Of all the species that have ever lived on Earth, over 99% of them have gone extinct. Even today, some of our planet’s most incredible and unique animals teeter on the edge of elimination. Whether it be from over hunting, environmental destruction, or even by introducing invasive predators, we humans have to take a lot of the the blame for the dangers faced by animals today. Luckily, many people have stood up and formed environmental or wildlife conservation groups; however, even with their good work, here are 25 Endangered Animals That We May Lose This Century.
Feature: City of Albuquerque via Flickr
Endemic to the to Amur River basin in the Russian Far East and Manchuria, the Amur leopard has adapted to the harsh conditions of the cold, temperate forests of its home. Unfortunately, the thick, beautiful coats of these big cats are highly valued among fur markets, sometimes selling for as much as $1000 each. Although the trade and selling of leopard skins is outlawed around the world, lack of enforcement and regulation means that many of these creatures are hunted an killed illegally each year.
Cross River Gorilla
A subspecies of the western gorilla, the Cross River gorilla is often confused for its much more populous cousin: the western lowland gorilla. As their name suggests, this great ape populates the Cross River basin along the Cameroon-Nigeria border; however, deforestation and human development has shrunk the number of gorillas to roughly 250 animals by 2016.
Pygmy Three-toed Sloth
The pygmy three-toed sloth is the smallest and rarest member of the sloth family, found only on the isolated Caribbean island of Isla Escudo de Veraguas. With a body suited for climbing as well as swimming, the pygmy sloth is well suited for life among the mangrove forests it calls home. Still, like many tree dwelling animals, the species is at risk to the deforestation and destruction of their habitat.
Closely related to the North American cougar, this large cat roamed across the Southeastern United States until the late 1600’s when human development began to encroach into the panther’s habitat. Left with roughly 5% of its historic range, this panther hasn’t been seen outside of southern tip of Florida in decades and is today known as the state’s official animal, although it is one of the rarest creatures on Earth.
Tarzan’s chameleon is a medium-sized chameleon found only in a few small, fractured rain forests in the Alaotra-Mangoro region of Madagascar. It was only recently discovered in 2009, and because of the increased clearing and deforestation of their endemic habitat, the lizard has been classified as critically endangered. Luckily, a current movement attempting to turn their home into a reserve forest and the formation of new breeding programs could be enough to bring the species back to a stable population.