There are many endangered species in the world, some of which even fall into the category of critically endangered.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature defines critically endangered species as having an “extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.” In other words, species deemed critically endangered are on the brink of extinction unless humans take preventive measures.
While there are too many species on the most endangered list to name, here are twenty-five that need our attention.
25.) Snow Leopard
If we want to save this graceful yet powerful animal, we need to act fast.
While the wild snow leopard is still present in 12 countries in Central Asia, we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. They are in constant danger as herders kill them to prevent them from getting close to their livestock. This caused a significant decrease in the population over time.
24.) African Wild Dog
African wild dogs were featured in many of our childhood’s cartoons, usually as opportunistic evil predators. While this description fits their hunting style, they are still endangered species that we need to protect.
They live in southern Africa and live in the desert, forest, and grassland. Their endangerment is due to accidental and targeted killings by humans, viral diseases, and habitat loss.
There are so many endangered species of gorillas that the situation is more problematic than we had thought.
The western lowland gorilla, cross river gorilla, and eastern lowland gorilla all are critically endangered while the mountain gorilla is endangered. All these species have one thing in common: their endangerment is linked to human activity. From habitat loss to poaching, humans are to blame for a significant percentage of these animals dying.
22.) Pangasid Catfish
Mammals aren’t the only endangered species on the planet. Some fish also saw their populations decreasing in the last decades. The pangasid catfish is one of them.
The threat that is facing these animals is overfishing. They are used to accompany religious ceremonies and rites, and can even be sold as aquarium fish.
21.) Silky Sifaka
The silky sifaka does justice to its name! This beautiful creature is a large lemur characterized by long, silky, white fur.
Illegal logging of precious hardwoods (like rosewood and ebony) caused the silky sifaka to lose its natural habitat. It has been featured in The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates and has been on the list five times since 2000.
This beautiful antelope lives around the border between Kenya and Somalia. Scientists warned that “the loss of the hirola would be the first extinction of a mammalian genus on mainland Africa in modern human history.”
The current population is about 300 to 500 individuals, but since there are none in captivity, the wild population will continue to decline if humans don’t take action to protect the hirolas.
19.) Sea Turtle
How many pictures and videos of sea turtles strangled in plastic have we seen in the last years? There are seven different species of sea turtles, and nearly all of them are endangered.
Sea turtles already have a hard time reaching adulthood, as young turtles are extremely vulnerable. Human activity tipped the scales against the survival of these species. People hunt them for their meat, skin, shells, and even eggs.
18.) Araripe Manakin
This outstanding bird kept his secret for a long time, as it was discovered in 1996. It was already a rare bird when it was discovered, with less than 50 individuals in Brazil in 2000.
With further inspection and efforts, especially with Sir David Attenborough, there are now approximately 500 pairs of the araripe manakin in the wild. This is one of the instances where humans did an excellent job helping this species thrive!
No matter how tough the pangolin is, it couldn’t resist the threat of humans. Famous for its scales, it has been hunted so much that all its eight species are now either vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered.
Their scales can reach the price of $3,000/kg in the black market, which is why these animals are quickly going extinct.
16.) Bluefin Tuna
Over the 40 last years, the population of the Bluefin Tuna has considerably dropped. It decreased by 72% in the Eastern Atlantic and 82% in the West.
As the largest tuna in the ocean, they are overfished to meet the growing demands of the market. This also led to the overfarming of the bluefin, as they are taken from their natural habitat before they’re old enough to reproduce.
15.) Irrawaddy Dolphin
With just 92 individuals estimated to exist, the Irrawaddy dolphin quickly made its way to the endangered species list.
Saving the Irrawady dolphins is crucial in many ways. It would help preserve the ecosystem of the Mekong River and help the communities involved in dolphin-watching eco-tourism in the area.
14.) Roloway Guenon
You can recognize the roloway guenon in the blink of an eye. With a black and white fur and a distinguishable beard, this animal has one royal style!
It is endangered because of habitat loss and hunting for the bushmeat trade.
Whales have captivated us with their unique songs. They have enchanted us with their mythical aura, and it’s time we do our best to save them.
Whales are crucial to the balance of the marine environment. Six out of thirteen great whales are endangered due to commercial whaling, collision with ships, or entanglement in fishing gear.
