September 20, 2021
Which Endangered Animals Are Disappearing in our Lifetime?
In this post, we wanted to focus on a very real issue that as humans we are currently facing. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that many animals on our planet that are on the brink of extinction. Every single living organism is vital for the biodiversity of the earth, and each of them has an incredibly important role to play.
We have put together this list of endangered species to help educate our community and to encourage an awareness of the fact that many animals that we know and love may soon, no longer exist.
By making a conscious effort to consider how your actions can impact the environment, you can lead by example and make decisions in everyday life that will benefit the planet and the world around you.
Explore some of the most endangered species below.
Scientific Name: Bombus
Where are they found in the world? All over!
Their typical habitat: Bees like to live in gardens, woodlands, orchards, meadows and other areas where flowering plants are aplenty. Bees can thrive in domesticated environments, but in their natural habitat, they build nests in tree cavities and underneath objects.
Their typical lifespan: 28 days, though some sources say up to a year.
Current Population: Hard to say, but what we do know is that their numbers have dropped 30% in recent years - this decline is consistent with mass extinction.
Bumblebees play a key role in pollinating crops across the globe. Without them, we would not have the fruitful harvests we have today. What can we do to help save the bees? If you see a tired bee, give them some sugar water and help them on their way. Plant bee-friendly flowers in your garden and build or buy a bee hotel. These are tiny steps, but they support the biodiversity and balance of our planet which ultimately is key to human survival.
You can read more about bumblebee conservation here.
Scientific Name: Erinaceidae
Where are they found in the world? Europe, Asia, Africa and were introduced to New Zealand by humans.
Their typical habitat: Commonly found in parks, woodlands, gardens, hedgerows, farmland and suburban habitats where they can find plenty of food.
Their typical lifespan: 2-5 years
Current Population: Rough estimates show that the population of hedgehogs in the 1950s was around 30 million. Sadly, now it’s less than 1 million.
Hedgehogs are currently in trouble. This is mostly due to agriculture growing, which means loss of hedgerows and grasslands. Pesticides used in farming reduce the amount of prey available for these little animals. Over the past two decades, farmers have started to take more responsibility for the decline in hedgehogs and have planted more than 30,000 km of hedgerows this year. We need to keep up this momentum to save them! You can help by creating hedgehog safe homes in your garden.
You can learn more about how to save the hedgehogs here through the charity Hedgehog Street.
Scientific Name: Phocoena sinus
Where are they found in the world? This species of porpoise endemic can be found on the Gulf of California in Baja California Mexico.
Their typical habitat: They live in murky waters between 30 to 90 feet deep and within 16 miles of the shoreline, they need to be where there is strong tidal mixing and high food availability.
Their typical lifespan: 21 years
Current Population: It’s estimated that just 10 are remaining
As they are the world’s rarest marine mammal, they are supposed to be a protected species, however, there is still illegal fishing in this area that causes the Vaquita to get caught in nets and drown. They were only recently discovered, yet they have declined by more than 98.6% due to human interruption.
You can read more about the Vaquita here.
4. Cross River Gorilla
Scientific Name: Gorilla gorilla diehli
Where are they found in the world? On the mountainous border area between Cameroon and Nigeria at the top of the Cross River.
Their typical habitat: Forests and rainforests
Their typical lifespan: 30 – 50 years
Current Population: 200-300
There are many reasons for this rare breed of gorilla to be going extinct. These include the fact that they are overhunted, affected by forest fires, and have suffered a loss of genetic diversity due to their small population and group sizes. Humans have encroached on their territory and cleared forests for timber and to create land for agriculture. There are currently many efforts being made to protect them, including securing the land around them.
You can find out more about helping to protect the Cross River Gorilla here.
5. Black Rhino
Scientific Name: Diceros Bicornis
Where are they found in the world? Native to eastern and southern Africa including Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Their typical habitat: Grasslands, savannahs and tropical bushlands
Their typical lifespan: 35-50 years
Current Population: 5,000
At the start of the 20th century, there were over 500,000 of these majestic creatures. Now, due to human activity, there has been a dramatic drop in numbers. ‘Human activity’ – in this case mostly refers to illegal poaching, which is a huge business. Just one rhino horn can be worth up to £200,000. Numbers of Black rhino dropped by a whopping 96% between 1970 and 1995. But there is some good news, thanks to rhino conservation efforts, their numbers are now gradually rising. You could help by donating to these conservations or adopting a rhino today!
