It's a sad reality that more and more animals are going extinct. But tragically, it's not just that: in fact, there are thousands more who are heading the same way, becoming endangered as a result of a loss of habitat, climate change, and human-induced factors such as poaching and deforestation.There are now more than 10,000 species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) list of endangered animals, some of which are "critically endangered" and are heartbreakingly facing extinction.Here are some of the most incredible animal species which are currently critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List, and are at risk of going extinct:
This magnificent cat is critically endangered, with just 60 remaining in the wild. The last remaining wild Amur leopards are found in a small area in the Russian Far East, while there are 7-12 of them in China.This breathtaking animalcan reach speeds of 37 miles per hour and jump over 19 feet horizontally.
These interesting-looking creatures are also known as scaly anteaters. They will protect themselves from predators by rolling up into a ball and using the sharp scales of their tails to strike.There is a huge trade for their meat and scales in Asia, which are made of keratin and in high demand for use in medicine. As a result, pangolins are the most highly trafficked animal in the world.
These primates live in the trees of Borneo and Sumatra. They weigh between 70 and 200 pounds and are about 4-5 feet long.Just seven out of the nine remaining Sumatran orangutan populations have a chance of long-term survival, with about 250 individuals for each. According to the WWF, just 7,300 of these orangutans remain.
The vaquita, otherwise known as the Gulf of California harbor porpoise, is the world's most rare marine mammal. It was only discovered in 1958 but today there aren't even 100 of these individuals left.This species has dark rings around its eyes and dark patches on its lips. Today, they only live in the northern part of the Gulf of California and are threatened primarily by the fishing trade.
This is the most highly threatened out of the five rhino species, and is most likely the rarest large mammal on the planet. There are just 63 left in the wild, and they all live in the Ujung Kulon National Park in Indonesia.Most of these creatures were wiped out by poaching for their horns. These huge creatures weigh between 2000 and 5000 pounds and have a single horn about 25cm long.
This is the least known but most highly threatened ape in Africa, where there are just 250-300 of them left. They typically live in the forests, which are not protected and as a result, the loss of habitat is one of their greatest threats. They are also dying out because of poaching.
These beautiful tigers have orange coats marked with heavy black stripes. It is thought that there are just 400 left today, living in the Indonesian island of Sumatra.Sumatran tigers are rapidly losing their habitats. Despite it being illegal to hunt these tigers, there is still a considerable trade in Asia for tiger products.
The Saola, or Asian unicorn, was thenewest large mammal to the scientific world when it was found in 1992, and is known to exist today in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos.The remaining number of saola is unknown since they are very rarely seen in the wild. These creatures have two horns about 20 inches long and have white markings on their faces.
These are the largest turtles in the world - they can reach seven feet long and 2,000 pounds. Unlike most other sea turtles, the leatherback has a softer, rubbery shell.Numbers of leatherback turtles are rapidly decreasing in the Pacific because of intense egg harvest and coastal development, and they are now considered critically endangered.Clearly, something needs to be done to help look after the incredible variety of animal species that risk extinction, and it needs to be done quickly.The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) works to conserve and protect endangered species across the world. You can support theirefforts by making a donation here.