Endangered Animals of the World
Over the past century, an alarming number of animals have become endangered or even extinct. Extinction occurs when a species is completely wiped out due to various threats or extreme changes to its natural habitat. Endangered species are those that currently face a likelihood of nearing extinction. While some species become endangered due to natural causes, many are affected because of human activity. For example, destroying rainforests in order to use the land for development means that a lot of animals lose their natural home. It is very important for humans to learn to maintain a balance and live harmoniously with animals. Even more importantly, we should all make an active effort to protect those animals that are now endangered. If everyone does their bit to help, it is indeed possible to help those animals face less of a risk. Below are fifteen types of animals that you will probably recognize easily. Read on to learn about why their numbers have been rapidly declining in recent years and what you can do to help!
Pandas are so well known as an endangered species that they are even used as part of the World Wildlife Fund’s iconic logo. One of the biggest reasons attributed to the decline in the panda species is the destruction of its natural habitat. Farmers in China have gradually been claiming more and more of the land. As a result, pandas are forced to move away to places where it is hard to find bamboo for food.
The green sea turtle species has survived for several millions of years, so you might wonder why it’s only becoming endangered now. A major cause is the change in climate and temperature, which both affect the hatching rates of turtle eggs. Climate changes also cause violent weather and rising water levels to demolish areas where turtles usually go to lay their eggs. Apart from this, oil spills and other toxic pollution, as well as increased fishing activities can cause sickness, impairment or even death to the green turtles.
Cheetahs are famous for being the fastest animal on land but even they can’t run from some of the larger threats that have jeopardized them. Like the panda bears, cheetahs have gradually been losing their natural homes due to humans claiming land and developing in those areas. To make matters even worse, smaller animals move away when these areas are compromised, which means that the cheetah has less food! Don’t forget that other large animals, such as lions, are also fighting for any food that they can find, so occasionally cheetah cubs end up as prey too.
- See How the Cheetah Has Struggled to Survive
- An Introduction to Cheetahs and Why They are Endangered
- Facts About Cheetahs
Elephants are extremely intelligent animals and also the largest mammals that live on land. Did you know that baby elephants are not only protected by their own parents, but by the entire herd? Sadly, in Asia many elephants were killed so that people could remove their tusks to use as decorative objects. While this practice has been banned now, some people still illegally continue. Forests in India have also been steadily destroyed and elephants are sometimes killed when they end up on human territory.
Sea lions are actually mammals that can live in water for extended periods of time. They have faced many different types of threats, such as polluted waters, hunting by humans, oil spills, climate change and more. Sea lions were once hunted as a source of food by humans, and later they were blamed for taking fish from fishermen and subsequently killed. It is now illegal to kill sea lions but they still die at the hands of humans. For example, they may become tangled in fishing nets or accidentally maimed or killed by fishing or boating equipment. Like many endangered species, sea lions also face a reduction in their food supply and if they lack proper nutrition, they can become sick and weak or die.
There are two main categories of hippos. Common hippos are the large species that we can generally see at zoos. These hippos are considered vulnerable, which means that they are close to becoming endangered. The other category of hippos is the pygmy (dwarf) hippo, which is already considered endangered. Hippos have been dwindling in number due to illegal hunting. Hunters prize them for their meat as well as their teeth, which are made of ivory. Pygmy hippos also face an added risk of homelessness as forest lands become increasingly reduced.
Gorillas are one of the species that are quite similar to humans. Despite this, they are still threatened by us in several ways. Gorillas live in forests as well as mountains. Those that live in forests have encountered the loss of their natural habitat as well as hunting by humans. In the mountainous regions, other types of gorillas are also in danger due to the changes in climate. Altered temperatures in these areas leads to changes in the natural plant life. In turn, the gorillas may encounter fewer sources of food to sustain them.
- Threats to the Gorilla Species and Their Habitats
- Meet the African Mountain Gorilla
- Read About the Eastern and Western Gorillas
- What Happens When Gorillas Lose Their Home?
