Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

Iconic Animals That Could Soon Go Extinct With Pictures

Imagine a world without Lions, Tigers, Elephants,Pandas, and many other iconic animals we grew up knowing and loving. This day may be sooner than you think! Many of the animals on this list can still be saved, if people put forth the time and effort to save them. Remember: extinction is forever. This is a short list of many animals we may lose in the not to distant future:

1. Lion

The lion population has decreased 30% in the last twenty years because of indiscriminate killing, and prey depletion. Another large factor is climate change. Heavy droughts, are often the cause of major outbreaks in disease. In 1994 the Serengeti lion population was hit by two major diseases at once. CDV  (canine distemper virus), and a tick borne blood parasite infection known as Babesia, which wiped out a third of the lion population.


There are possibly as few as 3,200 tigers left in the wild. The largest of Asia’s big cats, they are at the top of the food chain, and one of the most culturally important, and beautiful animals in the world, they are now also one of the most threatened species on earth.

For millions of years the tiger flourished in a territory stretching from eastern Turkey to far eastern Russia. But in the last 70 years, the Bali, Javan, and Caspian tigers, were lost forever. Tragically the remaining six subspecies, including face the same fate in the near future, because of illegal trade, poaching,and conflict with people, which includes habit loss. If major steps are not taken to protect the tiger, we lose all tigers within our lifetime.

The remaining subspecies are:

The Siberian Tiger: No more than 40 are left in the wild.

The Bengal Tiger

Indochinese Tiger

Malayan Tiger

South China Tiger: These tigers are deemed functionally extinct with only 47 left in zoos, and no known South China Tigers in the wild.

Sumatran Tiger

3. African and Asian Elephant

African elephants once numbered in the millions across Africa, they have been reduced to anywhere between 400,000-700,000. Their population was devastated by poaching.  They are still being poached for their meat and ivory. And loss of habitat has also led to a reduction in their numbers.

The Asian elephant although revered in many Asian cultures, is being pushed to extinction. Very few are left and the numbers are decreasing with the ever increasing, human encroachment in their habitat. Confrontations between elephants and humans often led to deaths on both sides, and poaching has remained one of their greatest threats.

-An Asian elephant.

4. Giant Panda

The giant panda, found exclusively in China, is the rarest member of the bear family. There are less than 2,500 mature pandas in the wild. With China rapidly developing the panda faces a number of threats. First habitat loss, its forest habitat in the mountainous areas of southwest china have become increasingly fragmented by roads, and railroads. And poaching remains an ever present threat to one of the worlds most beloved animals.

5. Rhinos

Rhinos once roamed all throughout Eurasia and Africa. Today very few Rhinos survive outside of protected areas. There are five species of Rhino, three found in Asia, two in Africa, all are endangered here is a list of the Rhinos:

Black Rhinos:

The black rhino found in Africa was once so common that it would not be unusual to see several dozen of them a day.  There are around 3,725 left.

Sumatran Rhino:

The smallest species of rhino. Once widespread on Borneo it is now only found in the state of Sabah in Malaysia. A 2005 survey of the area found evidence of only 13 Sumatran Rhinos,  and no more than 25 are believed to be alive today.

Indian Rhino:

Found in Asia, only 2,400 are left. Its population increased from 600 in 1975 to the present day number today. Even with their increase in numbers, poaching remains a major threat.

Javan Rhino:

Another species of Rhino found in Asia. Fewer than 60 are thought to survive in the wild, and there are none in captivity. They were once the most common Asian rhino.

White Rhino:

The second of Africa’s two species of rhino and the most populous of any rhino species with 14,538. Thought to be extinct in 1895 a centuries, worth of effort has led to the increase in population. They are the only species of rhino not currently endangered, but they are classified as Near Threatened. I included this to show people that conservation can work!

6. Mountain Gorilla

Listed as critically endangered,the mountain gorilla has fewer than 700 living in the wild. Habitat loss is a major factor, not only are humans moving in and taking over their habitat, but the forests are being cut down for charcoal production. Poaching is another contributing factor, they are hunted for their meat, as well as trophies and live infant gorillas. Disease is also to blame, as more tourists come to see them, they have been increasingly exposed to human ailments. Gorillas suffer severe conditions of human diseases, and can die from the common cold.

7. Sumatran Orangutan

There are 12-15,000 Orangutan’s living in Borneo, and 4-6,000 living in Sumatra. Orangutans live around 45 years, but a single female will have no more than three offspring in her lifetime! Habitat Loss, and poaching is decreasing their numbers dramatically, and some experts suggest that Orangutans could become extinct as soon as 10 years from now.

8. California Condor

The largest flying bird in North America, there are only 160 California Condors left in the wild. Threats to them include habitat lost, shootings, pesticide residue, lead poisoning, and collisions with power lines.

