While we sit comfortably in our homes, many animals around the world are losing theirs. Deforestation and agricultural development are among some of the biggest threats facing many vulnerable wildlife populations. In this article, we will review the 5 most endangered animals.
Our goal here at The Tomorrow Foundation is to raise awareness and show people how they can help. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 5 most endangered animals in our world today. You might be surprised who made the list!
There are 3 species of orangutans, Bornean, Sumatran, and the Tapanuli, that are critically endangered. The smallest of which, the Tapanuli with only about 800 individuals, were only discovered in 2017. There are less than 14,000 Sumatran orangutans and around 104,000 Bornean ones.
During the past decade, orangutan populations have probably decreased by 50% in the wild. Although past climate shifts may have been responsible for some of this decline, orangutans are primarily threatened by human activities, and deforestation, fragmentation, and logging are threatening their survival. Much of their habitat is being cleared away to make way for planting palm oil trees.
Population numbers of Sumatran orangutans have declined over 80 percent in the past 75 years, and it is projected that this decline will continue. Loss of habitat is a major threat to orangutans, with many orangutans living outside of protected areas and, as a result, are at greater risk of losing their habitat to logging and land clearings.
Over the last 75 years, it is estimated that the Asian elephant population has decreased by about 50% in the last three generations. The best estimates indicate there are only between 20,000 and 40,000 still left in the wild.
As their habitat changes, due to deforestation, agricultural development, and ivory hunting, populations of Asian elephants are finding it harder to follow their traditional migration routes to reach water, feeding and breeding grounds and they’re coming into often dangerous contact with people. Male elephants have been poached for their tusks and an unfortunate interest in their skin for jewelry making is threatening both male and female elephants.
The Asian elephants’ forest homes are being ravaged today because of commercial demand for forest-derived products such as coffee, tea, rubber, and hardwoods. Crop cultivation, mining for iron ore, and flooding by hydroelectric projects have also acted to diminish the large tracts of land required by elephants for adequate food supplies.
In the last 100 years, we have lost almost 100,000 tigers, with the population being less than 4,000 Tigers in the world. It seems this big cat, known for its stealthy, strong, king of the jungle is facing a threat it may not be able to survive.
Tigers require a large habitat, but unfortunately for them, they live in some of the most densely populated areas of the world. This means their habitats are shrinking.
On top of that, some of their body parts are in high demand on the black market, usually sold for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Thought to cure ailments ranging from arthritis to epilepsy, with the greatest demand coming from China. Every single tiger organ is sold on the black market today. Tiger skins and other parts are also used for décor, indicating status and wealth, across Asia.
Did you know that rhino horn by weight is worth more than gold, diamonds, or cocaine? Used as a status symbol and in traditional Asian medicine, the value is estimated at approximately $60,000 per kilogram.
Unfortunately for the rhinos, this means they have been poached almost to extinction. There are 5 species of rhinos and 3 of them are high on the endangered species list. The black Rhino populations decline from around 70,000 individuals in 1970 to just 2,410 in 1995 – that’s a dramatic decline of 96% over 20 years. But with successful reintroduction programs repopulating areas have seen the population increase of between 5,366 and 5,627 individuals.
There are only about 50 known individuals left of the Javan rhino who roam the Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia. The only other known population of these rhinos lived in Vietnam and the last of them were killed in 2010.
Currently, the estimated population of wild Giant Pandas is only 1,864, making Giant Pandas a seriously vulnerable species. With only 33 isolated groups of pandas and 18 of those groups have less than 10 individuals.
There are still less than 2,000 pandas living in the wild. The impact of rapid population growth has seen the destruction of significant Giant Panda habitats. In an effort to defend the Giant Panda, the Chinese government enforces a logging ban in the Giant Panda reserves. The good news is that pandas are on the rebound, their status recently was shifted from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’. The bad news is that there is still a long way to go.
How You Can Help with Endangered Species Conservation
Habitat loss, poaching, and an increase in the number of annual natural disasters are threatening hundreds of species of wild animals with extinction. We are working with leading environmentalists and local communities to reduce their carbon footprint, fight against aggressive forest destruction for logging and other industries, and create a more sustainable relationship between them and the wild spaces surrounding them. We hope to preserve the natural habitats of millions of wild species so that they can continue to share this planet for generations to come.
At the very least, make sure you’re not buying the baubles made from animal skin or bones. Plus, you can actively help by volunteering or donating to organizations like The Tomorrow Foundation. We are dedicated to educating everyone about what’s happening to these animals and how they can help with endangered species conservation.