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16 Rare Animals Most People Will Never See in Their Lifetime

clouded leopard
Clouded leopard. Image via Unsplash

Some animals are so rare and elusive that encountering them in the wild is nearly impossible for most people. Here are 15 of the rarest animals on the planet:

1. Vaquita

Alfokrads via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0 –

The vaquita, a small porpoise found in the Gulf of California, is critically endangered with fewer than 10 individuals remaining. This marine mammal is on the brink of extinction due to bycatch in illegal gillnets.

2. Javan Rhino

Javan rhino
Javans Rhinos are the most threatened out of all five rhinos. Image by ClickImages via

The Javan rhino is one of the rarest large mammals, with fewer than 75 individuals left in Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia. Habitat loss and poaching have pushed this species to the edge.

3. Amur Leopard

Amur Leopard
Young adult Amur Leopard. A species of leopard indigenous to southeastern Russia and northeast China, and listed as Critically Endangered. Space for text. Via Depositphotos.

The Amur leopard, native to the Russian Far East and northeastern China, is critically endangered with fewer than 100 individuals in the wild. They are known for their thick fur and distinctive spots.

4. Saola

Silviculture – vi.wikipedia Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0,

Often called the “Asian unicorn,” the saola is a mysterious and critically endangered mammal found in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos. Sightings are extremely rare due to its elusive nature.

5. Sumatran Orangutan

Sumatran Orangutan endangered animal
Sumatran Orangutan endangered animal. Image via Pexels

The Sumatran orangutan is critically endangered with a population of around 14,000 individuals. Habitat destruction due to palm oil plantations is a major threat to their survival.

6. Kakapo

A selective focus shot of a kakapo bird also known as the owl parrot. Image via Depositphotos

The kakapo, a flightless parrot from New Zealand, is critically endangered with fewer than 250 individuals. Conservation efforts have helped increase their numbers from the brink of extinction.

7. Northern White Rhinoceros

White Rninoceros in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Image via Deposit photos

Only two northern white rhinos remain, both of which are females living under constant protection in Kenya. Efforts are underway to use advanced reproductive technologies to save the subspecies.

8. Philippine Eagle

The Filipino eagle is a very rare and endangered species living in the Davao province in Philippines. Image via Depositphotos.

The Philippine eagle, one of the world’s largest and most powerful eagles, is critically endangered with an estimated population of fewer than 400 individuals. Deforestation is a significant threat to their habitat.

9. Aye-aye

One of The rare Aye-Aye lemur that is only nocturnal
One of The rare Aye-Aye lemur that is only nocturnal image by 25ehaag6 via Depositphotos

The aye-aye is a rare nocturnal lemur from Madagascar, known for its unique appearance and elongated middle finger used for foraging. Habitat destruction has made this species increasingly rare.

10. Pangolin

Pangolin in wild life
The food of pangolins in the wild consists mainly of termites and ants. Image via WildlifeConservationist, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pangolins are critically endangered due to poaching and illegal wildlife trade. These unique mammals are covered in scales and are found in Asia and Africa.

11. Hawaiian Monk Seal

Monk seal resting
Monk seal resting on beach. Image via Ashley Lee, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hawaiian monk seal is critically endangered, with about 1,400 individuals remaining. Habitat degradation and human disturbance are significant threats to their survival.

12. Axolotl

Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)
Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) in front of a white background. Image by lifeonwhite via Depositphotos

The axolotl, a critically endangered amphibian native to Mexico, is known for its ability to regenerate limbs. Pollution and habitat loss in its native lakes have drastically reduced its population.

13. Gooty Tarantula

By Micha L. Rieser, Attribution,
Gooty tarantula. By Micha L. Rieser, Attribution,

The Gooty tarantula, also known as the peacock tarantula, is critically endangered and found only in a small region of India. Its striking blue coloration makes it highly sought after by collectors.

14. Zanzibar Red Colobus

By Olivier Lejade from France - P8200036.JPG, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Red Colobus. By Olivier Lejade from France – P8200036.JPG, CC BY-SA 2.0,

The Zanzibar red colobus is a rare primate found only on the island of Zanzibar. Habitat loss and hunting have made this species critically endangered.

15. Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle

By Phuongcacanh at Vietnamese Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Yangtze giant softshell turtle. By Phuongcacanh at Vietnamese Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

With only three known individuals remaining, the Yangtze giant softshell turtle is one of the world’s rarest turtles. Conservationists are working to find a mate for the last known female in hopes of saving the species.

These animals highlight the importance of conservation efforts to protect the planet’s most vulnerable species and preserve biodiversity for future generations.

16. Cloud Leopard

clouded leopard
clouded leopard. Image via Unsplash

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