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20 Endangered Animals You Should Know About

Our planet, Earth, is home to more than 30 million animal species. However, several of these species are in danger of extinction due to human intervention for consumption or entertainment. Endangered species are found all over the world.

Endangered means that the animal is on the verge of becoming extinct. There are many different reasons for the extinction of these animals, whether it is to use them for their skin, the oil they produce or as a food source. There are several types of endangered species. Here we will look at some of the most endangered species.

1-Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Pájaro carpintero de pico de marfil.

The ivory-billed woodpecker is the most endangered species in existence. It lives in the southeastern United States and parts of Cuba. It is a huge woodpecker that was extinct until 2004. The World Wildlife Fund issued the statement following reports that the ivory-billed woodpecker has been found in Arkansas, 60 years after it was thought to be extinct.

Even now, there are only a few woodpeckers left. It is a very vulnerable animal. The Nature Conservancy the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local communities have worked tirelessly over the years to keep these magnificent landscapes intact and help the bird survive.

2-Amur leopard

Leopardo de Amur.

The Amur leopard is a rare species found only in the Primorye region of northern Russia. This region is very snowy and cold. At one time, the leopard was also found in Korea and China, but the leopard is extinct in those areas. The Amur leopard is also known as the Far Eastern leopard, Manchurian leopard or Korean leopard.

The Amur leopard can run at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour and has been reported to be able to jump over 19 feet horizontally and up to 10 feet vertically.

Critically endangered, it is solitary. Nimble-footed and strong, it carries and hides unfinished prey from being taken by other predators. Some males stay with the females after mating, and may even help raise the young. Sometimes several males follow and fight over a female.

They live between 10 and 15 years, and in captivity up to 20 years. According to census records, there are currently only 84 adult Amur leopards and a few more in the world.


Las distintas especies de Lémur están en peligro de extinción.

Lemurs are easily recognizable by their long bushy tails and translucent eyes, and are only found in Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. This area is located on the southeastern coast of Africa.

These unique creatures are the most endangered of all primates. More than 100 different species of lemur are found, all of them endangered. Today there are almost no lemurs of any species left. Although they are not on the critically endangered list, few of these animals are found anywhere.

4-Glacial Whale

La ballena franca glacial habita en el atlántico norte.

The glacial whale is the most endangered whale species. The North Atlantic right whale can be easily identified by the white callosities on its head, which are highly visible against the whale’s dark gray body. It has a broad back with no dorsal fin and a long, arched mouth that begins above the eye. A baleen whale usually feeds by swimming through a swarm of plankton with its mouth open and its head slightly above the surface.

It is found around the Atlantic coasts of Canada as well as the United States, and approximately 300 to 350 different whales are still found. It is a protected whale. Right whales are most often found in coastal waters, especially during the breeding season.


La vaquita cuenta con menos de 10 ejemplares en el mundo.

The vaquita is a family of porpoises and the world’s rarest marine mammal the world’s rarest marine species, on the brink of extinction. Its upper or dorsal surface is dark gray, the sides are pale gray, and its underside or ventral surface is white with long light gray markings. The vaquita has a large dark ring around the eyes and dark spots on the lips that form a thin line from the mouth to the pectoral fins. They are most often found close to shore in the shallow waters of the Gulf, although they quickly move away if a boat approaches.

Only about 10 individuals remain. This small porpoise was discovered in 1958 and, a little more than half a century later, is on the verge of extinction. Vaquitas are often caught and drowned in gillnets used by illegal fishing operations in the marine protected areas of Mexico’s Gulf of California, specifically in the stretch of water between Mexico and Baja California.

Climate change is one of the reasons affecting their food availability and habitat. The population has declined drastically in recent years.

6-Javanese rhinoceros

Rinoceronte de Java.

The Javan rhino is another major endangered species of the five rhino species. This species is dark gray in color and has a single horn up to 10 inches long. Its skin has a series of loose folds and looks like armor. The Javan rhinoceros is very similar to the greater one-horned rhinoceros, but its head is much smaller and the skin folds are less apparent.

An estimated 58-68 rhinos are still alive today, residing in Indonesia in Ujung Kulon National Park. This animal once lived throughout northeastern India and Southeast Asia. Vietnam’s last Javan rhino was poached in 2010. Its horn is the main reason why they are hunted illegally.

7- Mountain Gorilla

Gorila de Montaña en peligro de extinción.

