8 of the World’s Rarest Mammals (Slideshow)


With populations ranging from a few hundred to just a few dozen, these mammals are among the rarest, and most endangered, creatures on earth. Click through to discover some of the planet’s most incredible rare mammals.

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1. Mediterranean Monk Seal

Estimated Population: Fewer than 600

Once spotted on open beaches across the Mediterranean, these monk seals now call undersea caves their home. Their change in habitat developed as a response to the cave’s inaccessibility by humans — though they are a far more dangerous for newborn pups. [Petition: Expand Protection for Monk Seals]

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2. Greater Bamboo Lemur

Estimated Population: 130

Though now found only in Southeastern Madagascar, the sociable Greater Bamboo Lemur was once found all across the African island. Typically weighing about 5 pounds, these lemurs consume enough cyanide in a day through bamboo shoots to kill a human.

Also Check Out: The World’s 6 Most Endangered Animal Habitats

3. Przewalski’s Horse

Estimated Population: 300 in the wild

The only wild horse species still alive today, Przewalski’s horses have never been domesticated. Luckily, breeding programs in the horse’s native Mongolia and China have been successful.

Also Check Out: 9 Top Threatened Species

4. Cross River Gorilla

Estimated Population: 280

Researchers though the Cross River Gorilla became extinct in the 1980s. Though they are quite shy creatures, in 2009, a camera crew captured the first professional video of the gorillas in Cameroon.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

5. South China Tiger

Estimated Population: 72 in captivity

Though there are South China Tigers in captivity, scientists have not directly observed them in the wild in decades, and could very well be extinct.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

6. Javan Rhinoceros

Estimated Population: As Few as 40

Though there are about 40 in a national park in Indonesia, the Javan rhino became extinct in Vietnam in October 2011.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

7. Saola

Estimated Population: Unknown

Scientists first identified the Saola in 1992 after discovering remains. Scientists have never seen a Saola in the wild, and all that have been in capitivity have died.

See Also: 6 Species Facing Extinction Without Protection

8. Amur Leopard

Estimated Population: 20-25 in the wild, 176 in captivity

Native to the Russia, North Korea, South Korea, and China, the Amur leopard wild population has been threatened by deforestation, poaching, development and inbreeding.

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Kathy G.
Kathy G.1 years ago

Please pick an endangered species and pledge some financial support. One place to do that is www.wildnet.org

Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

Thanks for sharing

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

All of them are so beautiful!!!

LMj Sunshine

Heartbreaking info, good pics.

LMj Sunshine

Heartbreaking info, good pics.

Chee Siong Tan
Chee Siong Tan3 years ago

Who Knows What Other Species Are There Yet To Be Discovered. Protect Them And Their Natural Habitat Now For Our Future Generations To See.

Zazgyva A.
Zazgyva A.3 years ago

thank you, great

Benoit W.
Benoit W.3 years ago

WWF annouce not long ago that number of armur leopard double in China

Loo Samantha
Loo sam3 years ago


Katja S.
Katja S.3 years ago

So sad.
I love big cats, they are my favourite animals. The Iberian Lynx should be on here too. An estimated 80 in the wild (120 roughly in total, including captives). The most critically endangered cat and so beautiful. They are endangered because of hunting, persecution from locals, and habitat destruction, which has left their population so fragmented that they rarely meet, let alone breed. Very difficult to get their numbers back up because they are very slow breeders, breeding once every two to three years, and are very territorial so huge amounts of land are needed per cat. They don't do well in captivity, and it is estimated that they will become extinct in the near future. So sad because they are such wonderful animals.