Sunday, April 28, 2013

10 Most Endangered Animals

10. The little dodo bird, an island ground pigeon. Native to Samoa, and only twelve inches in length, it's relative is the famous large dodo bird from Mauritius which became extinct 400 years ago. They are disappearing at an alarming rate due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. Survey suggests less than 200 dodo birds exist. Worse still, there are no dodo birds in captivity.

9. The Chinese giant salamander, native to central, southwestern and southern China, is the world's largest amphibian (reaching up to 6 feet!). Although it can lay up to 500 eggs at a time, then guarded by the males, they have almost completely disappeared due to over-exploitation as a food source.

8. The Siberian (Amur) Tiger, the largest big cat in the world, living in negative 50 degree climates of Russia. Due to hunting, the Siberian saw a decline to just 40 tigers in the 1930s, now population estimates are around 500. Read our post about the tiger here.

7. Leatherback Sea Turtle, despite having the largest regions of habitats (spreading from tropics to subpolar regions), population has plummeted from over 100,000 female Leatherback Sea Turtles to just 30,000 14 years later, and the number continues to fall at alarming rates. The biggest threats to these turtles is ingesting plastic bags, which they confuse as food like jellyfish, humans stealing their eggs, illegal hunting, beach development, and beach erosions due to climate change.

6. Western Lowland Gorilla and Cross River Gorilla, both native to West Africa. Although the Western Lowland Gorilla is much more numerous than the Cross River, they have seen a 60% population decline in the last 25 years. Threats include habitat loss, illegal commercial hunting by poachers and the ebola virus.

5. Northern Right Whale was named for it being the right whale to kill as it was full of valuable whale oil but it also floats when it's dead, making it easy to handle and process. As a result, it was driven to near extinction. Entanglements in commercial fishing, and climate change affecting crustaceans on which the whales feed threatens the existence of the Northern Right Whale.

4. Northern Sportive Lemur, or any of the other 100 species of lemurs. All species live on the island of Madagascar and are declining drastically in population due to illegal hunting and habitat deforestation from logging. Researchers have recently reportered there may only be 20 wild Northern Sportive Lemurs. Less than 100 Greater Bamboo Lemurs exist in the wild.

3. Javan Rhinoceros is the most threatened of the 5 rhino species. Between 40-60 remain in the Ujung Kulon National Park and the last of a small group in Vietnam was killed by poachers. The Javan Rhinoceros has been hunted to near extinction for it's horns.

2. Amur Leopard which lives in snowy Russia, a rare breed adapted to this climate. Similar to the African leopard, the Amur can run at speeds up to 37 miles per hour (60 km/hour). Only 30 Amur Leopards remain in the wild. The threats, habitat loss due to logging, roads and civilizations, illegal hunting and climate change.

1. Ivory-Billed Woodpecker which lives, or lived in southeastern US and Cuba. It was listed as extinct in 2004, but few reports of sightings have been made in Florida and Arkansas. Extinction has been caused by habitat deforestation (logging) and human exploitation for it's feathers.

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