As amazing as it is to hear about lucky animals being taken off the endangered species list, there are still far too many creatures out there on the brink of total extinction.
It’s heartbreaking to imagine our planet letting all of the beautiful animals listed below “go the way of the dodo,” as they say. As the great panda proved when the species was de-classified as endangered, conservation is something that can truly make a difference for the animals who share our planet.
I know I’d personally love to see the very same thing happen for all of the names below. You might be surprised to learn just how hard times have been for each one.
Or perhaps their plight happened to slip your mind over the years — something I’ve definitely been guilty of in the past.
Take a look to learn which animals we might be losing and what might be their biggest threat to survival.
And don’t forget to SHARE the info on these unexpectedly endangered species with your friends on Facebook!
1. African Wild Dog
Habitat loss from human communities spreading into their natural areas and larger predators, such as lions, are both reasons WWF calls this species “one of the world’s most endangered mammals.”
2. Sea Lion
According to the WWF, domestic dogs carrying diseases that spread to sea lion populations is one of the biggest factors in the species’ decline.
3. Bengal Tiger
Following a ban on international tiger trade in 1993, the species has been able to work its way back up to over 2,500.
However, WWF explains that habitat loss, diminishing prey, and contact with humans are still keeping these tigers on the endangered list.
As the world’s rarest marine mammal, they weren’t even discovered until 1958. Nearly 60 years later, WWF claims the dolphin-like creatures are now on the brink of extinction with only 30 individuals remaining.
They place the blame on “fishery bycatch,” saying one out of five vaquita find themselves entangled in commercial fishing nets.
5. Snow Leopard
The folks at WWF don’t mince words when they lay the blame for this big cat’s population squarely on the shoulders of one predator: humans.
A combination of hunting, habitat loss and retaliatory killings of those who prey on farmers’ livestock have caused their numbers to plummet over the years. Though they are no longer technically on the endangered species list, they are absolutely at risk.
6. Borneo Pygmy Elephant
Though they are the smallest species of elephant, these cousins of the Asian elephant can still grow over nine feet tall. The biggest threat to their survival, according to WWF, is the loss of habitat due to deforestation.
7. Green Turtle
Named for the greenish color of their skin — not their shells — the WFF explains that the over-harvesting of their eggs, hunting of adults, and ensnarement in fishing gear has caused this herbivore’s numbers to drop drastically.
8. Western Lowland Gorilla
Reports from the WWF have shown a 60% decrease in this particular species of gorilla over the past 20 to 25 years. Typically found across Africa, their biggest threat to survival has been poaching. It kills roughly 5% of its population every year. They are on the list of critically endangered species.
The super-rare species was only uncovered recently, back in 1993, but estimates from WWF have their population already dropping to a few hundred at best — potentially only a few dozen — due to hunting and habitat loss.
10. Javan Rhino
There are only a few individual Javan rhinos left on the planet, according to WWF. Footage from 2015 — showing a mom and her baby calves wandering around Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia — gave many conservationists hope for the species’ future.
11. Yangtze Finless Porpoise
The WWF claims that in order for these charismatic creatures to avoid being deemed extinct — like their cousins, the Baiji dolphin — the finless porpoise needs a steadier, ampler food supply. Overfishing and pollution have become the intelligent animal’s biggest threat to survival.
12. Black-Footed Ferret
According to the WWF, this is the only species of ferret that’s naturally indigenous to the United States. They were previously classified as extinct. Today, however, their numbers are rising.
But they still need a lot of help being reintroduced to adequate habitats in order to avoid getting wiped out again.
Did any of these endangered animals surprise you? Be sure to SHARE the poor things with your friends on Facebook to raise awareness for their livelihoods!