There are over 30 million different species of animal alive today on planet Earth, and although most of them have adapted to or overcome difficulties in their environment, there are still those that have not. We’re here to look at the amazingly rare animals that are close to extinction and what, if anything, we can do to help them.
With millions of amazing species of animals on earth, we can easily forget about the ones that we aren’t constantly exposed to. The Holocene extinction or sixth extinction is the one that we are currently experiencing on Earth, and it includes a number of rare animals. These are just some of the amazing animals that are near the brink of extinction, that scientists are hopeful we can bring back for good.
#18: Pinta Island Tortoise
These large turtles were native to Ecuador and it was thought that an elderly tortoise by the name of Lonesome George was the last of his kind. When he died off it was a tragic event, but thankfully they found a group of young tortoises who appear to be a hybrid of the Pinta Island variety. As the Pinta tortoises used to be kept on ships as forms of livestock, when they didn’t have any use for them they would be dumped in the sea, and for these lucky tortoises, they were what remained of an almost lost species.
#17: Amur Leopard
This leopard subspecies is native to southeastern Russia and extremely beautiful in its spots and markings. Sadly, these beautiful markings meant that they’ve been hunted into near extinction and the only way to save them is a dedicated conservation approach and an absolute ban on hunting the unique creatures. It’s believed there are only 20 leopards left in the world today, so the situation is quite dire.
These special family members of the porpoise can be found in waters around the Atlantic coast of the US and Canada. People hunt these whales for their oil and their relatively simple production process which makes them an easy target. With only 350 believed to be left in the oceans today, it’s imperative that the hunting of these gorgeous mammals ceases, and that’s exactly what they hope to achieve with the protected status that it’s earned.
#15: Mountain Gorilla
The mountain gorilla is one animal that’s been hunted due to its aggressive nature, with people who come into contact with it believing that it poses some harm. The subspecies of the eastern gorilla is now critically endangered and likely to lose more due to habitat loss and poaching. There are only around 300 mountain gorillas left in the world and unfortunately, they are not yet a protected species which makes them a very popular target for poachers.
#14: Spix’s Macaw
This Brazilian bird is certainly colorful and beautiful, but it can sadly only be found in zoos these days. Some reports claim they’ve seen the beautiful bird out and about in Brazil but the sighting seems to be getting rarer. Their primary tree has been deforested but there are current preservation attempts occurring, which we’re hoping are successful for this bright bird.
#13: Salt Creek Tiger Beetle
Yes, beetles can become extinct too and the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle is native to the US. Thankfully, this is one species that is actually making a rebound. There are perseveration and conservation efforts in place of its natural environment which certainly seems to be doing the job. Hopefully, we can take note of what worked here and try to mimic it for some of the other animals on the list.
This cute little hamster looking animal is sadly very close to extinction. A close cousin of the rabbit, this short, round mammal is found in the mountainous countries of Asia but can also be found in North America. According to the experts, the pika has many different subspecies that are now entirely extinct but there are still some living which they are working at keeping alive for years to come. Some believe that the pika is what the famous Pokemon character Pikachu was based on, so it would be a real shame to lose such a beautiful animal and cultural icon.
#11: Bornean Orangutan
It’s no surprise that many subspecies of orangutan are nearing extinction, but the Bornean mammals are facing some of the most serious threats. Just as the name suggests, these orangutans are found on the island of Borneo and are part of the only genus of great apes that are native to this area. The population of orangutans overall has decreased by about 50% in the wild which is a truly shocking figure to hear.
#10: Sumatran Rhinoceros
Also known as the hairy rhinoceros, this amazing animal is very close to being extinct for good. The last sighting in the wild was in 2016 which just highlights how many are left in the world. Efforts were made years ago to preserve the species through captivity but of the 40 that they kept none of them had successful breeding efforts and most died off over 20 years, and so they let the rest of them go free.
#9: Giant Otter
We’ve all seen cute little otters before and marveled at how much fun they seem to have in the water with their friends, but did you know there is a Giant Otter that’s in danger of extinction? The giant otter is a South American otter that can grow up to over five feet in size which is a lot more impressive than other subspecies that we know.
#8: Darwin’s Fox
These adorable foxes are in fear of extinction due to their currently small numbers, as they’re only known to have two populations on earth. Darwin’s fox was named after Charles Darwin who discovered the species and it is one of the smallest species of fox. There is thought to be only 250 of the foxes alive on Chloe Island with another 70 or so living on the mainland, which is critically low.
#7: Black-Footed Ferret
The incredibly cute black-footed ferret is another animal that faces extinction due to its very small and restricted range and populations. They are known as one of the most endangered species in all of Northern America and it’s believed there are just 300 left on the planet. There have been many efforts made to preserve the species but most have been unsuccessful.
This is a species of the pangolin and is considered some of the most extinct animals on the planet. The scaly little animals that can curl up in a ball are certainly unique, but sadly they are being lost. There are eight different species of pangolin and all are protected thankfully, but the man is the most critically endangered. As one of the rarest looking animals we have, we truly hope that the conservation efforts work for this amazing species.
#5: Peruvian Spider Monkey
Also known as the black-faced spider monkey, this amazing creature is native to Peru and also Brazil and Bolivia. This animal received its endangered classification in 2014 and since then there have been numerous efforts to try and bring its numbers back up. These monkeys are known to live in large groups of 35 and it’s rare to see them on their own, making them very social animals indeed.
#4: White Rumped Vulture
Although vultures are known for preying on other animals, that doesn’t mean they aren’t an important part of the ecosystem. The white-rumped vulture is native to South and Southeast Asia and has been considered as critically endangered since 2000. In the 1980s, this was was one of the most abundant birds of prey in the world with numbers reaching the millions, however, this has dropped significantly today.
This incredibly rare mammal is also known as the Asian unicorn and its beauty is unlike any other animals. They are one of the most recent animals discovered and also one of the most endangered, so conservation efforts are at an all-time high for this special beast. Scientists who have categorically document saolas in the wild found that there were only four to date.
#2: Javan Rhinoceros
The Javan rhino is now officially extinct in Vietnam which means the efforts for its conservation are at critical levels. These large animals were hunted to extinction many years ago but managed to be saved thanks to conservation efforts. There are currently around 60 of the subspecies of rhino in a park in Java, Indonesia with serious care being taken to preserve them.
The rhino as a whole is an endangered species, with two of its subspecies the Javan and Sumatran, being critically endangered. The reason for such huge numbers of extinction is because of the poaching of its horn, making them now a protected species.