Since human took control of the nature, there had been many species of animals and plants going extinct. Extinction is a real threat and it is not far away from us. Some animals nowadays are actually in the brink of extinction.
You may have heard or read about the Northern white rhinos which are only waiting for the last male living to die. It is a prove that extinction is not a myth, beside the northern white rhino, there are some other animals facing extinction, here we give you 5 examples of critically endangered animals.
1. Amur Leopard
The far cousin of Malayan tiger, this leopard is originated in southeastern part of Russia and northeast of China. The number of wild amur leopard in the wild is dramatic, estimated only there are 19 to 26 individuals left in the wild.
The dramatic decline in the population can be tracked to some causes, such as illegal poaching, habitat deforestation for development of agriculture and infrastructure, and tragically because of inbreeding. Yes, their number is too low for breeding diversity.
Inbreeding may cause genetic degradation without any influences from human’s hands. The results are severe reproductive and congenital abnormalities that potentially affect their offspring’s health, survival, and even reproductive abilities.
The fact is, amur leopard’s cub survival rate has been declining, from 1.9 per one female in 1973 to just a cub for one female in 1991. Nowadays, the rate is predicted to be even lower than that, despite their very low population.
The signs of inbreeding have begun to show as a medical analysis conducted by Wildlife Conservation Society in Russia found out that from 3 amur leopards they took as sample had health problems. All of them had significant heart murmurs and one male of the 3 showed an abnormal sperm production.
Researchers and conservationists are now trying to find a way to save the amur leopard from extinction. One effort made is by making the leopard famously known in the internet by uploading videos of their daily activities in captivity. By that, they hope people can pay more attention to the conservation of the animal.
2. Sumatran Rhinoceros
Among all other species of rhinoceros, Sumatran rhino is the only one that is hairy. Sumatran rhinoceros are also considered to be the smallest one among all other surviving rhinoceros, and the only Asian rhino that has two horns on their heads.
The exact number of them is hard to determine since this animal is solitary and shy, but it is estimated that there are only less than 100 left. Thus, this species of rhinoceros is classified as critically endangered animal.
Illegal poaching is the main enemy of this animal, followed by habitat loss because of illegal logging. In addition to the threats they face in the wild, the birth rate of this animal is also declining nowadays. In the past 15 years there are only two cubs which were born.
3. Javan Rhinoceros
This kind of rhinoceros is actually competing with the Sumatran rhino for being the most threatened rhinoceros species. There is only one Javan rhinoceros left surviving in the wild and as few as 60 individuals left in Ujung Kulon National Park.
This rhinoceros is an ‘expensive’ animal, a kilogram of its horn worth more than $30,000 per kilograms in black market. Because of its high price, the species was illegally poached just to cut its horn. Some dead bodies of this animal were found left in the forest with the horns being removed.
It is because the horn is considered to be an ancient Chinese medicine that can cure many diseases. Not only poaching, the loss of habitats is also the main threat that they are facing, mainly because of illegal deforestation for oil palm plantation.
4. Malayan Tiger
Originated in the dense rainforests of Malay Peninsula, Malayan tiger is one of many subspecies of tigers living inhabiting the South-East Asia. Even though this tiger is the national animal of Malaysia that symbolizes bravery and strength, Malayan tiger is actually a prone animal.
In 2015, this animal has been classified as critically endangered since the population has reached as low as less than 350. Once it has been freely roaming the rainforest of Malaysia and Thailand, it is now only visible to camera traps.
The loss of habitat due to developments in infrastructure and agricultural activities is the reason why their number in the nature is dwindling. But far before the development is as advanced as today, they were also poached for their exotic skin.
Even until nowadays people are still trying to kill the tiger for many reasons like for the meat and bones that people believe have medicinal use. That’s why, the number of this tiger in the wild keeps on declining day by day.
Until nowadays, there are still many individuals that roam on the Malayan rainforests. However, the population density is very low, ranging from only 1-1,98 per 100 kilometers square. Not only because the poaching, but also because the number of preys is also drastically declining.
A census in 2013 estimated that the total population of this tiger was only 250 to 350 lefts, both in the wild and in the captivity. Among that numbers, there are less than 200 are sexually productive, thus the trend of population is declining.
Phocoena sinus, or famously known as vaquita is a kind of porpoise that endemically inhabit northern part of Gulf of California. The population of this animal left on earth is tragic, there are only about 30 individuals left in the wild and none in the captivity.
Conservationists and scientists have tried to save this animal from extinction by capturing them for breeding purpose. But this animal cannot live in captivity, every single vaquita ever captured will die few hours after the capture.
Since then, they are no longer intending to catch one to avoid further risk to the population. “This is a very, very serious setback,” said Barbara Taylor of US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to The Guardian.
So, even though we are responsible for the extinction of vaquita, we cannot help them to rise back. We can only pray that the Vaquitas left are smart enough to rise from extinction threat like what grey whales did in the past decades.