In light of the recent news from the WWF that half of the world’s species have gone extinct in the last 40 years, I wanted to bring attention to some species that can still be saved if changes are made.
The extinction of wildlife is a global issue, and species are dying in every country because of humankind’s overall disregard for their habitats, and their lives. It encompasses everyone, regardless of where in the world you may be.
The Amur Leopard is currently classified as critically endangered under the WWF. Threatened by illegal wildlife trade due to their unique coats, as well as habitat destruction, there are about 30 of these animals left in the wild. You can adopt an Amur Leopard today, and help keep this species alive.
The Polar Bear is listed as a vulnerable species under the WWF Species Directory. The cause of the polar bear’s decline is largely due to climate change, specifically dealing with the melting of the polar ice cap. As the ice cap recedes, the polar bear’s winter hunting grounds are diminished, leaving them to seek alternative food sources.
Approximately 1,600 of these Giant Pandas remain, classifying them as an endangered species. Threatened by hunting and human development destroying their habitat, this species has been on the decline for quite some time.
Yangtze Finless Porpoise
The Yangtze Finless Porpoise is a unique species that once thrived in the fresh water of the Yangtze River and its outlets. However, less than 2,000 of these guys remain due to overfishing of their food source, pollution in their home, and ship traffic. This species is critically endangered.
Another critically endangered species, the Mountain Gorilla used to occupy a large part of central Africa. Now, only around 800 remain in two central African national parks: Bwindi and Mgahinga Gorilla. They are another species threatened by habitat loss due to human intervention, but they are also threatened by disease and poaching.
Black Rhinos are listed as critically endangered, with a remaining population of under 5,000. Black Rhinos, like other rhinos, are appealing to the illegal wildlife trade due to their horns. This has led to their significant decline. The Black Rhino needs protection in a wildly unsupervised region of Africa.
Because it is so difficult to monitor ocean species, the exact number of remaining Hawksbill Turtles is unknown, but they are classified as critically endangered. The biggest threats to this graceful species are bycatch (the accidental catch from mass fishing tactics) and illegal wildlife trade. You can adopt a turtle today and help the effort to save them.
The Saola is a very rare species that many people don’t really know about. Its population in the wild is unknown, but its critically endangered status is no joke. The species, like many, is threatened by habitat loss from people making way for their own infrastructure. They are also threatened by hunting, in which they often become accidental catch of other species for illegal wildlife trade.
South China Tiger
The South China Tiger is the most endangered species on this list, classified as critically endangered, but believed to be extinct in the wild. It hasn’t been spotted in the wild in over 25 years and is thought to be extinct apart from the individuals (like the tiger shown above) that are kept in captivity. Again, their main threat is (was) habitat destruction, and this species will rely on its population in captivity to keep it alive.
The jedi of the sea, inventor of the shish kabob, sea unicorn – whatever one chooses to call this species, they are near threatened. While this is the lowest classification of endangerment, it tends to begin the slippery slope to fast extinction. Like the polar bear, Narwhals are threatened by climate change. They use the ice masses to hide from predators, but that ice is slowly disappearing.
If you wish to assist in the effort of saving these animals from future extinction, visit the WWF’s webpage on how to help.
For a more extensive list of endangered species that you can help, look at the WWF Species Directory.
For context, you can read about the WWF’s official statement here.