Top 10 Endangered Species On The Verge Of Extinction In The World
Earth is home to a diversity of living creatures like humans, animals, plants, and microorganisms. Every living organism is vital for the ecological balance, including animals. Animals have helped humans since ancient times; they were used as a mode of transportation and to carry goods. There were some animals that were used even in the battles as well.
Not only this, animals serve a crucial role in the balancing of ecosystems. Herbivores maintain the ecosystem by controlling plant growth. The carnivores help the environment by keeping the population of plant-eaters in control. This interlinking and interdependence of many food chains are known as the food web.
Animals help us meet our food requirements like dairy, poultry, and meat are essential food items provided by animals. Small animals like earthworms and insects help the farmers by increasing the fertility of the soil. They are called “farmers friends.“
However, many forests have been cut down due to urbanization, leading to habitat loss for many species. Moreover, due to the ruthless behavior of humans towards animals, many species are now on the verge of extinction. While most animals are on the verge of extinction due to the activities of humans, there are climatic reasons as well for many species to go extinct.
Animals are killed for humans selfish reasons like bears are killed for their fur, elephants for their ivory tusks, snakes and alligators for their leather skin, and many more. Dumping waste from factories and industries into the water bodies affects marine life too.
However, not all humans are ruthless. Conserving animals is important, and some conservationists have realized this. Organizations like PETA and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have helped the preservation of endangered species.
Many countries have made strict laws against poaching. Many wildlife sanctuaries are built for their protection. Every year, on 3rd March, (World Wildlife Day) is celebrated as a message to send to all people worldwide to protect the animals.
People should realize that animals too, have the right to live. Without animals, we too, have no life. In this nature, every living organism is dependent on the other for its survival. This means we need animals for our survival.
Here is a list of the top 10 endangered species on the IUCN Red List that needs to be conserved before becoming extinct.
10. Sumatran Rhinoceros
Found in isolated dense forests of Malaysia, Myanmar, and Indonesia, this species is the smallest of all living rhinoceros. They have 2 horns similar to Asian rhinoceros. They have long hair with reddish-brown skin.
It is believed that Sumatran Rhino once roamed in the foothills of Eastern Himalaya in Bhutan and India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. But today, only approx. 80 Rhinos are left in the number.
Due to merciless poaching done by humans, their numbers have reduced to a large extent. They are mainly hunted for their valuable horn. As a result, they were declared extinct in Malaysia in 2015. The remaining Rhinos are being kept under guard protection by Rhino Protection Units (southern Sumatra) and Wildlife Protection Units (northern Sumatra).
9. Darwin’s Fox
The species was named after its discovery by the famous scientist Charles Darwin in 1834. But, unfortunately, Darwin’s Fox was found only in two places in Chile, the island of Chiloe and the Nahuelbuta national park.
They have dark gray fur with red outlines on the head. Furthermore, they are animals that help to maintain and preserve the ecosystem. Therefore, such animals are called “umbrella animals.”
Their estimated population is less than 1000, and they are classified as critically endangered. They are being endangered due to habitat loss and poaching carried out to a large extent.
These small, cute animals are closely related to the family of rabbits and hares. They are found in the mountains of western North America. They have small bodies with large, round ears without any tails. Furthermore, they are black and brown, which helps them to camouflage between rocks.
They have thick fur to withstand extreme cold weather in the mountains. During summers, they put on lighter fur, but still, the thickness of the fur makes the pikas overheat.
These herbivore animals are declining in large numbers due to climate change. With increasing temperatures due to global warming, pikas are suffering, due to which they are on the verge of extinction.
This animal is the only mammal to have its entire body covered with scales. The name comes from the Malaysian word ‘pengguling,’ which means roller. Pangolin will roll its body into a ball to protect itself from predators. They are also called scaly anteaters.
They are critically endangered due to large poaching practices in Asia and Africa, where they are found. They are being hunted for their meat and scales.
Their meat is considered a delicacy for some, and their scales are highly valuable in the market.
Vaquita, a member of the porpoise family, is the world’s rarest marine mammal. Found in the northern part of the Gulf of California, this shy species is greyish white with dark black patches around the eye.
With only approx. 9 Vaquita remaining, the species has been declared critically endangered. The species has been endangered due to accident deaths when they get stuck in the gill nets meant for Totoaba, which is an endangered fish that lives in the Gulf of California.
Since both look similar in size, Vaquitas get caught in the net, which has led to the rapid decline in their number.
5. Amur Leopard
Amur Leopard, also known by the name of the Korean leopard or Far East leopard, this subspecies is found in mountainous regions of Northern China and Southeastern Russia.
This magnificent species has been critically endangered, with the population being less than 30. This is the reason due to which it is one of the world’s most endangered big cats. The main reason is poaching. The merciless act of humans for their own selfish desires has led to the extinction of this species.
Not only hunting but their homelands have been destroyed for road building, industrial development, etc. But recent research has shown that the numbers have been increasing gradually due to conservation work.
4. Sumatran Orangutan
The unique name of the species has been derived from the Malaysian word ‘Man of the Forest.‘ These brilliant animals are known for their red fur and their long limbs that help them to jump from one tree branch to another.
Living in tropical rainforests, they are the frugivores or “gardeners” of the forest. They play a vital role in dispersing seeds over huge forest areas.
Due to the low reproductive rate of female Orangutans, their species are in danger. A female gives birth to one infant after 3-5 years. Thus, they are not able to recover fast from population decline.
Saola, also known as the Asian Unicorn, Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) is a newly discovered species in 1992 and is already on the verge of extinction. Found in Laos and Vietnam, this beautiful species resembles antelopes. However, the relatives of Saola include cattle and buffaloes.
They are characterized by white markings on the head and by long, curving horns that grow up to 50cm.
They are critically endangered due to poaching and are hunted for their unique horns and meat. As a result, only a few hundred of this species are left, which are found in scattered locations in the Annamites.
2. South China Tiger
South China Tiger is known by the name of Amoy, Chinese, or Xiamen Tiger; South China Tiger is considered the second smallest subspecies. That’s what makes them swift and strong to move in the dense forests.
The stripes on the body are unique to each individual, making each tiger look distinct. But they have been wiped off the surface of Earth due to hunting on large. Only 100 of them, which are intelligent and unique, are left in China and South Africa in captivity.
Measures are being taken by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to protect these endangered species by reintroducing these captive tigers into the forest once they learn how to hunt in the wild.
1. Hawksbill Turtle
These beautiful creatures are named for their unique, pointed, and narrow beaks. The beak is perfect for finding food in hard-to-reach cracks and crevices.
They are the only species of sea turtles to survive on sponges. Hawksbill turtles are found in coral reefs of major tropical and subtropical oceans.
But they are being hunted for their beautiful shell or “tortoise shell.” These shells are used by humans to make jewelry. Due to this practice, the species have come to a stage of extinction.
The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) has banned the trade of any turtle products. However, illegal hunting still continues, due to which they are on the verge of extinction.
These species need to be conserved before it’s too late. If the practice of poaching and wildlife trafficking is stopped, then only these species can survive.
We can do our part by helping these endangered species like –
- Donating money to organizations.
- Making awareness among people.
- Avoiding pesticides and insecticides in plants.
- Avoiding the illegal purchase of items made from animal skin.
- Volunteering by joining different activist groups.
These small steps can make a huge difference towards these animals and protect them from becoming extinct.