Today is Endangered Species Day, when additional focus is brought to species that are becoming extremely close to extinction.
An article featured on usatoday.com featured 13 species that unfortunately may become extinct. As the article points out, human intervention has led to danger for virtually all the species, with poaching being a large problem.
Following is a list of some species in danger:
- Amur Leopard-possibly the rarest of the big cats, the Amur Leopard’s numbers have dwindled to less than 100. Their numbers have increased slightly in recent years, but they are still extremely rare. Poaching and a reduction of prey animals due to habitat destruction has put this species in a precarious position.
- Sumatran Elephant-This species numbers have decreased an astonishing 80% in less than 25 years due to habitat destruction and human-elephant conflict. Approximately 2500 Sumatran Elephants currently exist.
- Javan Rhinoceros-Poachers hunt them for their highly prized horns, which are used in traditional Asian medicines. Natural disasters and disease have also contributed to their low numbers. There are currently 35 members of this species left in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia.
- Siberian Tiger-Siberian tigers are the world’s largest cats. Hunting, mining, fires, poor law enforcement, forest destruction and illegal logging continue to threaten this species, with an estimated 400 to 500 left in the wild.
- Leatherback Turtle-Leatherback turtle population has severely declined in recent years due to overharvesting, fisheries bycatch, plastic ingestion, egg poaching, habitat loss and expansion of coastal development that disturbs and destroys turtle nesting beaches.
- West Lowland Gorilla-Although illegal to hunt and kill them, western lowland gorillas continue to be killed for their meat, and baby gorillas are captured and kept as pets. The deadly Ebola virus has also devastated the wild ape population.
This is a partial list of species featured in the USA Today article. Please go to http://usat.ly/1A6LcVo for the the complete article.
The New York Times has compiled a list of resources with information on endangered species and conservation efforts that are underway. To access this information, go to http://nyti.ms/1cDWWUK
These species deserve a chance to survive. Please check out the resources listed here to become informed and find conservation efforts to help save these wonderful animals.
Photo credit: Leopard cub at the river via photopin (license)