It is fascinating how many different species of animals live in this world. Some of them are inhabitants of the sea; others feel glide through the air. Of course, we cannot forget the land animals either. Our planet was meant to be a harmonious place for everyone to find their peace. However, even the most beautiful ecosystems have certain flaws. These flaws are the reason why more animals are dying out every year and going extinct. At the moment, there are still 8.7 million species left on our planet.
Humans are responsible for many animals becoming endangered today. Somehow, we decided that we rule nature and can do anything we want with the Earth’s creatures. Many older species are having trouble adapting and adjusting towards a new climate and living conditions.
Some animals are fighting hard for survival in our fast-paced world. You will be surprised that even the most popular and iconic animal species are not safe. We cannot save them all, of course, but we can do our best to help the ones in need. After all, it was us who destroyed them. So, after reading this list, make sure to think about your actions next time you do something cruel against nature. All of our efforts are needed to save those unfortunate animals!
The axolotl is one of the most unbelievable animals in the world. I mean, look at this cute creature! It surely looks like axolotls do not belong on Earth. They remind me of those aliens from a Steven Spielberg movie, and I would not be surprised at all if axolotls are actually spies from another Galaxy. All jokes aside, axolotls are facing one big problem nowadays – the pollution is destroying their habitat. They only live around the Xochimilco Lake in Mexico, and people are dumping more and more sewage in the lake every year. On top of that, axolotls are tiny, and bigger fish eat them as a delicacy. All those factors add up to the fact that we might lose these funny aliens in the near future. I once saw an axolotl in real life, and believe me; it was impossible not to fall in love. So, when will we start fixing the problems instead of creating new ones?
14. Blue Whale
Oh yes, Moby Dick is also in danger. There was a time when around 200,000 blue whales were swimming all over the world. However, times have changed, and biologists estimate that there are only 1,500 to 2,500 blue whales left as of today. It is devastating to see that the world’s largest animals are slowly dying out. What is the main reason? Well, a blue whale can weigh as much as 150 tons, and that means a lot of meat, folks. Yup, whalers hunted down every single blue whale they could find. In 1700’s blue whales were also used in the production of clothes, oil, and various tools.
Today, when the numbers of blue whales are so low, many countries signed an agreement to stop the whalers. However, some countries opted out of this agreement and let their hunters continue to hunt these majestic creatures. So, the hunting of blue whales is still a problem in many countries, and whalers don’t care about the consequences of their actions.
You might have never heard about pangolins as it is not as popular as other animals on the list. However, you would be surprised how interesting this species is. In Cantonese language, pangolin means “the animal that digs through the mountain.” Scales cover all of this animal’s body. They protect pangolins from the predators. Ironically, scales are also the main reason why pangolins are so popular among the poachers – biggest predators on the planet.
Every year, the poachers hunt at least 100,00 pangolins. Actually, they are the most hunted wild animal species in the world. I bet that pangolins would be happy to get rid of this honorable status. However, as long as one pound of pangolin’s scales will be worth 170 dollars, nothing is going to change. The Chinese believe that pangolin’s scales can heal cancer, relieve palsy, and stimulate breast milk. It is sad that innocent animals have to die because their bodies have some healing powers.
12. Amur Leopard
The Amur leopard is another big cat that is critically endangered. Yup, the situation is bad. There are only 57 amur leopards left in the wild, and it is world’s rarest big cat. It means that we can lose amur leopards on any given day in the near future. Whose fault is that? Of course, humans are responsible for such a disaster.
The amur leopard’s fur is so soft and beautiful that many people pay big money for it. Naturally, it makes these animals one of the most popular animal species among the poachers. However, there are some positive things as well. Once again, when people realized that amur leopards are about to die out, they started acting upon it. The results are great so far as the population of leopards grew from 30 in 2007 to 57 as of today.
An orangutan is one of the most intelligent animals in the world. Orangutans keep surprising the scientists with their knowledge and capabilities all the time. However, even orangutans cannot learn to live without their homes. Sadly, Asians are destroying the habitat of orangutans to build plantations and farms. These animals are dying out so fast, and there are only 30,000 orangutans left in the wild today.
Humans cause this other problem as well. Orangutans are booming in the pet industry in Asia, and people want to buy one for themselves. I agree that it might be cool to have an orangutan, but we need to think about the animal first before adopting it. So, the more people love orangutans, the faster these unfortunate primates die. What can I say? Don’t ever buy an orangutan.
10. Northern Sportive Lemur
Northern sportive lemurs are my favorite animals on Earth. Is there anything people could love more than the big funny eyes of the northern sportive lemur? Sadly, the answer is yes. When people had to choose between producing charcoal in Madagascar or saving the animals, they decided that charcoal is the more profitable. Sadly, those pragmatic businesspeople, who exploited Madagascar for their needs, destroyed the habitat of northern sportive lemurs. Biologists estimate that there are only 200 lemurs left in Madagascar, and the number is decreasing rapidly. Soon enough we will only be able to see northern sportive lemurs in Madagascar (I mean the movie). It breaks my heart how irresponsible and ignorant people are towards the lives of extinct animals. After all, we are living on this planet together, and we should look after each other. I wish the capitalists and poachers would think about that before killing more innocent animals.
These enormous creatures had a very good life before the poachers figured out that an elephant’s tusk was worth a fortune. This is when the massacre began. For example, in 1930 there were about ten million African elephants in the world. By 1989, only 600,000 left. This is when elephants made it to the list of the most endangered species. Sadly, the poachers are still hunting elephants for their valuable tusks.
