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19 Most Endangered Animals In Africa

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Whenever people talk about endangered animals in Africa it is Rhinos and Pangolins that most frequently come to mind. Unfortunately, there are so many more animals that are equally risking extinction. Some animals on this list of the most endangered animals in Africa might surprise you!

endangered african animals

Endangered animals are those species whose total population is drastically declining, worldwide. There are many reasons behind extinction, although frequently it is due climate change, human poaching, deforestation, and loss of habitat.

The most common cause of loss of habitat is urban and agricultural development in the region of their habitats which results in deforestation and habitat degradation. 

Endangered animals are added to the Red List of IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). This list comprises animal species that are extinct or vulnerable to endangerment. Conservatory measures are then taken to preserve the remaining population of these species by various organizations. 

endangered african animals

Let’s learn more about the most endangered animals in Africa, and what we can do to prevent their extinction:

Top 19 Endangered Animals In Africa

#1 Pickersgill’s Reedfrog

Appearance:

This species belongs to the frog family. They are different from regular frogs as they have hidden ears and webbed toes. The Pickergill’s Reedfrog comes in two colors, males are light and dark brown with yellow-colored limb parts. 

Habitat:

These frog species are endemic to South Africa. They form their habitats on wetlands having an elevation level of up to 380 meters above sea level. These frogs live in the regions of Ongoye Forest Reserve, Umlalazi Nature Reserve, and iSimangaliso Wetland Park of South Africa. 

Level Of Endangerment:

These frogs are listed as critically endangered. Fragmented and loss of habitats primarily cause this.

Diet:

Their primary source of food is insects that they find nearby such as mosquitos and flies. 

#2 Cape Vulture

cape vulture endangered animal

Appearance:

This is a large-sized animal having a creamy color with features of dark contrast. As the animal matures its color becomes paler than when it was juvenile. The underneath side of the body is light colored, seemingly white from a distance. They do not have any features on their neck and head and their eyes are yellow.

Habitat:

It is present in the areas of Mozambique, Botswana, and Lesotho in South Africa. It is also sighted in Eswatini, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola but does not breed there. 

Level Of Endangerment:

These species are listed as vulnerable to extinction as their population of 3560 pairs of individuals is still declining. Their shortfall started due to habitat degradation because of harvesting and target poisoning. 

Diet:

They are scavengers that feed on fragments of carcasses, soft muscles, and organ tissues. They wander for food in groups. As they have good eyesight they can easily locate dead animals. 

#3 Cheetah

Cheetah endangered animal Africa

Appearance:

The cheetah belongs to the cat family. It has a cream-colored body with black spots on top of it and iconic black stripes on their face that look like teardrops. They are the fastest among the cat family having the ability to run up to a speed of 128 kilometers/hour. It has a light build body, long legs, and tail. All these elongated features and body aids the cheetah in achieving high speed. 

Its body can reach a height of up to 1,2 metres and its weight ranges between 21 to 72 kilograms.

Habitat:

The cheetah is native to Africa. Typically it forms habitats in open lands with bushes where it can have good visibility of its prey. They are not very particular when it comes to selecting a habitat, as long as it allows them to easily hunt their prey. 

Level Of Endangerment:

They are vulnerable to endangerment as only 8000 cheetahs are living in the wild of Africa. They encountered endangerment due to climate change, loss of habitats, and poaching. 

Diet:

Cheetahs target small to medium-sized animals as their prey. Their diet comprises small deer, desert hare, wild goats, and livestock animals. 

#4 African Wild Dog

African wild dog endangered

Appearance:

These African wild dogs have predominant black fur along with small white and yellow fur patches. The amount of fur on their body reduces as they age. Usually the backside of their neck is either yellow or brown. 

It belongs to the family of African canids and is the bulkiest among them. They stand tall at a height of 75 centimeters weighing 10-79 kilograms. 

