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
This giant, flightless, ground parrot is found only in New Zealand and is often referred to as the owl parrot for its thick body, owlish face, and nocturnal behavior. Once common across New Zealand and its surrounding islands, the kakapo has become increasingly rare since colonists introduced predators such as cats, rats, and ferrets into the ecosystem. Currently, there are only 123 surviving birds in the world, but due to successful breeding programs and increased awareness, that number is expected to increase.
Sometimes known as scaly anteaters, pangolin are strange armadillo-like creatures with large keratin scales along their backs and sticky tongues for eating ants and termites. One of the rarest, the Chinese pangolin, has a habitat ranging throughout southeastern China. Unfortunately, deforestation and poaching has taken its toll on the population, and it is expected that hundreds of thousands or more of these unique animals are killed every year.
The Tamaraw is a small wild buffalo found only on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. Prior to the 20th Century, the Tamaraw population numbered in the tens of thousands; however, by the 1960’s hunting and development had dramatically reduced the Tamaraw population to fewer than one hundred animals. Since then, conservation efforts have had varying levels of success, and the population of this rare animal is now thought to number anywhere from 30 to 200.
The largest woodpecker in North America, the ivory-billed woodpecker occupied much of the southern and eastern United States until the 1800’s, when rapid American expansion destroyed much of their habitat and decimated their population. By the middle of the 2oth Century, the bird was expected to be completely extinct; however, recent documentations of the woodpecker in Florida and Arkansas lead some ornithologists to believe that remnants of the species still live today.
A subspecies of the Asian elephant, the Sumatran elephant once roamed the Indonesian island of Sumatra in its entirety. Unfortunately, human development on the island has led to the severe encroachment and destruction of the elephants’ habtiat. In the 1980’s, the Lampung province at the southern end of the island was home to an estimated 12 distinct elephant herds. However, a recount in 2002 found only 3 remained.