Man’s unsustainable exploitation of the Earth’s resources has had devastating consequences for its flora and fauna.
The red list produced by the International Conservation Union (IUCN) puts extinct and endangered species into five different categories, depending on the probability of their extinction.
Here, we have listed 10 animals that are now animals dangerously close to disappearing altogether.
10. Sea Turtle
Distribution: Atlantic, Pacific.
Estimated population: 35,860 breeding females.
The sea turtle, which is the world’s largest turtle (it can grow up to two meters long), is now found only in temperate and tropical oceans. It owes its name to the fact that, unlike other turtles, it lacks leg armor and instead has a thick leathery skin reinforced with smaller bone plates. Its population has decreased significantly because of pollution and also because they accidentally entangle themselves in fishing nets.
9. Hawksbill Turtle
Distribution: Tropical reefs in the Indian Ocean, Pacific, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Estimated population: 22,900 breeding females.
Belonging to the sea turtle family, the Hawksbill turtle is now dangerously close to extinction. It is illegally hunted for its meat and eggs, as well as its beautiful shell, which is used for making jewelry.
8. Sumatran Elephant
Distribution: Malacca Peninsula.
Estimated population: 2400-2800.
The Sumatran elephant is the smallest subspecies of the Asian elephant, and its population has declined by an incredible 85 percent over the past 75 years. The decline is largely due to illegal hunting and extensive deforestation because of which the elephants have lost most of their natural habitat.
7. Mountain Gorilla
Distribution: The Virunga Mountains (Rwanda, Uganda) and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda).
Estimated population: 880.
Unlike other gorilla species, mountain gorillas live mainly on the ground and feed mostly on leaves. They are described as peaceful, gentle, and social animals that live in large groups. Students tend to pick this animal as a subject matter of different assignments, and you can get a relevant dissertation on Mountain Gorilla on buy-cheapessay.com/dissertation-writing-services. Wars, aggressive hunting, and destruction of the animals’ natural habitat have driven them to to the brink of extinction. After extensive efforts aimed at preserving their population, their number has increased by about 200 individuals since 1989.
6. Sumatran Tiger
Estimated population: Less than 400 individuals.
The Sumatran tiger lives only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is the smallest species of the tiger’s three subspecies, and its natural habitat is becoming smaller due to extensive deforestation. They are also one of the most desirable targets for poachers who hunt them for their skin and bones. By prohibiting hunting and establishing protected tiger reserves, conservationists are trying to save the remaining population of Sumatran tigers.
5. White-Headed Langur
Distribution: Cat Ba Island (Vietnam) and Guanxi (China).
Estimated population: 60-70 individuals.
White-headed langurs are among the rarest animals on Earth. With a rapidly shrinking population of only around 70 specimens, they are extremely close to extinction. The monkeys live in flocks in caves or on treetops. Today, langurs live protected in two different places where hunting is illegal. They are one of the few species on Earth that are almost completely extinct today.
4. Cross River Gorilla
Distribution: Rainforests on the Nigeria-Cameroon border.
Estimated population: 250-300 in the wild, 115 in Nigeria’s Cross River National Park.
The Cross River gorilla is a subspecies of western lowland gorillas that have a narrower jaw and shorter head. The greatest threat to the Cross River gorilla today is mainly hunting and destruction of its habitats. To protect the remaining population, the Cameroonian government established the Takamanda National Park in 2008.
Distribution: Northern part of the California Gulf.
Estimated population: Fewer than 200 individuals.
The Vaquita is a very rare endemic species, which means that it only exists within a certain area. It is considered to be the most endangered of all marine mammals. Being 150cm long and weighing up to 50kg, the Vaquita is the smallest of all whales. Due to intensive fishing both of the whales and their food, their population has decreased dramatically in recent years. The whales also get caught in fishing nets and die due to pollution. Various environmental and animal rights organizations are now working hard to save the Vaquita from becoming totally extinct.
2. Javan Rhinoceros
Distribution: Ujung Kulon National Park in southwestern Java.
Estimated population: Only 40 individuals live in the Ujung Kulon National Park.
The Javan rhinoceros is about the same size as the Indian one, but it has no horns on its forehead. In spite of its name, the rhino was formerly spread across Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. The Javan Rhino is facing extinction today due to poaching and illegal trafficking of its horns, which are used for making medications in some countries.
1. Amur Leopard
Distribution: Northeast China, eastern Russia, and North Korea.
Estimated population: 12-26 individuals in the wild, around 300 in captivity.
The Amur leopard is a subspecies of the regular leopard. Still, it is slightly bigger and has larger and sparser spots. During the 19th century, it inhabited vast areas from Khabarovsk in the north to Beijing in the south. Poaching, environmental degradation, and lack of food have caused this magnificent cat to face extinction. It is being hunted mainly for its skin and bones, which are used for making traditional Asian medicines. In North Korea, the animals are now fully protected, and efforts are now underway to help two groups of Amur leopards reproduce in captivity.