You can find out more about how to help the Black Rhino here.
6. Amur Leopard
Scientific Name: Panthera Pardus Orientalis
Where are they found in the world? Native to the Primorye region of south-eastern Russia and northern China. Their range is smaller than 2,500km which is smaller than Dorset.
Their typical habitat: Temperate forests which experience harsh winters and very hot summers.
Their typical lifespan: 10 – 15 years
Current Population: 90
These animals are truly breathtaking. Which is the reason that they have been hunted to near extinction. Their coats are so beautiful which means they are highly coveted by poachers and illegal wildlife traders. Another reason for their decline is climate change, which is causing their habitat to shrink. Amur leopards have such a small habitat already, and climate change is changing their forest habitat and causing a loss in their prey. Sadly, their limited population size and lack of diversity mean they are unlikely to adapt to any changes.
You can find out more about how to help the Amur Leopard here.
7. Hawksbill Turtle
Scientific Name: Eretmochelys imbricata
Where are they found in the world? Found in the West Atlantic (Caribbean), Indian, and Indo-Pacific Oceans
Their typical habitat: Found in small numbers on remote beaches, but they are known as travellers and are often sound swimming throughout the tropical and subtropical waters.
Their typical lifespan: 50 to 60 years
Current Population: There are many difficulties figuring out their exact population. However, recent estimates show there are only 8,000 females nesting around the world. This number has dropped by 80% over the last century.
There are many reasons we see a drop in these numbers – habitat loss, collection of eggs and meat for consumption, bycatch when fishing, climate change and pollution. The biggest by far is the wildlife trade as they are sought after for their beautiful brown and yellow plates for jewellery and ornaments. WWF is currently working by promoting smart fishing, protecting nesting sites and addressing the impacts of climate change.
You can find out more about how you can help the Hawksbill Turtle here.
8. Southern Rockhopper Penguin
Scientific Name: Eudyptes chrysocome
Where are they found in the world? Subantarctic waters of the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as around the southern coasts of South America.
Their typical habitat: Rocky shorelines and they also make burrows in nests and high grass called tussocks. They disband from the breeding colony in summer and spend 3 – 5 months at sea where they hunt for food.
Their typical lifespan: 10 years
Current Population: Used to be several, but now we are down to roughly one million pairs
These animals have survived for thousands of years in an inhospitable environment, yet a combination of commercial fishing, oil pollution and ocean warming from climate change might be the death of a species. They suffer from the effects of over-fishing as it causes reduced prey for the penguins. Their status is vulnerable, and we need to start acting.
You can find out more about how you can help save the Southern Rockhopper Penguin here.
9. Tapanuli Orangutan
Scientific Name: Pongo tapanuliensis
Where are they found in the world? South Tapanuli on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.
Their typical habitat: Forested uplands of the Batang Toru ecosystem. They now occupy a space that is just 2.5% of what it once was.
Their typical lifespan: 40 years
Current Population: 800 individuals
The worlds most threatened ape species is actually in more danger than researchers once thought. Compound mining and infrastructure projects in the Orangutan’s last known natural habitat is causing them to be wiped out very soon. There are current plans to conserve this species, however many researchers describe these plans as ‘patchy’ and their attempts will likely fail as it’s not being made a priority. There are huge gaps in their efforts and no transparency with their data.
You can find out more about the Tapanuli Orangutan here.
10. Malayan Tiger
Scientific Name: Panthera tigris jacksoni
Where are they found in the world? Native to Peninsular Malaysia
Their typical habitat: Tropical forests with dense trees to make it easier for them to stalk and capture prey
Their typical lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Current Population: 250 – 340
These huge, majestic cats have various threats to their existence, despite being at the top of the animal kingdom. They are hunted for their beautiful skins and various body parts for medicine, alongside being killed by farmers for hunting livestock. The official status for the tigers is ‘critically endangered.’ Thankfully, many zoos around the world have many breeding programmes to help repopulate this incredible animal. It’s a shame that these steps must be taken and the animals will grow up in captivity, but sadly this is one of the only options.
We hope that reading about losing your favourite animals is a call to action for helping in any way you can! We at Absolutely Bear are here to help you connect with nature and make our community aware of these issues, which is the first step to fighting for a better future and saving the lives of all of these incredible beings.
You can learn more about Malayan Tiger and their struggles here.