Mountain gorillas are found in mountain forests at an altitude of 2,000 to 3,000 meters. More than 50% live in the Virunga Mountains, a chain of extinct volcanoes bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, and the rest are found in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.

They have thicker fur than other great apes. The fur helps them survive in a habitat where temperatures often drop below freezing.

It is estimated that there are more than 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the world, making them an additional species on the endangered species list. Because of their aggressive behavior, people began to have the misconception that they posed a great risk to their safety. They started to hunt them and, despite repeated conservation initiatives, their population is still not safe from poachers.

8- Baiji or Chinese River Dolphin

Baiji o delfín de río chino.

The Baiji and the Vaquita are two aquatic animals that have been included in the list of most endangered species. The Baiji is found in the Yangtze River in China and is therefore called the Yangtze River Dolphin. However, in 2006 the Baiji dolphin was declared“functionally extinct“. However, only three Yangtze River dolphins were found in a 2007 expedition.

Despite various initiatives, such as the creation of nature reserves along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, they have not been effective in preventing the accidental death of Yangtze River dolphins. This is the first time in history that an entire dolphin species has disappeared from the planet due to human activity.

9- Siberian Tiger

Tigre Siberiano  o de Manchuria.

The Siberian tiger is the largest feline in the world. The Siberian tiger is also called “Amur tiger”, “Manchurian tiger”, “Korean tiger” and “Ussurian tiger”, depending on the region where individuals have been observed. It can weigh up to 650 pounds. This species of tiger is found in the birch forests of Russia and in the Far East of China and Korea. These tigers tend to live in areas with extremely cold winter temperatures, some as low as -50 degrees F.

This tiger is becoming extinct due to hunting. A more detailed census revealed a total population of 562 wild Siberian tigers in Russia

10- Giant Chinese Salamander

Salamandra Gigante China.

The Chinese giant salamander is the largest amphibian in the world. It can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh more than 140 pounds. It is fully aquatic and is endemic to the rocky mountain streams and lakes of the Yangtze River basin in central China.

They lay up to 500 eggs at a time. Their eggs are found in underwater burrows. It is considered critically endangered in the wild due to habitat loss, pollution and overharvesting. As it is considered a delicacy, people use the Chinese giant salamander as food, and they are also used in traditional Chinese medicine.

11- Saola

El saola también es conocido como unicornio asiático.

The Saola or sow-la is also known as the Asian unicorn. It is rarely seen today. The animal is quite large and has been known since 1992, although it is only rarely seen. It is considered a critically endangered animal and is only found in the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam.

The saolacabn is identified by its two parallel horns with sharp ends in both males and females, which can reach 30 cm in length. Known by “spindle horns” in Vietnamese, it resembles a bovine or antelope and has conspicuous white spots on the face and large maxillary glands on the snout, which could be used to mark territory or attract mates.

12- Black Rhinoceros

El rinoceronte negro es preciado por su cuerno.

The black rh inoceros is another species that is on the endangered list. In the 20th century, black rhino populations declined drastically at the hands of European hunters and settlers. Between 1960 and 1995, black rhino numbers declined by a sobering 98% to fewer than 2,500.

However, the species has made a tremendous comeback from the brink of extinction. Persistent conservation efforts across Africa saw black rhino numbers double from an all-time low 20 years ago to 5,042 and 5,455 today.

However, the black rhino is still considered critically endangered. Climate change and poaching to sell their horn for very high profits are believed to be two of the main reasons for the species’ declining numbers. Much work remains to be done to bring the numbers back to even a fraction of what they once were.

13- Leatherback Turtle

Las tortugas marinas se encuentran en peligro de extinción.

The leatherback turtle is the largest species of sea turtle found on land and is named for its leathery appearance rather than its hard shell, unlike other turtles. It is found worldwide, but is prone to the tropics.

Globally, the leatherback turtle’s status, according to the IUCN, is listed as Vulnerable, but many subpopulations (such as in the Pacific and southwest Atlantic) are Critically Endangered. In the past there were over 120,000 adult female leatherbacks, but their numbers are now down to about 20,000 and declining.

They are widely distributed; however, leatherback numbers have declined severely over the last century due to intensive egg harvesting and incidental capture in fisheries. Egg theft by humans and illegal hunting are perhaps the two most common reasons why this turtle is going extinct.

14- Cross River Gorilla

El gorila del río Cross en África.

The Cross River gorilla is found mainly along the southern border of Cameroon and Nigeria. There are only 200 to 300 Cross River gorillas left. 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 dimensions of the skull and teeth.

