Sadly many of the wonderful animals we share the planet with are facing extinction. Most of them are at the risk of dying out thanks to human activity and it’s a real shame to think we could lose some magnificent species because of our own actions. Check out these 9 amazing photos of some of the world’s most endangered animals, whose populations will hopefully grow, not fall, in the future.
Amur leopards live in the Russian Far East and live in forested and mountainous areas. They can run at speeds of up to 37 mph and can leap more than 19 feet across and 10 feet high.
2. Black Rhino
Native to eastern and southern Africa, black rhinos have long been subjected to hunting and poaching; thanks to sustained conservation efforts, numbers of black rhinos have started to rise, though it’s going to be a while before the population is as big as it once was.
3. South China Tiger
Scientists actually consider the South China tiger to be ‘functionally extinct’ because it hasn’t been seen in the wild since the early 70s; numbers were known to have dropped to as low as several dozen in 1996. Some are thought to still exist in the wild.
4. Western Lowland Gorilla
The most common gorilla species found at zoos, Western lowland gorillas live in parts of West Africa and some of them live in very remote areas. The exact number of wild Western lowland gorillas isn’t known, though what is known is the fact that over the past 25 years, the population has decreased by as much as 60% owing to disease and poaching.
The vaquita is the world’s rarest marine animals, with fewer than 100 thought to still exist in the wild. They’re found in the Gulf of California and though they were only discovered in 1958, illegal hunting has caused them to be listed as a critically endangered species.
6. Sumatran Orangutan
Found in Sumatra and Borneo, Sumatran orangutans live in the trees of tropical rainforests. There are nine populations of them: only three contain more than 1,000 orangutans and only seven are believed to have chances of long-term survival. It’s estimated that there around 7,600 of these in the wild today.
The saola is one of the most remarkable species to have been discovered in the last few decades. In fact this species was just discovered in 1992. It’s also know as the ‘Asian unicorn’ and lives in the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam; the total number of saola in the wild isn’t known, though the species is known to be critically endangered.
8. Leatherback Turtle
The largest species of sea turtle, the leatherback turtle is so-called because of its leathery shell. This species is known to migrate across both the Pacific and the Atlantic; the population, though widespread, is under the threat of egg poaching and fishing.
9. Yangtze Finless Porpoise
There are thought to be just over 1,000 Yangtze finless porpoises left in the wild; they live in the Yangtze River, which used to be home to the Baiji dolphin, until 2006 when it was declared extinct, the first dolphin species to be effectively declare extinct because of human activity. It’s hoped a similar fate doesn’t befall the Yangtze finless porpoise.