Since our planet’s beginning, there have been rounds of animal extinction. The most popular of this is what happened to the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Our planet was filled with exotic, giant creatures who ruled the land for years. But no matter how powerful they were, it didn’t protect them against extinction. Since then, there have been many animal species that have become endangered and ultimately, become extinct. Many animals’ extinctions are a result of human doing. It is a sad truth, but we can do something about it as well. In this post, we will take a look at the top 10 endangered animals and discuss how we can help protect them and keep them from extinction.
There are many things humans are currently doing to put animals’ lives in risk. There are also many things humans can do to help protect these endangered animals as well. One of the biggest troubles we face in this world is the amount of pollution we put into our air and environments. It is important to know the things you are doing in your everyday life that affect our planet and the things you can do to lessen the impact you have on the Earth. You can take a deeper look into our individual effects on the planet with this course. In it, you will learn the human influence on our environment and what you can do to help improve our environment.
Even with our resources today, we are still losing animal species. In 2011, the Black Rhino was declared as an extinct species. This was due to habitat changes, illegal poaching and competing species in the rhino’s environment. Since the rhino’s habitat was in Africa, there were many ways humans had an effect on its extinction. Poaching the rhino for its horn was a major issue, with demand for it going up in the 1970s, causing mass rhino killings. Another issue is the number of wars across Africa’s landscape in the past few decades and today. This is just one example of an animal becoming extinct in our lifetimes. Others include the Eastern Cougar in 2011, the Liverpool Pigeon in 2008, the Pyrenean Ibex in 2000 and even more. Additionally, there are many animals that are endangered and at risk of becoming extinct. Here are the top 10 endangered animals.
10. Sumatran Tiger
This species of tiger inhabits the Indonesian island of Sumatara. It officially went on the endangered species list in 2008, when the population was estimated at being between 450 to 680 tigers. Not only that, but the Sumatran Tiger is the only surviving member of the group of tigers that inhabited the Sunda Islands (a group of countries that include Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia and Malaysia). The main extinction threats to the Sumatran Tiger include being forced out of its habitat as a result of palm oil plantation expansions, as well as acacia plantations, prey depletion and illegal trade.
9. Cross River Gorilla
A species of our primate relatives are in serious trouble of extinction. The Cross River Gorilla’s habitat is the hills and mountains on the Nigerian and Cambodian border. Between 1995 and 2010, the species has declined by nearly 59 percent, leaving approximately 200 to 300 in the wild. Threats like the gorilla pet trade and fragmented habitats. The most endangered of the African apes, there have been many conservation efforts made in the past 10 years to try to save the species.
This rate species of porpoise resides in the northern part of the Gulf of California. There are an estimated 100 to 300 left in the wild. The Vaquita, which is Spanish for “little cow,” is the most endangered cetacean (a mammal that lives in the ocean) in the world. Its main threat is human fishing, with many of Vaquitas getting trapped and dying in fishing nets. Pollution is also a huge threat to this species. In fact, pollution is one of the biggest damages we inflict on our planet. We pollute through automobiles, factories, waste and more. By cutting down how much you drive, waste and by recycling more, you can have less of an impact on the planet. We can’t undo the pollution that is already in our air and water, but we can help cut down on what we put out in our environment by making smart choices. If you want to learn more about the types of environmental pollution and what you can do to cut back the amount you are putting into the environment, you can read this blog, which will teach you additional tips.
7. White Headed Langur
The White Headed Langur is one of the rarest primates in Asia. Their primary habitat is the border of China and Vietnam. Its population has rapidly declined within the past three generations, going down by approximately 80 percent, leaving less than 70 White Headed Langurs in the world.
6. North Pacific Right Whale
The second cetacean on the list, the North Pacific Right Whale is a baleen whale (meaning it does not have teeth, but instead, baleen, a filter feeding system) with no more than 50 of its kind left in the world. Its habitat is the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska in the summer, with the whales migrating south for the winters. The number one threat to this species is whaling, which has been prohibited in a number of countries. Like the Vaquita, water pollution is extremely harmful to the North Pacific Right Whale, causing a good chunk of its endangerment. In addition to water pollution, global warming has severely affected the whales’ environment, further causing endangerment.
5. Javan Rhinoceros
Like its relative, the Black Rhino, the Javan Rhino, which is similar in size to the Black Rhino, is a potential extinction risk. Currently, there are as few as 40 in the wild and none of these animals in captivity. Also like the Black Rhino, the Javan Rhino is also being poached for its horn in alarming numbers. The rhino also has to suffer with loss of habitat, another factor in its endangerment.
4. Amur Leopard
The second big cat on the list, the Amur Leopard’s home is in Southeast Russia and Northern China. It is listed as “critically endangered,” with only 14-20 adults and 5-6 cubs counted in 2007. There are a number of threats to the Amur Leopard. Poaching is the main threat, with many people killing the leopards for their skin. There is also forest degradation, with human-induced fires running the leopards out of their habitats. The fires are made by rural farmers so they can improve fertility for livestock grazing, killing insects, stimulating fern growth and other factors. Additionally, development projects in the region strip away the leopard’s habitat, leaving them with nowhere to go.
3. Northern Sportive Lemur
These lemurs are the most endangered primates in the world. It is native to Madagascar, with only a small group of 18 living in Northern Madagascar. Some of the biggest threats to the Northern Sportive Lemurs are predators like boas and large birds of prey. In addition to predators, the lemurs are also threatened by human charcoal production in the region, taking away their only forest options. Last, they are also hunted for bushmeat, making survival difficult for these little creatures.
This cousin to the goat, cattle and antelope is also referred to as the “Asian Unicorn.” They inhabit the Annamite Range of Indochina. For many years, it was believed that the Saola was extinct. That belief was debunked, however, in 2013, when scientists found evidence of a living Saola, when a camera trap photographed one in the wild. In 2010, one was captured, but ended up dying in captivity. As a result of the threat of extinction, the Saola Working Group was created in order to save this species. Recently, a last-ditch effort was put in place to attempt to clone the Saola in order to save it from extinction.
1. Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
The only bird on the list, the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is the largest Woodpecker in the world, at 20 inches in length and a 30-inch wingspan. Its habitat is in the southeast forests in the United States, preferring thick, hardwood swamps with many dead and decaying trees. The bird’s numbers have declined at such a rapid rate that there is question whether or not there are any of these birds in the wild. The main threat the these birds is habitat destruction.
Learn and Understand Our Environment in Order to Help It
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A great way to learn about animals, the environment, and even ourselves, is to study biology. This natural science is the study of all living things, from animals to plants to humans. It takes these living things and studies what makes them exist, from the cells that make up our bodies to how our body processes oxygen to how plants go through photosynthesis. If you want to learn more about this natural science, we offer a course on biology 101. In it, you will learn the basics of biology, including the Scientific Method, atoms, chemistry, cells, enzymes, photosynthesis and more. Soon, you will be able to understand our planet’s living things on a more complex level, resulting in a more profound appreciation for these organisms.
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