9 Endangered Animals We May Lose In Our Lifetime
Wildlife conservation is an ongoing battle. Humans are encroaching on animal habitats, cutting down natural forests, and polluting the environment at an alarming rate. Many species are on the brink of extinction as a result. These endangered animals may not survive another century if things don't change soon. Many are on the list because of human interference, while others are battling new diseases or natural disasters triggered by climate change. As a result, many conservationists believe that the current generation might be the last to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitats. Below is a list of some of the most endangered animals in the world today – and what you can do to help them survive. Sumatran Orangutan The Sumatran orangutan is the smallest species of orangutan. It lives only in the dense forests of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where its numbers are fast dwindling due to deforestation and poaching. Only around 7,000 of these apes are left in the wild, while only about 200 individuals live in captivity. The species is critically endangered and may go extinct if nothing is done to save it. Due to their unique looks, orangutans are a key attraction for wildlife tourism. They are also crucial in the fight against climate change. Tropical forests store large amounts of carbon, but if they are cut down, it is released into the atmosphere as CO2. Saving the Sumatran orangutan will, therefore, also help to save the planet. Arabian Oryx The Arabian oryx is another critically endangered species native to the Arabian Peninsula. Estimated to have a population of less than 500 in the wild, these antelopes are often captured for conservation breeding programs. In the 1980s, the last few wild oryxes were brought into captivity. Scientists have since used selective breeding to revive the species, successfully increasing its numbers to several thousand. The Arabian oryx is an important symbol for the desert country of Qatar, which funded the breeding program. Hopefully, the deserts of the peninsula will sustain a wild population of oryxes again in the future. The Arabian oryx can be found in many zoos worldwide, where they are often used as ambassadors for their wild cousins in conservation campaigns. You can help save the oryx by supporting organizations that help to protect wild animals. Rhinoceros The rhinoceros is one of the most threatened species on the planet. Only around 30% of rhino species are estimated to still exist in the wild, and many are critically endangered. There are several rhinoceros subspecies, but the Javan, Sumatran, and Black Rhinoceros have fewer than 100 individuals left in the wild. The Northern White Rhinoceros has been declared extinct in the wild, with only a few individuals in captivity remaining. The rhinoceros is hunted for its horn, which is thought to have medicinal and aphrodisiac powers. There is no scientific evidence that this is true, but the high demand for rhino horn has driven rhinoceros poaching to extreme levels. African Elephant The African elephant is the world's largest mammal. It has been around for millions of years and has survived different ice ages and floods. However, the elephant may not be able to survive the current human-driven extinction crisis. Elephants are poached for their tusks and used to make jewelry and other decorative items. They are also threatened by habitat loss. The African elephant population (Loxodonta africana) has dropped dramatically recently due to poaching. If nothing is done to save the African elephant, no wild herds will be left in the next decade. Many people have fought against poaching to provide a future for these giants. You can join by visiting your local zoo and educating yourself about elephant issues. Giant Panda The giant panda is the most adorable animal off the endangered species. So few animals are instantly recognizable or loved at first sight, and the panda symbolizes peace. Yet these adorable bears are at risk of extinction. Pandas live only in China's Sichuan province, and they are hunted for their fur and also for their organs and bones. Pandas are incredibly difficult to breed in captivity. Only about one cub per year is born to each mother, and they are usually unhealthy. Many babies are stillborn, and those that live rarely survive to adulthood. The Giant Panda is a flagship species for China, and it is doing its best to preserve it. You can help save pandas by supporting panda conservation programs and raising awareness of the issues pandas face. Blue Whale The blue whale is the largest animal that ever lived. It can grow up to 100 feet in length, and a newborn calf might weigh close to 1 ton. Blue whales were hunted extensively in the 20th century, with the most significant number of kills occurring between 1946 and 1949. In total, more than 400,000 blue whales were killed by whalers in the first half of the 20th century. Since the International Whaling Commission implemented a moratorium on blue whale hunting in the early 1980s, the species numbers have slowly begun to recover. However, blue whales continue to be affected by ocean noise pollution, marine pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, and other man-made threats. Sumatran Rhino The Sumatran rhino is the world's smallest species of rhinoceros. It has been driven to extinction by poaching for its horns and forest fires. In the 1990s, only around 15 Sumatran rhinos were left worldwide. Conservationists captured these rhinos and bred them in zoos, which has helped to expand the species' population to over 100 individuals. They are rarely seen in the wild and are one of the most endangered species in the world. The Sumatran rhino is also one of the most poorly understood animals. The Sumatran rhino has been given several last chances to survive. The Indonesian and Malaysian governments have stepped up their anti-poaching efforts, and the rhinos are being closely monitored in the wild. These rare rhinos symbolize hope for the future, but they need our help to make it. Chimpanzee The chimpanzee is our closest genetic relative and an endangered species. In the wild, they are threatened by deforestation, poaching, and diseases that humans may spread. Chimpanzees are so closely related to humans that human diseases can infect them. They can also infect humans with diseases they've been exposed to, such as Ebola and hepatitis. The most pressing threats to chimpanzees are habitat loss and the bushmeat trade. Bushmeat is a wild game, such as primates, hunted for food. These practices have led to a dramatic drop in the chimpanzee population, and many subspecies are at risk of extinction. Researchers have also discovered that chimpanzees are among the few animals capable of passing the human flu to other animals. Black Footed Penguin The black-footed penguin is one of the world's rarest penguin species. Once abundant along the southern coasts of Africa, the black-footed penguin now survives only in the East African country of South Africa. Black-footed penguin populations have been steeply declining since the 1990s. Scientists believe the main threats to the species are climate change, fishing, and tourism. The black-footed penguin is an important symbol of South Africa. It is the official mascot of the country's largest city, Cape Town, and it also appears on the logos of many conservation organizations. Any effort to save the black-footed penguin will benefit the environment of the entire southern African coast. Conclusion The future of the world's wildlife is in our hands. We have the power to make a difference by reducing our carbon footprint, protecting forest ecosystems, and educating others about the issues facing endangered animals. If we work together, we can ensure that these beautiful species survive for future generations. These species have been around for millions of years and have survived extreme conditions and dramatic climate changes. However, they may only survive another century if things change soon. Unfortunately, many are on the list because of human interference, while others are battling new diseases or natural disasters triggered by climate change. As responsible humans, we must do everything we can to save these species.