Posted by: Danielle | August 11, 2010

More Iconic Animals That Could Soon Go Extinct With Pictures

I’ve decided to make another list, of species that could soon become extinct if action is not taken.All of the species on this list are facing extinction do to  actions of people, whether it is because of poaching, or habitat loss, or many of the other man made causes. If people do not act fast, these wonderful species, and the thousands of others not included will be lost. Remember extinction is forever.

1. Bonobo

Bonobo’s are arguably are closest relatives, and they are found only in the Congo Basin Rainforests of the central Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Due to the area they live in, it is hard to get an exact number but the Bonobo population is estimated to be anywhere between 60,000, to fewer than 5,000 individuals, their population has seen a rapid decline during the last 30 years. They are under threat from bushmeat hunters and habitat loss. Solonga National Park protects 36,000km² of forest located in the heart of the Bonobo range. This is the only park doing so, harboring this species. The area being protected has not stopped heavily armed gangs of poachers from entering the park, and killing Bonobos however. Most conservation efforts in this area are being hampered by the civil unrest, and wars prevailing in the region.

2. Tree Kangaroo

This unique macropods (the same family the Kangaroo belongs to) have adapted to life in the trees.They can be found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. Many of the 14 species of tree kangaroo are near extinction. The Wondwoi Tree Kangaroo is thought to be critically endangered if not extinct with as few as 50 individuals left in the world. The Dingsio another subspecies, has seen a drop in population in excess of 80% over the last 30 years. Habitat loss, and uncontrolled hunting have led to their endangerment. They are hunted for food by indigenous communities living across their range, for some of the species this is there main causes of their sharp decline in numbers. Their habitat has been cut down for logging and timber production, or the area was cut down to be converted to coffee,wheat,or rice production areas. This loss of habitat has also exposed Tree Kangaroos to predation from domestic dogs.

3. Amur Leopard

A subspecies of leopard, this cat is found in the temperate forests, in Russia’s far east. This species is listed as critically endangered, and less than 40 individuals are left. Many factors have contributed to the near extinction of the Amur Leopard. Habitat Loss, and fragmentation of their habitat is one of many factors. It is estimated between 1970-1983 this species lost an unbelievable 80% of its territory. Indiscriminate logging,  forest fires, and removal of forest for farming are the main causes of their habitat loss. Prey scarcity is another large factor. The amount of prey in their hunting grounds is not enough for the Amur Leopard, Tigers, and other predators in the region. Yet another factor is poaching and illegal trade,they are poached for their beautiful coat. Conflict with humans has been another trouble for the leopards over the years. The Amur Leopards main prey is deer, and natural preference but this has proven deadly for this species, because farmers in the Russian Far East where they live raise deer for human consumption, and to produce antlers for the Asian medicine market. Because of the absence of their wild prey, leopards often venture into these deer farms in search of food. The farmers are quick to protect their investments and kill the leopards. This is the biggest immediate threat to the leopards. Additionally they are threatened by vulnerable population size and inbreeding. Due to their incredibly small population size (less than 40), there are few options for mates, and inbreeding leads to many genetic problems, one of them includes decreased fertility. Studies have shown that the cubs per female has decreased from 2 in 1973 to just 1 in 1991.

4. Saiga Antelope

Instantly recognized because of its unique nose, the Saiga Antelope is found in Kalmykia, 3 areas of Kazakhstan, and 2 isolated areas in Mongolia. In the early 1990′s their population was over a million but today, there are only 50,000 left and the numbers are still sharply declining. Hunting is a major problem for them. After the breakup of the USSR. Increased rural poverty in the area, led to uncontrolled hunting of the species for food.Demand for their horn, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine, skewed the sex ration dramatically leading to a catastrophic drop in birth rates. The saiga has also had difficulty because of habitat loss. Their grazing grounds are being taken over for farming. The population of saiga antelope has had difficulty recovering because of harsh winters followed by summer droughts in recent years.

