Our current life style is highly unsustainable and is causing numerous species to go extinct. We’ve listed the most endangered animals due to human activity.
Human population growth is damaging a variety of environments. For example, the agriculture business is a significant contributor to wildlife loss because it causes the transformation of ecosystems; such as forests into farmland.
A species is considered endangered when its population has fallen between 50 to 70%, or its population is reduced to less than 250 adults. A species’ habitat is diminishing when their population is this low.
The IUCN Red List presently includes 41,415 species – of which 16,306 are endangered or threatened with extinction. This is an increase over the previous year’s total of 16,118. However, the list contains both threatened plants and animals. The following ten animals are at the highest risk of extinction.
Here, we will discuss the 18 most endangered animals due to human activity species in the world and how we can change our habits in order to help save them.
A major decline in the population has been observed in recent years. About a century ago there was likely more than 230,000 a century ago. According to estimations, the Bornean Orangutan’s world population is currently about 104,700 – in other words endangered. The Sumatran Orangutan reportedly has a population of 7,500 and therefore declared a Critically Endangered species.
The primary cause of orangutan extinction is the destruction and loss of tropical rainforests, particularly lowland rainforests in Sumatra and Borneo.
The rapid deforestation in Sumatra results from palm oil, an ingredient in numerous common cosmetics and food products. An alarming amount of orangutan habitat is being destroyed to make space for oil palm plantations in Borneo and Sumatra.
Orangutans mainly live in Malaysia and Indonesia.
#2 Asian Elephants
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Asian elephant as Endangered. Only around 20,000 – 40,000 Asian elephants are living in the wild today after a significant population decline of approximately 50% over the past 75 years.
The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) classified the Asian elephant as Endangered in 1976. Per law, it is illegal to trade Asian elephants and their parts commercially due to their status under CITES and the ESA.
Asian Elephants Habitat:
They are mostly present in Thailand, India and Srilanka.
#3 Javan Rhinoceros
According to current updates, only 67 Javan rhinos exist in the world – making them one of the planet’s most endangered large mammal species.
The three Rhinoceros subspecies are highly endangered, i.e., Black, Javan, and Sumatran rhino species. On the northernmost point of the Indonesian island of Java, just one single national park is home to the last small population of Javan Rhinos. Vietnam already declared the subspecies of the Javan rhino extinct in the year 2011.
International Rhino Foundation works locally in Indonesia with The Rhino Foundation of Indonesia alongside the park’s management to protect the Javan Rhinos, looking for ways to expand the species’ habitat.
The habitats of rhinos include grasslands, tropical forests, deserts, and shrublands.
A relatively small region in the far northern Gulf of California, Mexico, is home to the Vaquita, a little harbor dolphin. Despite its lengths of just 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) and weighing no more than 100 pounds, it is the smallest known cetacean (porpoise, whale & dolphin) in the family.
The species known as the Vaquita, or “small cow,” is only exists in the northern part of the Gulf of California.
#5 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
Overfishing and illegal fishing have caused Bluefin Tuna numbers to decline significantly over the past few decades. Said overfishing does not only affect the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, but also Southern Bluefin Tuna and Pacific Bluefin Tuna. The demand for this fish in posh sushi markets is one of the main factors contributing to the population decline.
The severely endangered bluefin tuna accounts for barely 1% of the world supply. The management and conservation of tuna have not advanced as quickly as the methods of collecting tuna have over the years.
Scientists anticipate that the extinction of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea would significantly increase the number of benthopelagic cephalopods, e.g squid.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Habitat
They are typically present in the Mediterranean Sea of the North Atlantic Ocean, and here and there from Ecuador to Norway, and from the Black sea to Mexico.
#6 Mountain Gorilla
Mountain gorillas suffer uncontrolled hunting, diseases, habitat destruction, and the effects of humans – all which has been going for years. Their populations have decreased to the point where they are now labeled endangered.
Mountain Gorilla Habitat
These commonly reside in the Virunga Mountains around Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic & Congo Brazzaville.
#7 Leatherback Turtles
Leatherback turtles are titled because of its shell. The shell mainly resembles leather instead of something hard, as most other turtle shells. They are the largest species of turtle and are usually migrating between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The main reason for the decline in this turtle species is extensive egg collection, alongside stranding in fish gear during hunting.
