7 Species The World Might Lose By The End Of The Year
One of the most stunning developments of the last two centuries is the loss of the natural world to extinction.
“Habitat destruction, pollution or overfishing either kills off wild creatures and plants or leaves them badly weakened,” Derek Tittensor, a marine ecologist at the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, told The Guardian. “The trouble is that in coming decades, the additional threat of worsening climate change will become more and more pronounced and could then kill off these survivors.”
What animals will the world likely lose by the end of the year? Countless creatures for sure, but these 7 you may recognize more readily.
The Vaquita Whale.
The Vaquita whale is a rare whale found in the upper Gulf of California. There are fewer than 100 individuals left in the world and they are listed by the IUCN as critically endangered. Their bladders are illegally sold for $4,000 per pound for some reason.
Yangtze Finless Porpoise.
Sometimes called the giant panda of the water, the Yangtze Finless Porpoise is one of the river's most famous creatures. Overfishing has left their food supply in ruin and pollution, as well as changes in the river due to damming, have made it damn harder for the porpoise to survive. There are likely fewer than 1,000 left.
Also called Amur tigers, these are the world's largest cats. According to WWF, there are only 450 of these animals left. It's a protected species, but illegal logging and poaching has decimated their numbers. Their pelts and meats fetch a fair price on the black market.
Leatherback Sea Turtle
The leatherback turtle is the largest of the sea turtles. It also has the greatest migratory path. In recent years, the population of turtles has severely declined due to overharvesting, plastic ingestion, and egg poaching.
Greater Bamboo Lemur.
The bamboo lemur, found in Southeastern Madagascar, is the most endangered of the lemurs on the island. Fewer than 60 are believed to exist. Climate change, poaching, and the depletion of bamboo are likely culprits.
Mountain gorillas, found in the Virunga Mountains that border Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have the unfortunate distinction of being stuck in an area of the world where the humans are unstable. Poaching, destruction of habitat, charcoal production, and human conflict have led to the deaths of uncountable gorillas. 880 struggle to survive. Armed rangers patrol the forest to maintain their numbers.
The Amur leopard may be the most endangered animal on this list. It's the rarest big cat in the world. Only about 30 remain today, largely due to poaching and loss of prey animals - food. There may not be enough left for it to be genetically viable.