Endangered species are the ones whose population is at the probable risk of becoming extinct. The threat of extinction can be attributed to a range of factors, including the already small size of population, loss of habitat, poaching for food or economic gains, and so on. Of the numerous species which are considered endangered as of today, some of the oft-heard species are black rhinos, giant pandas, etc.
Native to the central areas of Africa namely, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is facing a serious threat to its existence. Standing 58 to 63 inches tall and 10 to 12 feet long, a black rhino weighs around 1700 to 3000 lb. It has 2 horns, made up of keratin, which have a huge demand in the International market. Poaching of this rhino, for its horns, is a lucrative business and has led to a drastic decline in its population. The animal, which was found in abundance in early 20th century, is battling for its survival, with only 3610 individuals left in the wild. The West African black rhino, which is a subspecies of the black rhino, is worst affected with less than 10 animals remaining in the wild.
The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a mammal native to central-western and southwestern China. Although a carnivore, about 99 per cent of its diet consists of bamboo. It is 1.5 m long, 75 cm tall, and weighs 240 lb. As of today, there are 239 giant pandas living in captivity in China and 27 outside China. Besides this, it is assumed that around 1600 giant pandas are still present in the wild. Even though their number is increasing, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is still skeptical about excluding it from the list of endangered animals.
Giant Sable Antelope
The giant sable antelope (Hippotragus niger variani) is a subspecies of the sable antelope. Native to Angola, it is most commonly found in the region between river Cuango and river Luando. It is 115 to 140 cm tall and weighs about 525 lb. The male species are black in color, while the females are chestnut colored. They have white eyebrows. Giant sable antelopes are enlisted as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List.
The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is a subspecies of tiger, most commonly found on Sumatra island in Indonesia. It is 234 cm or 6 feet 8 inches long and weighs around 290 lb. It has narrower stripes compared to other species. It's estimated that there are less than 500 Sumatran tigers left in the wild. This decline in number can be attributed to cruel poaching of this magnificent creature, specifically for its precious skin which has a high demand in the International market.
The Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus), which was once found between the region from Arabia to India, is today restricted only to Iran. Although there have been occasional sighting of this animal in Pakistan, it is quite rare phenomena. Around 115 cm long, the Asiatic cheetah weighs around 70 to 120 lb. In 2004-05, it was assumed that only 50 to 60 Asiatic cheetahs were left in the World, most of which were restricted to the Kavir desert in Iran. But projects like the Conservation of Asiatic Cheetah Project, a United Nations Development Program initiative, render some hope, that someday, this creature will be ticked out of endangered species list.
The riverine rabbit (Bunolagus monticularis) is one of the most endangered species in the world. This beautiful animal sports cream-colored fur, brown woolly tail, and black stripe on its cheek. It is only found in the Karoo desert in Cape Province of South Africa. This limitation as far as habitat is concerned, may be the reason for the drop in the population of this animal to as low as 200 individuals in the wild.
The island fox (Urocyon littoralis) is the second smallest species of fox in the United States. It is mostly found in Channel islands of California. It has gray fur on the head and ruddy-red coloring on the sides. Its population has dropped to as low as 500 individuals, largely due to golden eagle predation.
The walia ibex (Capra walie) is mostly found in the mountains of Ethiopia. Weighing at around 200 lb, the animal sports a chocolate-brown or chestnut-brown coat and a grayish brown muzzle. Poaching and habitat depletion has led to a huge fall in their number, with only 400 of them surviving. But there has been a slow rise in their number, considering that only 150 to 200 creatures existed in 1963. More conservation measures are needed to ensure that this species does not become extinct in the near future.
The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is a feline mammal, native to the Iberian peninsula in southern Europe. These creatures are 85 to 110 cm long and weigh up to 60 lb. They sport a light gray coat and have spots on their body. The Iberian lynx is the world's most threatened species of cat. Only 400 Iberian lynx existed in the wild in 2000 and this number has come down to less than 100 today.
The pygmy hog (Porcula salvania) is an endangered species of wild pig native to India, Nepal, and Bhutan. They are 55 to 70 cm long, 20 to 30 cm tall, and weigh up to 22 lb. Today their number has declined to less than 150. Human encroachment is considered the most important reason for the drastic decline in their population.
The need of the hour is to implement conservation measures, like demarcating protected areas, curbing poaching, etc., so that there is less of human intervention in their surroundings. The list of endangered animals on the planet is growing with each passing year. If we don't act fast, we will lose all these animals forever.