5. Snow Leopard

Another subspecies of leopard, the snow leopard is an expert at navigating the steep and rocky mountains in central Asia. There are 6,000 snow leopards in the wild spread across 12 different countries, and their numbers continue to decline today. The 12 countries are: China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia. China contains about 60% of the remaining snow leopard’s habitat. Human conflict is a big factor affecting the future of the snow leopard. They are often killed by local farmers because they prey on livestock such as sheep,goats,horses, and yak calves. In some areas, domestic animals make up 58% of the species’ diet. They have to prey on these animals because their natural wild prey has become scarce. The animal they would typically hunt in the wild is the Argali sheep, but the sheep are also hunted by local communities. Poaching is also to blame, they are hunted for their fur, and for their bones which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Habitat loss is another large factor, as more people move into the area, their habitat is becomingly increasingly fragmented.

6.Przewalski’s Horse

A rare and endangered species of wild horse found in central area, in China and Mongolia. They are the last surviving subspecies of wild horse left. There are only 238 of this species left in the wild, but many of these animals are in protected facilities, there are 1,500 in captivity. The greatest threats to this species is the small population and the possible genetic defects that will result from a small gene pool. The Przewalski’s Horse was almost brought to extinction by hunting, loss of habitat, and losing their water sources to domestic animals.

7.Sea Otters

This aquatic member of the weasel family is found along the coast in the pacific ocean in north america and asia. In the 1990s sea otters were hunted for their fur almost to extinctions with only 1-2,000 remaining. Today 150,000 to 300,000 are protected by law, but they are still threatened. Oil pollution is one of their biggest threats. But they also face orca predation, poaching, and conflict with fisheries – sea otters can drown if caught in fishing nets.

8. Red Panda

These pandas grow to about the size of a house cat and they have 18 inch tails. They live in central China, the mountains of Nepal, and northern Myanmar (Burma) . They spend the majority of their life living in the trees. There are an estimated 11,000 – 20,000 left in the wild, and 800 found in zoos around the world. Their threats are direct harvesting from the forest (alive or dead), competition with domestic livestock resulting in habitat degradation, and habitat loss due to deforestation. In southwest China, they are hunted for their fur, and their bushy tails are highly valued and are used to make hats. In these areas the fur is often used for local cultural ceremonies and in weddings the groom traditionally carries their hide. Red Pandas have naturally low birth rates (usually a single or twin birth per year), they also have a high death rate in the wild.

9. Giant Anteater

The giant anteater have no teeth, they use their long tongues to lap up, 35,000 ants and termites each day that they swallow whole. They are found in central and south america. There are only 5,000 left in the wild, and only 90 live in zoos across the U.S.  They are often killed by humans either intentionally through hunting or unintentionally through collisions with cars.

10. Sun Bear

This reclusive species of bear, is the smallest species in the bear family. It lives in the dense lowland forests of southeast Asia. They is not enough data to have their exact numbers or how far to extinction they are presently, but scientists fear the worst. Their habitat is being lost rapidly to due to deforestation. Poachers hunt them mercilessly for their fur and body parts. Farmers kill them because they often eat crops such as oil palm, coconuts, and bananas. Additionally adult females are often killed so the cubs can be taken, and raised as pets.

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Facts About Extinction And Endangerment:

– 1 in 4 mammals, 1 in 8 birds species are at a high risk of extinction in the near future

-1 in 3 amphibians and almost half of all tortoises and fresh water turtles are threatened

-The current rate of extinction is estimated to be between 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural extinction rate

-16,928 plant and animal species are known to be threatened with extinction. This may be a gross underestimate because only less than 3% of the worlds 1.9 million species have been assessed by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature)Red List Of Threatened Species

-In the last 500 years, human activity has forced at least 869 species into extinction or extinction in the wild

-Habitat loss and degradation affect 83% of all threatened birds, 83% of all threatened mammals, and 91% of all threatened plants

-All 22 species of Albatross are under threat as as a result of long line fishing

-A total of 8,457 plants are under threat of extinction, this accounts for 3% of the world’s described plants. As only 4% of the earth’s plants have been described the number could be much higher

-The total number of known animal species under threat of extinction has increased from 5,205 in 1996 to a total of 8,462 today

-Indonesia, China, and Brazil are the countries with the most threatened birds and mammals

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