Top 10 Animals on the Brink of Extinction
There are many animals in the world on the brink of extinction, mostly due to hunting and human expansion. Endangered species are protected by law from being hunted but this does not always stop the numbers declining. We need to make the population aware of conservation efforts so we can keep these animals from becoming extinct when there are so few left in the world.
#10 Leatherback Sea Turtle
The Leatherback Turtle is the largest of all living turtles. It can be differentiated from other sea turtles due to its lack of a bony shell, instead it is covered by a skin of oily flesh. The leatherback turtle has a wide global distribution range around the world. It is not known how many are alive today but it is known that their population is on the decline. When young these turtles are very vulnerable and very few survive to adulthood. Pollution, both physical and chemical is can be fatal to these turtles.
#9 Mekong Giant Catfish
The Mekong Giant Catfish is a species of catfish in the shark catfish family native to the Mekong Basin in Southeast Asia. With record sizes the Mekong Giant Catfish currently holds the record for the worlds largest freshwater fish. This catfish is in danger of extinction due to over fishing and the decrease in the quality of the water. Fishing for this catfish in the wild is illegal but the ban seems to be ineffective. The Mekong Giant Catfish is now believed to only exist in small, isolated population in the middle of the Mekong basin.
#8 Snow Leopard
The snow leopard is native to the mountains of central Asia. Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in the cold mountains. They are smaller than most large cat species but are stocky and their fur is thick. The estimated population of the snow leopard is between 4,000 – 7,000.
#7 Sumatran Orangutan
The Sumatran orangutan is one of the two species of orangutan and is only found on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. It is estimated that about 7,300 are alive in the wild. A successful breeding program has been established in Bukit Tiga Puluh National Park.
#6 Giant Panda
The giant panda is native to south central China. The giant panda is easily recognized because of the black patches around its eye and body. The giant panda is an endangered species due to habitat destruction and the fact that they have a very low birthrate. It is estimated that there are approximately 3,000 giant pandas alive in the wild.
#5 Gee’s Golden Langur
Gee’s golden langur, also known as the golden-haired langur is a monkey found in a small region of Assam, India and in the neighboring foothills of the Black Mountains of Bhutan. There is estimated to be about 1,000 Gee’s golden langur in the wild. Thanks to a protected population in the rubber plantation in Nayakgaon, Kokrajhar district of Assam the population has increased slightly.
#4 Silky Sifaka
The silky sifaka is a large lemur restricted to a region of northeastern Madagascar. The silky sifaka is hunted throughout its range as there is no local taboo against eating this species. Habitat disturbance, such as slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging of precious woods and fuel-wood, also occurs within the protected areas where it is found. The population size is estimated to be between 100 – 1000 and there no silky sifaka have survived in captivity so there is no captive breeding program.
#3 Cross River Gorilla
The cross river gorilla is a sub species of the western gorilla. The cross river gorilla is restricted to the forested hills and mountains of the Cameroon Nigerian border region at the headwaters of the Cross River. Like other gorilla species the cross river gorilla prefers a dense forest habitat. The cross river is the most endangered of the African apes. There is estimated to be 200-300 cross river gorilla remaining in the wild.
The Vaquita is a rare species of porpoise, found in the northern part of the Gulf of California where they enjoy a habitat of shallow, murky water. The Vaquita is the most endangered cetacean in the world. There is estimated to be 150 alive today. The declining population is thought to be due to these animals becoming accidentally trapped in gillnets as well as pollution and habitat alterations. The extinction of the Vaquita will have a significant ecological impact on the Northern Gulf of California.
#1 Javan Rhinoceros
The Javan rhino belongs to the same genus as the Indian rhino and has the same distinguishing mosaic skin. It also has a small horn of round 10″ which is smaller than most other rhino species. Although the Javan rhino used to be the most widespread Asian rhino there is now only one population of about 40 know to exist in the wild and this is in a National Park on the western tip of Java. It is possibly the rarest large mammal on earth. The decline of the population is due to poaching for the animals horns which fetch a high price in China as they are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The Javan rhino do not do well in captivity and there are no known Javan rhino on exhibit at zoos today.