The World Wide Fund for nature recently shared reports that surveyed animal populations have declined by more than 50 percent on average in the last two generations. These five animal species are now so critically endangered, that less than 100 individuals are alive.
As only some 84 individuals are alive, the Amur Leopard is critically endangered. Like other leopards the Amur leopard can run up to 60 kilometres per hour and takes horizontal leaps up to 5.7 meters. Special about this leopard is that it only lives in the far east of Russia, and not in Africa like most other leopards do. The Amur leopard is also known as the Far East Leopard, the Korean leopard or the Manchurian leopard. In the wild they usually live for 10 to 15 years, in captivity this can be 20 years. Unfortunately many of them never get this old. Like for so many other species poachers form the biggest threat to the Amur Leopard. It’s poached largely for its spotted fur, which can bring in a lot of money on the black market.
After the White rhino, which is now basically extinct since there are only two females alive, the Javan rhino is the most critically endangered rhinoceros. With a population of about 58 to 68 individuals, the Javan rhino only lives in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia. It used to live in Northern India and Southeast Asia, but the last rhino in Vietnam was killed by poachers in 2010. The Javan rhino has one horn and an appearance as if it is wearing an armour, because of loose folds on the skin.
These animals only exists in the wild, none are held in captivity and they are rarely ever seen. The saola was only recently discovered but already on the edge of extinction. It’s unknown how many of them are still alive, estimations are between a couple dozen and a few hundred. The soala has two horns with sharp ends at the top of its head, which can grow to a half a meter in length, it can also be recognized by the white markings on the face. The Soala only lives in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos in Eastern Asia.
The vaquita is a cetacean (family of whales) and so critically endangered that only about 30 individuals are still alive in the northern Gulf of California, in the West coast of the United States. This smaller version of the porpoise was only discovered in 1958, but is now so rare that we are close to losing them forever. This because they often get caught in fishnets and drown. Vaquitas can be recognized by the large dark rings around their eyes. Most often they can be found close to shore in the Gulf’s shallow waters, but they quickly swim away if boats approach.
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The smallest member of the porpoise family is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Unsustainable and illegal fishing practices have caused a dramatic decline on the vaquita's population. With fewer than 30 vaquita left in the wild, without immediate action they face imminent extinction. Stand with us, and let President Peña Nieto of Mexico know that we demand action to protect the vaquita today. Link in bio.
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South China Tiger
The South China tiger is so critically endangered that it is considered extinct in the wild, since it hasn’t been spotted for over 25 years. The subspecies was hunted as a pest and in 1996 it was estimated that the population was between 30-80 tigers. Today it’s expected that the tiger is ‘functionally extinct’ and only still lives in captivity.
For the complete list of all the endangerd animal species from the World Wildlife Fund click here.
Text: Lune Bernstein, picture Colin Hines (CC.BY.2.0)