Animals classified as endangered are those whose extinction is threatened by a number of factors. Threats to the environment include things like diseases, habitat loss, poaching, and climate change. When a species is listed as endangered, it signifies that it has a serious chance of going extinct soon and that immediate action is required to preserve and protect it.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains a list of threatened species, known as the “Red List,” which classifies species as either “critically endangered,” “endangered,” “vulnerable,” “near threatened,” or “least concern.” The Red List is used to identify and prioritize conservation efforts and to provide information to governments, NGOs, and the general public about the status of species.
Top 10 List of Most Endangered Animals
Here is a list of the top 10 most endangered animals, according to the IUCN Red List:
Only the Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia, is home to the severely endangered Javan Rhinoceros. It is one of the rarest mammals in the world, with fewer than 70 individuals thought to still exist. A single-horned rhinoceros known as the Javan Rhino, it has an unusual skin pattern of sagging folds and wrinkles. It prefers wallows and mudholes and is adapted to surviving in rainforests.
Just a small portion of the Gulf of California is home to the highly endangered Vaquita porpoise species. It is one of the most endangered species of cetacean and is also the tiniest and rarest. The vaquita is a cautious and elusive creature that is hardly observed by people.
Bycatch, or the unintentional capture of species that are not intended to be caught, is the primary threat to the vaquita. Many people have perished as a result of the Vaquita being frequently ensnared in fish-catching gillnets. Pollution and habitat loss are further dangers to the vaquita. Less than 30 are thought to still exist in the Vaquita population, which has drastically decreased in recent years.
In the mountains of central Africa, notably in the nations of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, lives a critically endangered species of gorilla called the mountain gorilla. There are thought to be less than 1,000 people left. Due to a number of challenges, such as habitat loss and degradation, poaching, and sickness, mountain gorillas are at risk. The primary threat to mountain gorillas is the destruction of their habitat, as the forests in which they dwell are being cleared for agriculture, logging, and the production of charcoal.
The Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) is a critically endangered species of antelope that is found only in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos. It is also known as the “Asian Unicorn” due to its rarity and elusiveness. The Saola was only discovered in 1992 and is one of the most recently discovered large mammals.
Small and slim with long, straight horns, the Saola is an antelope. Its face, neck, and legs are whitely marked, and its coat is dark brown. The Saola inhabits forested places and has evolved to survive in rough, rocky terrain. Due to logging, cultivation, and human development, the Saola’s habitat is being lost and degraded, posing a threat to the species.
In northeastern China and the Russian Far East, there is a critically endangered species of leopard called the Amur Leopard. It is also referred to as the Manchurian Leopard or the Far Eastern Leopard. The Amur Leopard, which is distinguished by its thick, reddish-brown coat, has adapted to life in the area’s temperate woodlands. Concerns for the Amur Leopard include habitat loss, poaching, and conflicts with humans. As a result of these threats, the leopard faces a high risk of extinction. One of the rarest big cats in the world, it is thought that there are fewer than 70 individuals left in the wild.
On the island of Borneo, which is shared by Indonesia and Malaysia, live an endangered species of orangutan known as the Bornean Orangutan. It is a big monkey with reddish-brown hair and an unusual face with prominent cheek pads. Due to habitat loss brought on by the destruction of Borneo’s forests for logging, palm oil farming, and other uses, the Bornean orangutan is now considered to be endangered. Poaching is a hazard to the orangutan as well because it is occasionally killed for its flesh or caught and sold as a pet. There are an estimated 14,000 Bornean Orangutans remaining in the wild.
On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, there is an endangered species of elephant known as the Sumatran Elephant. The modest size, rounded ears, and relatively long tail make it the smallest species of the Asian elephant. Due to the conversion of forests into agricultural land and palm oil plantations, the Sumatran Elephant’s habitat is at risk. Poaching for its ivory, which has a high black market value, is another threat to it. Less than 2,500 people are thought to be in the population of the Sumatran Elephant.
