- Nobody really knows exactly how many species are endangered, but it’s more than you can count.
- Many animal species provide humankind with “ecosystem services,” like pollinating plants or as a source of food.
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A lot can happen in a decade, and the more society develops, the more certain factors play into how animal populations and entire species continue to survive. Deforestation,pollution, and hunting are just some of these factors that play a role in animals becoming endangered and even extinct.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) comes up with a Red List every year. The list updates the public on which animal and plant species have struggled and thrived over the past year. According to BBC, ecosystems with a wider range of species are more stable and resilient. The endangerment of species ultimately endangers ecosystems, making them more fragile.
Here are 24 animals that were added to the endangered category of the IUCN Red List in the last decade.
Humans need animals to live in a balanced ecosystem.
Living in a balanced ecosystem keeps us from having to make all our food in a lab or pollinating our own plants.
Animals help keep the natural world moving, and without them, we’d have to do all the things that happen naturally ourselves.
The more animals that go extinct, the closer we are to having to recreate the natural world ourselves. Sadly, within just the past decade, several species have become endangered.
Subspecies of lions in India and West and Central Africa are threatened by human development.
They are endangered because of habitat loss and having to compete with hunters for prey.
While the okapi looks like a mixture of different mammals, it’s one of the oldest mammal species in the world. The central African creature is endangered primarily because of deforestation.
And so is it’s famous cousin, the giraffe. There are nine subspecies of giraffes, and three of them are endangered.
The biggest threats to the tallest animal in the world are the loss of habitat to development and poachers. Some people poach giraffes because of food insecurity in their villages, while others poach the animal for sport, keeping their tails as a symbol of high status.
People have also been known to keep an oryx horn as a lucky charm after a hunt, and the East African oryx has also been added to the endangered species list.
Sources: African Wildlife Foundation
Like the giraffe, the oryx is threatened by people hunting them and developing their habitats.
Sources: African Wildlife Foundation
And five subspecies of African antelope, including the Mountain Reedbuck, are now endangered because of hunting and development.
In Southern Africa, the grey crowned crane is losing its habitat to agriculture. On top of that, pollutants from agriculture are degrading the wetlands where the crane breeds.
Another South African bird, the hooded vulture, is also endangered because of agricultural pollution and loss of habitat.
A different kind of South African bird was added to the endangered list, too: The African penguin is a subspecies of penguin that’s threatened by industrial fishing.
Found just east of Southern Africa in Madagascar, the southern woolly lemur is endangered because it lost the majority of its habitat to agriculture.
And so is the Steppe eagle, found in Asia and parts of Africa.
In the Americas, the Mexican Orange Beauty is an endangered species of tarantula found in Mexico.
They face many threats to their habitat and lifestyle, including agriculture, development, and being used as pets.
Warmer water temperatures in Canada have kept Chinook salmon from thriving, so much so that they’re now endangered, too.
Hawaii’s yellow-faced bees became endangered in 2016, and they were the first bees to be added to the US Endangered Species list.
These bees face many threats, including habitat destruction, invasive species, and natural disasters.
Similarly, the rusty patched bumblebee was the first US bee subspecies to be listed as endangered in the continental US. The population decline comes from development and agriculture.
The spotted turtle is another endangered species in the US that’s broken records. This turtle lives in the eastern US.
A 2015 report by the Endangered Species Coalition named this turtle one of the 10 US species most threatened by habitat fragmentation.
Habitat fragmentation led to the decline of the US’s Great Green Macaw, which is also endangered.
While it’s also threatened by development, mining, and tourism, the San Jose Brush rabbit is critically endangered mainly because of introduced predators, including cats, goats, and dogs.
Down in Peru, the Paramo toad is facing critical endangerment after decades of being threatened by mining and agriculture. In fact, there are believed to be less than 50 of them left.
Another Peruvian animal has been added to the list as well. The Andean night monkey is threatened by deforestation.
Another monkey on the list comes from Africa. The endangered Red-capped Mangabey is illegally hunted for meat, and its habitat is being developed for agriculture.
The world’s most threatened subspecies of sea lions is the New Zealand sea lion. The species is endangered because of commercial fishing, which not only harms the sea lions …
… it also harms their source of food — arrow squids — leaving them to starve.
The woolly flying squirrel is a lot bigger than this, but they have become so endangered that it’s hard to find a photo of them. In fact, this northern Pakistani cave dweller is the heaviest gliding mammal in the world. It’s endangered mainly because of deforestation.
Off the coast of Belize, the Splendid Toadfish is endangered as a result of tourism and overfishing.
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