By Michael Ford
Many people would argue that humans are the most advanced species on Earth. This has led to humanity’s conquering of the globe, having major settlements in every continent except Antarctica. And in our conquering, we have begun to wipe out a lot of species who can’t keep up with the change caused by our settlements. This has led to the extinction and endangerment of many different animals around the world, some being killed before they are even discovered. However, among these, there are a few that stand out, with their numbers being as low as single digits. These are the top ten most endangered animals .
10. The Little Dodo Bird
While it’s larger relative was wiped out hundreds of years ago, this smaller version has survived-but maybe not for much longer. With only a couple hundred of these birds left, the Little Dodo Bird, or tooth billed pigeon, have numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate due to deforestation and illegal hunting.
9. The Giant Chinese Salamander
The Giant Chinese Salamander holds the world record for largest amphibian in the world, but that record may soon be lost. Held as a rare delicacy in Chinese cooking, these salamanders are illegally hunted both for markets and for medicine. They are also suffering from habitat loss, pollution, and a deadly virus that has been killing amphibians everywhere.
8. Northern Sportive Lemur
One of the few remaining Lemur Species in Madagascar, this lemur species has estimated numbers less than one hundred. Hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey are a major cause of endangerment, along with an invasive species of boa that kills the lemurs in their sleep. They are also losing large numbers due to charcoal farming on the island, as a growing population hunts for fuel.
7. The Leatherback Sea Turtle
The largest species of turtle alive, this turtle can grow up to ten feet long, and are known for their rare characteristic of having a soft, leathery shell. one of the major causes of their endangerment is problems with their reproduction. The gender of a turtle’s eggs are determined by the temperature of the sand they are in, and global warming has caused the ratio between male and female to become unbalanced. Light pollution from coastal towns also changes migration patterns, as they traditionally use the moon and stars to navigate.
The Saola is one of the more recently discovered mammals, being found in the Jungles of Vietnam in 1992. However, even then its numbers were low, and its status as one of the rarest ungulates around has promoted illegal hunting for its horns, which can make it look like a unicorn from a certain angle.
5. Western Lowland Gorilla
The Western Lowland Gorilla is spread wide throughout Africa, but it is spread thin. Its numbers are unknown due to the density of the jungles they inhabit, but they are on the critically endangered list due to poaching and habitat loss.
4. The Tiger
The Tiger is regarded by many as one of the most majestic and powerful animals in the world. As a result, their pelts, eyes, claws, and bones are highly sought after on the black market for exotic decor and Chinese Medicine. There are many different subspecies of Tiger, with three already extinct. The numbers of the remaining subspecies range from 3,000 to under 100 individuals in the wild.
3. Javan Rhinoceros
The Javan rhinoceros is the rarest species of Rhino, due to the rarity and use of its horn in Chinese medicine. In the past few years, their numbers have dwindled from the hundreds in both Indonesia and Vietnam to only 35 in a single Indonesian national park.
2. Amur Leopard
The Amur Leopard is the most endangered species of big cat, with estimated numbers ranging from 60 to 15 in the wild. Unlike its African cousin, this leopard roams a temperate climate in northern Asia. Besides hunting and habitat loss, these cats are also declining due to their extreme territoriality.
1. Horn Billed Woodpecker
The Horn Billed Woodpecker originated in the Southeastern united States, and holds the world record for the largest woodpecker species. Due to habitat loss and the disappearance of their only food source, their numbers have dwindled to the point where some are skeptical of its very existence. Although it is not considered extinct, one has not been sighted in the wild since 2006.
As you can see, these are some truly amazing animals, and it’s sad that there are so few of them to enjoy. Don’t forget to leave a comment with your favorite endangered animal, and a suggestion for next week because I’m all out of ideas