Humans have a responsibility to protect endangered species from extinction. Every day, more and more animal species are becoming endangered or extinct. In this post, we will look at endangered animals worldwide and some endangered plants in North America. We will also explore why it is so important that humans do what they can to save these precious creatures!
Why This Endangered Animals List Matters
By 2022, there will be at least 200 species of animals that are extinct or endangered due to human activity and climate change. Endangered animals in 2020 included polar bears, giraffes, rhinos, tigers, elephants, pandas, and gorillas.
Some animals have become endangered because humans have destroyed their habitat, or they’ve been hunted into extinction for food or sport (e.g., whales) Other animals like the panda bear are endangered because they’re getting sick from the environment (e.g., air, water, soil)
The majority of endangered animals are located in developing countries because they’re the ones who are destroying biodiversity and habitats. These extinctions are significant threats to humanity’s survival since many plants provide us with oxygen, AND organisms provide us with survival food.
Endangered Animals List
For example, the endangered Finless Porpoise is dying out due to fishing nets and pollution of water sources in China. They can only be found in a small area on the coast of mainland Asia where they face extinction if we do not save them soon!
In North America, endangered species include many plants and animals from different areas throughout the continent! The endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, for example, is native to the American southeast. These birds are endangered due to habitat loss and deforestation when humans build houses or towns in their natural habitats.
Other endangered animals worldwide include many more species of animals from different regions all over the globe! Some examples are listed below:
The panda has a low reproductive rate and slow maturation. Pandas have the slowest reproductive rate of any mammal of comparable size. Giant pandas breed infrequently, and a female may only produce twins every other year. In addition, due to its shallow body temperature during the winter months, the giant panda has one of the lowest metabolic rates among mammals.
The Bornean Orangutan is endangered by deforestation, habitat loss, and hunting. The people from Malaysia burn the forests to make room for plantations which could benefit them economically. They cut down trees and sell them for profit or use them as fuel to cook their food or keep themselves warm. Monkeys, deer, and wild pigs are hunted for their meat. The people from Indonesia also hunt this species for meat and target the pygmy variety because they are smaller orangutans closer to the ground.
The mountain gorillas are endangered because of the ongoing civil war in Rwanda, their low population numbers, and their habit of being hunted. The mountain gorillas are very important to Rwanda’s eco-tourism industry – tourism employs around 6 percent of the country’s labor force, with more than 450,000 international visitors annually.
The dolphin population in the area of China is on the decline. The finless porpoise, a close living relative to the dolphin, is on the brink of extinction. The finless porpoise is an endangered species, and commercial fishing is the leading cause of the population decline. Commercial fishing boats have been poaching finless porpoises as a bycatch, devastatingly decreasing population numbers.
The current population of Indochinese tigers is approximately 300, which is not nearly enough to sustain the species. The proximity between each tiger’s territory also doesn’t support their sustainability. The tigers are simply running out of space. The tiger population struggle can be attributed to habitat loss, poaching, and fragmentation. If things continue as they are now, Indochinese tigers will become extinct in the next century.
The Western Black Rhino
Sightings of the western black rhino have declined by 95% over the past 20 years. The population dwindled to 2,000 in 2004 but is now below 600. It’s expected that there are only 100 left alive.
Endemic to Mexico, this adorable creature is threatened by human encroachment into its habitat. Many of its eggs are stolen for food, which has led to a drastic decrease in the number of young. Its total population is now estimated at 5,000.
The nene goose was once common throughout Hawaii, but its numbers declined so rapidly that by 1952 they were extinct on all main Hawaiian islands except Maui (where there were only 30 birds).
There are also many other types of endangered or extinct plant life that need to be saved immediately if they want any chance at survival.
For example, Leavenworthia exigua var. crass (Charleston Glade Cress) is native only to parts of northern Alabama where coal companies have been forced out because they use explosives on mountainsides to mine coal seams within the rock formations there. Other threatened Appalachian region plants include Carex Appalachia (Appalachian sedge), Calamagrostis brachytricha, and Silene ovata ssp. caroliniana (Carolina catchfly).
The Extinction List
A study by the Zoological Society of London, published in the Biological Conservation Journal, revealed that half of the world’s extinct species would still be around today if not for human activity.
Researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) compiled their list after investigating the causes of extinction of 500 now-extinct birds, amphibians, mammals, and reptiles over the past 500 years.
According to the ZSL’s Professor Paul Martin, who helped put together this report, “One important reason why species have become extinct is that their geographic ranges have been severely reduced or eliminated by human activities.” And that just about sums up what humans are all about. We’re slowly killing this planet through pollution, deforestation, poaching…the list goes on. But the animals are dying out forever because of us.
– The Golden Toad, so named for its bright orange coloration, has already suffered one or two population crashes due to rising air temperatures but still manages to survive until today. However, rising sea levels caused by global warming will finally wipe out its last few remaining colonies in Monteverde, Costa Rica, for good.
– The Great Auk was a sizeable flightless seabird that became extinct when European sailors and hunters killed them off during the late 1700s and early 1800s. But like the Tasmanian Tiger, this was not due to human activity but rather because of what we did back then.
– The Passenger Pigeon went from numbering in the billions in North America to existing only in memory until it became extinct in 1914 due to hunting and habitat loss.
– The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker will join its cousins on this list once it finally becomes extinct in 2016 or 2017 after American Birding Association teams surveyed the Big Woods region of Arkansas and reported no signs of it.
– The Thylacine, so named because of the pouch under its belly that is used to carry its young, has been extinct since 1936 after European settlers hunted it into oblivion for sport and to protect their livestock from them
If humans do not make changes very soon, many more species will become extinct. We need to take action before it is too late for these precious animals that cannot speak up or defend themselves against us. Who knows how long their natural habitats will be around if we don’t fight to protect them right now?