they are also vulnerable to the loss of habitat and destruction.