To choose ten most endangered animals is a tough job. For every endangered animal selected for the list, hundreds of other creatures that are in just as much danger of extinction are left out.
While our planet is blessed with such diversity of unique creatures, humans have intervened with the existence of many species and brought them at risk of extinction. Our kids will most likely not have the chance to see many of the endangered species of today’s world, they will only see photos off the internet.
Top 10 critically endangered species of animals in the world
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is native to the Russian Far East and North East China. It is classified as Critically Endangered since 1996 by IUCN. In 2007, a census counted 14-20 Amur leopards adults and 5-6 cubs alive.
Another census published in February 2015 indicate that the population has more than doubled over the past seven years. At least 57 Amur leopards now exist in Russia. However, this doesn’t take them off the critically endangered list yet. Their existence still hangs by thread.
Listed as critically endangered, Black Rhino (Diceros bicornis) population has declined by ~90% since 1960. The fast decline is happening because of european hunters that arrived in Africa in 20th century.
People that came to settle and establish farms and plantations there, considered them a threat to the society mainly because of destroying crops and exterminated them without mercy.
Cross River gorilla
Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla diehli) lives in the Congo Basin region. Because human settlements grow fast in the area, gorilla’s territory is being cleared out for timber, agriculture and livestock.
As their name indicates, mountain gorillas live high in the mountain forests of the Congo Basin. They have thicker fur compared with other apes and this allows them to survive in below freezing temperatures. Because of human interferences in the area, such as habitat destruction, hunting and war, mountain gorillas have to endure more dangerous conditions at even higher altitudes.
The Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) is very much arboreal, living in the trees of the tropical rainforests from Borneo and Sumatra. The estimated population decline of these orangutans has been well over 80% over the last 75 years. As deforestation increases, the decline continues along with it.
Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus) feeds on many different plants and deposits seeds across the land, contributing to a healthy ecosystem. They also share their habitat with other critically endangered species, such as the Sumatran tiger and orangutan and many other animals that all benefit from the elephant population.
The Sumatran Tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) population is declining as a result of illegal trade, habitat loss and fragmentation. There are less than 400 tigers living in the patches of forests on the island of Sumatra.
Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) is the most endangered of the five rhino species, with less than 50 creatures surviving in Ujung Kulon National Park from Indonesia. Excessive hunting for its horn and medicinal products has led this amazing species to the brink of extinction.
Yangtze finless porpoise
The Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaeorientalis ssp. asiaeorientalis) dolphins live in the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia and they are well known for their mischievous smile and the high level of intelligence. Their brother species that live in the same river (the Baiji dolphin) was declared extinct in 2006.
South China tiger
In the 1950s, the South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) population was estimated to number 4,000 individuals. Because of major tiger extermination campaigns along with habitat loss, the tiger population decreased to such a critical point that made scientists believe the species to be “functionally extinct”.
Even though it’s still not officially reported extinct, the South China tiger has not been sighted anywhere in the wild for more than 25 years.