Save the Animals! Top 5 Most Endangered Species
This month marks the anniversary of a movement that has begun since 1970. Earth Day was born as a reminder to focus on our planet and to raise awareness of the harm we are causing on our environment. Educating others on air pollution, water pollution, greenhouse gases, fossil fuels, and more is an important part of the process because knowing the facts can help prompt change. We all share this planet with our fellow community members and billions of animal species out there. Since we have neglected the Earth, some of these animal species (the Dodo, Saber-Toothed Tigers, Wooly Mammoths) have already become extinct. Let’s all take a vow to save the animals and avoid further species extinction. Here are the Top 5 critically endangered species today.
Protect our Animals!
The Black Rhinoceros, or the Hook-Lipped Rhinoceros, is an animal native to central and eastern Africa. They are predominately known for their long horns, which can grow up to 1.5 meters in length. Since the rhinos have terrible eyesight, wild cats and poachers- who illegally capture them for their horns, are able to hunt them easily. The rhino’s horn is made from keratin, a strong substance often used in ancient remedies and medicine. There are only a few of this species left, but the numbers are slowly on the rise due to continuing conservation efforts. Want more information on how you can help out this endangered species? Check out the Save the Rhino organization on how you can get involved.
The Sumatran Elephant is native to south-east Asia and is rapidly hitting the critically-endangered species list. In 2012, nearly 70% of its population was wiped out due to a habitat loss and human-elephant conflict. Deforestation affected these elephants for the last 30 years as the paper industry and oil palm plantations harvested the natural lowlands of the elephant’s habitat. Because of this, some elephants have drifted a little too closely to human settlements and have raided crops, trampled homes, and even harmed civilians. To combat the elephants, some people retaliated by shooting or killing these animals. For more information on how you can help elephants, please visit the Rainforest Trust here.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Most sea turtles are at risk because they’re threatened by loss of feeding habitats, excessive egg collection, pollution, and costal development. Sea pollution sets the stage for the downfall of these reptiles, as they get caught in leftover gill nets or fishing hooks in the sea. Turtles need to swim to the surface to breathe, but because they are caught, they can drown to their death. The Hawksbill Sea Turtle is also hunted and traded illegally because of their brown and yellow carapace shell. Their shell is often used to make specific jewelry and ornamental decoration. For more information on how you can help out, visit the Sea Turtle Conservancy here.
With less than 100 animals left in their pollution, the Vaquita Porpoise is the world’s most rare marine animal. If drastic changes don’t take place soon, it is estimated that this species will become extinct by 2018. It wasn’t discovered until 1958, but due to sea pollution and illegal fishing operations, more than half the population has been lost for the past three years. In an attempt to catch the Totoaba (another critically endangered fish), fishermen place nets throughout the Gulf of California. This also led to the downfall of the Vaquita because they were tangled in the same nets. For more information, check out Defenders of Wildlife on what you can do to help.
What’s a pangolin? The Pangolin is a nocturnal mammal found in Asia and in Africa. They are known unofficially as ‘scaly anteaters’ because they are covered from head to toe in scales and have a similar diet. These are the highest trafficked animal in the world because their meat is considered a rare delicacy in Asia. Pangolin scales can also be used in traditional remedies to treat various ailments. Between 2011 and 2013, an estimated 230,000+ pangolins were killed, drastically decreasing their population. For more information, please visit the World Wildlife Fund on ways to help out!
Most of these animal species are also listed under the World Wildlife Fund (check out the whole list of critically endangered animals here). With your help, we can all work to make a difference and save these guys from becoming extinct!