Some species, like the cockroach, seem to have survived for an awfully long period. Yet others have been wiped out due to over-hunting, or climate change, or both. Now conservationists have predicted that next to depart the Earth forever, are these five.
First discovered in 1983, the Pika, or Ochontana iliensis is really a tiny mammal measuring between 7-8 cm long.
A native to China’s remote mountain range in Xinjiang province, it often dwells on the grassy plains high on the Tianshan mountain.
Since 1983, its population has dropped by almost 70%, and there are less than 1,000 of these little creatures left.
Climate change and rising temperatures are major reasons for their dwindling numbers. That’s because pikas were forced to go onto higher elevation.
- Giant Otter
Dwelling only in South America, giant otters, or Pteronura brasiliensis, are the largest otters on the planet.
Sadly, giant otters were hunted down for their pelts, which led to a significant reduction in numbers. While they are not hunted today, they are still on the endangered list.
That’s because a lot of their habitats of lakes and rivers have been destroyed. This in turn destroys the fish populations which they rely on for food.
But that’s not the only force threatening their survival.
Mining activities such as gold mining often pollutes their rivers with mercury, leading to mercury poisoning.
- Sumatran Rhinoceros
The Sumatran Rhinoceros is greatly threatened by poaching. According to the WWF, it’s one of the most endangered rhinos in the world – less than 275 of them are left.
They are the only Asian rhinos with two horns, making their horns extremely valuable on the black market.
They live in isolation, in the thick jungles of Malaysia, Indonesia and Myanmar.
Although it’s quite a task to even get into their habitats, once hunters reach their communities, these rhinos are almost helpless victims.
Now, efforts are going beyond just conservation, but reproduction. That’s because only two captive females have reproduced in the last 15 years.
These scaley, nocturnal creatures are believed to be the world’s most trafficked mammal, about 100,000 of them are captured and put up for sale on black markets every year.
You can find them in forests in Asia and Africa, often prowling around for ants and termites.
They are about the size of a house cat, and when threatened, they curl themselves up a ball.
Today, the vaquita is the world’s rarest marine mammal, and sadly, teetering on the edge of extinction.
Only about 60 of them remain, that’s a 40% drop from their population since 2014.
Biologists say they are shy creatures, not as showy as their cousins- the whales and dolphins that swim in the waters off the Gulf of California.
And at under 2m, these habour porpoises are often snared in fishing nets and are unfortunate victims of warming temperatures brought on by climate change.