9. Black Footed Ferret

Once common in North America, the number of Black Footed Ferrets has decreased to 750 in the wild, and another 250 in captive breeding facilities. The threat to the black footed ferret is related to the threats of the prairie dog. One black footed ferret will eat 100 prairie dogs in a year. And the prairie dog population has decreased dramatically over the years do to habitat destruction, poisoning, shooting, and disease. So loss of prairie dog, means loss of the black footed ferret, just one example of how animal populations are interrelated.

10. Cheetah

In 1900 there were over 100,000 cheetahs in the wild, today that number is down to 9-12,000.  Habitat loss due to human encroachment is their biggest threat. Their numbers are also suffering due to conflicts with humans and decline in prey. There is a high cub mortality rate due to Lions and Hyenas that are in competition with the Cheetah for prey. Genetic inbreeding due to their decreased numbers has led to abnormalities, further decreasing their numbers.

11. Clouded Leopard

There is 7,500 clouded leopards in captivity, and there is thought to be around 2,300 in the wild. And one of the four subspecies is thought to be extinct, while the other three are listed as Critical. Habitat loss due to deforestation, illegal hunting for traditional Chinese medicine, and poaching because of the high demand for its beautiful pelt.

12. Polar Bear

There are about 20,000 polar bears left in the world. Experts think that the polar bear could be extinct by 2050 as their habitat decreases due to global warming. Their survival is dependent on the sea ice, as a platform for hunting. Loss of sea ice leads to high energy requirements to locate prey, and a shortage of food. Seals which are a primary source of food for the polar bears, also require ice to breed and raise their young.  Changing ice conditions have forced the seals to move and give birth in different locations, making them more difficult to find.

13. Red Wolf

Red Wolves once common in North America, were almost hunted to extinction. There are only 100 red wolves in the wild, and 207 in captive breeding facilities.

14 Lynx

Lynx are found in the United States and around 1,000 are left in the wild. The Lynx’s biggest threat is habitat lost due to logging. Global Warming and a decrease in prey are also to blame for their decrease in population.

15. Iberian Lynx

The Iberian Lynx is found in Europe. It could be the first wild cat (not counting subspecies of tigers, and lions), to go extinct since the saber toothed tiger that went extinct around 10,000 years ago. Iberian Lynxes are either extinct or functionally extinct in the wild. 150 Iberian Lynxes in total are left. The loss in population was due to habitat loss, feral dogs, poisoning, road causalities and poaching.

16. Ring Tailed Lemur

They are found only on the African island of Madagascar,and some tiny neighboring islands. Humans were introduced to Madagascar around 2,000 years ago, and since then around 90% of the forests have been lost. That, along with hunting are the greatest threats to the Ring Tailed Lemur population. This species is listed as near threatened.

17. Komodo Dragon

There are between 4-5,000 komodo dragons living in the wild. They live on the islands of Gili Motang, Gili Dasami, Rinca, Komodo, and Flores. Loss of habitat, volcanic activity,  earthquakes, fire, loss of prey, tourism and poaching have all contributed to the decrease in population.

18. Leatherback Turtle

Listed as critically endangered, the exact number is hard to know. Once they reach adulthood (which few do) they have no natural predators, but they are under threat from humans in direct and indirect ways. They are a few that are caught for their meat by subsistence fisheries, and nests are raided by people in Southeast Asia. They are indirectly in danger by: fishermen accidentally catching them in nets as a bycatch (unintended catch), pollution chemical and physical can be fatal to the Leatherback Sea Turtle.

-A picture of a man with a leatherback sea turtle.

Those were some of the more iconic animals that are endangered, but there are thousands more.


“Extinction is a natural part of life on earth, whats the big deal?”

Extinction is happening at a much quicker rate than is natural, or it has in the past, this is due largely to poaching, and habitat loss, directly caused by humans.

“Why should we care about Endangered Species?”

There are many reasons to care, including your own survival. Many of our foods, and medicines are derived from wild species. Every animal or plant has an essential part of the ecosystem, that without it, would cease to function. A simple example of this is animal and pests would become a large problem if predators wouldn’t naturally keep the numbers down.

“How can I help?”

There are many ways you can help, not only endangered species, but animals in your area too! Think about animals globally and locally. Most of these tips will help all kinds of wildlife. Most of these anyone can do, no matter your budget!

Habitat loss is a major cause for endangered species. You can help prevent that by recycling paper.

Recycle things like games,electronics, books, and toys

Try to buy food without packaging when possible

Build birdhouses, or make a bird bath for birds

Plant trees in your backyard

If you have a garden, start a compost, that will reduce the need for chemical fertilizers that are harmful to animals

Avoid using chemicals, there are many natural options for cleaners, pest control, and other things now a days, research this online

Support national parks and wild life reserves.

Donate to animal conservation organizations

You can also help by spreading the word, start a blog, tell your friends, do anything to make your voice heard.

The world wildlife fund,  is a good place to go to. But this is just one of many. Here is the website:

If you want to know about other endangered species there is a list here:


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