Sometimes, I wonder what life would have been if they had been around now? How much different our lives would have been? But then I remember Darwin’s wise words, “Survival of the fittest”. And I realise that the dinosaurs had their time and now it’s ours. But does this mean that we have the right to kill animals to the point of extinction! Do we now decide on the existence of nature’s wonders? Have we become so conceited that we cannot see past our needs?
It’s very unfortunate but it is a fact that we are slowly killing the animals for our own selfish demands! In this process, we are disrupting the natural balance and believe me when I say that our day of reckoning is coming. And unless we do something to right the wrongs, we will never have a happy ending.
Here is a list of some of the most critically endangered animals which are on the path of extinction.
Ivory Billed Woodpecker
One of the largest species of woodpeckers, this amazing bird was once found extensively in the woodlands of USA. But due to unchecked deforestation these birds lost their home. These beautiful red-headed birds were considered to be extinct until 2004 when they were again sighted. These birds are extremely rare and they are almost considered to be extinct.
This majestic beast is one of the most critically endangered species of the cat family residing in Eastern Russia and parts of China. This solitary and nimble-footed animal is now teetering on the brink of extinction. About 60 of these leopards remain in the wild. Due to excessive poaching, they were reduced to less than 30 by 2007, but due to continuous conservation efforts these beasts have returned from their graves. And hopefully, they will survive for many more years to come.
These one-horned Javan rhinos are one of the most endangered sub-species among all rhinos. Once these armoured creatures used to exist in the majority of Sunderbans, India and mainland of South-east Asia but now their population of 60 is limited to Indonesia. They have been wildly poached for their meat and fabled horn. It’s very unfortunate that such peaceful creatures have been mercilessly hunted.
Leatherback Sea Turtle
These marine creatures are the largest sea turtle species and also the most migratory ones. The number of these giant creatures is dropping at an alarming rate throughout the world. The major reasons for this catastrophe are illegal trades, over harvesting of eggs and habitat loss. Their meat and shell are also used in traditional medicines making them even more sought after. There are many conservative steps being taken to increase their numbers so that our future generations can also see them gliding in the sea currents.
Chinese Giant Salamander
This amphibian is the largest salamander in the world found in the mountain streams of China. Though this creature would give quite a scare to the faint hearted because of its appearance. But that does not justify its mindless killings just because its meat is considered a delicacy. Building of dams and runoff from rivers has led to the loss of their habitats and reduced their numbers. In view of recent efforts to bring them back, they are responding well and are slowly increasing in numbers.
We all remember Tarzan, a human child raised by the gorillas! If these gorillas are not protected then that movie will be their only memory with us. These huge primates have endured a lot, like poaching, habitat loss and disease. These threats were so severe that they were believed to be extinct. But slowly their bleak futures are becoming brighter due to various conservative efforts, and their population includes around 800 individuals.
This one of the largest and heaviest parrots in the world. Incidentally, it is a nocturnal and a flightless bird. This beautiful bird never really had any predators so it was quite surprised to be hunted down by the European settlers in 1840’s. Their numbers dropped to mere 85 by 1900s. Right now none of them are found on the mainland. They are all distributed in small virgin islands which are predator-free so that these birds can thrive. Due to dedicated conservative efforts, their numbers have risen to 130. Surprisingly their average life is about 90 years!
These calm and gentle creatures are also known as the Asian Unicorn. Not much is known about this enigmatic creature. None of them exist in captivity and are rarely sighted in the world. Their numbers are unknown but are estimated to be around 160. Saola resembles an antelope and is found only in Vietnam. It’s rarity, uniqueness and vulnerability make it a huge priority in that region.
These cute little solitary creatures are easily recognized by their armour of scales. This elusive creature is hanging on to its survival because of poaching and habitat loss. This poor animal is an essential cog in nature’s ecosystem and its slowly fading away. All of its eight species are protected under various international laws, which are not really stemming the international illegal trade. But with better enforcement this animal can once again walk freely on earth.
Northern Sportive Lemur
This primate gets its name because of its boxing stance when threatened. These lemurs are usually found in the deciduous and wet evergreen forests of Madagascar. These animals are now critically endangered due to habitat destruction. Their numbers are slowly dwindling, in spite of various conservative rules and regulations.
These are just a few of the thousands of species which are endangered and are slowly being forced into extinction. A couple more centuries and we will not be able to recognize what we have done to mother Earth. Unless effective measures are taken and awareness is spread about the endangered species.