Red wolves are smaller than the well-known grey wolves and they can usually be found in the south and eastern forest areas of North America. Cutting down forests has created a dramatic reduction in natural habitable land for red wolves. Additionally, illegal hunting, collisions on roadways that run through their areas and violent storms due to climate change have caused red wolves to become endangered. Even more significantly, they tend to interbreed with coyotes, which further reduces the number of healthy red wolves.
- Red Wolf Facts and Recover Program
- Discover How the Red Wolf Lives
- An Easy Guide to the Life of the Red Wolf
If you thought that penguins only live in the North and South Poles, think again! Galapagos penguins live in the Galapagos Islands that lie very close to the equator. These kinds of penguins cool down by swimming. Since they depend on the ocean to bring them fish to eat, they are greatly affected by increased fishing by humans as well as changes in the weather. Shockingly, there are less than a thousand breeding pairs of Galapagos Penguins left in the world!
Polar bears are extremely skilled at living and hunting in freezing temperatures. Even though their natural habitat is relatively isolated most of the time, they are greatly affected by the overall rise in the global temperature. Polar bears have a thick layer of fat and fur to help them stay warm. Did you know that even in what we consider to be cold weather, many polar bears actually run the risk of overheating? The rising temperature also means that more ice is melting, which reduces the areas where polar bears can rest and hunt.
- Common Questions and Answers About Polar Bears
- Lives and Risks of Polar Bears
- What Are People Doing to Save Polar Bears?
Chinese Alligators are smaller than the ones we know in the United States. They survive best in lush wetlands, but sadly these areas have been steadily destroyed by humans in favor of building rice fields. This poses the greatest risk to Chinese Alligators. Today they are being protected by breeding in zoos and other types of animal sanctuaries.
Rhinos can be found in various parts of Asia as well as Africa. They love the hot savannas of Africa as well as tropical forests. While habitat loss does pose some risk to them, they face a higher danger due to illegal hunting. Rhinos are prized most for their horns, which are believed to possess various medicinal properties in some cultures.
- Compare the Different Types of Rhinos
- Threats that Rhinos Face
- Rhino Educational Activities and Conservation Ideas
- Types of Rhinos and Dangers They Face
The furry little sea otter is almost the smallest mammal that lives in the ocean. They thrive in shallow ocean areas and eat shellfish and other types of small sea creatures. Water pollution, illegal fishing and hunting and reduced numbers of prey are some of the main reasons why sea otters have been faring poorly in recent years.
There are many different species of tigers around the world and the Sumatran tiger is one of which are currently endangered. Hotter temperatures have been negatively affecting these majestic creatures as well as erosion and loss of their natural habitats. When tigers are forced to move towards areas where there is human civilization, they are sometimes killed in conflicts. Many tigers are also illegally hunted for their magnificent fur or teeth.
Manatees, also known as sea cows, are large mammals that live in the water. They don’t have any natural predators, so under the right circumstances, they can live as much as sixty years. However, with human-related threats that include fishing and machine injuries, many manatees face an early death. Like many other marine mammals, destruction of their natural habitats is the number one factor that threatens manatees.
- Facts About Manatees and Their Lives
- What Do Manatees Look Like?
- Learn How to Help Save Manatees
- How do Manatees Live in the Water?
How to Help
In 1973, the Endangered Species Act came into effect with the main purpose of classifying the survival risks of animals and protecting those that are in danger of extinction. The ESA helps us to understand which species need help so that we can better focus our activities towards safeguarding them. We may think that saving an entire animal species is a very big and difficult task. However, if everyone helped out a little bit, it would all add up and make a huge difference! One easy way is to remember to reduce pollution by not throwing trash in rivers, beaches, forests and other natural areas. Another great activity would be to hold a fundraiser in your neighborhood or at school to help support non-profit organizations that rescue endangered animals. Spread awareness by talking to your family and friends about endangered animals. Many people might not even know that animals such as gorillas or hippos could soon be extinct! If you want to be even more proactive, look for a related non-profit group in your area and get in touch to find out about volunteering with them.
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