Habitat:

They inhabit arid zones and savannas and tend to avoid forested areas when forming their habitat. Their preference of habitats depends on their hunting habits as they prefer to have full visibility of their prey without any hindrance in the way.  

Level Of Endangerment:

They are critically vulnerable to endangerment as only 6600 individuals remain. The main cause of their extinction began due to habitat fragmentation. When they prey on livestock it brings them into conflict with humans, leading to the destruction of their habitats.  

Diet:

These animals are hyper carnivores, meaning 70% of their diet is meat. It targets small animals as its prey such as spring hares, reedbuck, kob, impala, cane rats, and insects.

#5 Blue Crane

blue crane endangered animal

Appearance:

The Blue Crane is a tall bird who likes to dwell on the ground. It belongs to the crane family but in comparison to other cranes they are relatively short in height. They can reach a height of 100-120 centimeters, weighing 3-6 kilograms. 

The color of this crane’s body is pale gray-bluish, which gets darker on the top side of its head and neck. They have long wings measuring the length of 1,5 -2 metres.

Habitat:

This bird is endemic to South Africa. It prefers residing in areas that have dry grasslands that are slightly elevated. They form their habitats in valleys, plains, and hills which comprises few trees. 

Level Of Endangerment:

Their current population is less than 30,000 individuals, making them endangered. Urbanization and an increase in human population resulted in habitat loss for these animals. 

Diet:

Blue cranes are omnivores by nature, they like to feed on both plants and animals. Their plant-based diet comprises seeds, bulbs, and roots. Meanwhile, their animal-based diet comprises small reptiles, fish, insects, grasshoppers, and small mammals.

#6 Riverine Rabbit

Appearance:

The riverine rabbit belongs to the rabbit family having unique traits which set them apart from other hares. Their appearance is similar to that of local rabbits but their ears and bodies are a little elongated. They have black lines on their face moving from their mouth to cheeks along with a white ring around both eyes. Its fur coat is a blend of brown, cream, and gray color. 

Habitat:

The riverine rabbit is endemic to South Africa’s Karoo desert. They like to form their habitats in river basins and very precise shrub lands of their choice. 

Level Of Endangerment:

These species are listed as critically endangered as only 1500 individuals remain in the wild, making them one of the most endangered animals in Africa. This is due to agricultural development in the region of their habitats.

Diet:

They like to eat vegetation located near seasonal rivers, especially salsola and lyceum which are salt-loving plants. During the wet season they tend to eat grass as well

#7 Knysna Seahorse

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Appearance:

They are small-sized creatures present in aquatic life having a length of only 12 centimeters. Their color ranges from dull green, brown, and purple-black tones. In fact, the color varies depending on their mood and surroundings. Their bodies are engraved with a bony ring-like pattern. They are short-bodied, having muscular tails and a neck that arches in a curve. 

Habitat:

They are mostly located in areas having dense vegetation where they feed on aquatic plants. This marine life animal is tolerant to various environmental conditions. 

Level Of Endangerment:

These animals are close to extinction as only 72 individuals are left. This tiny number makes them one of the most endangered marine animals in Africa. They have been victims of habitat loss due to agricultural development in the area.

Diet:

They like to consume aquatic plants and small fish including shellfish. 

#8 Golden Mole

Appearance:

The golden mole belongs to the burrowing mammals that are native to Africa. They have short legs and a round body covered with dense fur. Their eyes, which are nonfunctional, are equally fur covered.  Its claws are powerful and aid them while digging holes.

Habitat:

They live in various areas with a range of different environmental conditions. For instance, they can be located in swamps, mountain terrains, forests, and deserts. They like to form habitats above the ground beneath a pile of leaves where they can find their food easily. 

Level Of Endangerment:

They are endangered and threatened by extinction. The increase in the amount of mining by humans is to blame for this. In the search for diamonds, humans shift soil from one place to another which has resulted in habitat loss for these species. 

Diet:

They like to feed on earthworms, insects, and lizards.