On the other continent, Asian elephants are facing more problems. Their population dropped from 200,000 at the beginning of 2000’s to 35,000 today. Asian elephants not only have to avoid the poachers, but they also have to run from the booming tourism. Oh yes, the next time you take a selfie riding an elephant, remember that it is nothing cool about it. In contrary, people, who choose to ride Asian elephants, contribute to the process of their extinction.
8. California Condor
The California condor is a proud bird, gliding through the mountains in California, Arizona, and Baja California, Mexico. Everyone who has visited Grand Canyon and Zion will know how beautiful those birds are. Sadly, California condors are highly endangered. There are 435 of them left in the world, and only 237 are flying free.
Many years ago, before Europeans came to North America, California condors were freely flying around the whole continent. However, Europeans hunted them down, destroyed their habitat, and even poisoned them. It lasted up until 1985 when only 22 California condors left in the world. This is when people freaked out, took those 22 birds in captivity and started breeding them.
Did you think there are plenty of tigers on the planet just because you saw a couple of them in a zoo? Well, only 3,800 wild tigers are still walking free. There are 2,600 Bengal tigers left. The rest 1,200 are Siberian, Indochinese, Malay, and Sumatran tiger subspecies. So yeah, Bengal tigers might still live to see how the world changes in upcoming years, but other subspecies are probably not going to make it.
There are plenty of charity organizations working to help tigers. People don’t want to see those beautiful cats die out anytime soon, but it might be a little too late already. It hurts to think that in the 20th century we still had 100,000 tigers in the wild in Asia. What happened? Well, people destroyed the habitat areas of these mighty cats. Also, people are still hunting tigers for their expensive body parts. It is illegal of course, but tell it to the ruthless poachers.
6. Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
The ivory-billed woodpecker is a great mystery to any ornithologist and birdwatcher. No one has photographed the ivory-billed woodpecker since the 30’s, and ornithologists in the southeastern United States, the home of the “Lord God bird,” have two different opinions about these birds. Half of them believe that ivory-billed woodpeckers are long gone, while the other half claims that the world’s biggest woodpeckers are still living somewhere in the forest. Only one thing is for sure – ivory-billed woodpeckers hated when people from the logging industry invaded the forest in the 19th century and destroyed their home. In 1938, there were only 20 of these woodpeckers left in the world. I am still confused how people, with all the fancy equipment, cannot find out what happened to ivory-billed woodpeckers.
5. Giant Panda
The giant panda is one of the most amazing animals in the world. I mean, who could not love this fluffy and cute animal? And yet, giant pandas are critically endangered. This time, however, people are doing it all to save those lovely creatures. Oh yes, the world could not survive such a loss.
So, there are close to 2,000 giant pandas in the world as of today. It is not much, but it is still better than the 1,000 we had in the late 70’s. Does it mean that the population of giant pandas will rise and the animals will thrive again? It is hard to say, but people, working with giant pandas, are positive about it. There is one tricky thing, though. Counting giant pandas is a tougher task than you’d expect. There are special teams of 40 people, that walk in the jungle, looking for giant panda’s poop. Apparently, this is the only way to tell the number of giant pandas. So, we landed on the moon, but we still count pandas by the number of poop droppings found in the wild?
Kakapo parrots are one of the world’s rarest birds. As of today, there are only 157 of them, flying in three islands in the territory of New Zealand. There are a couple of positive things, though. First, kakapo parrots are living in the islands without any predators, including human beings. That ensures the safety of their habitat and lives. However, kakapos are having a lot of problems when it comes to breeding. They do it only once every two to four years, and the process is pretty complicated. For example, after breeding in 2014, only six baby parrots survived. That is not enough to keep kakapos from the extinction. That said, things are moving towards the right direction. In 1970, there were only 18 kakapos left, and all of them were males. How did they survive? Well, a couple of females appeared out of nowhere in 1977, and since then, the number of kakapo parrots is slowly increasing.
3. Galápagos Penguin
It is super unusual to see a penguin on a tropical island. However, if you are ever in the Galápagos, you will be able to enjoy a company of beautiful Galápagos penguins. Well, only if they won’t die out before that time. Sadly, it is a possible scenario. At the moment, there are only a little over 1,000 of Galápagos penguins left in the world, and this number is decreasing every day. Why so? Like always, the main reason is people. The ocean is getting more polluted every day, with all the oil and toxic waste impacting their environment. Galápagos penguins do not like this at all. There are so many cases when these poor penguins had to die because they caught a disease from the pollution. On top of that, El Niño is not helping this at all. During the period of El Niño all the fish in this region, which Galápagos penguins eat, just die or swim with the current to other parts of the Pacific ocean. So yeah, unfortunate penguins have to face many problems these days, and we can only wish them all the best.
The mighty rhinoceros made it on this list as well. The precious horn of the rhino is one of the most sought after commodities on the black market. Poachers are mostly responsible for the problems that rhinos are facing. Currently, two subspecies of rhino – Javan and Sumatran – are critically endangered. The Indian rhino is doing a little better but not by that much. With some help, their numbers grew during the past years, and it looks like there is a hope to save this subspecies.
I am sorry to announce this, but our closest friends, chimpanzees, are also on the list. Estimations show that there are only 170,000 to 292,000 chimpanzees left in the world, and the number is decreasing faster than your money on a Friday night in a bar. Chimpanzees are facing a lot of problems, including the loss of their habitat, various diseases, and poaching. Why would anyone hunt a chimpanzee? Well, people in Africa are crazy about bushmeat and eat these creatures. Also, many rich people just kill chimpanzees for fun. That is wrong on so many levels, especially, when everyone knows these apes are endangered. However, we can be sad as much as we want, but the fact will remain – chimpanzees, creatures with 98 percent of human genes, are slowly but steadily dying out because of careless and ignorant people.