Endangered species can be defined as those populations of organisms facing the risk of extinction, mainly because of their reduction in numbers coupled with the changes in the environmental conditions.
Human beings have a direct influence in endangering the species. The World Wildlife Fund has been the most famous organization in the world, having had wide influence on the need to conserve nature. They have provided a list of the top five animals which face extinction if nothing is done to conserve them. If you’re an avid adventure traveler and animal lover, you may want to try visit these animals in their natural habitats before it’s too late.
1. Javan Rhino
At the moment, the Javan rhino population stands at 45 rhinos in the world, all located in Indonesia.
Their habitat in Ujung Kulon Park has been fenced all round. It is argued that volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters have driven them into extinction. Moreover, the efforts of poaching have greatly reduced their numbers. Some cultures still believe that the rhino horns have medicinal qualities, which is why poaching is so rampant.
To monitor and protect these creatures effectively, conservation groups have relocated them to other areas so as to diversify and strengthen the existing species.
2. Giant pandas
Giant pandas were mainly located in the Chinese mountain ranges, inhabiting the woodland areas. Due to extensive human degradation efforts, all their habitats were depleted and the species was pushed increasingly further into the mountain ranges.
Their population now stands at 1600, three hundred of which are in captivity. Their estimated live span is approximately thirty years. Females breed one cub every two years. To increase their numbers, conservation groups have devised programs to help them recover from their poaching and habitat loss.
3. Wild tigers
Statistics from the World Wildlife Fund show that 97% of tigers have perished and only three thousand now remain. Poaching has greatly contributed to the reduction in their numbers; many Chinese still believe that their bones have some medicinal value. Some Chinese cultures also use their skin and bones for decoration purposes.
As the human population continues to grow, the habitats of the wild tigers gets encroached upon by humans. Deforestation has also been prolific in many Chinese rural areas in preference for livestock keeping. It is estimated that by the year 2022, the Chinese year of tiger, tigers will have become extinct.
Elephants were common in Africa and Asia in the past. The 19th century ivory trades have brought adverse effects leading to poaching in many African countries. In the Asian countries, elephant tusks are a lucrative market. Elephants have also posed conflicts with many people. This is because they end up destroying human farms while grazing, as they require a lot of food to support their heavy weight.
The addax, also known as the screwhorn antelope, is almost extinct. These animals are mostly found in the Caribbean countries where they are hunted manly for their meet. Most people in these countries also kill the addax to prevent them from grazing in their farmlands.
Their population has been drastically reduced by 80% within a period of thirty years. This necessitated many conservation groups to include them on the extinction list. Though it may take many years to restore their numbers, conservationists have initiated schemes to increase their breeding.