Animals are an important part of our planet. They also live all over the world around us. Each animal has its own role on the planet and allows for the cycle of life on earth to continue. That is why it is so important to learn about the animals around us.
Unfortunately, as time passes and the environment changes, some animals have begun to go extinct, and many different species are dying out. Of the estimated 9 million species that live on earth, over 1300 species are endangered or threatened on our planet today. An endangered species is a species that has so few animals left that they are at risk of disappearing from the earth - or going extinct.
While it is great to know about animals that exist all over the world, it is also useful to know about the animals that are in danger of dying off. In this article, you will learn about 10 of the most endangered animals on earth today and why this is important.
What Are the Most Endangered Animals?
1. Amur Leopard
Amur leopards are both beautiful and powerful animals. These animals live in the forests of Russia. They can run as fast as 37 miles per hour, jump up to 10 feet high, and live up to 15 years in the wild. These animals have spotted fur - which is why they are going extinct. The spotted pattern is very beautiful, which causes many hunters to hunt the animals. Amur leopards are very rare because of this.
African forest elephants are native to Central Africa and typically inhabit dense rainforests. They are also known to live in savannas and shrubland – so they can access leaves, grasses, fruit, and seeds to eat. They are family animals and will live in groups of up to 20.
These animals are hunted for their ivory tusks and are losing their habitats. The number of elephants left is low and still decreasing.
Black rhinos are one of two African rhino species (the other being the white rhino), and it is the smaller of the two species. Black rhinos are native to Coastal East Africa and live in desert and shrubland habitats. They eat leaves from shrubs and bushes which grow within the hot habitats. Poachers hunt these animals for their horns (of which they have up to 3). They have also become rare as the hot temperature has caused plants to die faster. Although these animals are critically endangered, their numbers are beginning to grow again!
Eastern lowland gorillas are a type of gorilla in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They live in the forests and are herbivores (they only eat plants). These animals are large and have a stocky frame. The eastern lowland gorillas are going extinct due to both habitat loss and habitat breakdown. They are losing space to live, and the water/plants in the area are dying. The number of adult gorillas is currently around 2800, but their populations are still declining.
There are two endangered orangutan species: Bornean and Sumatran. These orangutans live primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia in lowland forested areas. They use the trees for water collection, to get food (usually they will eat wild fruits), and to make nests.
Currently, these animals are one of the top 10 most endangered animals. This is because of habitat loss and habitat decline (they are losing what they need to survive). The amount of adult animals alive is unknown, but the population is still decreasing.
Hawksbill turtles live in tropical oceans – in terrestrial and marine habitats. They live near coral reefs and are named after the shape of their narrow, ‘hawk-like’ beaks. They eat sponges, jellyfish, and sea anemones.
These animals are critically endangered, although the number of adult animals alive is unknown, and the population is only continuing to decrease.. This is due to habitat loss (coral bleaching and the decline of coral reefs) and fishing (turtles can get caught in large fishing nets).
Sunda tigers are amazing animals that can live in a variety of habitats (forests, savannas, shrublands, grasslands, etc). These animals are powerful and admired for their beauty - mainly the orange, white, and black patterns on their body. They live primarily around Indonesia and eat a carnivorous (meat-based) diet. Today, there are fewer than 400 Sunda tigers left in the world. They are hunted for their fur and die from habitat loss. To prevent total extinction, these animals are protected under strict law enforcement.
Saolas are animals that are rare to see - none live in captivity. They were discovered in 1992. Due to this, they are often referred to as the ‘Asian unicorn.’ They are native to Vietnam and live in forests in terrestrial habitats. They are rarely seen and are critically endangered. The current population is unknown, but ranges from about few hundred at a maximum to possibly few dozen at a minimum.
Vaquitas are very rare water mammals - the rarest in the world! They can be identified by dark rings around their eyes and patches on their lips. Typically they are different shades of gray. They live in marine environments near Mexico. There are currently only 18 adult vaquita alive, and this number is decreasing. This is due to habitat loss and fishing. They are very close to extinction.
Yangtze finless porpoises are very intelligent animals. They live in inland waters – mainly in the Yangtze River in Asia. These animals are a type of narrow-ridged finless porpoise.
Currently, the total number of adult Yangtze finless porpoises alive is unknown, but the number is declining due to climate change and habitat loss.
Why Does This Matter?
Many of our actions will change the lives of all animals around us and the world. It is important to know what is happening to these animals and how you can help. Learning more about these animals can help you learn to both save them and teach you more about the world around you.
There are so many different types of animals - over 9 million - that you can learn about. Both endangered animals and common animals have a lot to offer.
At Ivy Camps, your child will have the opportunity to explore these animals and more in the Animals of the Past & Present camp. You will be able to learn more about animals around the world, their impact on us, our impact on them, and so much more!