Located exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, the Sumatran tiger is a subspecies of the tiger. Due to habitat degradation, poaching, and human-tiger conflict, it is one of the smaller tiger subspecies and is extremely vulnerable. More than 400 Sumatran tigers are thought to be the last wild animals as of 2021. As a result of increased logging, agriculture, and other human activities, the habitat of Sumatran tigers is being destroyed, which is their major threat. The tigers are squeezed into ever-tinier spaces as the trees are destroyed, which makes it harder for them to locate food and partners.
Northeastern China and the Russian Far East are home to the critically endangered Siberian Tiger, also referred to as the Amur Tiger. It is the biggest subspecies of tiger, distinguished by its striking white belly and dense hair.
Due to a number of issues, including habitat degradation, poaching, and conflict with people, the Siberian Tiger is now considered to be endangered. The tiger is in danger of being killed by poachers who want to sell its skin, bones, and other body parts since its habitat has been severely harvested for agriculture. In addition, the tiger occasionally preys on cattle, which can provoke human conflict.
The eastern and central parts of Africa are home to a species of rhinoceros known as the black rhino or Diceros bicornis. These animals are distinguished by their two horns, which are utilized for both protection and foraging, and by their striking black or dark grey skin.
Regrettably, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the black rhino as severely endangered. This indicates that there is a very high likelihood that the species will go extinct soon. The Black Rhino is in danger for a number of reasons, including habitat degradation, poaching, and human conflict.
Causes of Endangerment
There are several causes of endangerment that contribute to the decline of species around the world. Some of the main causes of endangerment include:
The destruction of animals’ natural habitats is one of the largest challenges to them. Deforestation increased agricultural production, urbanisation, and mining are a few causes of this. The resources that animals need to survive, such as food, shelter, and breeding grounds, can be lost when natural habitats are destroyed or altered.
Numerous species are finding it difficult to adjust to the changing climate. As a result, suitable habitats may disappear, food and water supplies may alter, and predator exposure may rise.
Poaching and Over-hunting
Over-hunting and poaching have led to the extinction of several species. When an animal is hunted for its flesh, skin, or other body parts—which are frequently in high demand on the black market—this is possible.
The conflict between humans and other people can also put certain animals in danger. Conflicts over natural resources like land or water as well as those that develop when certain species are seen as a danger to people or their property might fall under this category.
Many species, including those that dwell in the air, water, and land, can be harmed or even eliminated by pollution. Indirect effects of pollution on species are also possible, such as habitat degradation.
When introduced into an ecosystem, non-native species can frequently out-compete native species for resources and habitat. Due to their inability to compete with the invading species, this may cause native species to decline.
Efforts to Conserve and Protect Endangered Species
There are many efforts underway to conserve and protect endangered species around the world. Some of the main efforts to protect endangered species include:
Establishing protected areas
National parks and wildlife reserves are examples of protected places that are set aside, particularly for the conservation of animals and their habitats. Without the risk of exploitation or development by humans, these places offer a secure environment for species to thrive and reproduce.
Captive breeding and reintroduction programs
Through captive breeding and reintroduction projects, certain governments and conservation organisations are striving to rescue endangered species. These initiatives entail raising species in captivity, recovering their numbers, and then releasing them back into the wild.
Restoring an area to its natural form through habitat restoration can aid in the recovery of endangered species. This can entail a range of actions, including the elimination of invasive species, the planting of native plants, and the restoration of natural environments.
Education and awareness campaigns
A good method to support conservation efforts is to raise public awareness of the value of protecting endangered species. This could entail informing people about the value of safeguarding species and letting them know what they can do to help protect endangered species in their local neighbourhoods.
Implementing conservation laws and regulations
Governments all across the world have put laws and rules into place with the intention of protecting endangered species. These regulations may forbid hunting, poaching, or the sale of endangered animals. They may also impose penalties on violators.