Due to land development, agriculture, and many other environmental factors, the habitats of some species have been reduced, and continuously reducing, sadly. Pollution, hunting and poaching are the major factors why these species are on the endangered list. Action must be taken as soon as possible so that they won’t be nearing extinction.
Here are some of the world’s fauna and flora species that are enlisted as the most endangered species:
1. White-bellied Heron
White-bellied heron (also known as the imperial heron), the species of heron (Ardea insignis) joins in the decreasing population trend and is now listed as one of the critically endangered species on the IUCN Red list since 2007. The diminishing numbers are attributed mostly to the destruction of forests and wetlands, as well as human exploitation. As of 2018, their global population was less than 300 mature individuals, and this number is on a continuous downfall due to disturbance and habitat degradation.
2. Acı Göl Toothcarp
This freshwater fish (Aphanius transgrediens) is also listed as “critically endangered” due to climate change, which resulted in a continued reduction of rainfall on the lake Acıgöl in Turkey. The invasive and predatory eastern mosquitofish also threatens the toothcarp’s numbers. Another threat to their existence is the occupation of an extremely restricted area of only 30 springs, which is endangered due to the construction of a new road there.
3. Amani Flatwing
Amanipodagrion gilliesi, commonly known as Amani flatwing, is a species of damselfly that is also listed as “critically endangered” due to the destruction of its habitat. Female Amani flatwings have a dark-colored belly with a white tip while the male ones have a dark wing band. Continuous destruction of the mountain forests in the small area that they have occupied is the biggest reason for their extinction.
4. Baishan Fir
Abies beshanzuensis, also known as Baishan Fir, is a species of fir – this beautiful tree is native to Zhejiang Province, China. By 1987, only three Baishan firs were found in the wild, which made this tree one of the extremely rare conifers on the planet. Despite eventual conservation efforts which turned out to be successful, this tree nevertheless remains on the list of the “critically endangered” species.
5. Bulmer’s Fruit Bat
Endemic to New Guinea, this megabat species (Aproteles bulmerae) suffers depleting numbers due to habitat destruction and hunting. Bulmer’s fruit bats live in cave-dwelling colonies, and they are not sexually active until after three years of their birth and do not even breed until then – this is also one of the reasons of their low population.
Some species of the earwig, such as the Saint Helena giant earwig (Labidura herculeana) are most likely believed to be extinct. They have about 2000 species distributed in 12 families that makes them one of the smaller insect orders. All these families have different types of physical characteristics, for instance, some have forceps-like pincers, and some are tiny parasites that don’t have typical pincers.
7. Great Indian Bustard
Native to India and Pakistan, these mostly terrestrial birds (Ardeotis nigriceps) are also under serious threat due to habitat loss and hunting. And the bad news is that poaching may continue, although conservation efforts are also underway. In 2011, 250 individuals were estimated to survive in the plains of the Indian subcontinent, but only 150 individuals were estimated to survive in the report of 2018. It means that these extremely endangered species and are going towards extinction.
A few Bustards were found in the Cholistan desert in Pakistan (September 2013 survey). They avoid living in irrigated areas and are often found in arid and semi-arid grasslands.
8. Leaf-scaled Sea Snake
Despite being a dangerous and venomous sea-snake, this species (Aipysurus foliosquama) is still not spared from becoming “critically endangered”. The leaf-scaled sea snake prefers living in the waters up to 10 meters in depth. It is endemic to Ashmore and Hibernia reefs in Western Australia, and previously its habitats were last seen about 1700 km away from it. Since then, they had disappeared. The sea snake’s decreasing numbers are thought to be caused by coral bleaching.
9. Ploughshare Tortoise
Native only to Madagascar, this extremely rare tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) is placed on the “critically endangered” list. The most alarming thing is that its numbers continue to decrease and these animals are thought to be at high risk of extinction. Their population was about 600 individuals, and it was thought in 2008 that they would become extinct in the next 10 to 15 years.
10. Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad
The Rio Pescado stubfoot toad (Atelopus balios) is a critically endangered species of toad found only in the four regions of Ecuador. Since there have been no recorded sightings of the toad in the wild since April 1995, it is now feared to be extinct.
11. Giant Panda
Pandas are loved as animals, cartoons, and toys. They are the cutest animals that humans have driven to the brink of extinction. China is home to less than 2500 giant pandas, and this number is still maintained there because the Chinese have instituted stricter habitat protections and ceased poaching. Giant pandas feed on large swatches of the bamboo, but when it completes its cycle and dies, it causes starvation. Pandas are still subject to diseases and occasional predation which is causing a decrease in their population.
Orangutan is a Malaysian word that means “person of the forest”. Though they resemble melted Muppets morphologically, their cognitive abilities are very human. In 2004, they were estimated to be about 60,000 living in the southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Unlike most other great apes, Orangutans live in groups of fewer than three, which makes them difficult to track and study.
13. Tasmanian devil
Sarcophilus harrisii, commonly known as the Tasmanian devil, is a carnivorous marsupial that belongs to the Dasyuridae family. It was native to Australia, but now only seen in the wild on the island state of Tasmania. Their population decreased by a whopping 60% between 1996 and 2008 due to contagious cancer known as facial tumor disease. There might be less than 10,000 individuals remaining currently. Continuous efforts have been made to breed the uninfected individuals and develop a vaccine for cancer.
14. Asian Elephant
The current population of Asian elephants is decreasing which was estimated to be around 40,000 to 50,000 in 13 Asian countries. Over 50% of their population is concentrated in India, and there they are poached for their meat, skin, and ivory.
15. Whooping Crane
A whooping crane (Grus Americana) is North America’s tallest bird that is known for its whooping sound. It is considered as an endangered crane species – according to a survey conducted in 1938; only 29 whooping cranes were estimated to remain in the wild, which later in 1941, decreased to 16. The reduction in population is due to hunting and reduction of their wetland habitat. Thanks to innovative breeding programs, now there are over 400 birds.
Endangered by Tim Flach is a great book in which he writes and shares his amazing wildlife photography. He travels the world and constructs strong visual records of the endangered animals and ecosystems that are facing harsh challenges.