Due to destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution many species are on the verge of extinction. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has created a ‘red list’ of over 82,000 endangered species. Almost a third of that list has the possibility of becoming extinct very soon.
There are only 3 northern white rhinos left on earth. The 3 adults rhinos, 2 females and 1 male, are under 24-hour armed guard watch at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. In 1960, there were over 2,000 white rhinos, now, mainly due to poachers, only the 3 remain. The male has already had his tusk removed so he is less valuable to poachers. Unfortunately, attempts to encourage breeding among the trio have been unsuccessful.
Many of you may not have heard of the Pangolin, which may be the main reason why this is animal is endangered. There are not many efforts to help this creature. The animal survives on ants, and is relatively harmless. However, it’s meat is prized in Asia. Nonetheless, famed naturalist, Sir David Attenborough has said the pangolins would be among the 10 animals he would include on his own Noah’s Ark.
The Vaquita is the world’s smallest porpoise. Only 60 known individuals are left in the Gulf of California. That is a 92% drop since 1997.
Although there are 6 species of great apes, unfortunately, 4 out of those 6 are now critically endangered: the eastern gorilla, western gorilla, Bornean orangutan and Sumatran orangutan. Eastern gorillas are the world’s largest primates. Their population has declined by 70% in the last 20 years.
The Good News
Thankfully, many people are becoming more aware of the endangerment of many animals. For example, giant pandas have gone from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ thanks to the work of conservationists and a population increase in China. Scientists have also began using ‘back breeding’, a process of mating an animal’s closest living relatives. Scientists also say endangered or nearly extinct species can be introduced into the wild if appropriate habitats are found. However, enclosed spaces and wild life preserves are not enough, humans must find a way to co-exist wth all animals.