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14 Wild Animal Species You Didn’t Know Were Endangered

You’d be surprised how many well-known species are in real danger of extinction, many of them because of man-made problems.

Group of forest elephants in the forest edge. Republic of Congo. Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve. Central African Republic. An excellent illustration.GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock

Endangered animals

Just because you see them at the zoo doesn't mean they're doing all right in the wild. The number of these animals in the wild has been decreasing for quite some time. Soon, they could be completely gone. Here's how you can help endangered animals without leaving your house.

Orangutan Portrait. Portrait of the adult male of the adult orangutan in the wild nature. Island Borneo. Indonesia.Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock


There are three species of orangutans: Bornean, ones that prefer the ground over the trees; Sumatran, which have longer facial hair and develop closer bonds with each other; and Tapanuli, which inhabit only a single forest in Sumatra. A century ago, their global population was more than 230,000. Now there are about 104,700 Bornean (critically endangered status), 7,500 Sumatran (critically endangered status), and only 800 Tapanuli orangutans left. But there is still hope because these 16 incredible animals came back from the brink of extinction!

A wild giraffe walk though the brushwood grasslands in Giraffe centre in Nairobi KenyaTingHelder/Shutterstock


The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has put some giraffes at a critically endangered status. There are only 4,000 Kordofan and Nubian giraffes left, according to the IUCN. The reticulated giraffe is also listed as endangered. The giraffe population has declined primarily due to loss of habitat, civil unrest, and poaching. Some giraffes are killed just for their tails, which are considered status symbols in parts of Africa. This is how coronavirus is affecting the world's endangered animals.

Tiger, portrait of a bengal tiger.Denise Allison Coyle/Shutterstock


All six tiger species are endangered, with Sumatran and South China tigers at a critically endangered status. Some scientists even consider the South China tiger to be "functionally extinct" since it hasn't been seen in the wild in more than 25 years. The main reasons for their population decline are poaching and destroyed habitats, as humans clear forests to gather timber and build roadways. Only about 3,890 tigers currently live in the wild. Check out these common "facts" about animals that you have all wrong.

Green and blue hummingbird Sparkling Violetear flying next to beautiful yelow flower. Bird from Ecuador, tropical mountain forest. Wildlife scene from nature. Birdwatching in South America.Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock


Seven hummingbird species, all found in the Americas, are endangered, primarily because of deforestation. The chestnut-bellied hummingbird has 600 to 1,700 mature individuals, and there are fewer than 300 sapphire-bellied hummingbirds left.

Black RhinoChris Humphries/Shutterstock

Black rhinos

Black rhinos are critically endangered, with slightly more than 5,000 left in the world. The rest have succumbed primarily to poaching and illegal trading for their horns. Between 1960 and 1995, hunters killed 98 percent of Africa’s black rhinos. But numbers have been steadily increasing thanks to conservation efforts. Don't miss the 9 newly discovered animal species you never knew existed.

humpback whale, megaptera novaeangliae, Vava'u island, TongaMartin Prochazkacz/Shutterstock


As few as 400 North Atlantic right whales remain in the wild, with fewer than 100 breeding females left. In fact, six out of the 13 great whale species are endangered. Pollution is a major threat for these aquatic giants, plus, according to the World Wildlife Fund, more than 1,000 whales are killed every year for commercial purposes.

Portrait of a Bonobo. Democratic Republic of the Congo.GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock


War hurts more than just humans. Civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has made bonobos more vulnerable to poachers and continues to destroy their forest homes. It’s unclear how many bonobos there are—probably 15,000 to 20,000—but scientists believe their population will continue to decline over the next 50 years. Conservation efforts are necessary to make sure that they don't go the way of these animals that have gone extinct in the last 100 years.

Cape Parrot in Kruger National park, South Africa ; Specie Poicephalus robustus family of PsittacidaePACO COMO/Shutterstock


An estimated 52 parrot species are marked as endangered or critically endangered, according to the IUCN. The Cape parrot is just one of the many parrot species in dire danger of extinction in South Africa. In fact, this parrot bears the dubious title of Africa's rarest parrot because fewer than 2,000 of them are left. The massive deforestation of the yellowwood forests, the Cape parrot's home, has played a large role in their rapidly declining numbers. Steve Boyes, the scientific director for the Wild Bird Trust, told National Geographic that South Africa needs to protect at least 18 percent of its indigenous yellowwood forests to give the Cape parrots a chance at rebuilding their population. This is why you shouldn't keep endangered animals as pets.


Asian elephants

The main threat to Asian elephants, one of the most intelligent animals, is their shrinking habitat. As the human population grows, people invade their land to build roads and railway tracks. Elephants in Myanmar are at an especially high risk for being captured and traded or used illegally in the tourist industry. It is unknown just how many elephants are left on the entire continent, but experts estimate numbers could be fewer than 40,000.

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