It's no secret that human activity is having some seriously adverse effects on our world. This can be seen most clearly in the animals that are slowly disappearing from our world as we encroach on their territory. While we will (hopefully) be able to see these animals in zoos, if we don't act fast then many of these amazing creatures will disappear forever from the wild. These are the animals that you may not have realized are sadly disappearing from our Earth at an alarming rate.
One of our closest living relatives, three out of four gorilla species are slowly disappearing from their native regions. The only one that isn't considered endangered is the Mountain Gorilla, but even they are classified as threatened. The most hurt of all is the Cross River Gorillas; currently, there are only about 150-180 left in the wild. This sad but steady decline is due to human conflict, poaching, and habitat loss and is made all the more difficult for the gorillas to recover from due to their low reproductive rate.
These massive and fierce-looking creatures are more like gentle giants, but even so they are disappearing at an alarming rate. Of the five species of rhino the black rhino, Javan rhino, and Sumatran rhino are the most endangered out of nearly any animal on Earth. There are currently only 46-66 Javan rhinos left in the world! These animals are hunted for their horn, which can be used as a symbol of status for wealthy buyers, and are still being used in traditional Chinese medicine.
If you've ever been scuba diving or snorkeling in the Pacific Islands, then you will understand just how devastating it would be to lose these beautiful creatures. As sea levels rise, many of the beaches that are critical for the sea turtles to breed on may disappear. Until then, sea turtles have to worry about poachers who target the sea turtles for their eggs, shells, meat, and skin. Additionally, as temperatures rise, it warms the eggs, which changes the sex of the turtles to females, meaning there may soon not be enough males to keep the species alive.
The Saola is so rare that people actually refer to it as the Asian unicorn. These animals were first discovered in 1992 in Vietnam, a finding that was celebrated as one of the most important zoological discoveries of the 20th century. As a result, it's difficult to count just how many of these unusual animals are still around, but currently, reports put them at a meager population number.
These whales are found predominately in the North Atlantic Ocean (surprise, surprise) and there are only around 400 of them left in the world. They generally feed on zooplankton and, as a result, tend to live near the surface of the ocean making them an easy target for poaching and also an unfortunate victim for boating accidents. Their population recovery has been quite slow, there are currently only 100 breeding females left who will only give birth once every 6 to 10 years.
Looking at just the body, you might be forgiven for mistaking them for regular crocodiles. But one look at the snout, and it's clear that this is an entirely different species. This is the Gharial, a sub-species of crocodile which lives in India and only eats fish. Sadly though, these animals have died off to habitat loss and pollution. As if that weren't bad enough, poachers often target these animals since they are often used in traditional medicine.
The Kakapo is a ground-dwelling parrot native to New Zealand. Sadly, we may never see them, and not only because they spend a large portion of their time not in the air underground. There are only 140 of these adorable creatures left, many of them were killed off due to poaching but mainly to non-native animals like cats and dogs. When threatened, the Kakapo will freeze and blend into their surroundings. This tactic is great against predators that use sight for hunting, but less effective against those that rely on smell like cats and dogs.
While many of the world's big cats are in some sort of danger of being wiped off the face of the Earth, there is none more so than the Amur Leopard. This beautiful creature is primarily found in Asia, where it is hunted for its bones, which are used in traditional medicine, and its coat which is renowned for its beauty. Currently, there are estimated to be less than 70 of these leopards left in the world.
They are both the smallest mammal of the ocean and, sadly, quite possibly the most endangered creature on the planet. In an estimate from July 2019, there are only around 9 of these animals left on the planet. They are mostly killed by poachers who are hunting for a completely different animal: the totoaba fish. The Vaquitas will get tangled in their nets where they are unable to swim to the surface and drown. While conservation efforts have been aimed at stopping this illegal practice, it continues to this day.
Much like their closest relative, the dodo bird, these pigeons are rapidly becoming extinct. Currently, these birds only live on Samoa, where their numbers have shrunk to somewhere between 70-380 left in the wild. Hunting was the primary reason this bird population was so decimated, and while it is illegal now these birds are sometimes shot on accident, or killed by poachers who don't care.