During this time, we are called to take action to protect ourselves and other humans, flatten the curve of COVID-19, and prevent this situation from getting out of hand. Because of the gravity of this situation, we may have forgotten about causes that are less front-of-mind such as the well being of animals. At Svanah Beauty, we care deeply about all living creatures, so to show that and to give them the spotlight at a time where they are not focused on, this article lists just a small selection of endangered species listed in alphabetical order that could be wiped out in the future even despite the best efforts of many dedicated people (many of which will be cited along with their websites at the end of this article). These, and all endangered species, deserve to have every chance to remain here. They should not be allowed to go away or be forgotten.
Before we begin, here are the World Wildlife Fund’s definitions of the classifications used to describe vulnerable animals.
Critically Endangered: This species faces an extremely high risk of extinction.
Endangered: This species faces a very high risk of extinction.
Vulnerable: This species faces a relatively high risk of extinction.
In summary, the “best” or otherwise optimal status an animal on this list can hope for is vulnerable. That is still a concerning position to be in from the perspective of researchers, zoologists, and of course the animals in question.
These are just 10 of an estimated 16,000 endangered species worldwide. If you try to think of as many different species of animals you can within 10 minutes, an exponentially larger amount than that is on the verge of permanently being wiped out. Keep that in mind as you learn about a selection of them.
Native Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Latest Population Estimate: 415,000 (September 2016)
Elephants are known by most for their intelligence and memory, but according to poachers they are best known for their ivory tusks. The African Elephant is a prime target for all sorts of predators due to their large size. Though ivory trade is deemed illegal in Africa and most other countries worldwide, the black market continues to supply this demand. In Sub-Saharan Africa, elephants inhabit a wide range of environments from grasslands to tropical rainforests and even woodlands. Despite this versatility, Africa’s growing population and the increasing need to sustain that population also cuts into their environment which compromises their diet as herbivores and safe options to live where they can be protected against predators.
Classification: Critically Endangered
Native Region: Predominantly Southern and Eastern Africa
Latest Population Estimate: 5,500 steady or slightly trending up (2019)
The rhinoceros’ horns are unique features that help them ward off animal predators (of which there are few but some crocodiles and lions can put up a fight) but have not deterred human predators. This species is mostly solitary aside from bonds between mothers and their young. Because they need a large number of resources, their territory can be as expansive as 133 square kilometers (51 square miles) depending on the location of their water and food sources. The Black Rhinoceros is docile when unthreatened, but when threatened they charge with no hesitation. This has not deterred poachers from hunting them for their horns, heinous efforts that have severely impacted their numbers.
Native Region: All Oceans
Latest Population Estimate: 10,000-25,000 (2019)
In theory, an animal so large (the largest to have ever existed), near the top of the aquatic food chain, and able to live in any ocean environment should be able to thrive peacefully. Unfortunately, as many of you who read Moby Dick in High School are aware, whale populations have been decimated after centuries of whaling for their blubber and oil. By the time protections started to form in the 1930s, many threats remain (and persist today) including ship strikes, entanglement via fishing gear, pollution, and climate change. The melting of the glaciers affects the entire ocean environment not just at the poles: every ocean is connected and when the balance of one area is disrupted, every area can be compromised. As the ocean is vital to sustaining our lives, we should try to do so for the sake of these whales and all creatures who call these depths their home.
Native Region: Equatorial Africa
Latest Population Estimate: 170,000-300,000 (2019)
The chimpanzee calls the rainforests and grasslands home. The closest living relative to humans, that hasn’t stopped some humans from compromising their health and existing. Habitat loss, human diseases, and poaching are the biggest threats. It is a shame because Chimpanzees are usually peaceful animals (though they can be aggressive at times) and despite the mostly failed attempts to teach them Sign Language, they are intelligent creatures. An example of their innovation is their proficient use of simple tools. Sticks, rocks, and fauna that exist in their environment can be fashioned to make hunting and gathering equipment to fulfill their diet of honey, ants, and nuts.
Native Region: South Central China
Latest Population Estimate: 1,800 (March 2015)
The term “giant panda” can refer to any sized panda as long as it is colored black and white and resembles a bear. This is to distinguish it from the red panda. Bamboo and leaves make up more than 99% of its diet, making it a folivore despite technically being considered a carnivore through its genetic designation. As with other animals across the world, the giant panda is rapidly losing its habitat as more land in China is being used for farming and development. While it is reasonable for humans to need significant amounts of space to produce food and other products for society, a priority should be doing so through sustainable methods. That requires acknowledging the needs of other animals in that area. Though the wild giant panda population is increasing in recent years, there are still only just under 2,000 which still warrants the classification of “vulnerable”. That status can still shift especially as China is part of the global effort to recover its economy due to this ongoing pandemic, and a decision with the economy in mind may leave out this gentle species.
Native Region: Appalachian United States
Latest Population Estimate: 2.3 million (2002)
The rapid growth and expansion of the United States in the 20th century shaped the cultural and environmental landscapes of that country, and the decline of the gray bat population is an example of that transition. 95% of gray bats roost in an exclusive 9 caves, which numbers wise makes them vulnerable as well as if anything were to happen to those caves such as a mining accident. Bats are often seen as a nuisance and a part of the creepy ambiance that can occur in the dead of night, but they are interesting animals when studied more closely. Despite their pickiness in caves to live in, they migrate between different caves for various reasons such as some caves being optimal for hibernation and others for breeding. Pesticide use has contributed to the numbers of this species declining.
