The 10 most endangered animals in 2021

Have you ever wondered about the 10 most endangered animals and how to protect them? A species is classified as endangered when its population has declined between 50 and 70 percent and as when its population is restricted to less than 250 mature individuals. When a species’ population is this low, its area of occupancy is not considered.

tourist the 10 most endangered animals

There are now 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List, and 16,306 of them are endangered species threatened with extinction. This is up from 16,118 last year. This includes both endangered animals and endangered plants. Read on to find out which of these animals are at highest risk for extinction and what we can do to protect the 10 most endangered animals in 2021.

Javan Rhinocerous


Mountain Gorilla


Asian Elephant


Leatherback turtles

Snow Leopards

Irrawaddy Dolphins

Bluefin Tuna

 #1 Javan Rhinoceros



Conservation status: Critically Endangered
Population: Around 60
Scientific name: Rhinoceros sondaicus
Height: 4.6–5.8 feet
Weight: 1,984 – 5,071 pounds
Lenght: 10–10.5 feet
Habitats: Tropical forests

The 10 most endangered animals: Only 67 Javan rhinos are currently estimated to remain in the world, making this critically endangered rhino species one of the most threatened large mammal species on Earth. They’re confined to one park on the extreme southwestern tip of the Indonesian island of Java

Only 67 Javan rhinos are currently estimated to remain in the world, making this critically endangered rhino species one of the most threatened large mammal species on Earth.

However all three subspecies of Rhinocerous are endangered; Three species of rhino—black, Javan, and Sumatran—are critically endangered. Today, a small population of Javan rhinos is found in only one national park on the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Java. A mainland subspecies of the Javan rhino was declared extinct in Vietnam in 2011.

Where to see them responsibly? 

Javan rhinos are the most threatened of the five rhino species, with only around 60 individuals that live only in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia.


International Rhino Foundation 

IRF works with our local partner, the Rhino Foundation of Indonesia (Yayasan Badak Indonesia or YABI), and the staff of Ujung Kulon National Park to protect the world’s only population of Javan rhinos while also working to expand the specieshabitat in Indonesia.

#2 Vaquita

the 10 most endangered animals
Found in the Golfo Dulce in Costa Rica


Conservation status: Critically Endangered (Population decreasing) 
Scientific name: Phocoena sinus
Trophic level: Carnivorous 
Mass: 43 kg (Adult) 
Length: 1,2 – 1,5 m (Adult)
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Phocoenidae

The 10 most endangered animals: The Vaquita is a small harbor porpoise native to a very small area in the extreme northern part of the Gulf of California, Mexico. It is the smallest known Cetacean (whale, dolphin, or porpoise) alive today, reaching lengths of only 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) and weights of not much more than 100 pounds (45 kg).

The vaquita, literally “little cow”, is a species of porpoise endemic to the northern end of the Gulf of California. Averaging 150 cm or 140 cm in length, it is the smallest of all living cetaceans. Today, the species is on the brink of extinction.

Where to see them responsibly? 

Gulf of California, Mexico

mexico the 10 most endangered animals

The Vaquita is a small harbor porpoise native to a very small area in the extreme northern part of the Gulf of California, Mexico.


Support Conservation Efforts The vaquita is just one species in peril. Accidental entanglement in fishing nets is a major cause of unnecessary mortalities in countless species around the world. Support efforts to eliminate this threat!

 #3 Mountain Gorilla

the 10 most endangered animals gorilla


Scientific name: Gorilla beringei beringei
Higher classification: Eastern gorilla
Subspecies: G. b. beringei
Kingdom: Animalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae

The 10 most endangered animals: For decades, mountain gorillas have been subjected to uncontrolled hunting, disease, habitat loss and the ravages of human conflict. Their numbers plummeted, and they are now considered endangered.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which sets the conservation status of species, changed their status from “critically endangered” to “endangered” in 2008 as their numbers improved.

Where to see them responsibly? 

the 10 most endangered animals rwanda
View into the mountain range of the Virunga Volcanoes

5 Best Places to See Gorillas in Africa

  1. Rwanda. The Virunga Mountains spanning the borders of Uganda, DRC and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park are home to over 600 mountain gorillas.
  2. Uganda. 
  3. Democratic Republic of Congo. 
  4. Congo Brazzaville.
  5. Central African Republic.


International Gorilla Conservation Program 

Securing the Future for Mountain Gorillas. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme is a unique coalition of international conservation organizations …

#4 Tigers

the 10 most endangered animals
Wild tiger in Ranthambore tiger reserve


Speed: 49 – 65 km/h (Adult, In Short Bursts)
Lifespan: 8 – 10 years (In the wild)
Conservation status: Endangered (Population decreasing)
Height: 70 – 120 cm (Adult, At Shoulder)
Mass: Male: 90 – 310 kg (Adult), Female: 65 – 170 kg (Adult)
Diet: Carnivore

The existing subspecies are Bengal, Indochinese, Sumatran, Siberian, and Malayan. Tigers are globally listed as “Endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The Malayan and Sumatran sub-species are listed as “Critically Endangered.”