#9 Yellow-breasted Pipit

Appearance:

They belong to the pipit family which is a species of birds. It is a medium-sized bird that is easily identified due to the yellow color of its throat and breast. This bird resembles an Orange-Throated Longclaw. The only difference between them is the color of their tails which is white rather than white-tipped. They have a scaly black pattern on their body along with a yellow belly underneath. 

Habitat:

It likes to form its habitat in tropical and subtropical high-altitude grasslands, pasture lands, and arable lands. This bird is endemic to South Africa and Lesotho. 

Level Of Endangerment:

According to estimations, the remaining population of these species is less than 6,500 individuals, which have been a victim of habitat loss due to deforestation.

Diet:

They feed on small insects dwelling on the ground like mantids, small beetles, and grasshoppers. 

#10 Oribi

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Appearance:

It is a small-sized antelope having a height of 50-67 centimeters and a weight of 12-22 kilograms. The Oribi’s features are raised slightly to the back with a long neck. Their body is coated with yellow to brown toned fur which complements its white underparts and chin. 

Habitat:

They exist in various habitats such as tropical grasslands, savannahs, and floodplains, usually preferring habitats that can provide cover from predators. These species are mainly distributed in Southern, Western, and Eastern Africa. 

Level Of Endangerment:

The total population of the existing Oribi is 750,000 individuals. These species fell victim to habitat loss which has significantly decreased their population.

Diet:

It grazes at its surroundings to browse its food. They prefer to eat fresh grass which is 90% of their diet, while the remaining 10% includes feeding on flowers and mushrooms. During the rainy season, they eat grass in the form of groups.

#11 Black Rhino 

black rhino endangered animal

Appearance: 

Black rhinos have a length of 3-3.75 meters and a weight of 1,400 kilograms. They are black-greyish in color and have two horns at the top of their head. They utilize these horns for digging, intimidation, and defense.  

Habitat:

They are endemic to the western and southern ends of Africa. Open grasslands and closed-canopy forests are where they like to form their habitat.

Level of Endangerment:

They are victims of human poaching and only 6,100 individuals remain of these species. Poaching is still frequent and they are drastically nearing extinction, making it one of the most endangered animals in Africa.

Diet:

They are herbivores in nature and therefore consume branches, plants, bushes, shoots, and fruits.

#12 African Elephant

african elephant endangered animal

Appearance: 

They have a muscular structure with gray thick folded skin which is covered with dark brown and black hair. Their large ears aid in reducing body heat and its trunk is the elongation of their nose and upper lip. 

Habitat: 

These animals live in the tropical forests, miombo woodlands, arid regions, and Sahelian Scrublands of Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Level of Endangerment:

Due to conflicts and human hunting, these animals are decreasing in number. Now only 415,000 elephants are left in the region of Africa. 

Diet:

They like to consume grasses, bark, roots, and fruits, and can eat 140 kg of food every day.

#13 Gorilla 

gorilla endangered animal africa

Appearance: 

Gorillas are medium to large-sized animals that have a height of up to 1,5 metres. They are dark in color having variants of color depending on which region they reside in. For instance, mountain gorillas are darker than the western and eastern gorillas. 

Habitat: 

Gorillas are present in the regions of western, eastern, and central Africa. They form their habitats in mountains and elevated forest areas. 

Level of Endangerment:

They declined in number as they fell victim to various diseases, habitat loss, and human hunting. They are critically endangered species with as little as 5000 individuals remaining in Africa.

Diet:

Their diet varies according to their species. A mountain gorilla mostly consumes leaves, shoots, fruit, and stems.

#14 African Penguin

african penguin endangered animal

Appearance: 

They have a unique pattern on their chest comprising a black stripe and spots. They have black feet and spots on their body which vary in shape and size from individual to individual. Their weight ranges from 2 – 3.5 kilograms.

