June 7, 2020

10 beasts facing extinction


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10 Fantastic Beasts on the Verge of Extinction

By Susan Bird From Care2


Sumatran orangutan

Photo credit: marie martin/Getty Images

There are only about 14,600 Sumatran orangutans remaining in the wild, making them a critically endangered species.

The Sumatran orangutan lives essentially all of its in trees. There are only nine existing populations of Sumatran orangutans. But only seven of them have any chance of long-term survival. Four of these groups have populations of only around 250 individuals. And just three groups can boast populations of more than 1,000 individuals.

Orangutans are critical to the ecosystems in which they live because they are frugivores — animals who feed on fruit. Their feeding activity distributes seeds over a large area. Without this activity, certain species of plants would likely disappear.


vancouver island marmot

Photo credit: Frank Fichtmüller/Getty Images

Canada’s most endangered mammal, the Vancouver Island marmot, numbers only about 200 — up from just 30 in 2003. About the size of a domestic cat, the Vancouver Island marmot is one of 14 types of marmots in the world. It is a member of the squirrel family.

These marmots are critically endangered. They hibernate in the winter in family groups and are found only on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.


Amur leopard

Photo credit: Kevin Richards/Getty Images

Also known as the leopard, the critically endangered Amur leopard is one of eight leopard subspecies. It lives in the and . As of 2017, there were only about 100 wild individuals left.

Physically, the Amur leopard has adapted to its colder, wintry habitat by developing light-colored but heavy fur. And it’s physically impressive. It can spring more than 19 feet horizontally and up to 10 feet vertically.


sea turtle

Photo credit: cinoby/Getty Images

The hawksbill sea turtle, one of the smaller sea turtles, is typically found near coastal reefs, rocky areas, estuaries and lagoons. It’s the most tropical of all sea turtles, living in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

Coral reefs depend on the hawksbill to remain healthy. The turtles like to eat sponges by carving them off reef crevices with their pointed beaks. This opens more reef surfaces for fish to feed upon. They also eat jellyfish, squid, shrimp and sea anemones.

Internationally, hawksbill sea turtles are a critically endangered species. There are only about 15,000 female hawksbills capable of laying eggs left in the wild. The greatest threat they face is humans. They are harvested for their shells, which are used to make things, such as hair ornaments and jewelry.


black rhino

Photo credit: EcoPic/Getty Images

There are two African rhino species: the white rhino and the smaller black rhino. Theblack rhino has been mercilessly hunted and poached for its two horns. These animals live solitary lives for the most part, though females may pair up.

If left alone to live out their lives, black rhinos can survive for 40 to 50 years. But thanks to nonstop hunting, between 1960 and 1995 black rhino numbers fell by 98 percent to only about 2,500 individuals. They have since bounced back to about 5,000 but remain critically endangered.



Photo credit: Cucu Remus/Getty Images

This gorgeous antelope went extinct in the wild in the late 1980s but lives on in captive populations around the world. It was once plentiful in the deserts of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan.

Conservationists are attempting to reintroduce the oryx to the wild in Tunisia. Sadly, despite its extinct status, there are ranches that raise the scimitar-horned oryx in captivity for hunting purposes. It’s hard to understand why anyone would want to shoot such a beautiful animal with anything but a camera.


Chinese alligator

Photo credit: zhnger/Getty Images

The critically endangered Chinese alligator is smaller than its American cousin at only 5 feet in length. It’s also the only alligator species living outside North or South America. There are only about 120 left in the wild.

Chinese alligators can live up to 70 years. Unfortunately, they’ve been the victims ofdevelopment overtaking their habitat. Once they were found in abundance in the middle-lower Yangtze River region from Shanghai to Jianling City in the Hubei Province. Today, we find Chinese alligators only on the lower Yangtze River, around eastern China’s Anhui and Zhejiang provinces.


Malayan tiger

Photo credit: alexmatamata/Getty Images

Until 2004, scientists thought the Malayan tiger was really the Indochinese tiger, but DNA testing showed it to be a separate species. These tigers inhabit only the Malay Peninsula and the southern tip of Thailand.

Malayan tigers hunt and eat deer, wild boar, gaur, tapir, sun bear and elephant calves. They live solitary lives except when they mate and bear young. Humans are the only threat to this species — so of course, we’ve pushed them to the brink of extinction. There are roughly 250 to 340 Malayan tigers left in existence.


dama gazelle

Photo credit: cuatrok77photograph/Getty Images

The dama gazelle once lived in great numbers in the arid and semi-arid regions of the Sahara — mostly Chad and the Sudan. It’s the largest of the gazelles. The dama gazelle is called “drought-proof“ because it can get all the water it needs via the plants it eats.

Today, there are roughly 200 living in captivity and 400 left in the wild — making the gazelle a critically endangered species. Their numbers have been decimated by hunting, habitat destruction and human population increases within their range.


Iberian lynx

Photo credit: RamonCarretero/Getty Images

Considered the world’s most endangered feline species, the Iberian lynx lives only in Portugal and Spain. This lynx preys primarily on rabbits, needing one a day to survive. When rabbits are scarce, they will instead hunt deer, ducks and partridges. Primary threats to this critically endangered lynx include car strikes, shrinking rabbit populations, hunting and habitat loss.

The population of this species once fell to only about 100 animals — just 25 of which were breeding females. As of 2015, their numbers increased to about 400 lynxes. There is hope, but it is a precarious hope.


This May, Care2 is launching a campaign to protect endangered species. Join us to save these real-life fantastic beasts!

When you sign this petition, you will become a fantastic beast guardian. Your mission is simple: Help spread the word about some of the world’s most endangered animals, and support the work of groups dedicated to saving them.

Main photo credit: Freda Bouskoutas/Getty Images

For more on this story go to: https://www.care2.com/causes/10-fantastic-beasts-on-the-verge-of-extinction.html

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