Every year, new animals populate the endangered species list. In honor of Endangered Species Day on May 16th, we recognize this year’s list and hope for a future for each of them.
While some animals have been on the list for quite some time, others are new to the ranks, while others (like the hot button honey bee) are currently being petitioned to be added. Check out our roundup of ten endangered species:
1. AMUR LEOPARD
There are only 30 known Amur Leopards currently alive, landing them on the critically endangered list. Amur Leopards are sadly poached, because their beautiful coats are in high demand. World Wildlife tells us more about this awesome animal: “People usually think of leopards in the savannas of Africa but in the Russian Far East, a rare subspecies has adapted to life in the temperate forests that make up the northern-most part of the species’ range. Similar to other leopards, the Amur leopard can run at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. This incredible animal has been reported to leap more than 19 feet horizontally and up to 10 feet vertically.”
2. Black Rhino
The Black Rhino has a current population of about 5,000 and is critically endangered in its home of coastal South Africa. World Wildlife explains, “European hunters are responsible for the early decline of black rhino populations. It was not uncommon for five or six rhinos to be killed in a day for food or simply for amusement. European settlers that arrived in Africa in the early 20th century to colonize and establish farms and plantations continued this senseless slaughter. Most people regarded rhinos as vermin and exterminated them at all costs.”
3. Cross River Gorilla
The are currently between 200 to 300 Cross River Gorillas living in the Congo Basin. “This subspecies of the western gorilla is very similar in appearance to the more numerous western lowland gorilla, but subtle differences can be found in the skull and tooth dimensions,” writes World Wildlife. “Cross River gorillas live in a region populated by many humans who have encroached upon the gorilla’s territory—clearing forests for timber and to create fields for agriculture and livestock. Poaching occurs in the forests as well, and the loss of even a few of these gorillas has a detrimental effect on such a small population.”
4. Hawksbill Turtle
This gorgeous turtle, which resides in coastal East Africa, is named for its pointed and narrow beak. The distinctive pattern on their shells unfortunately puts them in danger, as it is sought out by hunters and commonly sold as “tortoiseshell” in markets.
Population… unknown. In fact, little is known about this animal often called the Asian unicorn. According to World Wildlife, “None exist in captivity and this rarely-seen mammal is already critically endangered. Scientists have categorically documented saola in the wild on only four occasions to date. The saola was discovered in May 1992 during a joint survey carried out by the Ministry of Forestry of Vietnam and WWF in north-central Vietnam. The team found a skull with unusual long, straight horns in a hunter’s home and knew it was something extraordinary. The find proved to be the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years and one of the most spectacular zoological discoveries of the 20th century.”
Five more critically endangered species – click to see their profile pages!
- Take action by signing these Care2 petitions to help other endangered species.
- Check out another top ten list at All About Wildlife.
In the comments below, tell us your thoughts on the endangered species list, what we can do to help them and how you’re getting involved.