Although there might be up to 30 million different animal species in the world, which may seem like a lot, scientists estimate that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed on Earth are now extinct. Extinction is a natural process; a typical species used to become extinct within 10 million years of its first appearance, although some species survive with virtually no morphological change for hundreds of millions of years. However, these days, when the planet is bursting at the seams with over 7 billion humans, the species loss is occurring at a rate 1,000 times greater than the natural background rate. Ruthless human expansion, hunting, and the destruction of natural habitats, climate changes, pollution and other factors have caused an incredible number of animals to become extinct. Some scientists estimate that up to half of presently existing plant and animal species may become extinct by 2100. Alarming to say the least. To give you an idea of what kind of animals could possibly die off soon, here are 25 endangered animals our next generation might not see.
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The Madagascar pochard is an extremely rare diving duck native to Madagascar. It was already thought to be extinct in the late 1990s, but in 2006 a few specimens were rediscovered at Lake Matsaborimena in Madagascar. Now, the total population of this species is just around 80 individuals. There have been many causes for the population decrease including introduction of numerous fish species in the lakes that killed most of the pochard chicks and damaged nesting sites. Rice cultivation, cattle grazing on the shores, burning of shore vegetation, introduced mammals (rats), and hunting are also factors that have led to the duck’s drastically low population.
Mississippi gopher frog
Endemic to the southern United States, the Mississippi gopher frog (also known as dusky gopher frog) is a rare species of 8 centimeters (3 inches) long frog living in coastal forests and intermittent freshwater marshes. Once abundant along the Gulf Coastal Plain in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, this frog´s population now counts just about 60 – 100 specimens. It has been dramatically decreasing due to reasons such as genetic isolation, inbreeding, droughts, floods, pesticides, urban sprawl and habitat destruction. Once abundant along the Gulf Coastal Plain in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, this frog´s population now counts just about 60 – 100 specimens. It has been dramatically decreasing due to reasons such as genetic isolation, inbreeding, droughts, floods, pesticides, urban sprawl and habitat destruction.
Sometimes also referred to as Paroon Shark, the giant pangasius is a species of freshwater fish found in the Chao Phraya and Mekong basins in Indochina. Reaching up to 300 centimeters (9.8 feet) in length and weighing up to 300 kg (660 pounds), the fish has been exceedingly overfished for meat, aquarium trade but also religious ceremonies and rituals. The exact numbers of their population is not known but probably, there might be just as few as several hundreds of these fish. Sometimes, they are kept in aquariums but they cannot reach their normal size in there.
Native to some of Southeast Asian countries, the Siamese crocodile is a critically endangered species of crocodile that have been already wiped out from most regions where it used to live. Extinct from 99% of its original range, this little crocodile is considered one of the least studied and most critically endangered crocodilians in the world. Human disturbance and habitat occupation have caused that there are only tens specimens of this species living in the wild. Fortunately, the Siamese crocodiles are extensively bred in captivity, so hopefully, they will be reintroduced to the areas that used to belong to them for millions of years.
Also known as Hunter’s hartebeest, Hirola is an antelope species native to grassy plains on the border between Kenya and Somalia. Since 1976, the population of the antelope has declined significantly, more than 80 percent. The main threats to the species’ survival include disease, predation, competition for grazing and water with domestic livestock, habitat loss and poaching. Currently, there may be between 500 and 1000 animals in the wild with none kept in captivity. Therefore, the danger of extinction is very real in this case. The loss of the Hirola would be the first extinction of a mammalian genus on mainland Africa in modern human history. Hopefully, it will never happen.