Andres Manuel Olivares Miranda | Four of the Most Critically Endangered Animal Species
Four of the Most
b y : A n d r e s M a n u e l O l i v a r e s M i r a n d a
26,500 Species at Risk
More than 26,500 species are under the threat of
becoming extinct. That’s more than 27 percent of all
assessed species. Among the list of endangered species
are those that are critically endangered. These animals
are the ones with the most series threat of extinction in
the wild. In 2014, there were 2,464 animal species on the
list. Here are four of the species that may be extinct
within a few years unless drastic measures are taken.
Hawksbill sea turtle
The Hawksbill turtle is among the most critically
endangered species in the world. In the last 100 years, 90
percent of the Hawksbill turtle was lost. Eighty percent of
that loss occurred in the previous ten years. Hawksbill
turtles are illegally hunted for their brown and gold
patterned shells, which are then sold on the black market.
Their shells are one of the most frequently confiscated
illegal items by customs officials.
Amur leopards have been on the IUCN list
of critically endangered animals since
1996. As of last, it’s estimated there were
only 80 surviving members in the wild and
200 worldwide in human care. Part of the
reason for the animal’s extinction is
because they’re hunted for their fur. Their
natural habitat is also being destroyed
due to human settlement and agriculture
practices. There is some good news
though, as two cubs were just recently
born at the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut.
Vaquitas are considered the rarest
mammal in the world, with less
than 100 members thought to exist.
They live only in the Gulf of
California, located between Baja
California and the northwest coast
of mainland Mexico. Pollution and
habitat destruction stemming from
the Colorado River dam is one of
the leading causes of their
downfall. The other is illegal
fishing for Totoaba; the gillnets
used to catch the exotic fish
entangle vaquitas and cause them
Red wolves are native to the southeast and Florida, but now only live in
Eastern North Carolina. It’s believed that there are only 24 surviving
members of the species and by 1980, they were declared extinct in the wild.
Intensive predator control programs and the loss of habitat led to their
population being decimated by the 1960s. Once announced endangered in
1973, efforts were made to capture them in the wild to keep the species
alive. Biologists captured seventeen wolves, and 14 of those were used to
start a successful captive breeding program.