PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Disappearing AnimalsApril 07, 2014
Lemurs are the most endangered land mammals. More than 90% of the 101 known lemur species face extinction. The greater bamboo lemur is one of the most endangered, with an estimated population of only 500 remaining in the wild.
Fewer than 1,600 giant pandas are left in the world, making it the rarest bear species. They live in a few mountain ranges in central China, in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. The species once lived in lowland areas of the country but lost its habitat in those regions because of farming, deforestation, and other development. You can watch these creatures on cams run by the National Zoo and the San Diego Zoo.
Polar bears are considered a vulnerable species because their sea-ice habitat, which allows them to approach their seal prey, is melting away. Many scientists and conservationists attribute the loss of sea-ice habitat to climate change. It forces polar bears to swim longer to find places to hunt their prey.
Snow leopards living in the mountains of Central Asia have been recognized as an endangered species since 1972 because of poaching and the illegal trading of fur and body parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. Their white-and-gray fur helps them blend into their natural surroundings, and they have extra-large paws to prevent them from sinking into the snow, according to the Snow Leopard Trust.
Found on the northeastern tip of Borneo in the Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Malay peninsula, the endangered pygmy elephant is the “world’s smallest known sub-species of elephant,” according to the World Wildlife Fund. The biggest threats to its habitat are logging and the construction of palm oil plantations, which have led to confrontations between humans and elephants.
The Galápagos penguin has been listed as endangered partly because its survival is threatened by El Niño events, in which ocean water becomes too warm and causes food shortages. Found in the Galápagos Islands off Ecuador, it has an estimated population of 1,800. It is the only species of penguin to live on the equator.
The giant ibis is endangered because it has been hunted and because much of its wetlands habitat in Southeast Asia has been lost through deforestation and agriculture. The large bird is now believed to live mostly in Cambodia and Laos, with roughly only 345 ibis left in the wild.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest tuna species—and the most endangered. It is a victim of overfishing. The fish is particularly popular in Japan, where it is eaten as sashimi, or raw fish cut into thin slices.
The Iberian lynx is the world’s most endangered feline species. There are only about 300 of them left in the wild. The species can be found only in isolated parts of Spain and possibly Portugal.
The vaquita is the smallest known cetacean, or mammal that lives in the ocean. It is also one of the most endangered. There are likely fewer than 100 of them left. Many of the porpoise-like animals have drowned after being entangled in fishing nets. They also suffer from a loss of food supply owing to commercial fishing. Experts say the species may become extinct by 2018.