Leatherback Turtles Habitat
These are largely found in Malaysia (Tioman Island), Australia (Heron Island), Costa Rica (Hawaii. Laniakea Beach) & Indonesia Gili Islands.
Presently, the tiger is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species – labelled as endangered. Allegedly only 3,500 tigers still exist in the wild.
Tigers usually live in forests and grasslands. They prefer to live in areas with things like forests or grasslands for cover, water, and enough land to hunt their prey.
#9 Irrawaddy Dolphins
The Irrawaddy dolphin is a euryhaline oceanic dolphin, which means it can swim in both saltwater and freshwater. Unlike most dolphins, they do not have a distinctive beak and sleek head. Instead they have a blunt nose and a broad, round forehead.
Irrawaddy Dolphins Habitat
Reportedly, only about 80 Irrawaddy dolphins remain in the Mekong between Kratie and the Lao border. The best site to see them is in Kampi, about 15 kilometers north of Kratie on the way to Sambor in Southeast Asia.
#10 Snow Leopards
Their population consists of between 4,080 and 6,590 individuals in the wild, although biologists are unsure. They reside in mountainous areas of central and Southern Asia.
Snow Leopards Habitat
High alpine regions in the Himalayas, usually above 18,000 feet above the ground, is their typical habitat. They have now been found in 12 countries, including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Mongolia.
#11 Riverine Rabbits
The darker brown stripe that runs down the bottom jaw and the white circle around each eye give this rabbit its earthy look. Its coloring helps it blend in. Compared to other rabbit species, its back feet are wider than its front feet.
According to the IUCN, these rabbits are critically endangered. Riverine rabbits are present in various parts of Africa and their species has become endangered since 2003.
Riverine Rabbits Habitat
The riparian region —the space between the ground and a river— is where the Riverine Rabbit prefers to nest.
#12 African Penguin
African penguins are birds without wings that have developed to be successful in their aquatic environment. These birds have a black facial mask and pale pink coloration around their eyes, which set them apart from other kinds of penguins.
The numbers of African penguins, which live in colonies in the wild, have decreased by 95% since pre-industrial times. Shipwrecks, oil spills, and tankers at sea trafficking these resources have unlawfully contaminated the habitat of the African penguin.
African Penguin Habitat
African penguins can be found on offshore islands and in coastal locations. Their natural habitats are mountainous, rocky places with natural vegetation or flat, sandy areas.
#13 Black Rhino
For most of the 20th century, the black rhino has been the rhino species with the highest population – but this changed as a result of rampant poaching and the clearance of land for agriculture and human use.
Black rhino habitats are frequently lost or fragmented as a result of land development for towns and agriculture. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has categorized black rhinos as a critically endangered species since 1996.
Black Rhino Habitat
The grasslands and tropical bushlands of Africa are the black rhino’s primary habitats.
#14 Lowland Gorilla
After chimpanzees and bonobos, gorillas are our closest genetic cousins with 98.3% of our genetic code shared between the two species. The main threat to apes today is the commercial trafficking in bushmeat that takes place across west and central Africa.
The biggest factor contributing to the ape species being endangered is the killing of apes to meet metropolitan centers’ high-end meat demand.
Lowland Gorilla Habitat
The tropical woods of Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, and Equatorial Guinea are home to lowland gorillas.
In the 20th century, chimpanzees were used in numerous tests and research because they have long been considered a scientific curiosity and as mirrors of people. For the purpose of early space study and testing, the US Air Force and NASA in the 1950s acquired wild chimps from Africa.
Chimpanzees suffered bodily pain, mental stress, and perhaps even death as a result of these early trials that were frequently brutal, which led to the critically endangered status of this species.
From eastern to western Africa, they are spotted in woods and grasslands in addition to the tropical rainforests where they typically reside.
#16 Ethiopian Wolf
Due to high altitude subsistence agriculture and domestic animal overgrazing, Ethiopian wolves are in danger of losing their habitat. The inhabitants of the Bale Mountains were decimated by rabies and shootings in 1991–1992, which were brought on by political upheaval.