Today, the tiger is classified as Endangered in the Red List of Threatened Species published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and it is estimated that there are only 3,500 tigers remaining in the wild worldwide.

Where to see them responsibly? 

Bandhavgarh National Park is the best place to find tigers in the wild.

bengal tiger the 10 most endangered animals
Tiger in its habitat


Wildlife Conservation Society 

WCS Goals : Protect tigers and their habitat. · Build capacity in range states. · Reduce human-tiger conflict. · Conduct scientific research on tigers to help inform conservation 

#5 Asian Elephants

asian elephants the 10 most endangered animals
Thailand elephant


Conservation status: Endangered (Population decreasing) 
Lifespan: 48 years (Adult, In captivity, European population)
Scientific name: Elephas maximus
Gestation period: 18 – 22 months
Trophic level: Herbivorous 
Mass: Male: 4 000 kg (Adult), Female: 2 700 kg (Adult)
Height: Male: 2,8 m (Adult, At Shoulder), Female: 2,4 m (Adult, At Shoulder)

The Asian elephant is classified as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its population has declined by an estimated 50 percent over the past 75 years, and there are an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 Asian elephants left in the wild.

The Asian elephant was listed as Endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1976. Because of their status under CITES and the ESA, commercial trade in Asian elephants and their parts and products is prohibited.

Where to see them responsibly? 

elephant calf the 10 most endangered animals
  • Thailand. About a third of the world’s Asian elephants live in captivity, most in Southeast Asia. …
  • Kenya. Prepare to be impressed at Amboseli National Park, a big-sky game viewing spot just above Kenya’s southern border with Tanzania.
  • Sri Lanka.



We got you covered check out these 10 ways to save elephants that we can all do!

  1. Support the ban of the ivory trade.
  2. Choose elephant-friendly coffee.
  3. Choose ethical tours.
  4. Think before you post an elephant photo.
  5. Support elephant sanctuaries.
  6. Adopt an elephant.

You can apply this conscious decision-making to help the 10 most endangered animals and more…

#6 Orangutans

orangutan mother with child in nature


Lifespan: Bornean orangutan: 35 – 45 years
Scientific name: Pongo
Gestation period: Bornean orangutan: 259 days 
Mass: Sumatran orangutan: 45 kg, Bornean orangutan: 50 – 100 kg
Height: Sumatran orangutan: 1,4 – 1,8 m, Bornean orangutan: 1,2 – 1,4 m
Length: Sumatran orangutan: 83 cm, Bornean orangutan: 1,2 – 1,4 m 

Both species have experienced sharp population declines. A century ago there were probably more than 230,000 orangutans in total, but the Bornean orangutan is now estimated at about 104,700 based on updated geographic range (Endangered) and the Sumatran about 7,500 (Critically Endangered).

The destruction and degradation of the tropical rain forest, particularly lowland forest, in Borneo and Sumatra is the main reason orangutans are threatened with extinction.

Palm oil, an ingredient found in many everyday food and cosmetic products, is contributing to the rapid deforestation in Sumatra. Orangutan habitat in Sumatra and Borneo is being cleared at an alarming rate for conversion to oil palm plantations.

Where to see them responsibly? 

5 best places to see orangutans in the wild

  1. Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia. 
  2. Gunung Leuser, Sumatra, Indonesia. 
  3. Kinabatangan River, Sabah, Malaysia. 
  4. Tanjung Puting, Kalimantan, Indonesia. 
  5. Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia.



Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program establishing entirely new, genetically viable and self-sustaining wild populations of any great ape species, anywhere in the world.

#7 Leatherback Sea Turtles



Conservation status: Vulnerable (Population decreasing) 
Scientific name: Dermochelys coriacea
Mass: 250 – 700 kg (Adult)
Clutch size: 110
Length: 1,8 – 2,2 m (Adult)
Speed: 35 km/h (Maximum, In The Water, Swimming)

Leatherback turtles are named for their shell, which is leather-like rather than hard, like other turtles. They are the largest sea turtle species and also one of the most migratory, crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Leatherbacks occur in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They occupy U.S. waters in the West Pacific, East Pacific, and Northwest Atlantic. Pacific leatherback turtle nesting grounds are located in tropical latitudes in the eastern and western Pacific around the world.

Extensive egg collection and bycatch in fishing gear are the primary causes of these declines. NOAA Fisheries designated all leatherback turtle populations as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1970.

Where to see them responsibly? 

Top 5 places to see Sea Turtles

  • Costa Rica. Playa Grande. This beautiful beach is one of the top locations in the world to see humongous leatherback turtles all year-round. 
  • Indonesia. Gili Islands. 
  • Australia. Heron Island. 
  • Hawaii. Laniakea Beach. 
  • Malaysia. Tioman Island.