Habitat: 

  They inhabit the regions of the southern and western end of Africa, and on islands between Algoa Bay and Namibia. They mostly reside in coastal areas. 

Level of Endangerment:

They are declining rapidly in number as they are a victim of industrial fishing. Only 4,300 pairs still exist in the regions of Namibia. 

Diet:

They like to prey on sardines, shrimps, and anchovies. 

#15 North African Ostrich

north african ostrich endangered

Appearance: 

They are large flightless birds with a height of almost 3 metres and a weight of 154 kilograms. They have a pink-red toned neck. The color of plumages varies in males and females, the former has a black plumage while the latter is gray. 

Habitat: 

They live in the regions of Northern and Western ends of Africa where they like to reside in the savannahs and open fields of Africa.

Level of Endangerment:

They are critically endangered as only 90 to 100 individuals are left. They declined massively in number due to habitat loss and human poaching for their exotic features, eggs, and food. 

Diet:

Their diet mainly comprises seeds, roots, and leaves. They occasionally consume snakes, rodents, and lizards.

#16 Dama Gazelle

Dama Gazelle endangered animal

Appearance: 

It belongs to the species of the gazelle family. They are white in color having a red-brown color toned head. Both females and males have ringed-shaped horns on their heads. They have large eyes with long necks and legs. It reaches a height of 90-95 centimeters.

Habitat: 

They roam in the areas of the Sahara desert and the Sahel situated in Africa. 

Level of Endangerment:

They are critically endangered species as less than 400 individuals are left of these species. They fell victim to hunting and habitat loss, causing their numbers to drop this low.

Diet:

They like to feed on plants such as acacias, desert grasses, and shrubs. 

#17 Egyptian Tortoise

egyptian tortoise endangered animal

Appearance: 

They are small in size with a high dome on their back which has dull golden, ivory, pink and dark brown colors. The females are generally larger than the males.

Habitat: 

They are found in scattered rocks, sandy wadis, shrubby areas, and woodlands in the northeast corner of Africa. 

Level of Endangerment:

They are on the red list of IUCN as only 5,000 mature individuals are left in the wild due to habitat degradation. 

Diet:

They consume vegetation comprising various types of grass, blooms, and broadleaf plants.

#18 Sahara Aphanius 

Appearance: 

They belong to the family of Aphanius and the females have brown mottling on their flanks with transparent fins, whereas the males have blue silver mottling on their bodies.

Habitat: 

They are native to the Oued Saoura River situated in Algeria. 

Level of Endangerment:

They are critically endangered species, if not already extinct.

Diet:

They like to consume small aquatic animals such as insect larvae, crustaceans, and worms.

#19 Ethiopian Wolf 

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Appearance: 

Their appearance is similar to an American Coyote. They have a flat skull with canine teeth and broad pointed ears with long legs. When fully grown, they can attain a length of 22 centimeters and a body weight of up to 19 kilograms. 

Habitat: 

They reside in the grassland of Ethiopian Islands, in Northeast Africa. 

Level of Endangerment:

Only 197 mature individuals remain of these species due to agricultural development in their region. Evidently, they are one of the most endangered animals in Africa.

Diet:

They like to prey on mole rats, brush-furred rats, and highland hares. 

The Final Word

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This article outlines the most endangered animals in Africa. The above-mentioned species are rare species that only exist on the continent of Africa. 

Urbanization affects all of these animals, due to which they have lost their habitats. This loss of habitats has resulted in the decline of their population. Other reasons for their decline include climate change, agricultural development, and deforestation. 

Attempting to save them, precautionary measures are taken by conservation groups in Africa. They are trying their best to preserve these species by securing their habitats and increasing their populations through breeding. These precious animals are one of a kind and we as humans should take precautionary measures to preserve these species. For detailed information on how you can help these animals click here.  

Thank you for reading this article! Many other endangered creatures are often forgotten about, such as spiders, so continue your learning by reading about the Most Endangered Spiders.

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