Due to a combination of environmental factors and mankind’s intervention a number of animals have seen their numbers dwindle to alarmingly low levels. To be classed as endangered the number needs to be so low that extinction could be imminent.
The following animals are so endangered that there are believed to be fewer than 100 left of each species in the world.
This species of porpoise can be found off the coast of California. There are believed to be fewer than 60 of them left after they were decimated by the illegal fishing of the also endangered totoaba fish. In a situation reminiscent of the dolphin/tuna problem, many of the porpoises have become caught in fishing nets.
There is a plan tom ave the vaquita porpoise from extinction by breeding them in a sanctuary.
Yangtze giant softshell turtle
These turtles can be found in Vietnam and China and it is thought there are as few as three of thee left now. Hunting, pollution and decimation of the turtles’ habitat are all contributing factors to this sad story.
There are a couple of Yangtze giant softshell turtles in a zoo in China and the female was artificially inseminated in 2015. Sadly of the 65 eggs she then laid not one of them was fertile.
There was a fourth Yangtze turtle remaining but it recently died of old age and was believed to be over 100 years old.
Chinese crested tern
It was thought that this species of bird had become extinct already in the 1930s and the belief remained this way until one was spotted at a point during the 1980s in Taiwan. The destruction of the tern’s habitat has driven numbers down to around 30 now and they are only found in certain areas of Asia.
Northern white rhino
This animal has been hunted close to extinction and there are now only three of them left in the world. The last three northern white rhinos are under armed protection at a reserve in Kenya. Attempts to breed the rhinos have failed and it is thought that none of the final three are able to reproduce at all meaning this beast which once roamed throughout Chad, Uganda andd Congo will shortly be extinct.
As with many animals on this list, mankind’s destruction of animal habitats is again the root cause for putting these small primates at risk. There are now only 15 – 20 of these gibbons remaining, all of which live in a protected reserve in their native China. Within this small group of remaining gibbons there are now only three social groups. It is hoped they will breed and prolong the species’ existence.
Santa Catarina guinea pigs
These guinea pigs have a limited habitat which is only four hectares on the Brazil island of Moleques Island do Sul. They are not found anywhere else in the world. This is an incredibly small area – the smallest known area of any mammal – and there are now somewhere between 30 and 60 of them remaining. The island on which they live is known to be a hotspot for poachers, who can travel there more or less unchallenged. Birds of prey also hut the guinea pigs who by now can’t have long left.
There are more of this bird left than any other animals on this list – their total number is estimated at around 100, although that figure has got to that low level fairly quickly. These birds have a wingspan of up to 3.4 metres and only in 2016 were they identified as a different species to the wandering albatross. Fishing has put these albatrosses in danger as they have a tendency to try and catch fish which have already been caught on hooks on long fishing lines and perish.
Fatu Hiva monarch
This Polynesian bird has seen its population dwindle in recent years and is now down to the low total of 25 adults remaining. The birds are native to Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Archipelago and is from there that they take their name. These pretty purple and black birds have been driven close to extinction by the destruction of their habitat. Locals and conservation workers are trying to protect them and encourage breeding, but have so far not had success.
This species of bee is native only to the United States, specifically spread between south Oregon and north California. The exact number of these bees remaining is not known although it is known that their total has decreased significantly in recent years and if the trend continues they will be wiped out completely in a few more years. Franklin’s bumblebee feeds on the nectar o some unusual flowers, fewer of which are now found. Their habitat has been destroyed and they are also under threat from diseases which are communicated via commercial bees.
This species of rhino is much less endangered than the northern white rhino as there are estimated to be 60 of these left, but it’s no less alarming. The remaining 60all live on a protected reserve in Indonesia. The rhinos were once native to Vietnam, but there they were completely eradicated by hunters and poachers, rhino being very popular in that part of the world for use in medicines.
There are many more animals whose numbers have dwindled to alarmingly low levels who are less endangered than those on this list. That doesn’t make it any less alarming however. In nearly every case man has destroyed habitats and hunted these animals close to the point of extinction before any action has been taken in an attempt to reverse the damage done.
Many on this list will not have much time left, but some others can be saved. There are many animal protection and conservation charities who need money to support ongoing programmes to prevent more species ending up eradicated and they are all worthy of our help.