The Leatherback Trust 

A non profit organization dedicated to saving the leatherback sea turtle by promoting conservation of leatherbacks at risk of extinction. 

#8 Snow leopards

the 10 most endangered animals snow leopard
Snow Leopard or Ounce, uncia uncia, Adult standing on Snow


Scientific name: Panthera uncia
Mass: 32 kg (Adult) 
Trophic level: Carnivorous 
Length: 75 – 150 cm (Adult, Without Tail)
Gestation period: 101 days 

How many snow leopards are left in the wild? There are an estimated 4,080-6,590 snow leopards in the wild, but it is difficult for scientists to know for sure. They are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Snow leopards live in the mountainous regions of central and southern Asia. In India, their geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas.

Where to see them responsibly? 

In the Himalayas, snow leopards live in high alpine areas, mostly above the tree line and up to 18,000 feet in elevation. They are found in 12 countries—including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Mongolia.


Snow Leopard Trust

Snow Leopard Conservancy 

#9 Irrawaddy Dolphins

dolphin the 10 most endangered animals
Irrawaddy dolphin swimming in ocean.


Conservation status: Vulnerable (Population decreasing)
Scientific name: Orcaella brevirostris
Trophic level: Carnivorous 
Mass: 190 kg (Adult) 
Length: 1,5 – 2,8 m (Adult)
Gestation period: 14 months 

The Irrawaddy dolphin is a euryhaline species of oceanic dolphin, meaning they transition between saltwater and freshwater.They lack the characteristic beak and streamlined head of most dolphins, instead having a blunt snout and a high, rounded forehead.

The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins inhabit a 118-mile stretch of the river between Cambodia and Lao PDR and are scarce—just 92 individuals are estimated to still exist.

The dolphins are an important indicator of the health and sound management of the freshwater resources, and their decline could signal a potentially devastating decline in the health of the entire river ecosystem.

Where to see them responsibly? 

The dolphins continue to die off at an alarming rate, and experts now estimate that there are only around 80 Irrawaddy dolphins left in the Mekong between Kratie and the Lao border. The best place to see them is at Kampi, about 15km north of Kratie, on the road to Sambor ( Southeast Asia).


Endangered Species International 

ESI directly promotes sustainable fishing practices and no-fishing zones (no-take zones) in areas where dolphins are still found. Further, ESI focuses on restoring and protecting natural habitats like estuaries and rivers where dolphins occur.

#10 Atlantic Bluefin tuna

tuna the 10 most endangered animals


Mass: 220 – 250 kg
Conservation status: Endangered (Population decreasing) 
Scientific name: Thunnus thynnus

Bluefin tuna populations have declined severely from overfishing and illegal fishing over the past few decades –not just Atlantic bluefin tuna, but also Pacific bluefin tuna and Southern bluefin tuna. Population declines have been largely driven by the demand for this fish in high end sushi markets.

The critically endangered bluefin tuna only makes up 1% of the global catch. As the methods of catching tuna have advanced over the years, the conservation and management of tuna has not evolved as quickly.

Scientists believe that the collapse of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea may lead to a sharp increase in the biomass of bentopelagic cephalopods, such as squid. This would negatively affect the sardine population.

Where to see them responsibly? 

Bluefin tuna live mainly in the North Atlantic pelagic ecosystem and its adjacent seas, especially in the Mediterranean Sea. Geographically, their population is distributed throughout the North Atlantic, from Ecuador to Norway and from the Black Sea to Mexico.


Center for Biological Diversity 

Prized as a high-value dish at sushi restaurants, bluefin are being push toward extinction by decades of overfishing. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists two species of bluefin, the Atlantic and the southern, as endangered or critically endangered, on its “Red List” of imperiled species.

How can we help: Eco Tourism 

the 10 most endangered animals

The goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure the survival of these species, and to educate people on living sustainably with other species.

Developing protective areas such as national parks, wildlife sanctuaries to protect the animals in their natural habitat. The endangered and vulnerable species can be kept in captivity in places such as local sanctuaries and bred to increase their population. The cutting of forests should be strictly prohibited.

The Foundations of Eco Tourism 

: tourism directed towards exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.

In order to successfully embody ecotourism, businesses need to consider the following three measures: Sustainable Business Practices, Community Development, and Environmental Stewardship.

Our responsibility to wildlife: 

Habitat destruction is the main threat to 85 percent of all threatened and endangered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. You can help reduce this threat by planting native trees, restoring wetlands or cleaning up beaches in your area.

protest action the 10 most endangered animals
People with placards and posters on a global strike for climate change.

These are simple but sufficient methods to practice in order to maintain or pace the extent of human influence on the natural world. 

Summary: The 10 most endangered animals 

sloth the 10 most endangered animals

As part of the world’s ecosystems, wildlife provides balance and stability to nature’s processes. The goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure the survival of these species, and to educate people on living sustainably with other species. The practice of such will help to secure the conservation of the 10 most endangered animals and others that are critically endangered. 

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