A good note in the list? The efforts of humans to save the tiger population is on the rise after a century of decline. While there are still some places where efforts are still to be made, such as in Southeast Asia, but overall, we’re hopeful.
Some of the endangered tiger species include the Malayan tiger, south China tiger, Sumatran tiger, and the Amur tiger.
Meet the vaquita, the world’s rarest marine animal. Discovered in 1958, many have said that it would be extinct by 2018.
The cause? Overfishing and entanglement in fishnets.
10.) Sumatran Elephant
The forest ecosystem thrives when the Sumatran elephant lives in the area.
However, as 70% of their habitat has been destroyed in the last generation, both the Sumatra elephant and its ecosystem are now in danger.
Did you know that orangutan means “man fo the forest”? As they are constantly hanging in tree branches and help the dispersal of seeds in forests, we can understand where the name comes from.
They are critically endangered due to hunting and illegal wildlife trade, in addition to deforestation and habitat loss.
Despite being our closest cousins, humans didn’t spare chimpanzees. These fascinating mammals have already completely gone extinct in four countries and are endangered in the other areas where they live.
They particularly fall victims to illegal wildlife trade and some diseases, like the Ebola epidemic.
7.) Madagascar Pochard
As one of the rarest diving ducks, scientists concluded the extinction of the Madagascar pochard in the late 1900s, only to rediscover it in 2006.
It is facing the same threat as before, though, as it is still on the critically endangered list. The reason behind it is the introduction of numerous fishes in the lakes of Madagascar where the bird lives. This damaged the nesting sites and negatively impacted the ecosystem.
6.) Amur Leopard
The Amur leopard is now officially classified as a critically endangered species with a population of more than 84 individuals.
They are a rare species that has adapted to life in temperature forests. However, their numbers decreased due to prey scarcity and illegal wildlife trade.
Despite being discovered as recently as May 1992, the saola is already on the critically endangered list. Also sometimes called the Asian unicorn because it’s so rare, the saola is a relative of the goat and cow and native to the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos.
Hunters are a huge threat to this species because hunters often accidentally strike them while in pursuit of other prey in the area. Agricultural changes and infrastructure development along the Laos/Vietnam border are also enormous threats to the saola population.
4.) Seychelles Sheath-Tailed Bat
Native to Seychelles, an archipelago of small islands in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar, the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat is nearing extinction.
With a population of less than 100, this bat is already extinct on several of the islands in the Seychelles, with Mahe and Silhouette being the only islands where these species remain. Experts believe habitat destruction along with invasive species is the cause of the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat’s diminishing population.
3.) Red River Giant Softshell Turtle
Not only is the Red River giant softshell turtle one of the largest turtles around, but it is also the rarest and most endangered of the species. Native to China and Vietnam, there are only four of these turtles in existence.
One is in Hoan Kiem Lake, located in downtown Hanoi in Vietnam. The symbolism of this turtle is quite strong: citizens of Vietnam consider it as their country’s independence symbol and call it Kim Qui, also known as the Golden Turtle God. The remaining Red River giant softshell turtles live in zoos. Both hunting and destruction of the turtle’s natural habitat have caused the near-demise of this species.
2.) Liben Lark
It is becoming increasingly possible that the Liben lark, found only in the plains of southern Ethiopia, may become Africa’s first on-record native bird extinction.
With a population of fewer than 250, this bird’s dwindling population is due, in large part, to the area’s agricultural expansion, which has severely degraded the bird’s habitat. In just two years, between 2007 and 2009, the Liben lark’s population dropped by a drastic 40 percent. If this continues, scientists estimate the bird’s extinction will be within two to three years.
1.) Javan Rhino
Out of the five species of rhino, the Javan rhino is the most threatened. Once prominent throughout Southeast Asia, this large mammal now only lives in Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park, where there are roughly only 35 still living.
The Javan rhino has already become extinct in Vietnam. The country’s last Javan rhino was poached in 2010. Despite being legally protected, the Javan rhino is still at risk. Used in traditional Asian medicine, some believe — without scientific basis — that its horn can cure various ailments, including cancer.
Now that you know all about these endangered species, you might be wondering: “How can I possibly help?” Learn how you can help save endangered species.