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  • Writer's pictureWill Hedrick

18 of the World's Most Popular Endangered Animals

Sunda Tiger

Sunda tigers are one of the smaller tiger species. One hundred years ago, you could find Sunda Tigers, fittingly, on the islands of Sunda in Indonesia. Today, they are only found on the Island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

Conservative estimates predict that only 250 Sunda Tigers are left in the wild.


Asian Elephant

You can tell the difference between Asian and African Elephants by their rounded ears. The Asian Elephant is slightly smaller as well. Asian Elephants are found throughout Southeast Asia and in forested regions of India.

Habitat loss, deforestation, agricultural developments, and human interactions such as poaching and trafficking are the main contributors to their endangered status. The Asian elephant population has declined by an estimated 50% in the past 75 years, and an estimated 20,000-40,000 are left in the wild.


Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea turtles are the largest hard-shelled sea turtle. What makes them so unique is that they are herbivores - meaning that they primarily feed on plants. They earn the name green sea turtle from the color of their cartilage and fat.


Like other sea turtles, they migrate long distances to lay their eggs at almost always the same beach they hatched.


Gorillas (Cross River, Eastern Lowland, Western Lowland, & Mountain)

There are four subspecies of gorillas, and they are all endangered. Each gorilla species has different estimated populations and locations that they call home.

Orangutan

There are three species of Orangutan, Bornean, Sumatran, and Tapanuli. Tapanuli orangutans are the most endangered, with a population of nearly 800. Tapanuli orangutans announced a third species only in 2017.


Orangutans have 96.4% of our genes and are intelligent creatures.

Whale Shark

Whale sharks are the world's largest fish (blue whales are the world's largest animal, they are mammals), estimated to weigh around 11 tons, and can reach a length of 40 feet. The average school bus is approximately 35 feet.

Whale shark meat, fins, and oil are highly valued internationally.


Great Hammerhead Shark

These apex predators can be found in warm coastal waters across the world. Similar to whale sharks, they are targeted in the global shark fin trade, which brings them to endangered status.


They reach an average length of 13 feet and have been found at depths of almost 1,000ft.


Chimpanzee

Chimpanzees are found across central and west Africa and are our closest relatives sharing 98.7 of our genes (along with Bonobos). They weigh anywhere from 70-130lbs and have an average life span of 45 years.


Bonobos

Bonobos are a bit smaller, darker, and leaner than chimpanzees only reaching heights of 35 inches and weights up to 85lbs. They are found in forests south of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Bonobos have faced threats from poaching and deforestation, causing their endangered status. In addition, Bonobos have a low reproductive rate, causing the fight against endangerment difficult for the species.


African Elephants

African elephants are found across 37 different countries in Africa and are the largest walking mammal on Earth. There are two separate subspecies of African Elephants, Savanna and Bush. Savanna elephants are the larger of the two, and their tusks curve outward, whereas Bush elephants have straighter tusks and are smaller than the Savanna.

Elephants face threats of the illegal ivory trade, habitat loss, and fragmentation as their primary causes of endangerment.


Red Panda

Red pandas can be found primarily in the Eastern Himalayas. They are smaller animals, reaching only up to 2 feet long - slightly bigger than a house cat.

The loss of trees and bamboo is causing stress on the population of Red Pandas.


Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin Tuna are built for speed with specialized fins that retract and eyes set flush to their body. They have the best vision of any bony fish. They use their excellent vision as they are some of the ocean's most impressive predators. Bluefin can dive to depths of 3,000 feet and are known for hunting herring, mackerel, and sometimes eels.

Rhinos (Black, Javan, and Sumatran)

In the early 1900s, 500,000 rhinos roamed Europe, Asia, and Africa. Today, only 27,000 rhinos survive, and only a fraction live outside national parks and reserves.


All three species of rhinos are critically endangered.


Monarch Butterfly

The Monarch Butterfly is one of the most extraordinary migratory stories in the animal kingdom. The Monarch travels from Southeast Canada to Central Mexico from 1,200 to 2,800 miles. They migrate long distances to find the proper climates to hibernate for the winter.


The Monarch Butterfly has been experiencing increased stress as a species due to climate change affecting the weather conditions during their migratory travels.


Galápagos Penguin

The Galápagos penguin is the only penguin found north of the equator. They reach a height of around 20 inches and can weigh up to 5.7lbs.


Climate change, bycatch, and pollution have threatened the Galápagos penguin and caused a dramatic population decline.


Sea Lion

Sea Lions live up to 30 years old, reach up to 9 feet long, and some of the largest males can weigh 2,200lbs. Sea Lions have been hunted for their skin, meat, and oil until recently. In addition, climate change and ocean pollution have affected their eating habits negatively.

Amur Leopard

The Amur Leopard is the northernmost subspecies of leopard - commonly found in the far eastern region of Russia. They can run at speeds of 37mph, leap horizontally 19ft, and jump vertically 10ft in the air.


These beautiful leopards are critically endangered primarily due to poaching.

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