Native Region: Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Western Rwanda, and Uganda
Latest Population Estimate: Just over 1,000 (June 2018)
With roughly 1,000 of these species still roaming the mountains and jungles of Africa, the mountain gorilla is in a more precarious position than its counterpart, the eastern lowland gorilla, whose numbers are nearly quadruple that of this species. Living up to its name, their thicker fur than what is typical for gorillas allows them to withstand colder temperatures that regularly occur in the highlands of Africa. Male mountain gorillas weigh around 430 lbs, double that of the females, which despite that massive size makes them the smaller of the eastern gorilla duo. Unfortunately, while some who take these measurements do so for research and conversation purposes, others can be attributed to the work of poachers. They weigh and measure these beautiful creatures to see how much they are worth selling for, and that is the price paid by the animals as their numbers have significantly decreased. Poaching is one of the biggest threats that endangered species face, and it is a reminder that for some people, these animals are not friends but merely objects. That is not how they deserve to be viewed.
Classification: Critically Endangered
Native Region: Southeastern United States
Latest Population Estimate: 40 (April 2018)
The red wolf is commonly compared to the coyote and gray wolf, falling in the middle of these three species in terms of physical characteristics as well as social behavior. Red wolves are monogamous animals where both parents are active in the lives of their young. Their historic habitat stretched from modern-day Texas to southern New York. Though temporarily extinct from the wild, the hard work of many zoologists saw to their reintroduction. As long as there is enough prey (namely rabbits and other rodents) and little interference with humans, they can thrive. As is the case for all animals on this list, the latter is a big if, especially as gunshots from humans prove to cause the most decline lately.
Native Region: India and Southeast Asia
Latest Population Estimate: 3,000-3,900 (2015)
As mentioned to an extent in the Netflix series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, tigers had a complicated relationship with humans. For centuries, tigers have been hunted for their pelts which can be used for decoration. In the wild, tigers only stalk their natural prey and typically avoid humans. But when cornered by humans, they are not afraid to strike back. This has placed a stigma on these large cats as statistically, they have killed more humans than any other mammal, but humans such as those who keep them for private zoos or other unofficial captivity purposes also push the envelope and provoke them. For these people, tigers are seen as a status symbol as well as a symbol of power. That is not how any animal deserved to be treated.
Native Region: Canadian Prairie Provinces; Great Plains, Midwest, and Southeast Regions of the United States
Latest Population Estimate: 505 (2017)
The whooping crane came close to extinction in the 1940s due to unregulated hunting and loss of habitat, but that low of 23 bounced back to over 500 in the present-day thanks to extensive conservation efforts. These birds have a large migration pattern that takes them through the heart of Canada and the United States, where the Gulf of Mexico region serves as their breeding grounds. Despite the hefty fines imposed on anyone who shoots a whooping crane, hunters remain persistent in their quest to add another trophy to their home. The viewpoint that animals are nothing more than trophies is archaic and hopefully will change with continued action and policy shifts. Additionally, the whooping crane faces a host of predators from bears, wolves, foxes, and eagles.
After learning about just a few of these beautiful creatures whose existences are threatened, the next question you may have is: What can we do to help these animals even during a pandemic? We at Svanah Beauty suggest the following:
Recycle and obtain/create sustainable products to use in your everyday life.
Reduce water consumption and your carbon footprint. Every resource that we take for granted is finite, most notably fossil fuels which many of us still use for everyday needs such as automotive gas and can have an impact on these ecosystems.
Talk to your friends and family about animals both locally and abroad. If they are local, more immediate action can be taken. Animals from afar may still be displayed at your local zoo, so be sure to contact them and ask about their methods for caring for these animals.
If you know people who fish or hunt, ensure that they understand all necessary regulations so that they allow for populations to remain stable. If possible, convince them not to hunt. There are surely better uses of their time.
Grow local plants and use eco-friendly products in growing them. Do not contribute to the expansion of invasive species as they throw off the ecosystem for endangered animals and plants. For more sustainable gardening tips, check out our guide.
When interacting with animals, merely take pictures (ideally without flash) rather than removing them from their natural habitat. The balance of many ecosystems can be shifted by even minor alterations caused by humans.
Just as most animals are endangered because of the actions of humans, our actions can help them out. We hope this article proved to be an interesting and educational resource. If you wish to learn more or take action, check out the following Nonprofit Organizations and Events.
Non-Exhaustive List of NPOs for Endangered Species Worldwide and Upcoming Events
Defenders of Wildlife (https://defenders.org)
Gorilla Doctors (https://www.gorilladoctors.org)
International Crane Foundation (https://www.savingcranes.org)
International Rhino Fund (https://rhinos.org)
International Union for Conservation of Nature (https://www.iucn.org)
Jane Goodall Institute (https://www.janegoodall.org)
Project AWARE (https://www.projectaware.org)
Wildlife Conservation Society (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildlife_Conservation_Society)
World Wildlife Fund (https://www.worldwildlife.org)