Cross River gorillas live in a region where there are many humans. Humans have encroached on the gorillas’ territory, clearing forests for timber and creating fields for farming and ranching. Illegal hunting, poaching that occurs in the forests, as well as climate change, are the main reasons for the Cross River gorillas’ extinction and loss of habitat. The loss of even a few of these gorillas has a detrimental effect on such a small population.

15- Tapanuli Orangutan

Orangután de Tapanuli es un simio en peligro de extinción.

The Tapanuli orangutan is the newly described species of orangutan, listed as a distinct species in 2017. There is only one isolated population of Tapanuli orangutans in the wild, which is restricted to the tropical forests of the Batang Toru ecosystem on the island of Sumatra (Indonesia). Currently, these arboreal primates are critically endangered, with fewer than 800 in the wild, making them the most endangered great ape species in the world.

Habitat loss is one of the main threats to their survival, as tropical forests are being replaced by agriculture, mining, hydroelectric and geothermal development. Between 1985 and 2007, more than 40% of the forests in North Sumatra province, where the Tapanali orangutan is found, were lost.

16- Sumatran Orangutan

Orangután de Sumatra.

The Sumatran orangutan is found exclusively on the island of Sumatra (Indonesia). It is currently considered critically endangered by the IUCN, with less than 14,000 specimens in the wild

Sumatran orangutans face similar threats to their Bornean and Tapanuli counterparts. From logging, agricultural plantations and expanding infrastructure development to the illegal pet trade.

Orangutans need large tracts of connecting forest to live, but between 1985 and 2007 these great apes lost 60% of their forest habitat. Today, most of these orangutans are found in the far north of Sumatra, in the Leuser ecosystem, a landscape that includes lowland rainforests and peat swamps.

17- African Forest Elephant

Elefante africano de Bosque con su cría.

Deep in the dense, humid forests of West and Central Africa is the elusive forest elephant, one of two members of the African elephant species. The actual number of African forest elephants in the wild remains uncertain due to their shy nature, but we do know that they are a critically endangered species and have declined by 86% in 31 years

The main reason for this decline is due to poaching, which is frequent, widespread and intensive, especially in Central Africa. In addition to elephant poaching, habitat loss and land use change for agriculture and other land uses have led to habitat fragmentation and increased human-elephant conflict, resulting in losses on both sides

Today, African forest elephants occupy about 25% of their historical range, spread across 20 different African nations, mainly in Gabon and the Republic of Congo.

18- Hawksbill turtle

Tortuga Carey es una tortuga marina.

The hawksbill turtle is one of seven species of marine turtles and is found in tropical and subtropical waters near the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific coasts

Their numbers are believed to range from 20,000 to 23,000 nesting turtles, although it is difficult to assess their actual population numbers, as sea turtles are the true wanderers of the ocean

Over the past 30 years, global hawksbill populations have declined by at least 80% as a result of incidental capture in fishing gear, nesting habitat degradation, damage to coral reefs, and illegal trade in hawksbill shells and products

Other human-induced threats, such as plastic pollution, climate change and sea level rise, could further contribute to the decline of this species in the future. Currently, hawksbill turtles are listed as critically endangered.

19- White Crane

Grulla blanca volando.

In 1938, the first year a population survey was conducted, there were only 29 whooping cranes left in the wild. Three years later, only 16 remained. Hunting and the reduction of their wetland habitat had vitiated the population and concerted efforts to save the remaining birds were not made until the late 1960s

Today, there are more than 400 birds, thanks in large part to innovative breeding programs. Although a plan to transfer whooping crane eggs to the nests of related cranes for breeding ultimately failed, captive breeding and reintroduction have established two wild populations in Florida, one of which has been taught to migrate to Wisconsin. Neither is self-sustaining. The only self-sustaining population migrates between Alberta (Canada) and Texas (USA).

20- Sea Otter

Nutria Marina con su cría.

The luxurious waterproof fur that insulates sea otters from the cold waters they inhabit nearly caused their extinction. A target of the fur trade, the species was on the verge of extinction, with only 2,000 of the estimated 300,000 remaining in 1911

An international ban on commercial hunting was enacted that year. Although that ban, along with management and conservation measures following the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, have helped populations recover to perhaps a third of their former numbers, they are highly vulnerable to both natural phenomena such as predation by killer whales and anthropogenic factors such as oil spills.

Alejandra Roig

Alejandra Roig

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