As a result, in 1994, the Ethiopian wolf’s status is now critically Endangered.
Ethiopian Wolf Habitat
The range of the Ethiopian wolf is extremely constrained. Only six to seven mountain ranges in Ethiopia contain it, such as Southeast Ethiopia’s Arssi and Bale Mountains.
#17 Hooded Vulture
The widespread use of medications like diclofenac, once frequently used as a cattle anti-inflammatory drug, is thought to be a significant role in the decline of vulture populations.
Because of indiscriminate poisoning, trafficking in traditional medicines, food hunting, persecution, as well as habitat loss and degradation, this species’ population is currently declining at an exceedingly rapid rate.
Hooded Vulture Habitat
This species resides in riparian habitats, woodlands, agricultural areas, deserts, and urban settings, frequently coexisting closely with people.
Only three pictures of the Saola in the wild have been taken since it was only found in 1992. This species’ population is declining at an unusually rapid rate due to indiscriminate poisoning, trafficking in traditional medicines, food hunting, persecution, and electrification, as well as loss of habitat and degradation.
In eastern Southeast Asia, it lives in moist evergreen or deciduous forests, preferring river valleys. Usually they prefer living in grasslands and woods.
Ways to Save the Most Endangered Animals Due to Human Activity
As we can see most animals are endangered for reasons to due with human activity. Our current lifestyle is proving to highly unsustainable. Here are some habits we must practice to save these 18 most endangered animals due to human activity before it is too late.
· Avoid Using Harmful Pesticides
Some pesticides and herbicides may effectively reduce weeds, but they can have long-term negative impacts on local species. Aside from the possible harm to native flora, the toxins in these chemicals can penetrate the soil and remain there for a long time.
Once in the soil, these toxins can go up the food chain and harm smaller species and then the larger predatory animals that consume them. Reducing or eliminating their usage can help conserve endangered species in the area.
· Plantation To Support The Natural Ecosystem
Native plant plantation provides various benefits to local species besides food and shelter. Therefore, by helping with the replenishment of native flora in your region, you will be offering an important service to endangered creatures in need at the moment.
Planting native plants that attract pollinators such as wasps and other insects, an essential component of a healthy environment, could help counter this.
Planting native species can also help counter the harm caused by invasive and harmful species, which tend to infiltrate and destroy local plant and animal populations.
· Wise Consumption Of Water
Clean water is an essential resource not just for humans but also for wildlife. The lack of availability to clean water can generate a wide range of problems for wildlife. Reducing the quantity of water our family and people in our surroundings consume can aid in conserving clean water for animals.
Simple actions like avoiding leaving the water running while brushing your teeth or using showers instead of tubs can help conserve water for endangered species. Don’t flush chemicals through the toilet, either. Instead make sure to dispose of them properly.
· Reduction in Personal Pollution
This point refers to our individual human activities we can alter to assist endangered animals. You may also contribute by lowering your carbon footprint. When possible, walk, cycle, or choose public transportation instead of driving a private vehicle. If feasible, carpool to work. Eat locally sourced food. These minor efforts can make the world a safer place for endangered species.
· Unnecessary Invasion of Animal Space
We should keep a safe distance from wild animals. Respect the space by not approaching and taking them out of their natural habitat. If young animals are found somewhere, like in the spring season, we should not handle them alone. Mothers frequently leave their new offspring for periods to feed themselves.
Although the children appear alone, the mother very definitely returns within 24 hours, and treating the infants during this duration endangers them. Contact a local qualified animal rescuer if you encounter an injured wild animal.
We have discussed the 18 most endangered animals due to human activity and threats wildlife faces in this article. When a species becomes extinct, the world around us begins to collapse.
The consequences are far-reaching, not only for those areas and species – but for all of us. There are practical consequences, such as adverse impacts on agricultural pollination and water cleaning to the whole world.
The widespread loss of habitat is perhaps the most serious hazard to many species. Scientists believe that protecting the habitats where endangered animals reside is the greatest approach to protect them. Wildlife needs someplace to eat, sleep, and nurture their babies – just like we do.
Thank you for reading this article! To educate yourself on more endangered species you can read our article on the 21 Most Endangered Primates.