8 Species That are Nearing Extinction
By Patti Sunio
News on the recent death of the world’s last male white rhino has left us in sadness, shock, or devastation (it definitely made rounds on social media!), but ultimately, it confirmed how human interference has caused plenty of the planet’s wildlife to become extinct. Maybe it’s time we re-consider our everyday actions and the products we support, in light of how it affects the world on a much larger scale.
Here are 8 more species we might be saying goodbye to soon:
A tiny porpoise, the vaquita’s birth size compares to just a loaf of bread! The vaquita are the most endangered marine mammal in the world, with only about 30 remaining in population. They are found in Mexico’s Gulf of California, where illegal fishing puts them at risk, as they get entangled in the gill nets and drown.
Also known as the Far East Leopard, the Manchurian Leopard, or the Korean Leopard, they are a very rare leopard subspecies, with only about 20 adult leopards in existence. The Amur leopards in Korea and North China are now extinct; the remaining ones reside in Russia’s South Primorye. Habitat loss is its main reason for extinction, brought about by illegal logging, poaching, road building, and climate changes.
Saola means “spindle horns” in Vietnamese. The saolas are also called Asian unicorns as they are rarely seen (scientists have documented them on only four occasions!). None are currently in captivity. They are found along the border of Vietnam and Laos, but deforestation, illegal hunting, and trapping are pushing them to extinction.
They are the most threatened among the five rhino species, with only about 40 to 60 in existence. The Javan rhinos used to be seen throughout India and SEA, but Vietnam’s last one was poached around 2010. They are hunted for their horns, which are used in Asian folk medicines.
This smallest surviving tiger subspecies only has about 400 in existence today. Anti-poaching and anti-hunting laws have been made to protect them (you can be jailed and fined a great amount), but the attempts remain because the market for tiger parts and products continues to thrive in Sumatra and across Asia.
Eastern lowland gorilla
Back in the mid-1990s, there were still about 17,000 eastern lowland gorillas in existence. But today, due to years and years of civil unrest and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, its population is believed to have decreased by 50%. Rebels and poachers continue to endanger their species.
The hawksbill turtle are quite a sight, with a distinct pattern of overlapping scales on their shells. It is primarily because of their uniquely designed shells that put them at risk, as there continues to be a market for tortoiseshells. The hawksbill turtles are representative of the group of reptiles that have been in existence for a hundred million years.
Chinese giant salamander
The world’s largest amphibian used to be a common sight in Central, Southwestern, and Southern Chine. However, the Chinese giant salamander has been pushed to extinction, due to habitat loss, excessive hunting, and over-exploitation and use as a food source.
Know of any more species that should be on this list? Share them with us below!